OBITUARY : Canon Peter Penwarden

Peter Penwarden spent his retirement in a flat with a view of Salisbury Cathedral, sipping dry sherry and sharing his dry humour with friends as he delighted in the well-manicured lawn. But for 25 years he had been a parish priest in south London and for 20 he had administered the daily life of Southwark Cathedral, a building not entirely unfit to be placed in the same category as Salisbury but surrounded by traffic, offices and a market. Whether relishing beauty or working hard to create it, he was typical of the Church of England at its most attractive.

Penwarden's childhood in Devon was followed by an education in what were then strongholds of a moderate Anglo-Catholicism, Keble College, Oxford, and Lincoln Theological College. His long spells in parishes in New Eltham and South Wimbledon developed him as a pastor in the steady, central tradition of Anglicanism: he drew people to dignified worship by taking great care of it and of individuals and by thoughtful, well-phrased preaching. But his real fulfilment came when he was appointed Vice-Provost of Southwark in 1971.

He was a number two who never let anyone down - not the staff under him or the voluntary helpers or the regular congregation, and certainly neither of the two Provosts in his time. Harold Frankham had been a businessman who after ordination had transformed Luton Parish Church. Now he began a campaign to raise a million pounds to restore and extend a great church which had grown dirty and inadequate. I had been Dean of Norwich with a habit of writing. Penwarden kept a busy church going very happily under the two of us.

And he lived to be rewarded. Inch by inch, the historic fabric was cleaned and beautiful thingsadded. A restaurant, meeting places, vestries, offices, toilets, arose between the church and the river bank. Concerts and meticulously organised services for national or local bodies became regular. The consecrations of bishops held there were reckoned to be not only better but also quicker than elsewhere. The choir rose to very near the level expected in much richer cathedrals. And the heart of this life was the Eucharist - every Sunday for a gathered congregation, every weekday lunchtime for those working nearby or visiting.

Penwarden was an efficient churchman. But the Glaziers' Company enjoyed him as their chaplain. Through friendship with him the accountants in Price Waterhouse came to sing carols. People who wanted a good meal knew who would be fun to be with and people in distress knew where they could find a sensitive counsellor. He was more than a churchman. He was a much- loved priest.

Peter Herbert Penwarden, priest: born Walthamstow 10 April 1921; Curate, All Saints, New Eltham 1944-49; Vicar, All Saints, South Wimbledon 1949- 61; Vicar, Benhilton 1961-71; Vice-Provost of Southwark 1971-91; Canon Residentiary, Southwark Cathedral 1971-91; died Salisbury 25 March 1995.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
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

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition