John Phillips (bishop of Portsmouth)

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John Henry Lawrence Phillips (1910–1985) was the Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth from 1960[1] until 1975.

Birth and education[edit]

Phillips was born on 2 February 1910,[where?] the son of a clergyman, and attended Weymouth College. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1932, but remained in Cambridge for his ordination training at Ridley Hall from 1932 to 1934. He took his Master of Arts degree in 1937.


He served two curacies at Yorkshire parishes,[2] and then became a vicar, additionally joining the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) as a chaplain during World War II, eventually becoming Director of Service Ordinands.

When peace came he was appointed the general secretary of the Churches' Council of Training for the Ministry, then Archdeacon of Nottingham. In 1959 he was appointed a chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1960 his nomination to be the bishop of Portsmouth was approved by the Queen,[3] although he had to wait a further 7 years for elevation to the House of Lords.[4] He resigned his bishopric in 1975 owing to ill health, and took a post running a small rural parish church in Dorset.

Private life[edit]

Phillips married Morna Wingfield-King in 1936,[5] and they had three daughters and a son.[6]

He became a Freemason in 1954 in the Royal Sussex Lodge No 402 (Nottingham) and remained active in the organisation throughout his life. As Bishop of Portsmouth he renewed his connections with the Royal Navy and in 1960 (the year of his enthronement) he also joined Navy Lodge No 2612 in London, where he remained active until his death in 1985. In Portsmouth he joined the local Phoenix Lodge No 257 and became its Worshipful Master in 1965. From 1974 to 1978 he held the leading role of Provincial Grand Master responsible for all lodges in the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight,[7] following a grand investiture ceremony at Portsmouth Guildhall conducted by the Earl Cadogan on 20 September 1974.[8]:138

He also sailed and played golf.[9] In retirement he lived in Ipswich. He died on 1 November 1985.


  1. ^ Order of Service
  2. ^ Who's Who 1971 p2525 ISBN 0-7136-1140-5
  3. ^ The Times 7 January 1960Issue 54,662 Col D
  4. ^ The Times 19 January 1967 Issue 56843 Col A
  5. ^ Wedding details
  6. ^ Family History
  7. ^ The Times Saturday 16 Nov 1985 Issue 62,297 Page 10 Col G
  8. ^ Laugharne, F (1991). Freemasonry in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (First ed.). Provincial Grand Lodge. 
  9. ^ Times Obituary (Ibid)
Church of England titles
Preceded by
William Launcelot Scott Fleming
Bishop of Portsmouth
Succeeded by
Archibald Ronald McDonald Gordon