THE Bishop of Winchester has launched a review after the resignation of a senior member of the Winchester Cathedral Chapter.

This comes as concerns are being raised over the future of music at the cathedral.

A spokesperson for The Bishop of Winchester, Philip Mounstephen, had previously told the Chronicle that while he is “working hard to listen and respond to the issues that have been raised”, he would not be taking direct action.

However, the Bishop of Winchester’s Office has now confirmed that an independent review has been commissioned.

Bishop of Winchester Philip MounstephenBishop of Winchester Philip Mounstephen (Image: Diocese of Winchester)

READ MORE: Lay clerk writes to Bishop of Winchester over concerns on future of music

A spokesperson said: “On Tuesday, June 18 the Bishop of Winchester was informed of the resignation of the senior non-executive member of Winchester Cathedral Chapter.

“In the light of that significant development in the Cathedral's governance, the Bishop has decided to commission an independent review, under the terms of the Cathedral's Measure 2021, into the events that have led to this.”

The senior non-executive member of Winchester Cathedral Chapter who resigned is allegedly Mark Byford, former head of the BBC World Service and its former deputy director-general, the Church Times has reported. 

As previously reported, concerns have been raised following the announcement that the director of music at Winchester Cathedral, Dr Andrew Lumsden, would be stepping down at the end of July.

Former choristers have also expressed their fears over the departures of organist Claudia Grinnell and, in 2021, George Castle.

One Lay Clerk, Toshi Ogita, broke ranks to write a public letter to the bishop asking him to intervene.

The letter says: “Lack of swift action is turning people away from the church."

SEE ALSO: Cathedral pledges to invest £850,000 into music - and to fill vacant posts quickly

Andrew LumsdenAndrew Lumsden (Image: Winchester Cathedral)

He criticises the Dean and her position, adding: "If the cathedral is not to lose its credibility for decades, an external reviewer must be urgently appointed, to conduct a review into the Worship department.

“Winchester’s reputation amongst musicians has been utterly compromised for some time now. Those that want to lend their talents and skills of decades in training for the praise of God are being turned away.

"The Choral Foundation provides an invaluable opportunity for children and adults alike, and does so much good for the community. Without a reputable director of music, decades of work will be rapidly undone.”

The Dean of Winchester Cathedral has said that it is working to address concerns over the future of music at the cathedral - and has committed to investing £850,000 into improving it. 

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester. said: “We want people to know we’re listening to the concerns expressed around the management of cathedral music, including concerns about the culture. We are actively working on addressing these and will communicate more in the near future.”