A talented linguist, he worked at Bletchley Park during WW2 learning Japanese. He trained for the ministry at Kelham and, after ordination, took a degree in modern and medieval languages at Cambridge University. He went to Korea after graduation and worked there for 20 years, eventually as Bishop of Taejon. Returning to England, he served as Suffragan Bishop of St Germans until his appointment as Bishop of Leicester, a post he held from 1979 to his retirement in 1990. After the General Synod of the Church of England voted, in 1992, to admit women to the priesthood, he was Received into the Roman Catholic Church and served an an honorary assisstant priest in Falmouth.
Rutt was an enthusiastic knitter, attracting the sobriquet "The Knitting Bishop".