Thrings lawyer appointed as Lay Canon of Wells Cathedral

By Nick Batten on 21 February, 2024

Thomas Sheppard, Former Managing Partner of Thrings – which has offices across the South including Swindon and Bath – has been installed as a Lay Canon of Wells Cathedral in recognition of his continuing service to the Church and its community. 

The honorary position, conferred by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, will see Thomas take a seat in the Cathedral’s College of Canons and installed as new Prebend of the Cathedral. 

Through this he will also become part of the ‘Chapter’, the traditional name for the governing body of the Cathedral, which is made up of senior clergy and laity, operating much like a board of directors to oversee all elements of the running of the site.

Having been with Thrings since 1975, Thomas remains active at the firm through his consultancy role, providing legal advice on a range of matters affecting families, their businesses and family relationships. Alongside this, he has spent decades supporting the charitable and not-for-profit sector across Somerset, including familiar organisations like Dorothy House, the RUH NHS Trust, Bath Festivals, the University of Bath and the Bath Preservation Trust.

Thomas currently serves as a Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset, having previously also been recognised for his service by being appointed the 960th High Sheriff of Somerset in 2021, the same year he was appointed as a trustee of Bath Abbey. He now chairs the much-loved charity Bath City Farm. 

The Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells and has been a constant presence in the city and the Diocese for almost 850 years and has in recent times held a very strong musical tradition and of being Somerset’s church at times of national celebration and mourning. Among the projects currently being worked on by the Chapter is the restoration of Vicars Close, which is the oldest continuously occupied residential street in Europe and the home to the members of the Cathedral choir for almost 600 years; with his experience in property and heritage this is something Thomas is keen to be a part. 

Thomas said, “Helping to enrich the communities in which we live is very important to me and it is a pleasure to continue to find new ways in which I can do this on behalf of people in Bath and across Somerset. 

“The current Cathedral started construction in 1175 and so is long established not just in the city but across the whole of Somerset. It is a tremendous honour to be appointed to Chapter and become a Lay Canon and I consider myself very fortunate to have been invited by the Bishop to take on this unusual role and play a part in steering the Cathedral and its community at a time of great social change. 

“Being part of the Vicars Close project is a very exciting opportunity and I am looking forward to transform this internationally significant architectural site for generations to come.”

Pictured above: Thomas Sheppard, Lay Canon of Wells Cathedral