Frend, W.H.C. 1916–2005

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Frend, W.H.C. 1916–2005

(William Hugh Clifford Frend)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 11, 1916, in Shottermill, Surrey, England; died August 1, 2005, in Cambridge, England. Priest, historian, archaeologist, educator, and author. Frend was a noted scholar of the early Christian church and his work is unique in its emphasis on history and archaeology over theology and written texts. After graduating from Keble College, Oxford, in 1937, he earned a doctorate there three years later. Upon joining the British War Office in 1940, he spent World War II working in Intelligence for the Foreign Office, and earned a Gold Cross of Merit with Swords while in North Africa. His time in North Africa and Yugoslavia piqued his interest in those regions as they pertained to early church history. After the war, Frend remained an officer in the Territorial Army through 1967 while also pursuing an academic career. First, however, he spent four years in Germany working for the Foreign Ministry there and editing its documents. Frend then joined the University of Nottingham as a research fel-low for a year, moving on to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1952. At Cambridge he became a fellow and was university lecturer in divinity from 1956 to 1969. While at Gonville and Cauis, he also was university proctor in the late 1950s and dean of divinity from 1972 to 1975. He taught at the University of Glasgow from 1969 to 1984, where he was professor of ecclesiastical history and chair of the department. Despite his appointments in theology posts, however, Frend did not become an ordained priest until 1983. After his ordination, he served as priest-in-charge of the Barnwell Group of Parishes in Peterborough until 1990, after which he was honorary assistant priest for Little Wilbraham. He also edited the journal Modern Churchman from 1964 to 1983. Always a pragmatist, Frend wrote books on early church history distinguished by their reliance on hard archaeological evidence. Among his works are The Donatist Church (1952; 3rd edition, 1985), The Early Church (1965), The Rise of Christianity (1983), The Archaeology of Early Christianity: A History (1996), and Orthodoxy, Paganism, and Dissent in Early Christianity: From Dogma to History (2003).



Daily Telegraph (London, England), August 11, 2005.

Independent (London, England), August 19, 2005, p. 48.

Times (London, England), August 24, 2005, p. 60.


Church Times Online, (August 19, 2005).