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Arthur Harold May was born 17 October 1910 in Aldershot, Hampshire, the son of Fred May, Chief Clerk at Aldershot County Hall, and his wife Nellie. He received his first BA in French at University College, Southampton, and in 1933 became a certified teacher.
He returned to university in the 1940s, graduating with a BA in Theology from St Catherine’s Society, Oxford, in 1947. He spent a further year at Wycliffe’s Hall, Oxford and was ordained deacon in 1947 and priest in 1948. Between 1947 and 1950 May served as Curate at the Church of Holy Trinity, Southall, before being appointed Precentor and Chaplain at Sheffield Cathedral from 1950 to 1952.
In 1952 May travelled to Nigeria with the Church Missionary Society and would remain there for the next 10 years. Between 1952 and 1955 he served as Provincial Chaplain to the Archbishop of West Africa and then from 1955 to 1962 as Chaplain at St Saviour’s Church, Lagos. It was here that he became involved with the Colonial Church School Trust, later the St Saviour’s Church Schools’ Trust, which operated two schools at Ebute Metta and Ikoyi for the children of ex-patriates. The Trust had been established by the St Saviour’s Church Council with the support of the United Africa Company and May served as a Trustee from 1955.
May returned to England in 1962 and was appointed Curate at Holy Trinity Church, Kensington 1962-1963, and then Rector of St Mary’s Church, Wavertree, Liverpool, 1963-1968, and Sub-Warden at St Deiniol’s Library in Chester, 1968-1973. In 1973 he was appointed Vicar of the parish of Middleton with Cropton, York, where he remained until his retirement. From 1975-1980 he was also Rural Dean of Pickering.
Arthur Harold May retired to Sussex in 1980 and died 10 June 1995 at the age of 84.
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Crockford’s Clerical Directory 1975-6 (London, 1976)
Crockford’s Clerical Directory 1991-2 (London, 1992)
AHM 1/2/1, Board of Education notification of certificated teacher status, 1933.
AHM 2/2/2, St Saviour's Church Schools' Trust report, 1960
AHM 4/2/1, Death certificates of Arthur Harold May and his mother Nellie May, 1962, 1995.