Walter Frere

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Walter Frere

Bishop of Truro
ChurchChurch of England
In office1923–1935
PredecessorGuy Warman
SuccessorJoseph Hunkin
Other postsSuperior of the Community of the Resurrection (1902–1913 and 1916–1922)
Consecration1 November 1923
Personal details
Born(1863-11-23)23 November 1863
Cambridge, England
Died2 April 1938(1938-04-02) (aged 74)
Mirfield, Yorkshire[1]
BuriedMirfield, Yorkshire
Alma mater

Walter Howard Frere CR[2] was a co-founder of the Anglican religious order the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield,[3] and Bishop of Truro (1923–1935).[4][5]


Frere was born in Cambridge, England, on 23 November 1863,[1] the younger son of Philip Howard Frere and his wife Emily, née Gipps. His siblings were Arthur, Ellen and Lucy. Lucy became the wife of Wilfred J. Barnes.[6] He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and Wells Theological College; and ordained in 1889.[7][8] His first post was as a curate at Stepney Parish Church. He was Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Southwark from 1896[9] to 1909.[10]

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.[11]

Frere assisted the Indian Malankara Orthodox 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.[12] He was a noted liturgical historical scholar;[13] he was also a high churchman and a supporter of Catholic ideas.[14] 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.[15]

He played a major part in the proposed revision of the Church of England Book of Common Prayer in 1928,[16] which was later rejected by Parliament, and was responsible for the service book for the Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary. Some of the books which belonged to Walter Frere form part of the Mirfield Collection which is housed in the University of York Special Collections.[17]

He died on 2 April 1938[18] and was buried at Mirfield.[1]


  • 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.



  1. ^ a b c Wilkinson 2011, p. 2.
  2. ^ Gordon-Taylor & Stebbing 2011.
  3. ^ Phillips 1947.
  4. ^ "New Bishop of Truro". The Times (43462). London. 3 October 1923. p. 12.
  5. ^ ‘FRERE, Rt Rev. Walter Howard’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 11 June 2015
  6. ^ Phillips 1947, pp. 14–16, 214.
  7. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory 1929/30 p 1311
  8. ^ "Frere, Walter Howard (FRR881WH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  9. ^ The Morning Post (38859). London. 23 December 1896. p. 3.
  10. ^ Green 2008.
  11. ^ Royal Historical Society biographical index entry
  12. ^ Cross 1957.
  13. ^ Walter Howard Frere in Project Canterbury
  14. ^ Brown 1976, p. 88.
  15. ^ Brown 1976, p. 89.
  16. ^ Wilkinson, Alan (26 March 2008). "Frere: Ecumenist, Feminist, Socialist". Church Times. London. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  17. ^ ""Rare Books and Religious History - discovering the Mirfield Collection" a blog by Marios Antoniou, Intern for the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past". Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  18. ^ "Dr. W. H. Frere". The Times (47960). London. 4 April 1938. p. 16.

Works cited[edit]

Brown, H. M. (1976). A Century for Cornwall. Truro: Blackford.
Cross, F. L., ed. (1957). Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gordon-Taylor, Benjamin; Stebbing, Nicholas, eds. (2011). Walter Frere: Scholar, Monk, Bishop. Norwich: Canterbury Press. ISBN 978-1-85311-868-5.
Green, H. Benedict (2008) [2004]. "Frere, Walter Howard (1863–1938)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33274.
Phillips, C. S., ed. (1947). Walter Howard Frere, Bishop of Truro: A Memoir.
Wilkinson, Alan (2011). "A Biographical Sketch". In Gordon-Taylor, Benjamin; Stebbing, Nicholas. Walter Frere: Scholar, Monk, Bishop. Norwich: Canterbury Press. pp. 1–27. ISBN 978-1-85311-868-5.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Guy Warman
Bishop of Truro
Succeeded by
Joseph Hunkin