The Cathedral Chapter

The Cathedral Chapter

The Cathedral Chapter is the traditional name for the governing body of the Cathedral. It is made up of three Executive members (Dean, Chancellor, and Precentor) and up to nine Non-Executive members, including the Archdeacon of Wells, also a residentiary Canon of the Cathedral. Two thirds of the Non-Executive members must be lay members. Together they are responsible for the governance of Wells Cathedral.

The Chapter is supported in its work by two statutory committees (Finance Committee and Nominations Committee respectively), required by the Cathedrals Measure 2021. The Chapter is also regulated by the Care of Cathedrals Measure 2011, and is advised by its Fabric Advisory Committee (FAC) and other specialist appointments such as the Cathedral Architect and Archaeologist.


The Venerable Anne Gell, Acting Dean


Anne works with the diocesan Bishop and his staff to encourage and serve the ministry and mission of parish churches in terms of clergy appointments and the care of church buildings and their contents. She ministers with the 85 clergy and nearly 400 churchwardens to develop the diocesan mission strategy.

The Venerable Anne Gell


The Reverend Prebendary Mary Bide, Acting Precentor


Mary became a Priest Vicar for the Cathedral in 2018 and became a Prebendary and Sub Dean in 2020. Before moving to Wells in 2016, Mary was Team Rector at Wimbledon and a Royal Chaplain from 2013-2023. At various times Mary has been a year tutor on the Guildford Ministry Course, chair of the Oxford Diocese Liturgy Group and a member of the Southwark Diocese Board of Finance.

The Reverend Prebendary Mary Bide


The Reverend Dr Megan Daffern, Canon Chancellor


Megan was Acting Dean and Director of Studies in Theology at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. She brings a wealth of gifting, interests, and experience, to her role as Canon Chancellor.

Megan was installed as Canon Chancellor of Wells Cathedral on Sunday 24 September 2023.

The Reverend Dr Megan Daffern


Caroline Boddington, Senior Non-Executive Chapter Member (SNEM)


Caroline has a background in in leadership development, senior appointments and organisational flourishing and latterly served as the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments.  She led the transformation of the leadership development for bishops and deans and the reform of the processes for recruitment to those roles. As part of this work, she shared in the discernment of dioceses, cathedrals and individuals as they explored their vocation and its outworking in particular contexts. Prior to her professional church involvement, she led the international HR department for a oil and gas company.

Caroline is a Trustee at The Ammerdown Centre and volunteers with Citizens Advice. She was given the Canterbury Cross for services to the Church of England in 2023. She serves on her PCC and sings in her church choir.

Caroline Boddington


Thomas Sheppard, Lay Chapter Member


As well as a successful career as a solicitor, Thomas has, throughout his working life, given his time as a chair, a trustee, and a non-executive director of many charitable and not for profit organisations which include Bath Festivals, Bath Preservation Trust, the Arnolfini, Dorothy House, the RUH NHS Trust and the Council of Management at the University of Bath. He has been a parish councillor and churchwarden, in 2021 he was the 960th High Sheriff of Somerset and is now a deputy lieutenant of Somerset.

Thomas Sheppard


David Morgan-Hewitt, Lay Chapter Member


David is a London hotelier who moved to Wells seven years ago. He is passionate about the hospitality industry and promotes it widely. As a cathedral chorister at Norwich he grew up in the English Cathedral Choral tradition. He is currently the Chair of the Friends Of Wells Cathedral Grand Organ Appeal and this year he is also President of the Royal Warrant Holders Association.

David Morgan-Hewitt


Joanna Birkett, Lay Chapter Member


Joanna originally trained as a Physiotherapist. For most her adult life she has been deeply involved in church life both at a local level and more widely. Living in Oxfordshire for 31 years, she served many years on deanery Synods, 7 years of which were as Lay Chair, also on Diocesan Synod and Bishop’s Council. She was a governor at Christ Church Cathedral School for over 15 years and was Project Champion for a Free School bid.

Since moving to Wells 7 years ago Joanna has been thoroughly involved in the life of St Thomas’ Church, Wells and is on the PCC. She is also one of the original Cathedral Chorister Chaperones.

Joanna Birkett


Harry Musselwhite, Lay Chapter Member


Harry has had a long connection with Wells Cathedral and the Dioceses of Bath and Wells. He has chaired the Cathedral’s Finance & Audit and Remuneration Committees since 2018 and has been a Governor of Wells Cathedral School since 2021. He was Chair of the Bath and Wells Diocesan Board of Finance between 2010 and 2020. Harry’s career was as a senior manager within the University sector. During this time, he ran three London Medical Schools, merged two and oversaw the coming together of that merged school with King’s College London (KCL). His last paid role was as Vice Principal – Administration and Special Advisor to the Principal of KCL. He therefore brings a wealth of general management and financial leadership skills to the Cathedral.

Harry Musselwhite

Listen to our Music