Angela Berners-Wilson

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The Reverend Prebendary
Angela Berners-Wilson
Chaplain to the University of Bath
Church Church of England
Diocese Diocese of Bath and Wells
In office 2004 to present
Ordination 1987 (deacon)
1994 (priest)
Personal details
Birth name Angela Veronica Isabel Berners-Wilson
Born 1954 (age 62–63)
Nationality British
Denomination Anglicanism
Alma mater University of St Andrews
Cranmer Hall, Durham

Angela Veronica Isabel Berners-Wilson (born 1954) is a Church of England priest and chaplain. She is considered to be the first woman to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England. She is currently a chaplain at the University of Bath.

Early life and education[edit]

Berners-Wilson was born in 1954. She studied divinity at the University of St Andrews, graduating with a Master of Theology (MTheol) degree in 1976.[1] Although its name suggests otherwise, the MTheol from St Andrews is an undergraduate degree.[2] In 1977, she entered Cranmer Hall, Durham, an Anglican theological college in the Open Evangelical tradition, to train for ministry.[1]

Ordained ministry[edit]

Berners-Wilson was made a deaconess in 1979. From 1979 to 1982, she was deaconess of Christ Church, Southgate in the Diocese of London. From 1982 to 1984, she served as deaconess at St Marylebone Parish Church, also in the diocese of London. Then began more than a decade as a university chaplain: at Thames Polytechnic from 1984 to 1991, and at the University of Bristol from 1991 to 1995.[1]

Berners-Wilson was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1987; the first year the C of E ordained women to the diaconate.[1] She was ordained a priest on 12 March 1994. Due to her surname being alphabetically first in the list of the first 32 women ordained to the priesthood, she is considered the first woman to be ordained a priest in the C of E.[3] The officiating bishop speculated that it would be 10 years before the first woman was appointed as a bishop.[4]

Berners-Wilson was appointed chaplain to the University of Bath in May 2004.[5] In February 2009 she was appointed a prebendary of Wells Cathedral.[6][7]

Sponsored by the Diocese of Bath and Wells, the University of Bath and the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, she had a month's sabbatical in China in June 2008.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Her father was the rector of the rural parish of Frant in East Sussex.[9][10] She married solicitor Andrew Sillett on 19 May 1984.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d "Angela Veronica Isabel Berners-Wilson". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 22 January 2016.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Divinity". School of Divinity. University of St Andrew's. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Meet Sue – the first woman in 400 years of tradition at King's". Worcester News. September 18, 2007. 
  4. ^ Keith Gilley (25 September 2004). "The ministry of women". London: The Guardian. 
  5. ^ New University chaplain to be licensed Archived February 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine., University of Bath
  6. ^ Revd Angela Berners-Wilson is to be made Prebendary of Wells Cathedral
  7. ^ University Chaplain becomes a Prebendary of Wells Cathedral, University of Bath
  8. ^ Angela Berners-Wilson (August 7, 2008). "Report of a month's Sabbatical in China by Angela Berners-Wilson" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Tom Templeton (February 1, 2004). "What happened next?". The Guardian. London. 
  10. ^ Ruth Gledhill (January 16, 2006). "Women bishops: celebration tinged with sadness". Times Online blog Articles of Faith. 
  11. ^ "Congratulations Angela and Andrew". Christ Church, Bath. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]