Order of St Ethelbert

Image shows a painting of St Etelbert painted on the side of the tomb at Hereford Cathedral


The Order of St Ethelbert is awarded to those in the Diocese of Hereford who have given long and distinguished service to the diocese. Our parishes are wonderfully served by men and women who give selflessly of their time and skills and to uphold the life and ministry of our communities.

Of course, we understand that this service is so often given with no thought of reward or recognition but we also know that many parish clergy and fellow parishioners/members of communities value a means of celebrating the devotion of those in their midst.

Why St Ethelbert?

St Ethelbert, Saxon saint of the Cathedral, is chosen as a focus for this for several reasons:

  • he exemplified courage and perseverance
  • his life speaks of healing and light
  • he provides an enduring link between Cathedral and diocese.
What is the background and history of this order?

The Order was founded in 2015 as a means of recognising and honouring women and men from the parishes of the diocese and beyond who have supported and nurtured the Christian ministry of the diocese in many and devoted ways.  The Order will be presented to the successful recipients by the Bishop of Hereford in Hereford Cathedral each year at a special service of dedication. Each recipient receives a signed certificate from Bishop Richard, a St Ethelbert medal and ribbon and a copy of the book St Ethelbert, King and Martyr.

How is the order administered?

Nominations can be made by all, clergy and laity, and should be submitted typed on the attached form (also available by contacting the Bishop’s Office).  If the nominee is a member of the laity, the form should also be signed by their parish priest (Rural Dean during a vacancy). 

As the process was updated in 2024, handwritten forms or nominations submitted on forms from previous years will be returned to the nominee.

The completed form should be submitted to the Bishop’s Chaplain via email

The Bishop will convene a small committee, including if available the Lord Lieutenants of Herefordshire and Shropshire, and the Chair of House of Laity from Diocesan Synod.

Once the nominations have been discussed and agreed, the Bishop will write, confidentially, to successful nominees, inviting them to accept the award and to come to the Cathedral for a special service and presentation.

Please note nominees where the nomination was unsuccessful on this occasion, will not be contacted due to the large numbers of submissions received.

Who can I nominate?

The Order of St Ethelbert is awarded to those in the Diocese of Hereford who have given distinguished service to the Church in the Diocese of Hereford.  This panel will consider each nomination individually, giving attention to the following:

  • The service given by the nominee is exceptional – beyond the norm that might be expected of a churchwarden, PCC officer, musician or other role.  This may be in terms of duration (typically at least 30 years) or exceptional commitment and dedication.
  • The service given by the nominee is to the Church in some way.  A nominee’s other work in the community (parish council, village hall) may be supporting evidence of their Christian character, but the award is primarily for service to the Church of England in the Diocese.  The role of Foundation Governor in a school is definitely included.
  • Those who know the nominee should be unanimous in their testimony to their good character, as evidence that their service is widely accepted in the relevant parish(es).  An award will not be made if there is any evidence that the nominee’s work has been contested or disruptive in the life of the Church.

Please note that:

  • Those who have received a state honour (e.g. MBE), serving clergy, or laity who have been made an honorary Lay Canon will not be admitted.
  • Nominations should not be made by a family member.
  • No more than 2 nominations should be made from each Benefice, and no more than 1 per Parish.
  • Nominations are confidential and should not be discussed with the person who is to be nominated.


How do I nominate someone?

Nominations for 2024 open in May.  To request a form, please contact the Bishop’s Chaplain after 1st May via email

The deadline is 1st July 2024.

The service for recipients of the 2024 award will take place at Hereford Cathedral on Sunday 6th October 2024.

Recipients of the Order of St Ethelbert 2023

The following is a list of the members of the Order of St Ethelbert 2023

St Ethelbert 23.JPG

Recipients of the Order of St Ethelbert 2022

The following is a list of the members of the Order of St Ethelbert 2022

Recipients of the Order of St Ethelbert 2021

The following is a list of the members of the Order of St Ethelbert.

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