John Moorman

John Richard Humpidge Moorman, (born Leeds, Yorkshire, England, 4 June 1905; died Durham, England, 13 January 1989) was an English divine, ecumenist and writer who was Bishop of Ripon from 1959 to 1975.

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Leeds, the son of Frederic William Moorman (1872–1918), Professor of English Language at the University of Leeds, and his wife Frances Beatrice Humpidge (1867–1956), Moorman was educated at Gresham's School, Holt and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He later gained the degree of Bachelor of Divinity (BD) in 1940 with his work The Sources for the Life of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Ecclesiastical careerEdit

In 1929 Moorman was ordained and became a curate, first in Holbeck, Leeds and later in Leighton Buzzard. In 1935 he was appointed Rector of Fallowfield in Manchester.

During the Second World War Moorman resigned his living and worked as a farmhand in Wharfedale. During this period completed his thesis Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century for the degree of Doctor of Divinity (DD) awarded by the University of Cambridge in 1945.

In 1945 he went to Lanercost Priory, Cumberland and in 1946 re-opened Chichester Theological College. While there, he also served as Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral. In 1956 he resigned to concentrate on his Franciscan writings.

In 1959 he was appointed Bishop of Ripon where he remained until his retirement in 1975. He was a frequent visitor to the Vatican and led a delegation of Anglican observers to the Second Vatican Council. In 1967 he became the chairman of the Anglican commission which led to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. He remained a member until 1981.


In 1930, Moorman married Mary Caroline Trevelyan (1905–1994), daughter of the historian G. M. Trevelyan OM CBE FRS FBA.


Moorman died in Durham on 13 January 1989, aged 84.


  • Sources for the Life of St Francis of Assisi (1940)
  • Church Life In England In the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1945)
  • A New Fioretti (1946)
  • B. K. Cunningham, a Memoir (1947)
  • St Francis of Assisi (1950, second edition 1976)
  • The Grey Friars in Cambridge (Birkbeck Lectures, 1952)
  • A History of the Church in England (Adam & Charles Black, 1953, 3rd revised edition 1973)
  • The Curate of Souls (1958)
  • The Path to Glory (1960)
  • Vatican Observed (1967)
  • A History of the Franciscan Order (1968)
  • The Franciscans in England (1974)
  • Richest of Poor Men (1977)
  • The Anglican Spiritual Tradition (1983)
  • Medieval Franciscan Houses (1983)


  • John Moorman at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • John Moorman at
  • Obituary in The Independent, 18 January 1989
  • John Moorman, Anglican, Franciscan, Independent by Michael Manktelow (Canterbury Press, 1999) - ISBN 1-85311-310-7
  • Papers relating to Moorman, including his correspondence, at Lambeth Palace Library
Religious titles
Preceded by Bishop of Ripon
Succeeded by