Sheila Watson (priest)

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Sheila Anne Watson (née Atkinson; born 20 May 1953) is a British priest in the Church of England. Since 2007, she has been Archdeacon of Canterbury. She was Archdeacon of Buckingham between 2002 and 2007.

Early life[edit]

Watson was born on 20 May 1953.[1] She grew up in a seaside town and graduated in classics at the University of St Andrews. She then did a preparatory year of theology at the University of Oxford and then returned to St Andrews for a research degree.

Religious life[edit]

She became a deaconess in 1979, serving in two Scottish parishes (1979–80), North East England (1980–84), London (1984-1996 - where she also gained experience in the diocesan selection and training of clergy and laity at the Advisory Board of Ministry in Westminster) and Salisbury (1997-2002 where her husband Derek Watson was Dean of Salisbury until his retirement in 2002). She was ordained as a deacon in 1987 and as a priest in 1994. From 2002 to 2007 she was the Archdeacon of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford.

Succeeding Patrick Evans on his retirement, Watson was announced in January 2007 to be the next Archdeacon of Canterbury, the first woman in the position[2] and only the second woman to be a residential canon at Canterbury Cathedral. She was installed during Choral Evensong at the cathedral on 28 April 2007.

On 21 March 2013, she enthroned Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. She was the first woman to carry out that ceremony.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Watson is married to Derek Watson. Her husband is also a Church of England priest and was previously Dean of Salisbury. He is now the "Preacher of Lincoln's Inn".[4]


  1. ^ Who's Who 2012 – Watson, Sheila Anne
  2. ^ "Sheila First for Church". Daily Mirror. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Jones, Sam (21 March 2013). "Justin Welby enthroned as archbishop of Canterbury". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "First Woman Archdeacon for Canterbury". Daily Express. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
Religious titles
Preceded by
David Goldie
Archdeacons of Buckingham
2002 to 2007
Succeeded by
Karen Gorham
Preceded by
Patrick Evans
Archdeacon of Canterbury
2007 to present