Frederick William Dwelly: First Dean of Liverpool, 1881-1957

Article excerpt

PETER KENNERLEY. Frederick William Dwelly: First Dean of Liverpool, 1881-1957. Lancaster, England: Carnegie Publishing, 2004. Pp. xii + 292, illus., bibliography, index. £20.00.

Frederick Dwelly is a good subject for a biography. He is scarcely remembered in the Church of England now, except perhaps by those few still alive who knew him, and by oral tradition in Liverpool itself, and yet in his day he was one of the better known and more colorful church leaders. His speciality was public liturgy and ceremonial. He first came to attention, as a parish priest, when he was invited to oversee the planning of the consecration of the new Liverpool Cathedral, as yet but a truncated choir of the magnificent building it would eventually become in 1924. Thereafter Dwelly never looked back. For the next thirty years he was at the center of the development of the cathedral and its worship, and his work became a laboratory for creative liturgical engagement with the needs of the modern world, widely imitated elsewhere in the Church of England

Kennerly's biography is a tribute to a remarkable man. It draws fully on the surviving Dwelly archive-indeed, too much so for this reader, in the sense that long passages of sermons, addresses, and articles have been pasted into the text, interrupting the flow of the narrative and, for all that they give some insight into Dwelly's mind, actually making this book hard going at times. …


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