ANTHONY TREMLETT's longest period of service in the ordained ministry was in the diocese of Canterbury where he served as Bishop of Dover from 1964 to 1980, first with Archbishop Ramsey, then with Archbishop Coggan.
As the archbishop was often engaged on national and international duties, Tremlett was responsible for a great deal of the administration, pastoral oversight and reorganisation of the diocese. He was prepared for these tasks by the width and range of his previous experience: as army chaplain, when he was mentioned in dispatches during the north-west Europe campaign; as chaplain to the Bishop of Trinidad, who had been his vicar when he was a curate in Northolt, Middlesex, and whom he helped to run the diocese which included the island of Tobago and the care of Anglicans in Venezuela; as chaplain of Trinity Hall, Cambridge; and as vicar from 1958 to 1964 of St Stephen's, Rochester Row, Westminster.
In all these posts Tremlett inspired and encouraged young men to offer themselves for ordination to the priesthood and some 50 ordinands and priests who had come under his pastoral care bought his episcopal regalia as a gift when he became a bishop. The administration of diocese involved him in a great deal of committee work, which tried his patience, and in much travelling to distant rural parishes, but he always made time, and often at short notice, to see anyone who was considering ordination or a priest who was struggling with his own vocation.
The discipline of his five years as an army chaplain may well have given him that precision and attention to detail which he expected to find in every vestry when he arrived to take a service, qualities which sometimes struck terror in the hearts of those responsible for the conduct of the service - afterwards there were words of appreciation and encouragement. He must have taken hundreds of confirmation services and his addresses to the candidates were simple, direct and challenging and seemed to reflect the sincerity and fidelity of his own Christian witness. The attentive listener, whose own confirmation lay many years in the past, was often given a new resolve.
Tremlett was not a man to wear his heart on his sleeve and a certain sharpness of speech and abruptness of manner sometimes hid his feelings, and only the recipients knew of his many acts of personal help and kindness. He had a vibrant and dynamic personality, enjoyed good conversation and was a lively and generous host and many enjoyed his hospitality. But there was also a quieter side to his nature and his perception of the value of the life of prayer was evident, not least in the care and concern which he showed for a small community of contemplative nuns in the diocese, occupying the position of chairman of the trust.
In his retirement, he was able to derive much pleasure from his lifelong hobbies, gardening and antiques. He remained unmarried. Latterly, he seemed to distance himself from the institutional church but there are many within it and outside it who have much for which to thank God in all that Tony Tremlett gave, and gave up, in the service of his Lord and of the Church.Reuse content