Frances Ward (priest)

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The Reverend
Frances Ward
Dean of St Edmundsbury
Church Church of England
Diocese Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich
In office 2010–2017
Predecessor Neil Collings
Successor TBA
Graeme Knowles (acting)
Ordination 1989 (deacon)
1994 (priest)
Personal details
Born (1959-09-16) 16 September 1959 (age 58)
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Denomination Anglicanism
Education The King's School, Ely
Alma mater

Frances Elizabeth Fearn Ward (born 16 September 1959) is an Anglican priest and theologian; she is the most recent Dean of St Edmundsbury.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ward was born on 16 September 1959 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. She educated at The King's School, Ely. She studied at the University of St Andrews and the University of Manchester.[2] From 1987 to 1989, she trained for Holy Orders at Westcott House, Cambridge, an Anglican theological college in the Liberal Catholic tradition.[3]

Ordained ministry[edit]

She was ordained deacon in 1989 and priest in 1994.[4] She was then a tutor at Northern College[5] until 1998 and then Vicar of St Peter's Bury[6] until 2005. She was a residentiary canon[7] at Bradford Cathedral until her current appointment.[8]

On 30 May 2010, it was announced that Ward would be the next Dean of St Edmundsbury in succession to Neil Collings.[9] In October 2010, she was installed as Dean at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.[2][10] In July 2017, it was announced that she would be stepping down as Dean later in the year and would be returning to academia to complete a second doctorate; her final service at the cathedral was on 15 October 2017.[11]


Ward belongs to the Catholic Anglican tradition of the Church of England.[10] She is a supporter of the ordination of women as priests and bishops.[12]

Selected works[edit]

Among other books she has written:[13]

  • Lifelong Learning (2005)
  • Studying Local Churches (2005)
  • Theological Reflection Methods (2005)
  • Theological Reflection Sources (2007)
  • Why Rousseau Was Wrong: Christianity and the Secular Soul (2013)


  1. ^ UK Directors
  2. ^ a b 'WARD, Very Rev. Frances Elizabeth Fearn', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn, Nov 2016 accessed 4 July 2017
  3. ^ "Frances Elizabeth Fearn Ward"Paid subscription required. Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  4. ^ Crockfords (London, Church House, 1995) ISBN 0-7151-8088-6
  5. ^ Northern College website
  6. ^ Saint Peter's Church, Bury Website Archived 21 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Association of English Cathedrals
  8. ^ St Edmundsbury Cathedral website
  9. ^ "A New Dean of St Edmundsbury". St Edmundsbury Cathedral. 30 May 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "The first female dean at St Edmundsbury Cathedral". BBC News. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "New Role for Dean Frances". St Edmundsbury Cathedral. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "Manchester Group's conclusions on women bishops: further responses". Church Times. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2017. 
  13. ^ British Library website. Retrieved 11 July 2012.; also [1]