A Most Remarkable Dean: An Exploration of the Life and Career of Eric Milner-White, Dean of York

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Date / time: 11 June, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

University of York, Berrick Saul Building

 Day Long Symposium Revisiting the Life and Career of Milner-White, as part of the University of York’s Festival of Ideas.

The symposium is to take place on Saturday June 11th 2016 in the University of York as part of its annual Festival of Ideas and this also coincides with the performances in York Minster of the city’s Mystery Plays, whose revival in the 1950s was due in no small part to Milner-White.

For interest in attending and securing a free ticket, please contact allenwarren01@btinternet.com

See also University of York website – Festival of Ideas: http://yorkfestivalofideas.com/2016/

Eric Milner-White was a significant Anglican churchman for five decades in the twentieth century. Educated at Harrow and King’s College, Cambridge, he was ordained in 1908 and served as rector of St Mary Magdalene, Woolwich. An Anglo-Catholic, he was a founder member of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd in Cambridge. An army chaplain throughout the Great War, he was awarded a DSO for gallantry and also came into conflict with the Chaplain-General of the Forces. He became Dean of King’s College, Cambridge in 1918, remaining in that post until becoming Dean of York in 1941 where he continued until his death in 1963. At King’s his most notable innovation was the adopting of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols for the Christmas Eve Service, which had been pioneered at Truro. Through its being broadcast by the BBC from the late 1920s, it quickly became an event known all over the English speaking world and remains so. At York his most well-known and controversial achievement was the restoration and re-installation of much of the Minster’s medieval glass, a project which divides opinion still. But he was also very active and influential in the civic life of the city and led the group of powerful local figures in the ultimately successful campaign to secure the founding a university between 1947 and 1960.

His impact was also felt more widely through the church as an imaginative liturgist, sensitive writer of prayers and informed biblical translator. Independently wealthy, he built up an important collection of ceramics and paintings as well as being an enthusiastic reader of detective stories and a devotee and patron of the ballet. The Oliver Sheldon Memorial Trust was established in the memory of one of the other leaders of the civic revival in York after 1945. Its general charitable purpose is to enhance the popular understanding of the City of York’s history and civic traditions. As an expression of this the Trustees have promoted a series of lectures and seminars over the last few years to reassess significant figures in York’s history since 1945. Eric Milner-White is clearly a member of this company, which includes Sheldon himself, J.B.Morrell, George Harris, Lord James of Rusholme and others. In the case of Milner-White the Trustees decided to host a seminar in the first instance to bring together those scholars and others who had interests in the various aspects of his life and times.