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Eric Milner-White (1884-1963): A Most Remarkable Dean

©York Art Gallery: York Museums Trust
  • Saturday 11 June 2016, 10.00AM to 6:30pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required - email
  • Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, University of York (map|getting to campus)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

Join us for an exploration of the life, career and personality of York’s most remarkable 20th century Dean, Eric Milner-White. Soldier, churchman, educationalist, liturgist and collector, Milner-White covered most aspects of the life of the Church of England in the 20th century. 

A privileged upbringing and education was followed by first working as a priest in working class London and then as a chaplain during the Great War, during which he won the Distinguished Service Order. He returned to King’s College, Cambridge where he served as Dean from 1920 until 1941, inaugurating the world famous service of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve in King's College Chapel. 

From 1941 until 1963 he was Dean of York. As well as a fine scholar, liturgist and writer of prayers, he controversially restored the Minster’s medieval windows, was energetic in civic affairs, including chairing the local committee that campaigned for a university at York. He was also a discriminating collector of porcelain, pictures and books, including 700 detective stories.

About the speakers

Leading the exploration of the life and career of Eric Milner-White is Allen Warren, formerly Head of the History Department at the University of York and a Chapter Canon from 2000-2006. He will be joined by Bishop Emeritus Geoffrey Rowell; Professor Philip Williamson of Durham University’s Department of History: Sarah Brown of the University of York’s Department of History of Art; Helen Walsh, Curator of Decorative Arts, York Museums Trust; Dr Matthew Grimley, from Oxford University’s  Faculty of History; as well as others interested in Milner-White’s remarkable career and character. 

Timetable of the day

10am Registration and coffee

10.30am Welcome

10.45am to 11am Introduction: Family, Education and Ordination 1884-1914 (Chair: Allen Warren)

11am to 11.30am Chaplain Soldier

Eric Milner White and the Great War 1914-1918 (Peter Howson)

11.30am to 1pm Eric Milner-White and King’s College, Cambridge 1903-1941 (Chair: Peter Addyman)

Anglo-Catholic Dean of King’s: Eric Milner-White, The Church of England and the Love of Excellence (Dr Alan Pigott)

A Prayerful Life:  Eric Milner-White and the writing of prayers for the Soul and the Nation (Geoffrey Rowell, Philip Williamson)

1pm to 1.45pm Lunch 

1.45pm to 3.30pm Eric Milner-White and York Minster, 1941-1963 (Chair: David Foster)

Stained Glass and Restoration (Sarah Brown)

The Minster Collections (Peter Young)

The Collector: Ceramics (Helen Walsh), Paintings (Richard Green)

3.30pm to 4.15pm Tea and Memories of Milner White: Recordings and Individual Testimonies

4.15pm to 5.30pm The City of York, 1941-1963 (Chair: Sarah Sheils)

Eric Milner-White and the Cultural Reconstruction of York, 1951-1963 (Matthew Grimley)

‘To preserve and magnify the beauties of York’: Eric Milner-White and his fellow visionaries in mid- 20th century York (Kath Webb)

5.30pm Summing Up (Allen Warren)

6pm Glass of Wine and depart


This event is supported by The Sheldon Memorial Trust.

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