Obituary: The Rev Dr David Wallace-Hadrill

WRITING IN the Journal of Theological Studies in October 1961, the reviewer of David Wallace-Hadrill's book Eusebius of Caesarea comments on how it revealed a parochial clergyman who had studied the early Christian fathers "to good purpose".

It was the quality that ran through the many strands of Wallace-Hadrill's life, from his schooldays at Cheltenham when his passionate devotion to writing and listening to music began, through his reading of PPE at Oxford which somehow motivated him to take Anglican orders, through his divinity course with distinction at Manchester, and his later doctorate in that demanding faculty, and throughout his professional life as chaplain and master at Aldenham School and as curate and parish priest.

It was at Manchester in the early years of the Second World War that he came under the inspirational influence of Professor J.W. Manson, the distinguished scholar and theologian. At Manchester too he met Eusebius's writings and the germination of his book began. Eusebius was not, as Wallace- Hadrill says in his preface, "the most universally loved of the Fathers" - indeed elsewhere he describes him as substituting a "crudely florid manner for delicacy, lightness of touch and humour". What he admired in his subject was his emphasis on Christ's "clear appreciation and acceptance of the natural world around him" and on "the service of one's fellow men in this world rather than an escape into a life of solitary meditation".

So the Eusebius was written "in spare moments in the parochial ministry of the Church of England". Long unbroken periods of study were not available; the testimonies of his parochial dedication are in the memories of former parishioners in Hornchurch, where he served in the later 1940s, and more especially in the steelworks parish of Eston, Middlesbrough, from 1955 to 1962, where he was responsible for two churches.

There particularly the logistic problems of such specialised research were marked not only in access to sources but also in resolving textual and linguistic problems in them. It is conceivable that Eusebius was himself better provided, with easy access to the libraries of Caesarea and Jerusalem. Nevertheless a work containing much pure scholarship, exploratory of untouched areas of Eusebius's wide output, was the result. As the book neared completion and the author began to have doubts about its value, the combined persuasions of his wife and elder brother, the late Professor J.M. Wallace-Hadrill was needed to ensure its publication.

Somehow at this time too, he was able to write stories to entertain his four children. There were also two further books springing from his interest in the early Christian fathers. These were written in competition with all the pressures on time and energy of being a housemaster and teacher at Aldenham. The first is in one sense a propaganda work. The Patristic View of Nature (1968) set out to establish that the early fathers were by no means as hostile to the natural world as their reputation suggests. It was characteristic of the author that he should set about this loving mission of "rescue".

His final published writing of a theological nature is Christian Antioch: a study of early Christian thought in the East (1982). The germination - even if there was an inevitable long dormancy - was back in Manchester in the 1940s. Wallace-Hadrill had asked Manson to recommend a book elucidating the meaning of Antiochene. He was told that as such a book did not exist he had better write it.

Robert Murray in the Journal of Theological Studies (April 1984) speaks of the work as "a labour of love, enriched from exploration in many directions by a survivor of the once glorious breed of scholar parsons". What Murray probably did not know was that Wallace-Hadrill in another more essential way was a survivor. Antioch was written in the years immediately following a prognosis of a cancer being fatal within two weeks - in 1972. In the preface the author thanks his surgeon "who gave me that very great gift - time in which to finish what I had begun".

In his 27 further given years he more and more devoted himself not only to his own painting but to amplifying his lifelong interest in J.M.W. Turner's watercolours, especially those sketched for or painted on his two expeditions to Scotland. This work was done under the aegis of the Tate Gallery. Two joint articles were published in Turner Studies.

David Wallace-Hadrill's aesthetic and religious outlook is contained in some words written not long ago - words of a mysticism which I fear Eusebius might not have appreciated:

We are most truly ourselves in an act of creating . . . It is a kind of blissful annihilation of the self. But this experience of losing oneself outside time and space is also what we mean by death . . . Death is a completion and the realisation of the best that is in us.

David Sutherland Wallace-Hadrill, priest, schoolmaster and theologian: born Bromsgrove, Worcestershire 12 January 1920; ordained deacon 1943, priest 1944; curate, Walthamstow, Essex 1944-47; curate Holy Cross, Hornchurch, Essex 1947-50; Chaplain, Aldenham School 1950-55, housemaster 1962-72, English and Divinity teacher 1962-81, Second Master 1975-81, Librarian 78-86; parish priest, Christ Church, Eston, Middlesbrough 1955-62; married 1947 Vera Monks (three sons, one daughter); died Potters Bar, Hertfordshire 8 May 1999.

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?

An enlightening finale for Don Draper

Arts and Entertainment
Serious player: Aussie Guy Sebastian rehearses for the big show in Vienna

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable