David Scott (1947–2022) was renowned as a poet, priest and religious writer who first came to public attention in 1978 when he won the Sunday Times/BBC national poetry competition with his poem ‘Kirkwall Auction Mart’ and appeared on television news programmes reading the poem in situ. A Quiet Gathering, his first book of poems, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 1984, and won him the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 1986. His second collection, Playing for England (Bloodaxe Books, 1989) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Both books were illustrated by Graham Arnold of the Brotherhood of Ruralists. The poems from the two collections were republished with new work in David Scott’s Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 1998), and followed by Piecing Together in 2005. His retrospective, Beyond the Drift: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), drew on his four previous Bloodaxe titles, with the addition of a whole collection of new poems.
Born in Cambridge, he was was educated at Solihull School, and studied Theology at Durham and then at Cuddesdon College near Oxford. He spent two years as a curate in Harlow, and then became School Chaplain at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, Elstree, where he taught religious education. He was vicar of Torpenhow and Allhallows in Cumbria for eleven years, and from 1991 until his retirement he was Rector of St Lawrence with St Swithun in Winchester, Warden of the Diocesan School of Spirituality and an Honorary Canon of Winchester Cathedral. He was a founder member of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He was also a contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day, an invited guest of Mark Tully on Something Understood, and a contributor of diaries and reviews to the Church Times, taking over poetry reviewing from Norman Nicholson. In 2008 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, conferred a Lambeth Degree Doctorate of Letters (DLitt) on Canon Scott 'in recognition of his contribution to deepening the spiritual life of the Church through his standing as a poet and his teaching ministry, particularly on the work of Thomas Merton but also on a range of other writers from Anglo-Saxon times onwards and his recent work, The Mind of Christ.' He moved back to his beloved Cumbria with his wife Miggy after taking early retirement in 2010 when his health was failing.
David Scott’s collection of poems for children, How Does It Feel? was published by Blackie in 1989. He also wrote several plays for the National Youth Music Theatre with Jeremy James Taylor. These included Captain Stirrick, which was staged at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe Theatre in 1981; and Bendigo Boswell, which was commissioned by the BBC and screened in 1983. Jack Spratt VC was performed in the 1986 London International Opera Festival, and Les Petits Rats was performed at the Edinburgh International Festival and Sadlers Wells in 1988. He published six religious books, Moments of Prayer (SPCK, 1997), Building Common Faith (Canterbury Press, 1997), An Anglo-Saxon Passion (SPCK, 1999), Sacred Tongues (SPCK, 2001), The Private Prayers of Lancelot Andrewes (SPCK, 2002) and The Mind of Christ (Continuum, 2007).
Books by David Scott