Michael Mayne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Very Reverend
Michael Mayne
Dean of Westminster
Church Church of England
In office 1986 to 1996
Predecessor Edward Carpenter
Successor Wesley Carr
Other posts Vicar of Church of St Mary the Great, Cambridge (1979–1986)
Ordination 1957
Personal details
Born (1929-09-10)10 September 1929
Harlestone, Northamptonshire, England
Died 22 October 2006(2006-10-22) (aged 77)
Nationality British
Denomination Anglicanism
Education The King's School, Canterbury
Alma mater Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Cuddesdon Theological College

Michael Clement Otway Mayne, KCVO (10 September 1929 – 22 October 2006) was an English priest of the Church of England who served as the Dean of Westminster.

Early life[edit]

Michael Clement Otway Mayne was born at Harlestone, Northamptonshire, the son of Rev. Michael Ashton Otway Mayne, rector of that parish, and his wife Sylvia Clementia Lumley Ellis. His father committed suicide by jumping from the top of Harleston church tower when Mayne was three years old, after which his mother moved the family to Torbay and then London. With the support of clerical charities, Mayne was educated at The King's School, Canterbury and later at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Cuddesdon Theological College, Oxford. His early passion for acting and drama flourished while at university, though his former headmaster encouraged him to take up the priesthood.[1]

Ecclesiastical career and later life[edit]

Mayne served his curacy at St John's Harpenden (1957–1959) and then spent six years as chaplain to Mervyn Stockwood, Bishop of Southwark (1959–1965). In 1965, newly married, he became vicar of the Parish of Norton, Letchworth Garden City, where he carried out an effective ministry for the next seven years.

In 1972 Mayne was made the head of religious programmes for BBC Radio and in 1979 he became the vicar of Great St. Mary's, the university church of Cambridge.

In 1986 he was invited by Queen Elizabeth II to become Dean of Westminster Abbey, a position he held until 1996. During his tenure he selected various people to be commemorated in the abbey, including Oscar Wilde, Alexander Pope, Edward Lear, Robert Herrick and Matthew Arnold. On his retirement in 1996 he was made Dean Emeritus of Westminster and also received his KCVO.

During his 50s Mayne was diagnosed with ME and wrote a book about his experiences living with the syndrome (A Year Lost and Found). In 2005 he was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the jaw, and this led him to write a book about his battle with cancer (The Enduring Melody).[2]




  1. ^ Harvey (2010)
  2. ^ [1]


  • Harvey, A. E. (2010). "Mayne, Michael Clement Otway (1929–2006)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press [Jan 2010; online edition, Sept 2010; subscription of UK library membership required]