Catalogue description DEAN HUSSEY PAPERS

This record is held by West Sussex Record Office

Details of Hussey
Reference: Hussey

In compiling this list the collection has been divided into six sections. The documents in the Personal section relate to his family and himself generally, juvenilia, education, diaries, personal papers and photographs


In the Professional section will be found papers and correspondence relating to his career and, in particular, to parochial matters at each benefice. The war years spent at St Matthew's are reflected in the wartime letters he sent to the members of his congregation who were serving in the armed forces. Their replies will be found in the general correspondence at the end of the list as Hussey himself did not keep these letter as a separate entity. The Cathedral years were spent working on many aspects of the renovation and repair of the building as well as the organising of special events such as the Royal visit, the Southern Choirs Festival and a Deans' and Provosts' Conference with special emphasis on art and the Church


Also in the Professional section is a list of the files, on a variety of subjects, compiled by Hussey as a personal source of reference. Kept in alphabetical order these files contain extracts from books and articles, together with leaflets, pamphlets and newspaper cuttings


The Speech section lists his broadcasts and contains scripts, correspondence and other material. Several boxes of sermons were found. The sermons were no longer in any specific order although some were divided up according to the church calender. On the back of each sermon Hussey carefully noted the places, dates and times on which the sermon had been preached. The sermons have now been arranged chronologically according to the first date on which they were delivered. Among the documents has been placed a list of sermons arranged in chronological order of delivery throughout his life (document number 220) and a list of sermons, addresses, speeches and talks arranged in alphabetical order (document number 221). There is also a list of addresses, speeches and talks arranged in chronological order (document number 274)


The fourth section, Writings, contains all the material found in connection with his printed works. Hussey wrote a few articles, edited one book, Chichester 900, and wrote another about his connection with the arts, appropriately entitled Patron of Art


Walter Hussey and the Arts contains all the papers and correspondence which he kept about the many works which he commissioned at St Matthew's and at Chichester Cathedral. He kept all correspondence with each artist in its own set of files. In compiling this list his example has been followed while at the same time adding any other documents or photographs found elsewhere in the collection. This section also deals with his own art collection and his correspondence in connection with Pallant House Gallery


Finally the Correspondence section of this list contains all letters which are of a general nature and do not fit into any other group of documents




Neil Colyer : The Walter Hussey Collection, Pallant House Gallery [1982]


Walter Hussey : Patron of Art, Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1985




In his entry in Who's Who, Walter Hussey gave his sole recreation as "enjoying the arts". This enjoyment, not just of the arts, but of all aspects of his life, shines through the archive of his papers and through the enduring legacy of his life and work, in Chichester Cathedral and at Pallant House, the Chichester gallery that opened in 1982 to inherit and show his personal collection


In the Cathedral, we have the fruits of Hussey's public life and career. At Pallant House we can see his own personal taste and the remarkable foresight and sensitivity he brought to collecting art. The archive at the West Sussex Record Office completes the picture with his own personal papers, which give endlessly fascinating insights into this very private man


In his lifetime and in his autobiography, Hussey's remarkable and outstanding contribution to modern art in Britain was very much played down. Now, thanks to the archive and to this catalogue, we can start to appreciate more fully what this contribution was and to give Dean Hussey the credit that is due to him for the part he played in the revival of Church patronage of contemporary artists


David Coke


March 1997














Membership of clubs and societies








Appointment diaries




Address books, lists, quotations and sketches








Personal miscellaneous papers


Newspaper cuttings








Ordination papers and papers of appointment


Correspondence regarding ecclesiastical appointments


Appointments offered to Walter Hussey, but not accepted


Appointments to institutions and other bodies


Honours and presentations












Papers relating to parochial matters


WH's wartime letters to the Forces


Sermons by laymen




S Matthew's Day


S Matthew's Jubilee Festival 1943


S Matthew's Diamond Jubilee 1953


Printed matter


Books and guides






Ceremony and Procedure


Fabric and Fittings


Services and Correspondence


Commemoration of Benefactors




General Chapter


Deans' Conferences


Deans' and Provosts' Conferences


Deans' and Provosts' Conference, Chichester


10-13 May 1968


Arundel Screen/Bell Memorial


Bell Rooms


Choir, Organist, Organ and Song School






Royal Air Force


Royal Visit


S Mary Magdalen Chapel


Schoolboys' Conference


Sherburne Monument


Sherburne Screen


Southern Choirs Festival


Surveyor - Robert Potter


Chichester Cathedral Survey 1962


Chichester Cathedral Restoration Fund


The Sussex Campaign


Theological College


Wall paintings in the Lady Chapel


Westgate Fields


West Porch


Printed matter






BROADCASTS (radio and television)


















Malcolm Arnold


Wystan Hugh Auden


Edward Barnsley




BBC Symphony Orchestra


Lennox Berkeley


Sir John Betjeman


The Boyd Neel Orchestra


Benjamin Britten


James Butt


Sir (John) Ninian Comper


Harold Craxton


Cecil Day Lewis


Walter de la Mare


Ralph William Downes


Ronald Duncan


M Duruflé


Edward Elgar


Thomas Stearns Eliot


Hans Feibusch


Gerald Finzi


Kirsten Flagstad


Christopher Fry


George Kruger Gray


Christopher Headington


Colin Horsley


James Iliff


Frank Martin


Henry Moore


Norman Nicholson


Gordon Pemble


John Piper [see under Chichester Cathedral Commissions]


Edmund Rubbra


Alexander Smith


Igor Stravinsky


Graham Sutherland


Denis Tegetmeier


Michael Tippett


William Walton


Ralph Vaughan Williams


Harold S Williamson


Hugh Ross Williamson




William Albright


Lennox Berkeley


Leonard Bernstein


Benjamin Britten [see under S Matthew's Commissions]


Marc Chagall


Geoffrey Clarke


Cecil Collins


Henry Moore [see under S Matthew's Commissions]


John Piper


Ceri Giraldus Richards


Reynolds Stone


Graham Sutherland


[See under S Matthew's Commissions]


William Walton




Correspondence and other material


Pallant House


Musical scores


Presentation books and typescripts


Printed material






Correspondence - unidentified surnames


Christmas cards

Date: 1864-1990
Held by: West Sussex Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Hussey, John Walter Atherton, 1909-1985

Physical description: 5 Sub-fonds
Access conditions:

The documents listed in this catalogue may be consulted in the West Sussex Record Office during normal office hours, but permission to see them should first be obtained by writing to the Dean of Chichester at The Deanery, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1PX. Any document quoted in research or published work should bear the reference West Sussex Record Office (W.S.R.O. subsequently) Hussey MS. followed by the appropriate number (e.g. West Sussex Record Office, Hussey MS. 247). Acknowledgements may be made as follows 'By courtesy of the Very Revd. the Dean of Chichester and with acknowledgements to the West Sussex Record Office and the County Archivist'

Immediate source of acquisition:

In 1977 Walter Hussey deposited at the West Sussex Record Office manuscripts of music commissioned by, and dedicated to, him, together with the original manuscripts and typescripts for Chichester 900. On his death in 1985 the remainder of his papers were left, under his will, to the dean and chapter who deposited them at the West Sussex Record Office in 1987 to be stored and catalogued. Additional items, held at Pallant House Gallery, which researchers at the record office might find of interest, have been photocopied and incorporated into the collection. We wish to record our thanks to the curator, David Coke, for making this possible

  • Chichester, West Sussex
  • Northampton, Northamptonshire
  • Arts
  • Communication
Administrative / biographical background:

John Walter Atherton Hussey, churchman and art lover, was well known in his lifetime for his championing of contemporary art and, in particular, for bringing together the Church and modern artists. He will long be remembered for the works he commissioned for St Matthew's, Northampton and for Chichester Cathedral. Much of his own private collection may now be seen at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester


Walter Hussey, as he was known, was born on 15 May 1909, the younger son of Canon John Rowden Hussey and his wife Lilian. John Hussey was then vicar of St Matthew's, Northampton, a living which he had held since the church was built in 1893. As a small boy Walter attended The Knoll, a preparatory school at Woburn Sands, from where he won a foundation scholarship to Marlborough College in 1922. In 1927 he went up to Keble College, Oxford to read PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics), obtaining his BA in 1930. Before entering Cuddesdon Theological College in July 1931 he spent some time as a schoolmaster at Charleston, a preparatory school in Seaford, Sussex


In 1932 Hussey was ordained by the bishop of London to the title of St Mary Abbot's, Kensington, where he remained as curate until 1937. During that time he was in charge of the daughter church of St Paul's, Kensington, from 1935-6, returning to St Mary Abbot's for a few months as senior curate. In 1937 he succeeded his father as vicar of St Matthew's. In his book, Patron of Art, Hussey wrote 'Perhaps my succeeding him may suggest nepotism, but I don't think it was. I was not anxious to go there; it seemed that there was little one could do but let the parish various authorities advised me that it was right that I should go.'


During his school and university years Hussey had shown an interest in the arts, music, drama, painting and sculpture. His years in London gave him the opportunity of seeing and hearing much that the city had to offer in its concert halls, theatres and art galleries, and he began to take an increasing interest in contemporary art. It became a cause of regret to him to realise how little of this work was being encouraged by the Church. As he later wrote, 'the arts had become largely divorced from the Church'


By the time Hussey became vicar of St Matthew's he was already making plans to bring about a rapprochement between the Church and the arts. An early opportunity presented itself as he starting planning the forthcoming golden jubilee celebrations due to take place at St Matthew's in 1943. He had already had the experience of making arrangements for such a jubilee at St Paul's, Kensington, but now he wanted to incorporate a modern musical work into the festival service. In spite of the difficulties and restrictions of the war years the jubilee celebrations were a triumph as they centred around the specially commissioned anthem Rejoice in the Lamb by Benjamin Britten. Encouraged by this success Hussey went on to commission many more works for his Northampton church, the most famous of which were Henry Moore's sculpture, Madonna and Child, and Graham Sutherland's painting, The Crucifixion


When Hussey went to Chichester as dean in 1955 he had known Bishop Bell for many years and knew that they shared the same attitude to art and the Church. Consequently the work he had begun in St Matthew's continued almost uninterrupted in the cathedral with works by Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Leonard Bernstein and Marc Chagall among the many which he commissioned over the years


By the time Hussey retired from Chichester in 1977 to live in London he had acquired an important and varied collection of his own. He offered to leave the greater part of it to the city which he had done so much to promote as a centre of the arts. Like many others he was concerned about the neglect into which Pallant House, a fine example of eighteenth-century domestic architecture, had fallen and, as Dr KME Murray wrote 'his generous offer...was made deliberately as a means of securing the restoration of the house and its opening to the public'. In 1982 Hussey was present at the official opening of the house and saw his paintings and other works of art displayed in the same informal domestic setting as they had been at the deanery where he had taken so much pleasure in showing them to friends and strangers alike


Walter Hussey died in London on 25 July 1985. His funeral service was conducted at St Paul's, Knightsbridge, and a memorial service was held in Chichester Cathedral in October of that year

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