The Church of England’s first openly gay Dean, the Very Rev Jeffrey John, has had a secret civil partnership with another Anglican clergyman, according to reports.

Dr John, currently Dean of St Albans, is rumoured to have had a civil partnership with Reverend Grant Holmes last week.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the couple held a low key ceremony wearing their clerical collars, with a small number of witnesses in the audience.

Under House of Bishops guidelines, the clerics are allowed to enter into a civil partnership because they claim they are not engaging in sexual relations.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, commenting recently on the row over gay clergy, said: “I can envisage, though I don’t in the least want to see, a situation in which there may be more divisions than at present.”