Speaker's Chaplain

The Speaker's Chaplain says the prayers for Parliament in the Chamber each day at the beginning of the day's business. The Revd. Hudson-Wilkin will also take the services of Holy Communion celebrated in The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft where occasional offices are held. The Speaker's Chaplain is also available to offer spiritual guidance to members and staff of the House.

The Speaker's Chaplain, The Revd. Rose Hudson-Wilkin (third from left) alongside the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, shortly after the announcement of her appointment in June 2010.

History of the Office of Speaker's Chaplain

The post of Speaker's Chaplain is also referred to as Chaplain to the House, even though they have long been regarded as part of the Speaker's staff. The office officially originated in 1660, when the first person to be appointed as Chaplain was Edward Voyce, although the presence of a clergyman to conduct prayers in the House is recorded in the Cromwellian Parliament of 1659.

St Mary'sThe Chaplain did not receive an official salary until 1835, consisting then of £200 a year. They are appointed by the Speaker and accepted by the House, and, as well as the obligations towards Members, the Chaplain provides a pastoral ministry when required by the staff of the Palace of Westminster. The Chaplain can also perform baptisms and marriages in the Crypt or Chapel of St Mary Undercroft situated within the Palace of Westminster.

From 1972-2010, the Speaker's Chaplain w a s also the Rector of St Margaret's Church situated next to Westminster Abbey.

During 2010 the position of Speaker's Chaplain was separated from the role of Rector of St Margaret's. Although the Chaplain is no longer responsible for day to day running of St Margaret's Church both the Chaplain and Rector continue to work closely together to provide a spiritual and pastoral presence within the Palace of Westminster.

St Margaret's Logo

St Margaret's Church has been part of Westminster Abbey since the 1970s and has long been known as 'The Parish Church of the House of Parliament'. The Rector works with the Speaker's Chaplain to offer a public pastoral and liturgical ministry to members of both Houses.

The role played by St Margaret's Church in Parliamentary life is significant. The Rector hosts a monthly Communion service for Members of Parliament, and the Church is frequently used for Baptism, Weddings and Thanksgiving Services for Parliamentarians. St Margaret's is also used by Parliament and the Church of England for more formal occasions throughout the year such as the annual Parliamentary Carol Service and the Services for the new Parliament.

As well as the usual Church Wardens, there is a Parliamentary Warden who is currently Sir Peter Bottomley MP. Sir Peter's role is to foster the links between Parliament and St Margaret's.

St Margaret

More information about St Margaret's Church, its relationship with Parliament and its history can be found here: St Margaret's Church