‘Scandal at Simpson’: the life and times of the Reverend William Rice

Simpson History Group

Saturday, 4th May 2019 at 7.30 pm
Simpson Village Hall, Simpson, Milton Keynes MK6 3AD

A talk by Peter Barnes.

Rev. William Rice, Rector of Simpson, died 100 years ago. A ‘colourful’ character, from at least 1900 he was the subject of complaints from parishioners to the Bishop of Oxford on account of his behaviour and the neglect of his pastoral responsibilities. The bishop described events as ‘scandal at Simpson’.

In January 1917 a commission recommended that Rev. Rice should be inhibited from performing his clerical duties at St Thomas’s. He appealed and the following June the appeal was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London before a judge and the Archbishop of Canterbury. As the case was the first to be heard under the Benefice Act (1898) it attracted a lot of attention and was reported in detail in the national as well as the local press. The appeal failed and Rev. Rice was debarred from exercising any clerical functions in the parish, although he continued to occupy the Rectory until his death in February 1919.

The talk covers William Rice’s life and how his unruly behaviour affected the people of Simpson over 100 years ago.

Free admission (donation invited). Light refreshments.