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The Very Reverend Samuel Bennett Crooks OBE TD[1][2] was Dean of Belfast[3] in the last third of the 20th century.[4]

Samuel Crooks

Dean of Belfast
In office
Personal details
Born20 January 1920
Died21 August 1986 (aged 66)
Spouse(s)Isabel née Kennedy
Alma materTrinity College, Dublin

He was born on 20 January 1920 into an ecclesiastical family (his father was the Rev. S. B. Crooks, Rector of Killough, Co. Down and then St Stephen’s, Belfast)[5] and educated at Down High School and Trinity College, Dublin. He was ordained in 1944[6] and became Dean's Vicar and then Vicar Choral at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, until 1949, when he was appointed Rector of St John’s, Orangefield.[7] Later he became Rector of Christ Church Lurgan, then the largest parish in the Church of Ireland, Rural Dean of Hillsborough and Archdeacon of Dromore. In 1970 he became Dean of Belfast, a post he held for 15 years. While at the Cathedral he launched the annual Christmas "sit out" to raise funds for local charities for which he became known as the Black Santa. He was made a Chaplain of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem in the Queen's Birthday Honours in February 1976., and admitted OBE in 1981.[8] He died in 1986 aged 66 in a car crash on the Saintfield Road near Carryduff on his way to a meeting at Belfast Cathedral.

In December 2014 an Ulster History Circle blue plaque was unveiled in his memory at St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast.


  1. ^ Belfast Gazette
  2. ^ IP board Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Cathedral web-site Archived 2009-03-07 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ “A New History of Ireland ”Moody, T.M; Martin, F.X; Byrne, F.J; Cosgrove, F: Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1976 ISBN 0-19-821745-5
  5. ^ “Who was Who” 1897-1990 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN 0-7136-3457-X
  6. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory 1947-48 Oxford, OUP,1947
  7. ^ Photo of Church
  8. ^ London Gazette
Church of Ireland titles
Preceded by
Cuthbert Irvine Peacocke
Dean of Belfast
1970 – 1985
Succeeded by
Jack Shearer