Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson

Date: 14th September 2021 - 21st September 2021
Venue: Exeter Cathedral

During September, together with the Anglican Diocese of Exeter and the Melanesian Mission UK, Exeter Cathedral is holding some special events to mark the 150th anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson.

Patteson grew up in Feniton in East Devon and went to school in Ottery St Mary before attending Eton and then Oxford. By September 1854, he had been ordained a priest at Exeter Cathedral and had been recruited by George Augustus Selwyn, the first Bishop of New Zealand as a missionary to the South Seas.

Patteson was consecrated the first Bishop of the Diocese of Melanesia and head of the Melanesian Mission In 1861 and was martyred on the island of Nukapu in September 1871.

The Diocese of Exeter retains strong links with the Anglican Province of Melanesia (which includes the South Pacific nations of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia). Christians in the islands still revere Patteson as a martyr and many regard his family home and churches in Devon as places of pilgrimage.

You can read more about Patteson and his life here. If you’d like to find out more about our special events, please read on.

Advance booking is essential for ticketed events. Bookings can be made through our website or by telephone (details below).

Talk by Dr Robert Guyver organised by the Friends of Exeter Cathedral
The Life and Legacy of John Coleridge Patteson: Missionary, Bishop and Martyr
7pm, Thursday 16 September 2021, Chapter House, Exeter Cathedral

Robert Guyver joins us to present a more nuanced truth about John Coleridge Patteson, telling the story of Patteson’s missionary and maritime adventures but steering a middle way between enthusiastic biographies and more contemporary critical accounts.

Robert, who is Secretary of the Exeter Branch of the Historical Association, visited some of the
places associated with Patteson whilst on a short secondment to New Zealand in 2007.

Tickets cost £13 for Friends of Exeter Cathedral (£17 for non-members). Please ring the Friends office on 01392 423931 for booking details.

Official Opening of Patteson’s Way by the Archbishop of Canterbury
9.00am, Saturday 18 September, St Andrew’s, Feniton

Archbishop Justin Welby will officially open Patteson’s Way, a new 12-mile route created in honour of Patteson.
The new circular pilgrimage route begins and ends at St Andrew’s Church in Feniton, taking in several locations significant in Patteson’s life. It is a joint initiative between the Diocese of Exeter and the Melanesian Mission UK (MMUK), of which Archbishop Justin Welby is President.

During his visit, Archbishop Justin will walk part of the route with local families before preaching at a special service at Exeter Cathedral.

Find out more about the official opening of Patteson’s Way on the Diocese of Exeter website. To learn about the work of Melanesian Mission, please click here.

Commemorative Service led by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Midday, Saturday 18 September, Exeter Cathedral

A commemorative Eucharist service, led by Archbishop Justin Welby, will take place at midday on Saturday 18 September.

Entrance to the service will be by ticket only, please click here to book your place.

Patteson Exhibition: The Life of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson
14-21 September, Exeter Cathedral

Join us to learn more about Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, his early life in Devon, his travels around Europe, and his missionary work on the islands of the South Pacific. Discover all about his campaign to supress slavery and ‘blackbirding’ – kidnapping people to work on plantations – and try to unravel the mystery surrounding his early death.

All this and more in our special exhibition exploring the life and times of Patteson.

Entrance to the Patteson Exhibition is included with Cathedral admission. More information is available on our Admissions page.