Tributes are paid to a much-loved Bishop

Richard Rutt
Richard Rutt

A MUCH-respected former Langford man who served as a Bishop at home and abroad has died at the age of 85.

The Right Reverend Richard Rutt, the former Bishop of Leicester and of St Germans in Cornwall died on Wednesday last week (July 27).

Mr Rutt, who was born in Cambridge Road, Langford and considered the village and the Biggleswade area generally to be home, also served as a Bishop in Korea.

The eldest son of Cecil and Mary Rutt, Mr Rutt and his family moved to Drove Road, Biggleswade when he was four.

He attended the former Rose Lane Infants School, before moving onto Church Street Boys Junior School, Rose Lane Senior School and Huntingdon Grammar School.

Mr Rutt had a calling to become a priest from an early age.

He sang in the choir at St Andrew’s Church in Langford and was also an altar server.

During the Second World War he served as a sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy, before learning Japanese and working with the code breakers at Bletchley Park.

Mr Rutt then continued his education at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied modern languages.

He had already been ordained as a priest at Ely Cathedral. After graduating he travelled to South Korea where he worked as a Christian missionary.

He was later appointed Bishop of Taejon in South Korea in 1969, and it was during his time in the country that Mr Rutt met his wife Joan, a fellow Cambridge graduate.

The couple returned to England in 1974 when Mr Rutt became Bishop of St Germans then Bishop of Leicester in 1979.

He retired in 1991 and returned to Falmouth, where he left the Church of England and was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1995.

He later became Canon of the Cathedral and Prelate of Honour.

Outside of his work Mr Rutt was a scholarly man. He was fluent in many languages, especially oriental ones, and he was awarded several international prizes for books on medieval Korean literature.

He wrote poems and several hymns and wherever he went he threw himself into the local interests.

One instance of this was his leading of a movement to revive the ancient Cornish language.

Well known as the ‘knitting bishop’, devising knitting patterns of some intricacy for sweaters, he even made it on to the front cover of Women’s Own magazine wearing one of his creations.

He also propagated African violets in an effort to produce new strains.

The current Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Tim Stevens, wrote that Mr Rutt ‘will be remembered by many people as a prayerful, scholarly and pastoral Bishop who led his diocese for over a decade’.

Mr Rutt’s cousins Philip and Sylvia Rutt of London Road, Biggleswade, Michael and Valerie Rutt of Sandy and Ralph and Ingrid Turner of Langford will remember him as a rather shy, modest man, of brilliant intellect, yet one who was at ease with everyone.