|The Most Reverend
|Archbishop of the Indian Ocean|
Trevor Huddleston bust in Bedford, England
|Province||Province of the Indian Ocean|
|Other posts||Bishop of Masasi
Bishop of Stepney
Bishop of Mauritius
Archbishop of the Indian Ocean
|Ordination||1936 (deacon) 1937 (priest)|
15 June 1913|
|Died||20 April 1998
Mirfield, West Yorkshire
|Part of a series on|
Ernest Urban Trevor Huddleston CR KCMG (15 June 1913 – 20 April 1998) was an English Anglican bishop. He was the Bishop of Stepney in London before becoming the second Archbishop of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean. He was best known for his anti-apartheid activism and his book Naught for Your Comfort.
Huddleston was born in Bedford, England, and educated at Lancing College (1927–1931), Christ Church, Oxford, and at Wells Theological College. He joined an Anglican religious order, the Community of the Resurrection (CR), in 1939, taking vows in 1941, having already served for three years as a curate at St Mark's Swindon.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2011)|
In 1943, Huddleston went to the CR mission station at Sophiatown (Johannesburg, South Africa). He was sent there to build on the work of Raymond Raynes CR, whose monumental efforts there, building three churches, seven schools and three nursery schools catering for over 6,000 children, had proved to be so demanding that the community summoned him back to Mirfield in order to recuperate. Raynes was deeply concerned about who should be appointed to succeed him. He met Huddleston who had been appointed to nurse him while he was in the infirmary. As a result of that meeting, much to Huddleston's surprise as he had only been a member of the community for four years, Raynes was convinced that he had found his successor.
Over the course of the next 13 years in Sophiatown, Huddleston developed into a much-loved priest and respected anti-apartheid activist, earning him the nickname Makhalipile ("dauntless one"). He fought against the apartheid laws, which were increasingly systematised by the Nationalist government which was voted in by the white electorate in 1948. and in 1955 the ANC bestowed the rare Isitwalandwe award of honour on him at the famous Freedom Congress in Kliptown. He was particularly concerned about the Nationalist Government's decision to bulldoze Sophiatown and forcibly remove all its inhabitants six miles further from Johannesburg. This happened on 10 February 1955 when Mandela describes Huddleston as one of the leaders of the opposition to the removal. Among other work, he established the African Children's Feeding Scheme (which still exists today) and raised money for the Orlando Swimming Pools - the only place black children could swim in Johannesburg (until after 1994).
Return to England, Tanzania and Mauritius
Huddleston's community asked him to return to England in 1956 due the controversy he was attracting in speaking out against apartheid. In 1956 he published his seminal work, Naught for your Comfort, and began work as the master of novices at CR's Mirfield mother house in West Yorkshire for two years before becoming the prior of the order's priory in London where he remained until his appointment as a bishop. He was consecrated Bishop of Masasi (Tanzania) in 1960, where he worked for eight years before becoming Bishop of Stepney, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of London.
In 1974, Huddleston was questioned by the police in connection with complaints of alleged sexual abuse made by the parents of a number of boys. He said "I have never done anything to harm a child ... Neither do I consider it indecent to pat a child on the bottom or pinch him ... The boys are telling the truth but the implications of indecency are completely absurd." The police report recommended charging him with four counts of gross indecency, but because of his high profile, the matter was referred to the director of public prosecutions, Sir Norman Skelton. Skelton decided not to charge him after consulting Labour party figures, and the existence of the investigation and report was kept secret until 2004.
In his biography, Trevor Huddleston: Turbulent Priest, Piers McGrandle quotes Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bishop George Ellison dismissing the claims as a plot by the South African secret service B.O.S.S. to discredit a prominent opponent of Apartheid.
Tutu, who as a little boy knew Huddleston and swears to his innocence, was particularly affronted by the suggestion that Huddleston was anything other than a protector of children. On 1 February 1995 he wrote a lengthy letter saying any suggestion of Huddleston's criminality was outrageous and adding that he could easily gather together a dozen black friends of Huddleston's acquaintance who would testify to his innocence.
On 14 February 1995 the Archbishop of Cape Town wrote: "He [Huddleston] was an enormous thorn in the side of the apartheid regime and was effectively the real spokesman for the anti-apartheid movement for a considerable period. No one did more to keep apartheid on the world's agenda than he and therefore it would have been a devastating victory for the forces of evil and darkness had he been discredited", adding "How ghastly to want to besmirch such a remarkable man, so holy and so good. How utterly despicable and awful."
Bishop George Ellison, the Bishop of London when Huddleston was Bishop of Stepney, also said that political enemies of Huddleston were involved.
Ellison said: "I want to make it absolutely clear that I have seen no evidence that Bishop Trevor was ever guilty of a criminal act. He undoubtedly had many enemies in South Africa and England who wanted to denigrate him, indeed, to destroy him." Ellison was also clear that neither he, nor his legal advisers, believed anyone had the right to impede justice if there was any real evidence of guilt.
After 10 years in England, Huddleston was appointed (1978) as the Bishop of Mauritius, a diocese of the Province of the Indian Ocean. Later in the same year he was elected as the Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean. In 1984, he was succeeded by the Rt Revd Rex Donat as Bishop of Mauritius.
After his retirement from episcopal office in 1983, Huddleston continued anti-apartheid work, having become President of the anti-apartheid movement in 1981.
In 1994 he received honours from Tanzania (Torch of Kilimanjaro) and was awarded the Indira Gandhi Award for Peace, Disarmament and Development. In the 1998 New Year Honours he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) by the Labour government.
Death and legacy
Huddleston died at Mirfield, West Yorkshire, England, in 1998. A window in memory of him is in Lancing College chapel and was visited by Desmond Tutu. They had become friends when Huddleston visited a young Tutu in hospital when he was ill with TB. They later worked together opposing apartheid. The Huddleston Centre in Hackney has been delivering youth provision to disabled young people living in Hackney for over 30 years, and continues to do so. The centre bears Huddleston's name after he intervened to ensure that part of a church building was converted to provide an accessible nursery, play (and latterly youth club) space for disabled young people in Hackney, regardless of their faith. The Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre in Sophiatown was established in 1999 following Huddleston's death and the interment of his ashes in the garden of Christ the King Church in Sophiatown where he had served for 13 years. The centre delivers youth development programmes as well as heritage and cultural projects promoting Huddleston's passion for young people and his commitment to non-racialism, multi-faith issues and social justice.
Huddleston wrote Naught for Your Comfort (1956) and Return to South Africa: The Ecstasy and the Agony (1992).
"Prayer for Africa"
A well-known prayer of Huddleston's is the "Prayer for Africa". It has been recited throughout South Africa, Tanzania and other African countries.
- God bless Africa,
- Guard her people,
- Guide her leaders,
- And give her peace.
Alternative version (with emphasis on children):
- God Bless Africa,
- Guard her children,
- Guide her leaders,
- And give her peace, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Another alternative version:
- God bless Africa, God bless Africa,
- Guard her children, guide her leaders.
- God bless Africa, God bless Africa,
- God bless Africa and bring her peace.
- See College website for details.
- Archbishops' Council of the Church of England (2011). "Crockford Clerical Directory". Church House Publishing. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
- Wilkinson, Alan (1992). The Community of the Resurrection. SCM. p. 229. ISBN 0334025311.
- Mandela, Nelson (1994). Long Walk to Freedom. ABACUS. p. 127. ISBN 9780349106533.
- "Isitwalandwe / Seaparankoe the Highest Award of Honour". ANC. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 5 July 1968. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
- "It was different then...". Private Eye (Pressdram Ltd) (1342): 29. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-21.: "The report proposed that Huddleston could be charged with four counts of gross indecency involving fondling the boys while they sat on his lap. Huddleston admitted the behaviour but strongly denied any indecency... Because of Huddleston’s prominence and reputation, the DPP, Sir Norman Skelhorn, was asked for directions as to whether the bishop should be prosecuted. The report suggested the proposed charges 'can be supported by the evidence obtained'. Skelhorn, however, decided not to prosecute. The Scotland Yard investigation was kept secret. ... It later emerged that Skelhorn had consulted not just 'leading Treasury counsel' but also Labour attorney-general Sam Silkin, who knew Huddleston, a Labour party hero ... Silkin stated: 'If he had been prosecuted at all it would have ruined his career and influence ... If he had been prosecuted – and acquitted – it would still have been disastrous for him'."
- The London Gazette: . 30 December 1997. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
- Audio samples
- Obituary by Aelred Stubbs
- The Life and Work of Archbishop Trevor Huddleston: links and biography on ANC website
- Items from the Press on the Death of Archbishop Trevor Huddleston: ANC website
- Trevor Huddleston CR Memorial Centre, Sophiatown, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Naught for Your Comfort online text at archive.org
Wilfrid Lewis Mark Way
|Bishop of Masasi
1959 - 1968
Gayo Hilary Chisonga
Francis Evered Lunt
|Bishop of Stepney
James Lawton Thompson
Ghislain Elwyn Emmanuel
|Bishop of Mauritius
1978 – 1983
Luc Rex Victor Donat
Ernest Edwin Curtis
|Archbishop of the Indian Ocean
1978 – 1983
French Kitchener Chang-Him