John Cutter at Brendoncare Meadway – 60 years as a priest

John Cutter celebrated 60 years as a priest recently. A man with many connections to Winchester, he lives at Brendoncare Meadway, St Cross, having moved there just before coronavirus arrived.

Good timing is something which has followed him across the decades. Brought up in Newcastle, he studied theology in Chichester. but his relatives were educated at Winchester College until 1888 – thanks to a provision in the will of William of Wykeham, his ancestor, who was Bishop of Winchester in the 1300s.

John, 89, became curate in the parish of Blythe, Northumberland, then made it a hattrick when he followed in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps to be ordained in Newcastle Cathedral. After a few years, he became a vicar in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and later, rector of Yoxall, Staffordshire; he was also dean’s vicar of Lichfield Cathedral.

On retirement in 1991, he moved to Winchester with his wife, Susan, and became involved in leading services at Winchester Cathedral for more than 25 years. In 2016, in recognition of his exceptional and outstanding services to the Cathedral, he was honoured to be the inaugural member of the Companions of St Swithun.

John’s family links are extensive when it comes to Winchester. Not only is he a descendant of William of Wykeham, but also father and son doctors John and Charles Littlehales. The latter treated Jane Austen for illness in Winchester and both are buried adjacent to Jane in the north aisle of the Cathedral.

John married Susan in 1966, who worked as a missionary nurse and midwife in Africa, and the couple had two daughters, Elizabeth and Rachel, who both live in Kent, and four grandchildren. John’s father-in-law had the foresight to buy a house for their eventual retirement and they enjoyed tremendously happy years in the city, bringing with them a family heirloom picture of Winchester Cathedral dating to around 1800 which has hung in every one of their past vicarages.

John has always been a keen cyclist, furniture maker and writer of plays and poetry; his play The History of England was performed six years ago at The Pilgrims’ School.

“Last year, I decided I needed a rest and booked myself in at Meadway for a couple of weeks,” said John. “However, I fell in love with my room and the care, and made the decision to move in permanently. I have been more fortunate than many because I moved here just before the pandemic. I wanted to be nearer to the Cathedral having spent six years at Morley College, very happy years.

“We have weathered the storm which is coronavirus this year, and Meadway is famous for its care and happiness. I call it a ‘fountain of TLC’ (tender loving care) and we are all treated individually.”

Since moving to care, John enjoys listening to a wide selection of music, watching television, reading and chatting to other residents – in fact he makes a point of speaking with every resident, every day.

A charming and caring conversationalist, John proves that you can take the man out of the ministry, or to be accurate, retire the man, but you cannot take the ministry out of the man.

Brendoncare Meadway is a 13-bed care home located in a quiet residential area of Winchester, offering residential, respite and end-of-life care. The emphasis is on quality and enjoyment of life for the residents. Most of the spacious rooms enjoy a view of the attractively landscaped gardens whilst communal areas are spacious and welcoming, providing a homely feel for residents and their visitors. http://brendoncare.org.uk, meadway@brendoncare.org.uk