St Edmundsbury Cathedral Precentor lands new role


After 12 years at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Revd Canon Philip Banks will join St Paul’s Cathedral as Residentiary Canon and Precentor, with his appointment recently approved by His Majesty The King and confirmed by No. 10 Downing Street.

As Precentor, Philip leads the oversight, planning and direction of the Cathedral’s daily round of worship and special services, he oversees the music department, the Director of Music and choirs as well as working with the verger team on maintaining the beautiful ancient and modern building and ensuring it for generations to come.

During his time at St Edmundsbury, Philip has been instrumental in all aspects of the life of the Cathedral including the introduction of girl choristers and the creation of organ and choral scholar opportunities for young people and forging stronger links with local schools. He began the InHarmony project, an on-going outreach project to resource parish and benefice music based at the Cathedral and led by Richard Hubbard. This musical initiative has helped make the Cathedral feel ‘home’ to those from varied worship traditions.


Philip made it possible for public access to the Cathedral tower, which has allowed for Tower Tours to become part of our visitor experience and the unglamourous jobs of clerestory repairs, aisle and cloister roof replacements and making the Cathedral safe and watertight– all of which keep the building a spiritual beacon and heritage destination for visitors from across the county, country and beyond.

Of his move, Philip said, “The decision to take on a new challenge has not been an easy one. St Edmundsbury Cathedral has been a huge part of mine and my family’s life and I’m so very proud of the work I’ve done here. The colleagues I work with, clergy, staff and volunteers, give me purpose and do the ‘real’ work of making things happen and I will miss them and the wider Cathedral community deeply. I feel called toward this ministry at St Paul’s, which will be an exciting new challenge, but I will leave a big part of my heart in Suffolk.”

Philip has been ordained for 30 years, serving in a variety of parochial roles. Prior to his time at St Edmundsbury, he served as Bishop’s Chaplain and Press Officer in Essex, and co-ordinated the Pleshey Course for Spiritual Direction. Before ordination Philip had a career as a Chartered Surveyor.

The Very Reverend Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury said: “‘Philip has not only been a loving, supportive and gentle colleague, he has been an outstanding Precentor for St Edmundsbury. His work has been tireless and exceptional, but more than anything else, I have loved how easily he has laughed with colleagues, prayed faithfully, helped to keep the balance of the Benedictine virtues: stability in his hard work, mutuality of obedience in his collegiality and the way in which one knows that he is always open to growth and change through the constant conversion of life which must be at the heart of all Christian pilgrimage. He has been a wonderful colleague; St Paul’s is fortunate indeed, St Edmundsbury will miss him very much.” 

Philip will remain in post at St Edmundsbury Cathedral until his new role at St Paul’s Cathedral begins in the autumn with a welcome service there on 5 October.