THE FORMER head of the Catholic Church in Sussex will have to move out of his £1 million country house following his shock resignation.

Kieran Conry stood down as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton on Saturday after admitting he had been “unfaithful” to his promises as a Catholic priest “going back some years”.

Now The Argus has learned Mr Conry will have to move out of the Diocese-owned gated house in Old Brighton Road, Pease Pottage, near Crawley, where it is alleged the wife of another man stayed on three nights.

The search to find a permanent replacement for Mr Conry may take up to a year, while a stand-in diocesan administrator will be announced within eight days. Mr Conry resigned the day before claims were made in the Mail on Sunday that he had written a love letter to a married woman, who is claimed to have spent three nights at his home.

The 63-year-old denied they had a sexual relationship but admitted to the paper she had stayed at his house twice. He said he was resigning over a separate relationship of six years ago.

Yesterday, he told the Daily Mail he felt liberated and said: “In some respects I feel very calm. It is liberating. It is a relief.

“I have been very careful not to make sexual morality a priority [in sermons]. I don’t think it got in the way of my job, I don’t think people would say I have been a bad bishop. But I can’t defend myself. I did wrong. Full stop.”

In a statement read to churches over the weekend, Mr Conry did not spell out what he had done to break his clerical vows but stressed it was not illegal and did not involve minors.

He added: “I am sorry for the shame that I have brought on the diocese and the Church and I ask for your prayers and forgiveness.”Monsignor Tony Barry, spokesman for the diocese, said an election to fill the vacancy must take place within eight days and the appointed administrator must be a priest who is at least 35-yearsold and who is “outstanding for doctrine and prudence” according to Canon Law.

A permanent appointment will be selected from a shortlist drawn up by an archbishop and senior bishops and ultimately sanction by The Pope by way of a papal bull.