Fringe Box



Obituary: The Rt Revd Paul Barber Former Guildford Curate Who Became A Bishop

Published on: 24 Feb, 2021
Updated on: 26 Feb, 2021

The Right Reverend Paul Barber has died at the age of 85.

He was the first Suffragan Bishop of Brixworth, Assistant Bishop to the Dioceses of Bath & Wells, Archdeacon of Surrey, the former Vicar of St Michael’s in Camberley and of St Thomas-on-The-Bourne in Farnham, and Curate at Guildford’s parish of St Francis in Westborough.

Born on September 16, 1935, he was educated at Sherborne School and St John’s College Cambridge.

Then as the Revd Paul Barber, pictured when he was the curate in the parish of St Francis in Westborough. Here he talks to the Parker family in Park Barn.

After undertaking National Service in the Royal Army Service Corps, he studied at Wells Theological College and, in 1961, was the first-ever priest to be ordained at the newly built Guildford Cathedral.

He was curate at St Clare’s, in the parish of St Francis, Westborough, Guildford until 1966 when he and his young family moved to Camberley, where he became vicar of St Michael’s in Yorktown.

During his time in Camberley, he established a temporary shelter for homeless travellers and displaced, rough sleepers in the church room, fronting the A30 London Road. This became a welcome refuge to many vagrant men considered by others to be beyond help.

In 1973, he was appointed as vicar of St Thomas-on-The-Bourne in Farnham and served as Rural Dean of Farnham from 1974 to 1979. He was a member of the Church of England’s General Synod from 1979-85 and, in 1980, he was appointed Archdeacon of Surrey.

For many years he captained the Diocese of Guildford’s clergy cricket team and also played for The Bourne Cricket Club and was later a president of Rowledge Cricket Club.

He was consecrated as the first Bishop of Brixworth at Westminster Abbey in 1989 and served as the Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough for 12 years, living in Northampton.

The Rt Revd Paul Barber pictured in Northampton when he was Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough.

When he, and his wife Pat, retired to Street in Somerset in 2001, he was appointed as an honorary Assistant Bishop to the Dioceses of Bath & Wells.

As a knowledgeable and ardent sports fan, with a particular love of cricket, football and horse racing, he was a member of both Northamptonshire and Somerset County Cricket Clubs and a fan of Aldershot FC and Northampton Town FC.

In 2018, Paul and Pat returned to Surrey, moving to Chertsey to be closer to their family.

He died peacefully at home, with Pat at his side, on Monday, February 22, 2021.

A memorial service to commemorate his life will be arranged at a later date.

For more information, an email to

Share This Post

Responses to Obituary: The Rt Revd Paul Barber Former Guildford Curate Who Became A Bishop

  1. Jane Hepburn Reply

    February 24, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    I was so sad to hear of his death. He made a great impression on me as a little girl growing up opposite the church. He was a dear friend to so many. Kind and compassionate and always time for us children.

  2. Steve Pownall Reply

    February 24, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I’d love to hear (in the comments here?) from those who remember Paul. I’m privileged to stand on his shoulders at St Clare’s in Park Barn.

  3. Chris Shorter Reply

    February 25, 2021 at 10:17 am

    I still have an audio recording of our wedding vows led by Paul at St Michael’s Church, Camberley in 1970.

    His words were an inspiration and guide for all our married life.

  4. Sheila Atkinson Reply

    February 25, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    When Paul and his family were at St Clare’s their home was where the Oaks surgery now practises.

    Paul took an active part in the building of what is now the church hall but for many years served as the church for Park Barn.

    The hall was built by voluntary labour with none of today’s health and safety measures.

    Pat and other ladies living nearby provided tea to keep the workforce going.

    He and the Revd Roy Trevivian made a good team and the congregation increased gradually.

    They organised many social events which were always well attended and great fun.

    They also started adult confirmation classes as they realised several of their congregation had not been confirmed, but did not want to attend classes with the younger generation.

    Their first set were confirmed at Guildford Cathedral in 1963.

    Paul and Pat were both lovely friendly people and have returned to St Clare’s many times to celebrate various anniversaries.

    Their ability to recognise old parishioners always amazed me.

  5. Duncan Taylor Reply

    February 25, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    I was head chorister at St Michael’s in Camberley and his eldest son was my best friend until we moved from Camberley in 1975.

    He had a wonderfully quiet way about him and when he spoke, you listened and paid attention.

    He was always friendly and cheerful and a very enthusiastic Aldershot FC supporter and an excellent cricketer. I will always think of him fondly.

  6. Sheila Addison Reply

    February 28, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    I have just today learned of the death of a very kind and generous-spirited man, Paul Barber.

    He was the immediate overseer of my work as bishop’s officer for adult education, mission and evangelism from 1990 to 2000 in the Diocese of Peterborough.

    We met about once a week during that time and was of great support and encouragement as was his wife Pat.

    RIP BP Paul and thank you.

  7. Dorothy Parker Reply

    March 5, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Such sad news a lovely man and very fond memories. Love and wishes to all his family.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *