Suffolk: Clergyman ‘loved his garden, words and music’

TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular clergyman and freemason who has died aged 94.

Canon Richard Tydeman was a leading figure in Suffolk freemasonry and a well-respected writer of plays, poems and crosswords.

Born in Stowmarket, Canon Tydeman held curacies in Birmingham and Ipswich and worked as a parish priest in Woodbridge, Newmarket and London.

In 1981, he and his late wife Marjorie Phyllis, who died in 2007, retired to Felixstowe.

However, he kept working as a minister until well into retirement – including holding services at Cornwallis Court, a care home. Both of his daughters now hold positions in the church.


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Paying tribute, his daughter Rev Rose Williams said her father had been influential on the careers of both her and her sister, Deaconess Sue Pierson.

Mrs Williams said: “He was a wonderful person for enthusing other people.

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“He would have all these interests and involve us in them. He was a very inspirational person. He loved words and he loved music and he loved his garden.

“He was very sought-after as a speaker,” she said, “and sometimes he would write other people’s speeches for them.”

She said alongside his faith, freemasonry was central to Canon Tydeman’s life.

He was a frequent writer for Freemasonry Today, produced crosswords for the Church Times, and published a book of his poetry called Slight Verse.

Educated at Woodbridge School, Canon Tydeman went to St John’s College, Oxford, before attending theological college in Ripon.

He was an honorary canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral and a minor canon at St Paul’s in London. Canon Cedric Catton said Rev Tydeman would be remembered as a “super pastoral vicar” who was “greatly liked”.

His funeral will be for family and close friends only, though memorial services are expected to be held in due course.

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