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