Crispin William Joynson-Hicks

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Crispin William Joynson-Hicks, (born 7 April 1933) the fourth Viscount Brentford, is a British aristocrat and member of the House of Lords.

Joynson Hicks and his wife Viscountess Brentford are on the evangelical wing of the Church of England and opposed the ordination of the openly gay canon, Dr Jeffrey John, as Bishop of Reading. According to The Times:

Significantly, the Church Society, which has led opposition to Dr John and Dr Williams, is headed by Viscount Brentford, an evangelical layman.
His wife, Lady Brentford, was one of the evangelicals on the Archbishops' Council inherited by Dr Williams from his predecessor, Dr George Carey. She handed over to the former newspaper editor Andreas Whittam Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, when she retired last month.[1]


Joynson Hicks was educated at Eton and then New College, Oxford.[2] From 1961 he was 'a senior partner in Joynson-Hicks and Co., the family law firm started in the last century,'[3] later known as Taylor Joynson Garrett[4] where he was a Partner between 1961-95. He was Member of Court of Assts of the Worshipful Company of Girdlers (Master 1983-84).[5]

According to press reports he 'once served in the 9th Lancers.'[3]

Joynson-Hicks role as President of the Church Society and an evangelical, follows in a family line. His father Lancelot Joynson-Hicks the 3rd Viscount Brentford also held the role of president of the Church Society.[6] His grandfather was also a conservative Protestant activist, having served as treasurer and President of the National Church League the forerunner of the Church Society.[7] Historians John Maiden and Peter Webster give an account of the leading role of the family in the conservative evangelical wing of the Church of England:

In October 1962, four prominent anglican evangelical leaders wrote to members of parliament calling on them to ‘protect lay-folk’ from controversial aspects of both a proposed revision of the canon law and experimentation with alternatives to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.[8] The authors, described by The Times as ‘four leading evangelicals’,[9] could indeed have reasonably claimed to have represented conservative anglican evangelicalism. John R. W. Stott, rector of All Souls, Langham Place, was becoming established as the most recognized individual figure in the party; Lord Brentford was president of the Church Society, the leading anglican evangelical organisation; R. Peter Johnston was vicar of Islington and chairman of the Islington Clerical Conference, the influential annual gathering of evangelical clerics; and Arthur Smith was president of the Church Pastoral-Aid Society.
Lord Brentford, (Lancelot William Joynson-Hicks, MP for Chichester until 1958), had considerable pedigree as an evangelical campaigner for protestant interests. His father, William, or ‘Jix’, the Conservative home secretary, had spearheaded a national campaign against the proposed revision of the 1662 prayer book, which ended with MPs twice rejecting the bishops’ proposals in 1927 and 1928 and the state thus undermining the spiritual authority of an allegedly ‘catholicizing’ church.[10] Brentford’s case had striking similarities to that of his father. It envisioned a national church, the established status of which was conditional on a post-reformation protestant constitutional settlement between church and state. ‘Since [the Church of England’s] Protestant character was fixed at the Reformation’, the letter argued, ‘it has exerted a continuous influence for good upon our English life and character, fostering the national ideas of integrity, duty, equity and service, and proving itself a potent force to unify and stabilise our society.’ It was therefore crucially important that ‘the Church should not render itself unable to fulfill the weighty responsibilities towards the nation which its Establishment lays upon it.’ While most canon law revisions would be uncontroversial, some would ‘erect new barriers between the Church of England and the Free Churches’ at a time of widespread hope for protestant reunion. Just as Jix had proclaimed the virtues of parliament as ‘lay synod’, protecting loyal protestant churchmen from the anglo-catholic clergy who were ascendant in the voting bodies of the church, so his son pointed to the danger of the same ‘clerical domination’ and the critical importance of ‘parliamentary control of ecclesiastical legislation’.[11] Thus in the early 1960s, as in the 1920s, supposedly catholic trends in liturgy and ritual and their effects on protestant church and nation remained a concern for some conservative evangelicals. While the letter was not widely reported in the national press, the Daily Mirror was in little doubt as to how its contents should be interpreted, reporting that ‘Protests on “No Popery!” lines are being heard from Low Church members of the Church of England.’[12] It seemed that the kind of religious controversy which had undermined church–state relations in 1927-28 was about to rear its head again.[6]

Duped into scam, 1970s

According to a report in the Australian press:

In the early 1970s Viscount Brentford and his late father were both duped into becoming directors of a bizarre and shady money-gathering real estate trust called Real Estate Fund of America. The proprietor was a New York conman called Jerome D Hoffman who eventually fled the UK leaving a string of bad debts.
The collapse of the fund dealt a fatal blow to the career of Reginald Maudling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who subsequently resigned.
The fund was exposed in 1972 by a reporter for the British television current affairs program World In Action in a film called The Rise and Fall of Jerome Hoffman. I know, because I was that reporter.[3]

Proposed bill on Abortion

In 1996 Joynson-Hicks launched a 'bid to outlaw abortion on grounds of Down's Syndrome'. Joynson-Hicks reportedly 'said his Termination of Pregnancy (Restriction) Bill, which received a formal first reading, would "amend the Abortion Act 1967 to prohibit the termination of pregnancy on the grounds that a child, if born, would suffer from Down's Syndrome".'[13] The proposal was not successful.


Chairman of the Evangelical Alliance Executive Board, circa 1999[14] | Campaign President Keep Marriage Special, April 2012[15] | chair of the trustees of Premier Christian Radio in the Greater London area, circa 1999[16] | Keep Sunday Special Campaign, Chair, circa 1987-1992[17][18][19]

Company Directorships

See also


  1. Ruth Gledhill and Lewis Smith Church's two wings are locked in moral combat, The Times (London) July 8, 2003, Tuesday Home news; 6.
  2. 'Brentford' Who's Who, 1964, London: Adam and Charles Black:347.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 ALEX MITCHELL PICKARD PICKS HIS FRIENDS;LONDON NOTEBOOK The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia), July 4, 1993 Sunday Late Edition, NEWS AND FEATURES; Pg. 32
  4. 'Brentford', Who's Who, 1992, London: A and C Black, p. 220.
  5. Debrett's People of Today, 4 Viscount (UK 1929), of Newick, Sussex; Sir Crispin William Joynson-Hicks BRENTFORD, accessed 3 August 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 John Maiden and Peter Webster 'Parliament, the Church of England and the last gasp of political protestantism, 1963-41' [Article forthcoming in Parliamentary History, to appear in 2012/13. This version is that accepted for publication, but before the (minor) amendments made in response to peer review and before copy-editing. Accessed 12 April 2012.
  7. Church Society National Church League, accessed 25 April 2012
  8. Lambeth Palace Library, J.R.W. Stott, Lord Brentford, R. P. Johnston and Arthur Smith to Ramsey, Ramsey Papers vol. 30, ff. 283-4.
  9. Challenge to Prayer Book Proposals’, Times, 31 Oct. 1962, 7.
  10. On the Protestant campaign against Prayer Book revision and the role of the Home Secretary, see John Maiden, National Religion and the Prayer Book Controversy, 1927-28 (Woodbridge, 2009), ch. 5.
  11. J.R.W. Stott, Lord Brentford, R. P. Johnston and Arthur Smith to Ramsey, LPL, Ramsey 30, ff. 283-4.
  12. ‘Parsons lead a Revolt against the Archbishops’ New Plans’, Daily Mirror, 5 Nov. 1962.
  13. Andrew Evans, Lords Staff, PA News ABORTION CURB BID LAUNCHED, Press Association, May 14, 1996, Tuesday
  14. Evangelical Alliance, New appointment for Viscount Brentford From "EAUK Press Office" <> Date 15 Feb 1999 10:18:16 For Immediate Release: 15/2/99, Accessed 12 April 2012
  15. Protestant Truth Society Prayer Letter for April 2012, Accessed 12 April 2012
  16. Andrew Evans, Lords Staff, PA News, GOVERNMENT CONCEDES RELIGIOUS BROADCASTERS 'ANOMALY' Press Association, July 21, 1999, Wednesday
  17. SHEILA GUNN, Political Staff, End Column: Sunday racing a stage nearer The Times (London), July 16 1987, Thursday, Issue 62822.
  19. KSS WELCOMES BILL AND LAUNCHES "SUNDAY MANIFESTO" PR Newswire Europe, February 19, 1992
  20. Source: Data at companies House, accessed 12 April 2012