Visitor of Exeter College, the Bishop of Exeter, becomes the newest member of the House of Lords
Exeter College extends its warmest congratulations to the Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Robert Atwell, for his elevation to the House of Lords, where he will be one of the Lords Spiritual.
The College’s close ties to Exeter and the West Country date back to its foundation in 1314. Walter de Stapeldon, who founded the College, was from a humble background in Devon; he rose to become Bishop of Exeter under Edward II. During its first centuries, the majority of Exeter College’s members came from Devon or Cornwall. The College’s links to the southwest persisted: in the 16th century, Sir William Petre, another Devonian, made a generous contribution of property to the College. He also widened its area of recruitment and revised its constitution. Today Devon and Cornwall (alongside Somerset and Bristol) remain an area of special attention for the College as a focus for encouraging applications from backgrounds under-represented in the student body.
Bishop Robert has been the ex officio Visitor of Exeter College since he assumed leadership of his diocese in 2014. He played a major part in the College’s 700th anniversary celebrations, for example.
The Bishop has stated that his priority in the House of Lords will be taking action against climate change. He also aims to ‘speak particularly for rural communities and coastal communities who are often undervalued and unnoticed by national government’. Exeter College strongly values the environment and the representation of all relevant voices. We celebrate our ties to the Bishop of Exeter as he becomes the newest member of the House of Lords.