One of the last of a clutch of deans to be nominated directly by the Crown Appointments’ Office in Downing Street (before Gordon Brown’s reforms rendered such positions subject to a dogmatic “human resources” process), Jukes’s preferment to Ripon was widely hailed as an inspired choice. For he had established a reputation as a troubleshooter during a ministry in Cannock and Selby, and the situation he inherited at Ripon was in need of urgent attention.
His predecessor, the Very Rev John Methuen, had resigned in 2005 rather than face 21 charges of “conduct unbecoming in the office of a clerk in holy orders”. The Cathedral community was divided and the finances and fabric were in a parlous state, running up annual deficits in the region of Â£300,000.
For some years, the Chapter had remained solvent only by selling properties and when Jukes, prior to taking up the post, asked to inspect the deanery, he was told that it was uninhabitable with the exception of a well-appointed wine cellar. He and his family therefore took up temporary accommodation in what was little more than a cottage with no office and little or no administrative support….