- [1950s-1990s] (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.5 cubic metres
Name of creator
Rosemary Christian Howard, known as Christian, was born on 5 September 1916, the eldest daughter of Geoffrey Howard of Castle Howard, a Liberal politician, and his wife Ethel Christian Methuen. Both of her parents died in the 1930s.
Educated privately, she studied for the London University certificate of religious knowledge in the late 1930s, obtaining her certificate in 1939. In 1943 she gained a honorary Lambeth Diploma in Theology and spent the next two years teaching Divinity at Chichester High School. She returned to Yorkshire in 1945 to work as a licensed lay worker in the Diocese of York, having lost two of her three brothers in the Second World War.
Between 1947 and 1979 she was secretary of the York Diocesan Board of Women’s Work, re-formed as the Board of Lay Ministry in 1972. She was also made a lay canon provincial of York Minister in 1969. Nationally, she represented the Diocese in the Church Assembly from 1960-1970 and in the General Synod from 1970-1985. She was also a delegate to the assembles of the World Council of Churches in 1961 and 1968 and served on the council’s Faith and Order Committee between 1961 and 1975, becoming its first woman vice-moderator. In 1979 she was awarded a Lambeth MA.
Dame Christian also played a key role in the campaign for the ordination of women. In 1972 she wrote a report for the General Synod entitled ‘The Ordination of Women to Priesthood’, the first of three she would write on the subject, based on years of scholarship. In 1979 she became a founder member of The Movement for the Ordination of Women which campaigned nationally for fifteen years, only disbanding in 1994 when the first women priests were ordained in the Church of England.
She was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1986 in acknowledgement of her ecumenical work. She was also District Commissioner of the Girl Guides.
She died at York on 22 April 1999.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material