Frere was twice Superior of the order 1902–1913 and 1916–1922, and returned to it after resigning the see of Truro. He was consecrated bishop in Westminster Abbey on 1 November 1923, and as he regarded membership of a religious order an obligation taking precedence over others, the bishop's palace became a branch house of the Community.
Frere assisted the Indian Syro-Malankara church with the foundation of the Bethany religious order in 1919: however the dioceses forming this church were received into the Roman Catholic communion in 1930.
He was a member of the Anglican delegation to the Malines Conversations in the 1920s, and active in various other ecumenical projects including relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. He was a noted liturgical historical scholar; he was also a High Churchman and a supporter of Catholic ideas. In his early writings and addresses he emphasised the importance of spiritual life, and explained some of the liturgical revision which was then in preparation.
He played a major part in the proposed revision of the Church of England Book of Common Prayer in 1928, which was later rejected by Parliament, and was responsible for the service book for the Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary.
He was buried at Mirfield.
- Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross. O.U.P., 1957.
- Brown, H. M. (1976) A Century for Cornwall. Truro: Blackford; p. 88
- Brown, H. M. (1976) A Century for Cornwall. Truro: Blackford; p. 89
- Gordon-Taylor, Benjamin & Stepping, Nicolas CR (ed.) Walter Frere - Scholar, Monk, Bishop. Canterbury Press. 2011
A selection of Bishop Frere's publications.
- Recollections of Malines, 1935. Concerning discussions with Cardinal Mercier, Old Catholic Archbishop.
- A collection of his papers on liturgical and historical subjects. Alcuin Club, 1940.
- Correspondence on liturgical revision and construction. Alcuin Club, 1954.
- The Use of Sarum. 2 vols. 1898 & 1901.
- A new history of the Book of Common Prayer (based on F. Procter's earlier work). 1901.
- The principles of religious ceremonial. 1906.
- Black Letter Saints' Days, 1938. Providing eucharistic propers for a selection of saints in the interim 1928 Prayer Book Calendar.
- Walter Howard Frere, Bishop of Truro: a memoir, ed. C. S. Phillips. 1947. Contributions by various hands including bibliography of Frere's writings
- Frere: ecumenist, feminist, socialist by Alan Wilkinson, article in Church Times
- Walter Howard Frere in Project Canterbury
- Royal Historical Society biographical index entry
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