Rowan Williams

Listen in pop-out player

Rowan Williams grew up in Swansea and Cardiff. He enjoyed reading, being outdoors and acting in school plays. He remembers attending church every day in Holy week, getting involved cleaning out the store rooms and making a bonfire of the rubbish. In his later teenage years he was inspired by the excellent choir, youth activities and Canon Eddie Hughes, vicar of All Saints, Oystermouth. Rowan went to Cambridge to study theology and for a time he was torn between Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism. He decided on the latter and soon after, when he was 28 years old, he was ordained as a priest. He spent the next few years lecturing and working with students and the local community. He became professor of Divinity at Oxford University.

He left academic work to take up the post of Bishop of Monmouth in 1991 and in 1999 he was elected Archbishop of Wales. Rowan was officially confirmed on 2nd December as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. He is also a philosopher, a poet, and a linguist who speaks seven languages. He has written a number of books on the history of theology and spirituality and published collections of articles and sermons as well as two books of poetry.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Opening of Solo Cello Suite 1 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach
Book: Collection of poems by W H Auden
Luxury: A piano

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 27 Dec 2002 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestRowan Williams

Featured in...

Call 0800 082 82 84 to donate to the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal

Donate Now

Thank you. Your help changes the lives of homeless and vulnerable people across the UK

Desert Island Dishes: 11 life lessons from culinary castaways

Culinary Castaways V2

Ottolenghi, Nigella, Jamie, and more great chefs talk about love, dreams and cream cakes.