Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Swansea, South Wales in 1950, into a Welsh-speaking family, and was educated at Dynevor Comprehensive School in Swansea and at Christ's College Cambridge where he studied theology. He studied for his doctorate at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975. After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection at Mirfield, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral.
From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge and was ordained priest in 1978. In 1983 he was appointed as a Lecturer in Divinity in the University, and the following year became Dean and Chaplain of Clare College. 1986 saw a return to Oxford as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a Fellow of the British Academy in 1990.
In 1991 Professor Williams accepted election and consecration as Bishop of Monmouth and in 1999 he was elected Archbishop of Wales. In 2002, Archbishop Williams was confirmed as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.
Lord Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding thinker, writer, scholar and teacher. His more than two dozen books cover a very wide range of related fields - philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.
Rowan's interests include music, fiction and languages. In 1981 he married Jane Paul, a lecturer in theology. They have a daughter and a son.
Rowan Williams is a great supporter of the work of retreat centres, has contributed articles to the Retreats handbook and was a speaker at the 2015 Retreat Association Conference.
The Retreat Association for the UK