A senior cleric who was embroiled in a feud with Christ Church college for over four years has announced he is quitting the Church of England.

Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church Cathedral, revealed in an interview in The Times that he had a serious breakdown during the dispute and came close to considering suicide.

He criticised the Bishop of Oxford for “writing a very public letter … saying that it was inappropriate for people to be defending me in public when I was being attacked in public”.

Dr Percy announced his decision to leave the C of E in an article for Prospect magazine, giving his reasons as the “parlous state of safeguarding” and a “culture of bullying and harassment afflicting many clergy” within the church.

READ ALSO: Christ Church College dean given £1.2million settlement

He wrote: “The parlous state of safeguarding in the CoE has caused me to reflect deeply on the plight of victims and complainants, as well as the respondents who have been accused.

"In the face of such partisanship, failure to neutrally manage conflicts of interest, double standards and incompetence in the CoE’s safeguarding, I finally took a decision: to leave the Church.

"Though I have been ordained for more than 30 years, and continue with my faith in God, the Church of England has destroyed any trust I might have had in it. It is an unsafe place to work."

He said “the Church of England badly needs an independent regulatory body to oversee its safeguarding and begin to address the culture of bullying and harassment afflicting many clergy”.

The dean agreed to step down in April as part of reported £1.2 million settlement deal.

The dispute was sparked by Mr Percy's request for a higher salary, as he said he was paid less than other heads of college.

The Financial Times reported that Dr Percy would receive £1.175million, net of tax, in the settlement to drop his employment claim against the university.

The matter was escalated into a long legal battle, where academics attempted to oust the professor for improper conduct. 

This included an allegation of sexual harassment made by a woman, known as X. 

The woman said she brought a claim of sexual harassment against the dean in October 2020, which he has always denied, and the police chose not to take further action.

The college said it made clear throughout the various dispute processes with the dean that no resolution could be reached unless the concerns of the individual making the allegation of sexual harassment against him were fully addressed.

READ ALSO: Christ Church dean Martyn Percy 'labelled little Hitler' in leaked email

In a statement issued at the time of the settlement, Christ Church said: “Christ Church has always regarded the safety and well-being of its students and staff as its highest priority.

“Any such allegation will always be thoroughly investigated and addressed, whilst respecting the right to a fair hearing for the accused.”

It added: “Christ Church is deeply sorry for the hurt that this individual has suffered and we regret the time that it has taken to bring these matters concerning the Dean to a conclusion.”

A spokesperson for the Bishop of Oxford said: "Much of what has happened has been inaccurately played out by supporters of Dr Percy.

"We are deeply saddened by the inaccurate and unevidenced claims Dr Percy himself makes in his media interviews.

"The Bishop of Oxford and many others have gone to considerable lengths to care for Martyn in his four-year dispute with Christ Church."