Hugh Montefiore

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Biographical Information

The Rt Rev Hugh Montefiore, who has died in 2005 aged 85. "Born Hugh Sebag-Montefiore (he was known affectionately by the undergraduates and ordinands he taught as Hugh Montefiasco), he was educated at Rugby and St John's College Oxford, where, in 1981, he became an honorary fellow.

"After war service with a commission in the Royal Artillery, he was ordained deacon in 1949, at the age of 29, and was priested a year later. After serving a brief curacy in Newcastle, he was appointed, in 1951, as chaplain and tutor at the Cambridge theological college, Westcott House...In 1973, he became chairman of an independent commission on transport and its problems; together with those of the environment, they remained abiding concerns.

"He was still engaged in environmental issues last year, when he was forced to resign from the board of Friends of the Earth (of which he had been chairman from 1992 to 1998) after promoting the use of nuclear power in the fight against global warming...

"For his last five years in Birmingham (he retired in 1987), Montefiore served as chairman of the Church of England board for social responsibility, clashing with the then lord chancellor, Lord Hailsham, over divorce and penal reform, while trying to steer the general synod into a moderate stance on the use of nuclear weapons.

"Both Aberdeen and Birmingham universities conferred honorary doctorates on Montefiore, due recognition of his scholarship and learning; between 1954 and 2002, he wrote, edited or contributed to some 40 books, publishing in 1995 a breezy autobiography with the snappy title, Oh God, What Next? For many years, he wrote a weekly article for the Church Times..." [1]


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  1. guardian The Rt Rev Hugh Montefiore, organizational web page, accessed January 16, 2013.