Sheila Watson (priest)

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Sheila Anne Watson (née Atkinson; born 20 May 1953[1]) is a cleric in the Church of England.

Watson 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 Oxford and then returned to St Andrews for a research degree. 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, the first woman to carry out that ceremony.

Watson's husband is now the "Preacher of Lincoln's Inn".[3]


  1. ^ Who's Who 2012 – Watson, Sheila Anne
  2. ^ "Sheila First for Church". Daily Mirror. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "First Woman Archdeacon for Canterbury". Daily Express. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
Religious titles
Preceded by
David Goldie
Archdeacons of Buckingham
Succeeded by
Karen Gorham
Preceded by
Patrick Evans
Archdeacon of Canterbury