Very Reverend Richard Thomas Howard

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Very Reverend Richard Thomas Howard

Also Known As: "Dick"
Birthplace: Combe Down, Bath, Somerset
Death: November 01, 1981 (97)
Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Coventry, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend Charles Howard and Helen Gertrude Bryan
Husband of Ethel Marjorie Howard
Father of Richard Corfield Howard; Anson Bryan Howard; Private; Private and Private
Brother of Lucy Gertrude Howard; John Reginald Howard; Reverend Robert Wilmot Howard; Rachel Marow Howard and Reverend David Howard

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Very Reverend Richard Thomas Howard

Wikipedia: Richard Thomas Howard (1884 – 1 November 1981) was an Anglican priest and author.

He married Ethel Marjorie Corfield on 26th November1913, in Batala, India. A full description of the wedding can be found in the Cambridge Independent Press - Friday 19 December 1913.

Howard was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1908 and began his ministry as chaplain of his former Cambridge college. In 1912 he went to St. John's College, Agra for the Church Missionary Society (CMS). From 1913 to 1918 he was Vice-Principal of St Paul’s Divinity School, Allahabad and from then until 1929 was the Principal of St Aidan’s College, Birkenhead. After four years as Vicar of Luton he became Provost of Coventry Cathedral, a position he held for 25 years. From 1941 to 1946 he was also Archdeacon of Coventry.

On the night of 14 November 1940 the 14th Century Cathedral of St Michael in Coventry burned. The next day, whilst the ruins still smoked, Provost Richard Howard wrote the words 'Father Forgive' on the smoke blackened wall of the sanctuary. The charred remains of two roof beams, which had fallen to the floor in a cruciform shape were raised above an altar of rubble for the Sunday service. A charred cross still stands in the East End of the old cathedral, but this is not the original which is held in the vaults of the new cathedral.

The wooden cross and the cross of nails were created by Provost Richard Howard of Coventry Cathedral after the cathedral was bombed during the Coventry Blitz of World War II. He saw two wooden beams lying in the shape of a cross and tied them together. A replica of the wooden cross has remained in the ruins of the old cathedral since the 1970s.

Another cross was made of three nails from the roof truss of the old cathedral. It was later transferred to the new cathedral, where it rests on its altar. The cross of nails has become a symbol of peace and reconciliation across the world. There are over 160 Cross of Nails Centres all over the world, all of them bearing a cross made of three nails from the ruins, similar to the original one.

On Christmas Day 1940 provost Dick Howard of Coventry Cathedral spoke on the radio and made a commitment not to take revenge on those who had destroyed the city but promised forgiveness and reconciliation declaring that he would work with those who had been enemies 'to build a kinder, more Christ-like world.'

The interior of the iconic new Cathedral provides many surprises. During the Second World War, the then senior clergyman of the Cathedral, Provost Richard Howard, witnessed the way Christians of all denominations came together to pray - for themselves, for peace and for their enemies - and conceived of an ecumenical space within a future, new Coventry Cathedral. The revolutionary and boundary-breaking nature of this idea should never be under-estimated. The Chapel of Unity is that unique space.

Among other books he wrote “Ruined and Rebuilt: the story of Coventry Cathedral”, 1962, and “Behold Your God”, 1969, British Library website.

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Very Reverend Richard Thomas Howard's Timeline

June 12, 1884
Combe Down, Bath, Somerset
January 17, 1915
Allahabad, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
July 12, 1918
November 1, 1981
Age 97
Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Coventry, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom