Dean resigns, ending unholy row at cathedral


A rancorous dispute at Lincoln Cathedral, which has embarrassed and distressed the Church of England for nearly a decade, is expected to end within days, foll owing the resignation of the Dean, the Very Rev Brandon Jackson (62), and the predicted imminent departure of his long-standing opponent, the Sub-Dean, Canon Rex Davis (63).

Canon Davis, who lives half-a-minute's stroll from the Deanery, now faces fresh calls for his departure from both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, and the Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Rev Robert Hardy.

In a statement from Lambeth Palace, Dr Carey said: "I now ask Canon Davis to search his conscience." Bishop Hardy said: "I very much hope that the Sub-Dean will now take the same course of action as the Dean."

The resignations would close an episode which led Bishop Hardy to boycott the cathedral's non-diocesan services for over a year.

The quarrel stems from an attempt to use Dean Jackson's vigour to clear out a cathedral chapter accused of idleness and complacency.

The appointment of Dean Jackson was personally backed by the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who said with some satisfaction that there would be "blood on the floor" of the cathedral when he had finished.

Dean Jackson's assault on the chapter's ruling canons ranged from claims of criminal incompetence over a money-losing tour by Lincoln's original of Magna Carta to charges that the cathedral needed "exorcising of evil". But the canons, like the dean, could not be sacked.

The row deteriorated into personal clashes, with the dean's colourful language matched by Canon Davis's obstinacy. Scandal was heaped on scandal, including the charging - and clearing - of Dean Jackson with adulterous impropriety with the cathedral verger, Ms Verity Freestone (31).

Both main protagonists are expected to take early retirement with "helpful" financial packages, although talk of a £250,000 settlement for Dean Jackson is being denied. Dean Jackson's retirement takes effect on October 31st. He will receive the title of Dean Emeritus and a six-month-sabbatical. - (Guardian Service)