Walter Hussey

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Walter Hussey (15 May 1909 – 1985) was an English priest of the Church of England who had a great fondness for the arts, commissioning a number of musical compositions and visual art for the church as well as amassing his own collection.

Hussey was born in Northampton and was educated at Marlborough College. After studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Keble College, Oxford, he studied at Ripon College Cuddesdon and was ordained in 1932. His first ministry was as assistant curate of St Mary Abbots, Kensington. Within five years he was vicar of St Matthew's Northampton, a position he held from 1937 to 1955. As vicar of St Matthew's he celebrated the church's 50th anniversary by commissioning Rejoice in the Lamb from Benjamin Britten. He later organised a concert by Kirsten Flagstad. Other commissions included Henry Moore's Madonna and Child sculpture, a Litany and Anthem for St Matthew's Day from W. H. Auden, Lo, the full, final sacrifice from Gerald Finzi, Crucifixion from Graham Sutherland, and The Outer Planet from Norman Nicholson.

Hussey left Northampton to become Dean of Chichester Cathedral, holding the position until he retired in 1977. Whilst there he commissioned Graham Sutherland to paint an altarpiece, asked Leonard Bernstein to compose the Chichester Psalms and also worked with John Piper, Geoffrey Clarke, Cecil Collins, Ceri Richards, William Walton and Marc Chagall.

A documentary about the life of Walter Hussey, 'Patron of the Arts', was written and presented by Robert Walker and directed by Christopher Swann. It was broadcast on BBC2 shortly after his death in 1985.

Hussey's own collection of art was bequeathed to the City of Chicester and is now housed in Pallant House Gallery.


Church of England titles
Preceded by
Arthur Stuart Duncan-Jones
Dean of Chichester
1955 – 1977
Succeeded by
Robert Tinsley Holtby