The Reverend Nicholas Mercer is currently the Rector of the Priory Church at Bolton Abbey. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1990 and joined the Army Legal Services in 1991. He served the next twenty years in Northern Ireland, Bosnia Herzegovina, Germany, Iraq and Cyprus. His army experience included directing and prosecuting Courts-Martial, and he was also on the teaching staff of Bielefeld University and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law.
He was the Command Legal Advisor for the HQ 1st (UK) Armoured Division during the Iraq war in 2003. As a result of his stand against the inhuman and degrading treatment of Prisoners of War in Iraq, he was named as the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2011-2012. He has lectured extensively on the Law of Armed Conflict and Human Rights. Prior to his ordination, he retired from the Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.