New Year: New Deans announced

17th January 2024

Downing Street announced earlier this week that the King has approved the appointment of the Reverend Canon Toby Wright as the next Dean of Wells.

New Deans for Wells, Truro and Leicester

Toby is currently Team Rector for the Benefice of Witney and Honorary Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. He succeeds the Very Reverend Dr John Davies.

Staff, volunteers, and members of the Wells Cathedral community gathered informally in the Nave to join the Bishop of Bath and Wells, The Rt Revd Michael Beasley, and the Cathedral Chapter in welcoming Revd Toby to the Cathedral and gave thanks to the Revd Anne Gell for her role as Acting Dean.  Toby’s  last engagement of the day saw him attend Evensong at the Cathedral.

New Deans - The new Dean of Wells Toby Wright

The Revd Toby Wright said:

“I am thrilled and humbled to have been invited to come and serve among such a wonderful group of people at Wells Cathedral in this amazing place of prayer built to the glory of God. 

“The Cathedral has an important role in supporting the mission and ministry of the bishop and of the whole diocese as we live and tell the story of Jesus. 

“I am looking forward to listening with you, as we discern God’s call for the future, build a culture of hope and discover afresh God’s joy in our lives. 

“As we offer hospitality to all in the name of Jesus Christ, I hope to continue to foster a sense for everyone who comes into contact with the Cathedral that they belong and they matter.

“I am profoundly grateful for the colleagues and friends in Oxford Diocese with whom I have journeyed, and I look forward to getting to know the people of the Cathedral and the Diocese of Bath and Wells.  My family has strong roots in the area and we are looking forward to enjoying Somerset in the years to come.”

Bishop Michael said:

“The last year has seen the whole Cathedral community – chapter, staff, volunteers and congregation – working together brilliantly to enable Wells Cathedral to step out onto the next stage of its journey of faith. 

“Toby’s appointment will enable us all to take that work forward. The many gifts Toby brings will add wonderfully to all that is already happening through the contributions of so many different people. His arrival will mark a new page in our life together. I’m looking forward with anticipation and excitement towards all that the future will bring.”

Toby was educated at New College, Oxford, and trained for ministry at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. He served his title at St Peter with St Mary, Petersfield, in the Diocese of Portsmouth and in 2002 he was ordained priest.

Toby is married to Sally, who is also ordained. They have two teenage children and a small Welsh cockapoo called Libby.

Canon Simon Robinson will be installed as the sixth Dean of Truro by the Bishop of St Germans, The Right Rev’d Hugh Nelson on 21 January.

The installation will be included in a Choral Evensong service sung by Truro Cathedral Choir, and the music will include, by request of Canon Simon, ‘Magnificat’ and ‘Nunc Dimitiis’ composed by the previous cathedral resident composer Dobrinka Tabakova.

All are welcome to join this which will also be live-streamed via the cathedral YouTube channel.

The Revd Canon Karen Rooms will be installed as the next Dean of Leicester in a special service in the Cathedral this March.

New Deans - New Dean of Leicester - Karen Rooms

Karen will become the third person to hold the post. She was licensed as the Acting Dean of Leicester in January 2023 and was previously the Cathedral’s Sub-Dean and Canon Missioner.

Revd Canon Karen said:

“It is an absolute privilege to serve as Dean of Leicester in such a vibrant city and in Leicestershire’s towns and rural communities.

 “I love being in Leicester and am excited about all the possibilities which our renewed Cathedral ­– and the facilities that will be available to us later in 2024 ­– offer. 

“I look forward to all we can be and offer together as we witness the love of God experienced in Jesus Christ.”

The Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Lord Bishop of Leicester, said:

“I am delighted to announce that Karen will be the new Dean of Leicester. Karen is a courageous and compassionate leader, whose passion for justice and equity will, I am sure, inspire and encourage many in our city and county. She has done a superb job as Acting Dean, including very significant additional fundraising for Leicester Cathedral Revealed.

“With the Cathedral reopening, after being closed for restoration and renovation work for two years, this is a very exciting time for the whole Diocese as well as those who worship, work, and minister in the Cathedral. 

 “Leicester Cathedral has a privileged position as the beating heart for both the city and county, and I know that Karen is deeply committed to it being a place of hospitality, wonder, inspiration, and discovery for all who step inside.”

Karen was ordained in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, being priested in 2007. Before moving to Leicester, she served as an Area Dean in Nottingham, and Vicar of St Ann with Emmanuel Church. She is chair of trustees of the national community organising charity CitizensUK.