Walter Matthews (priest)

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The Very Reverend
Walter Matthews
Dean of St Paul's
Walter Matthews.jpg
Matthews in 1935
Church Church of England
Diocese London
In office 1934–1967
Retired 1967
Predecessor William Inge
Successor Martin Sullivan
Other posts Dean of Exeter (1931–1934)
Ordination 1907
Personal details
Birth name Walter Robert Matthews
Born (1881-09-22)22 September 1881
London, England
Died 5 December 1973(1973-12-05) (aged 92)
Nationality British
Denomination Anglicanism
Margaret Bryan
(m. 1911; died 1961)

Walter Robert Matthews CH KCVO[2] (22 September 1881 – 5 December 1973) was an Anglican priest, theologian, and philosopher.[3]

Early life and education

Born on 22 September 1881 in Camberwell, London, to parents Philip Walter Matthews, a banker, and Sophia Alice Self, he was educated at Wilson's School[4] and trained for the priesthood at King's College London.

Ordained ministry

He was ordained[clarification needed (to which order?)] in 1907[5] and was a curate at St Mary Abbots' Kensington and St Peter's Regent Square. After that he was a lecturer in and then a professor of theology at King's College London.[6][7] From 1918 he was also Dean of the college.[6][8] In 1931 he became an Honorary Chaplain to the King[9] and Dean of Exeter.[6][10] Then in 1934 he became Dean of St Paul's,[6][11] a post he held for 33 years. At the time of his appointment, he was president-elect of the Modern Churchmen's Union.[12] He was described by his predecessor, William Inge, as something of an "Orthodox Modernist".[12]

On 2 June 1940 the term "miracle of Dunkirk" was used for the first time by Matthews in a speech. He was praising the rescue of thousands of British soldiers and their allies from being encircled by the German Army in France.

He died on 5 December 1973.[13]

Published works

Matthews was an author. Among his works:

  • Three Sermons on Human Nature and a Dissertation upon the Nature of Virtue. Editor. By Joseph Butler. London: G. Bell and Sons. 1914.
  • King's College Lectures on Immortality. Editor. By J. F. Bethune-Baker; A. Caldecott; Hastings Rashdall; Wm. Brown; H. Maurice Relton. London: University of London Press. 1920.
  • Studies in Christian Philosophy: Being the Boyle Lectures, 1920. London: Macmillan and Co. 1921.
  • God and Evolution. London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1926.
  • The Purpose of God. London: Nisbet. 1935.
  • Christ. New York: Macmillan Company. 1939.
  • The Foundations of Peace. Eyre and Spottiswoode. 1942.
  • Some Christian Words. John Allen and Unwin. 1956.
  • Memories and Meanings. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 1969.
  • The Year Through Christian Eyes. London: Epworth Press. 1970.



  1. ^ Sell 2010, pp. 71–72.
  2. ^ Rayment, Leigh (2015). "Companions of Honour". Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  3. ^ Beeson 2004; Owen 2004; Sell 2010, p. 74.
  4. ^ Sell 2010, p. 69; Owen 2004.
  5. ^ "The Clergy Register" London, Kelly's, 1913
  6. ^ a b c d Byrne 2010, p. 160.
  7. ^ "College archives". Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  8. ^ History of King's College Chapel[dead link]
  9. ^ "Chaplain to the King". The Times (45965). 28 October 1931. p. 12, col. E.
  10. ^ "New Dean of Exeter". The Times (45953). 14 October 1931. p. 12, col. F.
  11. ^ "Dean to St. Paul's". Time. Vol. 34 no. 23. 1934. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  12. ^ a b Burns 2004, p. 96.
  13. ^ "Dr W. R. Matthews Former Dean of St Paul's". The Times (58956). 5 December 1973. p. 21, col. F.

Works cited

Beeson, Trevor (2004). The Deans. London: SCM Press. ISBN 978-0-334-02987-8.
Burns, Arthur (2004). "From 1830 to the Present". In Keene, Derek; Burns, Arthur; Saint, Andrew. St Paul's: The Cathedral Church of London, 604–2004. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09276-9.
Byrne, Georgina (2010). Modern Spiritualism and the Church of England, 1850–1939. Studies in Modern British Religious History. 25. Woodbridge, England: Boydell Press. ISBN 978-1-84383-589-9. ISSN 1464-6625.
Owen, Huw (2004). "Matthews, Walter Robert (1881–1973)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31426. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8.
Sell, Alan P. F. (2010). Four Philosophical Anglicans: W. G. DeBurgh, W. R. Matthews, O. C. Quick, H. A. Hodges. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock (published 2015). ISBN 978-1-4982-2008-8.

External links

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Henry Gamble
Dean of Exeter
Succeeded by
Spencer Carpenter
Preceded by
William Inge
Dean of St Paul's
Succeeded by
Martin Sullivan
Academic offices
Preceded by
Alfred Caldecott
Dean of King's College London
Succeeded by
Richard Hanson
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
William Inge
President of the Modern Churchmen's Union
1934 – c. 1937
Succeeded by
Cyril Norwood
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