St Paul’s Cathedral has been here for over 1,400 years. It has been built and rebuilt five times, and always its main purpose has been as a
place of worship and prayer.
St Paul's, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Step inside and you can enjoy the Cathedral's awe-inspiring
interior, and uncover fascinating stories about its history.
Learning & Faith
Lifelong learning is a core part of the our work, delivered through a variety of events by St Paul's Institute, and the
Cathedral's Adult Learning and Schools & Family Learning departments.
History & Collections
For more than 1,400 years, a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood at the highest point in the City. The present Cathedral is the
masterpiece of Britain's most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren.
Behind the scenes, the cost of caring for St Paul's and continuing to deliver our central ministry and work is enormous and the generosity of
our supporters is critical.
Widely considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful buildings and a powerful symbol of the splendour of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is a
breathtaking events venue.
Appointment of The Venerable Sheila Watson as Additional Chapter Member and Canon Non-Residentiary of St Paul’s Cathedral
06 January 2017
St Paul’s Cathedral is delighted to announce the appointment of a senior women cleric as the first ordained additional member of its Chapter, the
Cathedral’s governing body.
The Venerable Sheila Watson will be joining the Chapter at the end of January 2016 following installation at a service in St Paul’s by the Bishop
of London. Her role will be to advise and support the work of the Chapter in its governance of the Cathedral, including its strategic direction and
Sheila has recently been appointed to the stipendiary post of Preacher at Lincoln’s Inn, a post held by John Donne before he became Dean of St
Paul’s in 1621. At St Paul’s she will be working alongside five full-time clergy (the Dean and four Residentiary Canons) and two other unpaid
additional Chapter members, Lay Canon Gavin Ralston who is Head of Official Institutions at Schroders and Lay Canon Pim Baxter who is Deputy
Director of the National Portrait Gallery.
The Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, said: ‘We are delighted that Sheila is able to join the Chapter of St Paul's. She brings a
wealth of skills and experience from different posts in the Church and in her consultancy work, including knowledge of two other cathedrals, as
well as her new work as Preacher at Lincoln's Inn. She becomes the first ordained additional member of Chapter, and along with our Lay Canons she
will bring different perspectives to the Chapter in its governance of the Cathedral and helping us to develop further our mission in London for the
The Venerable Sheila Watson said: ‘I have a great affection for St Paul's as the cathedral in which I was ordained as deacon and later priest. It
is a great privilege to be invited to join Chapter as non-residentiary canon of a Cathedral with such a key role for the diocese, London and
the wider world. I very much look forward to taking up this new appointment alongside that of Preacher at Lincoln’s Inn.'
Born in Ayr in Scotland, Sheila Watson was educated at Ayr Academy and the University of St Andrews where she gained an MA in Classics and
subsequently. after a preparatory year of theology at Corpus Christi College Oxford, an MPhil for research on Augustine of Hippo.
She retired in January 2016 from her role as Archdeacon of Canterbury, a post which she had held since 2007. As such she had a senior role within
the Diocese and in the Cathedral as well as representing the Archbishop on ceremonial occasions, including installing the current Archbishop of
Canterbury (in the diocesan throne) – the first woman to do so. Prior to this, from 2002 to 2007, she was Archdeacon of Buckingham in the
Diocese of Oxford.
She came to Canterbury via Scotland, the North East, London and Salisbury as well as Buckinghamshire. First ordained as a deaconess in 1979, when
women were formally admitted to Holy Order, she became one of the first women to be ordained deacon in 1987 and priest in 1994 in historic services
in St Paul’s Cathedral. Like many women in a traditionally masculine profession, she has seen a huge cultural change in the last 30 years, and has
often been the first woman in particular posts. She has worked in three parishes (St Saviours Bridge of Allan and St John’s Alloa, diocese of St
Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane; St Mary the Virgin, Monkseaton, diocese of Newcastle; and Chelsea St Luke and Christ Church, diocese of London). She
has also been closely involved in the selection and training of clergy and laity, and in quality assurance – as Officer for Mission and Ministry in
Kensington Episcopal Area of London; at the Advisory Board of Ministry in Westminster, as Senior Selection Secretary, and later as Director of
Ministry in the diocese of Salisbury. She has also been a governor of the King’s School, Canterbury and Marlborough College as well as three
almshouses in Canterbury. A few years’ freelance work in the 1980s as a consultant and trainer provided opportunity to engage with the charitable
and public sector in Oxfam, in housing trusts and medical social work.
She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the University of Kent in 2013. She enjoys figure skating (her major sport when she was
young), ballet, walking and recreational cycling on her Brompton.