Huddleston, Ernest Urban Trevor, 1913-1998, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean

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Huddleston, Ernest Urban Trevor, 1913-1998, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean

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Ernest Urban Trevor Huddleston, known as Trevor Huddleston, was born at Bedford on 15 June 1913. He was educated at Lancing College, Christ Church, at Oxford University, and then studied theology at Wells Theological College.

In 1939 he joined the Community of the Resurrection, an Anglican religious order for men based in Mirfield, Yorkshire. In 1943 he was sent to the Community’s mission station at Rosettenville in Johannesburg, South Africa, becoming Priest-in-Charge of the mission in the suburbs of Sophiatown and Orlando. In 1949 he was also elected Provincial of the Community of the Resurrection in South Africa and Superintendent of St Peter’s School, an Anglican school for boys.

Huddleston was recalled to England in 1955 and appointed Guardian of Novices at Mirfield for two years before transferring to the Community’s London house as Prior. In 1960 he was made Bishop of Masasi (Tanzania) and in 1968 he became Bishop of Stepney. In 1978 he was made Bishop of Mauritius and in the same year he was elected Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean.

During his thirteen years in South Africa, and for the rest of his life, Huddleston was an outspoken opponent of apartheid. Following the passing of the Group Areas Act in 1950, he was involved in protests against the forced relocation of the black residents of Sophiatown, working alongside Nelson Mandela and Ruth First.

In 1953 he opposed the Bantu Education Act which enforced racial segregation of educational facilities, with the Community choosing to close St Peter’s School rather than surrender it to government control.

In 1955 he was the recipient of Isitwalandwe, the highest award given by the African National Congress, his work earning him the nickname ‘Makhalipile,’ meaning ‘Dauntless One.’

His recall to England in 1955 was prompted by fears for his personal safety but he continued to campaign against apartheid on his return, publishing his account of the forced removal of Sophiatown in ‘Naught For Your Comfort’ in 1956. In 1959 he addressed the inaugural meeting of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in London. He became the Vice-President of the movement the following year, a position he held until 1981 when he was elected President.

In 1987 Huddleston organised the Harare International Conference on ‘Children, Repression and the Law in Apartheid’ as part of his work against the imprisonment of children in South Africa, and in 1988 he initiated the ‘Nelson Mandela Freedom at 70’ campaign which included a freedom march and televised concert at Wembley Stadium.

In 1995 he became the founding patron of Action for Southern Africa, a position he held until his death. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1998, choosing the designation ‘Bishop Trevor of Sophiatown.’

Trevor Huddleston died 20 April 1988 at Mirfield and was interred in Sophiatown, South Africa.


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Community of the Resurrection (1892-)

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GB 193

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ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2003); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).


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'Father Trevor Huddleston,' in South African History Online;

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Created by Sally-Anne Shearn, June 2015.
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