Obituaries: The Right Rev George Henderson

George Henderson, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles from 1977 to 1992 and Primus of the Episcopal Church 1990-92, was a remarkable personality both in the Scottish Episcopal Church and in the local community.

Both as a parish priest and as a bishop, he was a dedicated pastor; he was also widely recognised as a staunch upholder of the traditional beliefs and discipline of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the abandonment in some quarters of what he held precious, such as the ordination of women, caused him great anguish.

Equally staunch was his belief that Christianity is concerned with the whole person, with material welfare as well as spiritual, and he gave practical expression to this by involving himself in politics, making no secret of the fact that he was committed to what he himself called full-blooded Socialism.

In his early years at Fort William this did not go down well with some sections of the community, but as time went by his obvious sincerity and his personality gained him the respect and friendship of many who disagreed with his views. He served for many years on the Fort William town council and eventually became provost of the town.

He held this position until it was abolished when local government was reorganised in 1975. During his period in office he played an important part in bringing to the area the huge Wiggins Teape pulp mill at nearby Corpach. This in turn led to a big increase in the population of the area with a consequent need for more housing.

George Henderson was born in Oban in 1921 and educated locally at St John's Episcopal Primary School and Oban High School. He went on to take a BA degree with Distinction at St Chad's College, Durham, and trained for the priesthood at Edinburgh Theological College. He was ordained deacon in 1943 slightly under the normal canonical age of 23, and for the next five years served as a curate at Christ Church, Mile End, in Glasgow, under a notable priest, Canon William Cooper.

From Glasgow he returned to his native diocese of Argyll and the Isles as priest-in-charge of Onich with Kinlochleven. In 1950 he was appointed Rector of St Andrew's, Fort William, where he remained until he was appointed bishop of the diocese in 1977.

Although the number of Episcopalians in the diocese is very small, the geographical area is huge, stretching on the mainland from Campbelltown on the Mull of Kintyre in the south almost to Fort Augustus in the north. In addition there are the Outer and Inner Hebrides as well as islands like Arran, Cumbrae and Bute in the Firth of Clyde area. To travel round this area by land, sea and air is extremely time-consuming and can prove hazardous, especially in winter.

Before becoming bishop Henderson had served as an honorary sheriff and was also a JP. It was a fitting tribute to him for all the service he rendered to the community when he was appointed MBE and was also made a Freeman of Fort William.

In spite of all the demands made upon his time by his church and civic duties Henderson read avidly and was blessed with an exceptional memory, so that long afterwards he could recall what he had read and often the actual page of the book where he had read it.

Equally impressive was his memory for people with whom he had had dealings. Not surprisingly, he accumulated a great store of information which made him an interesting and entertaining speaker both in and out of the pulpit and he had a flair for being able to produce exactly the right quotation for any occasion.

Despite a normally rather gloomy expression, he possessed great wit and was very good company. He hated being on his own and he and his wife Isobel, whom he married when he first came to Fort William, extended constant and generous hospitality to a wide and mixed circle of acquaintances.

George Kennedy Buchanan Henderson, priest and politician: born Oban 5 December 1921; ordained deacon 1943, priest 1945; Assistant Curate, Christ Church, Glasgow 1943-48; Priest in Charge, St Bride's, Nether Lochaber 1948-50; Chaplain to the Bishop of Argyll 1948- 50; Rector, St Andrew's, Fort William 1950-77; Provost of Fort William 1962-75; Dean of Argyll and the Isles 1973-77, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles 1977-92; MBE 1974; Primus of the Episcopal Church in Scotland 1990-92; married 1950 Isobel Bowman; died Onich, Inverness-shire 26 September 1996.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes