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Senior Church in Wales cleric faces allegation of serious misconduct

17 Jan 2024 5 minute read
The Very Revd Richard Peers

Martin Shipton

One of the most senior clerics in the Church in Wales is facing a disciplinary hearing after an allegation of serious misconduct was made against him relating to his previous role in the Church of England.

The Very Revd Richard Peers was installed as Dean of Llandaff in September 2022, before which he was Sub Dean in the Diocese of Oxford.

It is understood that the allegation against Dean Peers concerns a campaign against the former Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Professor Martyn Percy. Prof Percy left his role in May 2022 following a three and a half year campaign to remove him which included a series of complaints made against him, all of which were rejected.

Prof Percy, who received a substantial severance payment, alleged there was a “culture of bullying and harassment afflicting many clergy” in the Church of England.


During his time in Oxford, Dean Peers was a trustee of a charity that was publicly rebuked for mismanaging millions of pounds by the Charity Commission.

The Charity Commission’s concerns related to more than £6m spent by a charity called the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford during a campaign against Prof Percy.

An official warning to the trustees of the charity following an investigation which concluded: “In the context of a long running dispute with the former Dean, the Commission has determined there has been mismanagement and/ or misconduct in the management and administration of the charity.

“This is because the trustees have not: (a) managed the charity’s resources responsibly; (b) ensured that the charity is accountable.

“In more detail, the Commission had significant concerns that legal and associated costs in connection with the dispute had risen to over £6m; that the trustees had not had sufficient oversight of these costs (or in fact authorised them properly); that some powers had been improperly delegated; that there were inadequate internal controls; and that the charity had not been transparent when asked about costs by members of the public, by the Commission and in the presentation of its annual accounts.”


Following a review of the decision to issue an official warning, the Charity Commission issued a statement which concluded: “The Reviewer finds that the case has been made that the trustees collectively have not managed the charity’s resources responsibly and ensured the charity is accountable and that this amounts, as a minimum, to mismanagement in the administration and management of the Charity.

“In the circumstances, the Reviewer has concluded that the Commission’s decision to issue the official warning to the charity is reasonable, proportionate and lawful.”


Dean Peers was one of 63 trustees, all of whom had a legal responsibility for controlling the work, management and administration of the charity on behalf of its beneficiaries. Since being appointed Dean of Llandaff, he has resigned as a trustee of the charity.

In June 2019, all complaints against Dr Percy were dismissed by a retired high court judge, and his reinstatement ordered. However, efforts by the governing body to remove him from his post continued.

In February 2022, it was agreed to pay a “substantial” sum to Prof Percy and reimburse his legal costs. It also agreed to an independent review of its governance.

When he was appointed Dean of Llandaff, Dean Peers said: “I look forward to living in joyful, confident abundance with the community at Llandaff and with the clergy and laity of the Diocese. Jesus calls us his friends and friendship with Jesus is at the heart of who I am as a person, I will be glad to renew old friendships and make new friends across the Diocese.”

As Dean of Llandaff, he leads Llandaff Cathedral in its mission and ministry and is an integral part of the bishop’s leadership team.


Announcing Dean Peers’ appointment, the then Bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne, said: “I am delighted to welcome Canon Richard Peers to be the next Dean of Llandaff. Richard brings a wealth of experience which will enrich the life of the Cathedral and make a significant contribution to the life of the Diocese.

“With his immense experience as priest, spiritual advisor and sub dean, Richard is ideally placed to further develop Llandaff Cathedral’s reputation as a place of excellent worship and thriving choral tradition. This is an exciting time in the life of the Cathedral, and I am looking forward to welcoming him to the Diocese.”

Looking ahead to starting his new role, Dean Peers said: “Llandaff Cathedral is uniquely placed to be at the heart of Wales’ capital and its national life. Forging relationships across this diverse city with other faith communities, business and politics will be an important part of my work. Developing Llandaff Cathedral as a visitor destination where tourists can become pilgrims and where people of all faiths and none find a home is part of God’s call to us in the 21st century.”

Born in Chesterfield in Derbyshire, Dean Peers trained and worked as a teacher before being ordained in 1993. He is said to have extensive experience as a Spiritual Director, retreat giver and leader of pilgrimages, many in Wales. He has been practising meditation, now commonly known as mindfulness, for the whole of his adult life. He lives with his partner Jim, a garden writer, and their dog Teilo.

It is understood that the allegation against Dean Peers goes beyond the mismanagement of the charity.

A spokeswoman for the Church of England said: “We can confirm that an allegation against Canon Richard Peers under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, has been referred to a tribunal which is scheduled to take place between March 4 and March 8 2024.”

Neither Dean Peers nor the Church in Wales wished to comment.

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