The Golden Lecture 2022

On 24 March 2022, the Golden Lecture was given at St Bartholomew the Less. The Right Rev'd Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, lectured on The Master's 'Tall Order' - Understanding our Neighbours in the Centenary Years.

Origin of the Golden Lecture

William Jones was one of the Company’s earliest and most generous benefactors. He bequeathed money to the Company in 1614 for a school in Monmouth and for almshouses in both Monmouth and Newland. He also bequeathed money for the appointment of preachers to spread the Gospel. This latter bequest evolved to become the annual Golden Lecture.

It is not known why it gained this epithet but one possibility is that the stipend that accompanied the appointment some centuries ago was seen to be rather generous for preaching just one sermon. Sadly this is no longer the case but the Company makes a donation of £500 to a charity of the Lecturer’s choice to thank them for giving the Lecture.

As for William Jones, more than 400 years later his school now educates almost 1400 boys and girls in Monmouth and is recognised as one of the best schools in Wales. The Monmouth almshouses, now managed by Bristol Charities, provide 25 warm and secure homes for elderly people.

The Right Reverend Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

When asked where he is from, Bishop Colton describes himself as ‘a truly Irish synthesis.’ Born in Londonderry in Northern Ireland in 1960, the Colton family moved to Cork in early 1963. Interestingly his maternal grandfather - a haberdasher - was from County Armagh, who learnt the trade and opened a well-known business in Wexford town in the 1920s.


The family has long roots in the East End of London but most of them left there in the 1870s to escape poverty. Bishop Colton’s great-grandfather was deployed by the army to Ireland where he met his wife and stayed.


Growing up in Cork Paul was active in sport (not at all successfully), in scouting and as a musician, including singing in the cathedral choir and ringing the cathedral bells. He studied law in University College, Cork followed by theology and ordination training at Trinity College, Dublin, serving his first curacy in Lisburn near Belfast. He became incumbent of Castleknock Parish, before being elected as Bishop in 1999. In 2013 he was awarded a PhD in Law from Cardiff University where he is an honorary research fellow in the School of Law and Politics. Paul is now the longest serving Diocesan bishop still in office in these islands.


Paul married Susan in 1986 and they have two adult sons. In addition to his diocesan responsibilities, Bishop Colton has been involved in school management and patronage for thirty-two years, and is chairman and trustee of fifteen charities. Paul has chosen to support the Bishop of Cork’s Pastoral Care Fund with his Golden Lecture donation, which seeks to respond to human need by loving service.