David Hoyle appointed new Dean of Westminster

Wednesday, 19th June 2019

David Hoyle appointed new Dean of Westminster

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the appointment of the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle as the new Dean of Westminster. He is currently Dean of Bristol and will succeed the Very Reverend Dr John Hall who retires on 1st November 2019, All Saints’ Day, after 13 years at Westminster Abbey.

David Hoyle, aged 61, studied history and then theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He trained for the ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and served his title as Curate of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Cambridge, from 1986 to 1988.

He was then appointed Chaplain (later Dean of Chapel) and Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he also served as Director of Studies in Theology. In 1995 he moved to become Vicar of Christ Church, Southgate in London, before transferring to Gloucester in 2002 as Director of Ministry and Canon Residentiary of Gloucester Cathedral. He has been Dean of Bristol since 2010 and chairs the College of Deans in the Church of England.

Dr Hoyle has a particular interest in theological education.  He is a published author with recent books about ministry and doctrine.  He also has wide experience in school governance. In his ministry in Bristol, he has been drawn into the debate about the legacy of transatlantic slavery, into charity governance and into issues of social justice. As Chair of the College of Deans he has been closely involved in conversations about the governance and management of cathedrals. His interests include literature, art and walking. His wife, Janet, is a primary school head-teacher and they have a son, Mike, who is 27 and a daughter, Katy who is 25. 

He will become the 39th Dean of Westminster, overseeing the spiritual life of Westminster Abbey and giving leadership to the Abbey community, which includes 350 staff and 400 volunteers. Dr Hoyle will be installed as Dean of Westminster on 16th November 2019.

The Abbey is a Royal Peculiar, and the Dean is responsible to the Sovereign as Visitor of the Abbey. This is therefore a Crown appointment and has been approved by Her Majesty The Queen following an open application process.

Dr Hoyle said:

Westminster Abbey is a wonderful place. It reminds us of our past, speaks of our present identity as a nation and a monarchy, and sets before us the kingdom we can be under God.  It is a huge privilege to be given the opportunity to work there.  Dr John Hall is completing an immensely distinguished ministry as Dean.  Succeeding him, it will be important to sustain the Abbey as a place of pilgrimage and outstanding worship.  I also look forward to working with some very talented colleagues ensuring that the Abbey will always bear witness to the truth that, amongst all our divisions, we can still have a shared hope.

Dr Hall said:

I am delighted at the appointment of Dr David Hoyle as the next Dean of Westminster. The stage of the life of the Abbey over which he will preside will be one of very considerable demand and interest. The past years have seen considerable expansion and development in the particular role of the Abbey. We have described the Abbey’s mission as ‘faith at the heart of the nation’ but the Abbey’s contacts have reached out through the Commonwealth to very many parts of the world. It has been for me an immense pleasure and privilege presiding over the worship and mission of the Abbey. I wish Dr Hoyle every joy and success in his leadership of the Abbey community.

Paul Baumann, Receiver General, said:

On behalf of the Abbey Community I warmly welcome David Hoyle’s appointment. Building on a period of exceptional growth in the mission of the Abbey we look forward to working with him as we tackle the many opportunities of the coming decade.