The Reverend Canon Toby Wright has been appointed as the new Dean of Wells Cathedral by the King, as announced by Downing Street on January 15th.

Toby's installation as Dean will be on Sunday June 16 at 1500, and he and Sally will bid farewell to the Benefice of Witney on April 28th, at a final Sunday service in St Mary’s at 10:45.

We greet this announcement with mixed emotions. We are delighted that Toby’s many gifts and talents have been recognised, and that both he and Sally will be able to develop their respective ministries because of this important appointment within the Church.

However, we are extremely sad that the Benefice will be losing both Toby and Sally, and Caspar and Felicity, not least because of the immensely positive impact that they have all had on so many of us across the Benefice and within the town and villages.

There will be many opportunities to say thank you to Toby and Sally and their family over the coming weeks, but in the meantime, please hold them in your prayers as they prepare for this move and as Toby takes up his new responsibilities.

Please also pray for the Ministry team, as we work through the detailed implications of this announcement, and as we begin the process to appoint Toby’s replacement as Team Rector.

The Parish Wardens

Toby writes: There is never a right time to move on in ministry, as it is always a heartfelt wrench. However, we do feel that now is a good time to make a leap into the unknown of new ministries and God’s call feels strong. Sally and I - and Caspar and Felicity -will always be grateful beyond words for the amazing times we have shared with you here and all you have taught us.

I was asked by the Archbishops’ Appointments team to consider becoming the Dean of Wells, and it has felt so right during the long and challenging process of exploration. I am very clear that I have only got this new job because of the ways I have been shaped and formed by living alongside you in this community of mercy and kindness, and through other wisdom I have gained within and beyond the diocese. My role is to lead the Chapter at the Cathedral to serve the diocese and County through the ministry of the ancient Cathedral church in Wells.

Please know you will remain on our hearts and in our prayers, and I hope you will pray for us too in this time of flux and transition, and beyond. As one of my heroes, the monk Thomas Merton said of change: ‘You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.’


In the Church of England and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, the dean is the chief resident cleric of a cathedral and the head of the chapter of canons. The Revd Canon Toby Wright’s official appointment will be to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Wells.

Wells Cathedral, dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle, is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells and the mother church of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Wells Cathedral’s history goes back over 1000 years and the present buildings are the result of abuilding period from the 12th to the 15th centuries. This includes the completion of associated buildings – namely Vicars’ Close and Hall - provided for the Vicars Choral who continue to occupy the medieval houses.

This proud, centuries old tradition is unique and a much-valued part of life at Wells Cathedral today. However, despite its traditional heart, the Cathedral is very much alive and prepared to innovate in the face of the modern challenges that face it, welcoming thousands of visitors each year who join in with regular daily services and events, or who come to simply spend time in this special building.


    If a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention, call the emergency services on 999. If there are concerns about their immediate welfare, don’t delay: call Children and Adult’s Social care on 0345 050 7666 or the MASH Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team: 0800 833408. Also please inform one of Parish Safeguarding Team.
    For other safeguarding concerns please immediately inform our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Alison, on 07884 074812 or her Deputy, Sarah Jane, on 07506 515 952 or Pauline on 01993 648136. You can also email concerns to
    If you are unsure or worried about how serious a situation is, contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team on 01865 208295 or For enquiries outside of operational hours, contact Thirtyone:eight on 0303 003 1111.

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Contact Us

Contact details

Please contact the Benefice Office if you have any enquires for the five churches in our benefice: St Mary the Virgin, Church Green Witney Oxfordshire OX28 4AW | 01993 779 492 | 

Church addresses 

St Mary the Virgin Church Green Witney Oxfordshire OX28 4AW 
Holy Trinity Church Woodgreen OX28 1DN 
St John the Baptist,
Curbridge 2 Church Row, Curbridge Witney OX29 7NU
Hailey Church
Middletown Hailey Witney OX29 9UB
St Kenelm’s Church
 Minster Lovell OX29 0RR (updated 23-09-21)

Safeguarding concerns: