THE licensing of the new vicar of Malmesbury Abbey as cancelled as he is being investigated for alleged "serious breaches of employment law."

The Reverend Oliver Ross left his roles at two churches in London in June and was due to become the vicar at Malmesbury Abbey this month, but his licensing has been deferred.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Bristol, which manages Malmesbury, said: "Following a change of circumstances, the licensing of Oliver Ross was unable to take place at Malmesbury Abbey on Thursday evening and has been deferred until further notice."

The nature of the allegations is not currently known.

A service held at the Abbey last Thursday, (July 5) to conduct the licensing of Rev Oliver Ross as the new vicar, it was said to have 'descended into a farce'.

The Bishop‎ of Swindon, Rt Rev Lee Rayfield conducted the 'service' and was said to have announced to a packed congregation: "You have arrived here with high expectations, they will not be met”.

He continued by reading out a statement that said that the licensing of the Rev Oliver Ross would not go ahead due to an investigation being launched by the Diocese of London into an alleged serious breach of employment law‎.

It is understood that the decision had been agreed between the Dioceses of London and Bristol on the day of the service, and that The Rev’d Ross had only been informed of their decision at lunchtime.

Reverend Oliver Ross had already moved into the Vicarage of Holloway with his wife and family.

A spokesman for the Diocese of London, said: "The Revd Oliver Ross left his roles in the Diocese of London, as Guild Vicar at St Katherine Cree and Rector at St Olave Hart Street in June 2018, to take up a new post in Bristol Diocese.

"Subsequent to his departure, the Diocese of London has identified serious breaches of employment law at St Katherine Cree and St Olave.

"The Home Office has been notified, as has Bristol Diocese, and the Diocese of London is now investigating further."

Malmesbury Abbey has been approached for comment.