The Reverend John Tye, Priest-in-Charge, Cockshutt & Petton (1976-1982)

Many of us have fond memories of The Reverend John Tye.  Although he went to pastures new many years ago, we have recently received a welcome update about him, courtesy of the Parish Magazine for Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle, and Dr Canon William Price:

The Reverend John Tye

Many friends in Wem will share my sadness at the knowledge that the Reverend John Tye has moved from Wem to live in Oxfordshire.  Fr John trained in Lincoln Theological College, of which he was very proud, and he was ordained in Chester Cathedral and served as a curate in Crewe and then in Wednesfield.  He then ministered in Cockshutt and Petton, to which were later added Weston Lullingfields and Hordley.  His next parish was Hadley in Telford, before he moved to Ightfield, Calverhall, and Ash.  His final benefice was Calton, Cauldon, Grindon, and Waterfall in the Staffordshire Moorlands.  He was also Rural Dean of Alstonfield.  His first home in retirement was in Weston Lullingfields, and then in 2002 he and Beth came to live in Aston Street in Wem.  He took services in Wem church and in neighbouring churches, notably Whitchurch, until 2014, when he gave up his permission to officiate, but he and Beth remained very faithful members of Wem church.  John also attended and helped to lead many study courses in church.  He was always present with local clergy at Morning Prayer on Mondays until the pandemic ended our meetings in March 2020.  Beth died in 2021, and with John’s health not good it was felt that it would be best for him to be nearer his daughter, Christine, and so he has moved to live in Goring on Thames.  We shall miss this wise and kind priest, who always looked much younger than his years, and we wish him every blessing in his new home.

Father William
(Dr Canon William Price)


The Rev. John, it seems, had a knack of leaving wonderful legacies wherever he went.  Given below is the communication between Pam (Editor of Wem Parish Magazine) and myself, and the bond which has formed between us; as an outsider said, “it was such a lovely, Christian thing that happened”.

In the search for information about the Reverend John Tye, I sent the following email:

On 9 Jun 2023, at 12:41, Valerie Cartlidge <> wrote:

Dear Pam,

My name is Valerie Cartlidge and together with my husband Andrew, we manage the Benefice website, the Meres & Meadows Messenger, for the Churches of Cockshutt, Petton, Welshampton & Lyneal with Colemere.  We are regular members of Ss. Simon & Jude, Cockshutt.

During the course of some research for the site, I came across your online Parish Magazine for June 2022 (we must compliment you on it!) and came across your wonderful article about the Reverend John Tye.  As you quite rightly said, he was the Priest-in-Charge for Cockshutt & Petton from 1976-1982 (which included the formation of the new Benefice).

Although I never knew him as a Priest (I was about 17 years old at that time living elsewhere in the country!) I did get to know Reverend John during our shared time together over the fruit & vegetable stall at Wem Market!  

In 2019, a year after the deaths of both parents, my sister, at the age of 62 years, died from a swift and aggressive illness.  I remember the kindness Reverend John showed me and how he had the gift of gently easing the rawness of my grief by simply chatting about the Parish Church (St. Nicholas, Curdworth, N. Warks) where her funeral was to take place and the reading I had been asked to read (1 Corinthians 13).

Despite the passage of time, he is still greatly missed by many at both Cockshutt & Petton (as for me, I regard him as one of the great Priests that I remember from long ago) and feel that an update about him would be much appreciated.

Therefore, I respectfully ask if we could have your permission to reprint your article on the website and maybe in the Parish Magazine?  As always, we would give full attribution to your article, ie, the name of your magazine, the date of publication and the author.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email, and we look forward to hearing from you.  In the meantime, if you do have any updates about Fr. John, could you please let us know?

With my very best wishes,

Valerie Cartlidge (Mrs)
Meres & Meadows Messenger

Shortly after sending the above, I received the following reply (reproduced with the recipient’s permission):

Dear Valerie

How lovely to hear from you.  Thank you for your very kind email.  I have had a look at your website, most impressive!

It was heartwarming to hear how much comfort Rev John was to you personally at such a difficult time in your life.  Although desperately sad, the deaths of our parents are part of the natural rhythm of life but to lose a sister at such a young age at much the same time – well, I don’t have the words.  Although I have had family ties to the area all my life I only moved here to Lee Brockhurst in 2011 and didn’t know Rev John at all well but I know he was much loved and admired by the people in Wem.

I personally have no problem with you reprinting the article either on the website or your own Parish Magazine but I will forward your email to the article’s author, William Price.  I am sure you know of William, even if not personally, as he has fulfilled many roles within the church in this area (amongst others!) but from my point of view he is a writer of excellent articles for our magazine.  I can’t imagine that he would be against the idea but it would be courteous to ask and I know he will love reading your comments about John Tye.  William is also the person most likely to have any more recent news from or about John.

I am sure you will hear from William within the next few days but if there is a glitch at all please do come back to me.

With very best wishes, Pam

And finally, another legacy you won’t be aware of unless you have visited Cockshutt Rectory in February!  The carpet of snowdrops which now cover the lawn were planted by The Reverend John’s wife, Beth, at end of the 1970s.  What a wonderful gift!

(Please do not visit the Rectory unless invited, as once again, it is a private residence).


The feature image for this post shows The Reverend John Tye following a baptism at Petton Church. sometime between 1976 and 1982. We have no idea who the baby is! (Photograph by permission of the Petton Wardens).

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