Bishop of Norwich

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For the Roman Catholic Bishop of Norwich, Connecticut, see Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich.
Bishop of Norwich
Bishopric
Anglican
Incumbent:
Graham James (+Graham Norvic)

Province: Canterbury
Diocese: Norwich
Cathedral: Norwich Cathedral
First Bishop: Herbert de Losinga
Formation: 1094

The Bishop of Norwich is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Norwich in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers most of the county of Norfolk and part of Suffolk. The current bishop is the Right Reverend Graham James, the 71st Bishop of Norwich.

The see is in the city of Norwich and the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. The Bishop's residence is Bishop's House, Norwich. The Bishop is also the Abbot of St Benet's Abbey: instead of dissolving this monastic institution, Henry VIII united the position of Abbot with that of Bishop of Norwich, making St Benet's perhaps the only monastic institution to escape de jure dissolution.

East Anglia has held a bishopric since 630, when the first cathedral was founded at Dommoc, possibly to be identified as the submerged village of Dunwich. In 673 the seat was moved to Elmham. After the Conquest the seat was moved in 1070 to Thetford, before finally being located in Norwich in 1094 under William II, ahead of the completion of the new cathedral building.

History[edit]

Though the see took the name Norwich in the 11th century, its history goes back 500 years earlier, to the final conversion of the kingdom of East Anglia by St Felix. The East Angles became Christian during the reign of Sigeberht, who succeeded to the kingdom in 628. Felix fixed his see at Dommoc, which may have been at Dunwich, now almost entirely submerged off the coast of Suffolk. From there he evangelized the areas corresponding to the modern counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, which later were to form the diocese of Norwich. He was succeeded in turn by Thomas in 647, Brigilsus (died about 669) and Bifus. Upon the death of Bifus, in 673 Theodore, the Archbishop of Canterbury, divided the see between Dunwich and Elmham.

The see of Elmham came to an end in about 870, after the East Anglian king Edmund and the bishop Humbertus were murdered by the Danes. East Anglia was ravaged, the churches and monasteries destroyed, and Christianity was only practised with difficulty. Bishop Wilred of Dunwich seems then to have reunited the dioceses, choosing Elmham as his see. The line of his successors at Elmham then descended to Herfast, a chaplain to William the Conqueror, who removed his see to Thetford Priory and died in 1084.

Herbert de Losinga obtained his appointment in 1091 by means of a simoniacal gift to King William Rufus to secure his election, but being subsequently struck with remorse went to Rome in 1094 to obtain absolution from the pope. Herbert founded a priory in Norwich in expiation for his sin and at the same time moved his see there from Thetford in 1094 under William. The chapter of secular canons was dissolved and monks took their place. The foundation-stone of the new cathedral at Norwich was laid in 1096, in honour of the Blessed Trinity. By the time of his death in 1119, Herbert de Losinga had completed the choir, which is apsidal and encircled by a procession path, and which originally gave access to three Norman chapels. His successor, Bishop Everard, completed the long Norman nave so that the cathedral is a very early twelfth-century building, modified naturally by later additions and alterations. The chief of these is the Lady Chapel (c. 1250, destroyed by the Protestant Dean Gardiner 1573-1589); the cloisters (c. 1300), the West Window (c. 1440), the rood screen, the spire and the vault spanning the nave (c. 1450). The cathedral suffered much from iconoclasm during the Reformation and the civil wars.

The Norwich diocese consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk with some parts of Cambridgeshire, being divided into four archdeaconries: Norfolk, Norwich, Suffolk, and Sudbury. At the end of the seventeenth century there were 1121 parish-churches, and this number had probably not changed much since Catholic times.

The main religious houses in the medieval diocese were the Benedictine Abbeys of Bury St Edmunds, Wymondham, and St Benet's of Hulm, the cathedral priory of Norwich, along with the Cistercian Abbey of Sibton, the only Cistercian Abbey in East Anglia (the ruins now privately owned by the Levett-Scrivener family[1]), and the abbeys of the Augustinian Canons at Wendling, Langley, and Laystone. Both Dominican and Franciscan convents were to be found at Lynn, Norwich, Yarmouth, Dunwich, and Ipswich, while the Dominicans also had houses at Thetford and Sudbury and the Franciscans at Bury St Edmund's and at Walsingham, where the great shrine of Our Lady was, a foundation of Augustinian canons. The Carmelites were at Lynn, Norwich, Yarmouth, and Blakeney; and the Austin Friars at Norwich, Lynn, and Orford.

The last bishop before the start of the English Reformation was Richard Nykke (succeeded 1501), who was succeeded by William Rugg in 1536. After him came in 1550 Thomas Thirlby, who had already been appointed Bishop of Westminster by the King alone but was reconciled to the Pope in the reign of Queen Mary. After him in 1554 came John Hopton, the last Bishop of Norwich in communion with Rome, who died in 1558. In the early 17th century, Bishop Wren urged the restoration and beautification of churches, much previously neglected, and the use of copes in worship against a background of resistance. Several successors including Richard Montagu a public controversialist, continued attempts to restore a degree of catholic worship. However, Norwich was heavily influenced by Puritanism and in 1643, a Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Catholic symbols. (The bishop of the day, Joseph Hall, wrote despairingly of the despoliation, in his book, 'Hard Measures'). Almost in ruins, the cathedral would be repaired at the Restoration.

List of bishops of Norwich[edit]

For precursor offices, see Bishop of Dunwich, Bishop of Elmham and Bishop of Thetford

Pre-Reformation bishops[edit]

Pre-Reformation Bishops of Norwich[2][3][4]
From Until Incumbent Notes
1094 1119 Herbert de Losinga Elected and consecrated bishop of Thetford in 1090; transferred the see to Norwich in 1094; died 22 July 1119
1121 1145 Everard of Calne Formerly Archdeacon of Salisbury; elected bishop soon after 13 March and consecrated 12 June 1121; resigned in 1145; died 12 October 1146; also possibly known as Everard of Calne
1146/47 1174 William de Turbeville Formerly Prior of Norwich; elected and consecrated in 1146 or early 1147; died 16 January 1174; also recorded as William Turbe
1175 1200 John of Oxford Formerly Dean of Salisbury; elected before 26 November and consecrated 14 December 1175; died 2 June 1200
1200 1214 John de Gray Elected before 3 September and consecrated 24 September 1200; became Archbishop-elect of Canterbury in 1205, but was set aside by the pope in 1206; continued bishop of Norwich until his death on 18 October 1214
1215 1226 Pandulf Masca Elected sometime between 18 July and 9 August 1215, but was not consecrated until 29 May 1222; also was Papal legate 1218-1221; died 16 September 1226
1226 1236 Thomas Blunville Formerly Clerk of the Exchequer; elected in October and consecrated 20 December 1226; died 16 August 1236; also recorded as Thomas de Blundeville
1236 1239 (Simon of Elmham) Elected after 9 November 1236, but quashed 17 January 1239
1239 1243 William de Raley Elected 10 April and consecrated 25 September 1239; translated to Winchester in September 1243; also recorded as William Raleigh
1245 1257 Walter Suffield Elected before 9 July 1244 and consecrated 26 February 1245; died 19 May 1257; also recorded as Walter de Suthfield, and Walter Calthorp
1258 1266 Simon Walton Elected 4 June 1257 and consecrated 10 March 1258; died before January 1266; also recorded as Simon de Wanton
1266 1278 Roger Skerning Elected 23 January and consecrated 4 April 1266; died 22 January 1278
1278 1288 William Middleton Elected 24 February and consecrated 29 May 1278; died 31 August or 1 September 1288
1289 1299 Ralph Walpole Elected 11 November 1288 and consecrated 20 March 1289; translated to Ely 5 June 1299
1299 1325 John Salmon Appointed sometime between 5 and 18 June 1299 and consecrated 15 November 1299; died 6 July 1325
1325 (Robert Baldock) Elected 23 July 1325; resigned without being consecrated 3 September 1325
1325 1336 William Ayermin Appointed 19 July and consecrated 15 September 1325; died 27 March 1336; also recorded as William Ayermine
1336 1337 (Thomas Hemenhale) Elected 6 Apr 1336, but transferred before consecration to Worcester 14 March 1337
1337 1343 Antony Bek Formerly Bishop-elect of Lincoln; appointed 14 March and consecrated 30 March 1337; died 19 December 1343
1344 1355 William Bateman Appointed 23 or 24 January and consecrated 23 May 1344; died 6 January 1355
1356 1369 Thomas Percy Appointed 4 February 1355 and consecrated 3 January 1356; died 8 August 1369
1370 1406 Henry le Despenser Appointed 3 April and consecrated 14 August 1370; died 23 August 1406
1407 1413 Alexander Tottington Elected 14 September 1406; appointed 19 January and consecrated 23 October 1407; died before 20 April 1413
1413 1415 Richard Courtenay Elected before 28 June 1413 and appointed on that date; consecrated 17 September 1413; died 15 September 1415
1416 1425 John Wakering Elected before 24 November 1415 and consecrated 31 May 1416; died 9 April 1425; also recorded as John Wakeryng
1426 1436 William Alnwick Formerly Archdeacon of Salisbury. Appointed 27 February and consecrated 18 August 1426; translated to Lincoln 19 September 1436
1436 1445 Thomas Brunce Translated from Rochester; appointed 19 September 1436; died 6 December 1445; also known as Thomas Brouns, and sometimes incorrectly Thomas Brown
1446 1472 Walter Hart Appointed 24 January and consecrated 27 February 1446; died 24 May 1472; also recorded as Walter Lyhert
1472 1499 James Goldwell Appointed 17 July and consecrated 4 October 1472; died 15 February 1499
1499 1500 Thomas Jane Appointed 14 June and consecrated 20 October 1499; died in September 1500
1501 1535 Richard Nykke Appointed 26 February and consecrated 6 June 1501; died 29 December 1535; also recorded as Richard Nix

Bishops during the Reformation[edit]

Bishops of Norwich during the Reformation[2][4][5]
From Until Incumbent Notes
1536 1550 William Rugg Elected 31 May and consecrated 11 June 1536; resigned before 26 January 1550; died 21 September 1550; also recorded as William Repps
1550 1554 Thomas Thirlby Translated from Westminster 1 April 1550; later moved to Ely 10 July 1554
1554 1558 John Hopton Nominated 4 September and consecrated 28 October 1554; died after 24 August 1558

Post-Reformation bishops[edit]

Post-Reformation Bishops of Norwich[2][5]
From Until Incumbent Notes
1560 1575 John Parkhurst Nominated 27 March and consecrated 1 September 1560; died 2 February 1575
1575 1584 Edmund Freke Translated from Rochester; nominated 21 July and confirmed 14 November 1575; translated to Worcester 5 December 1584
1585 1594 Edmund Scambler Translated from Peterborough; elected 15 December 1584 and confirmed 15 January 1585; died 7 May 1594
1594 1602 William Redman Elected 17 December 1594 and consecrated 12 January 1595; died 25 September 1602
1603 1618 John Jegon Nominated 10 January and consecrated 20 February 1603; died 13 March 1618
1618 1619 John Overall Translated from Lichfield; nominated 9 May and confirmed 30 September 1618; died 12 May 1619
1619 1629 Samuel Harsnett Translated from Chichester; nominated 1 June and confirmed 28 August 1619; translated to York 13 January 1629
1628 1631 Francis White Translated from Carlisle; elected 22 January and confirmed 9 February 1629; translated to Ely
1632 1635 Richard Corbet Translated from Oxford; elected 7 April and confirmed 7 May 1632; died 28 July 1635
1635 1638 Matthew Wren Translated from Hereford; elected 10 November and confirmed 5 December 1635; translated to Ely 24 April 1638
1638 1641 Richard Montagu Translated from Chichester; nominated 1 May and confirmed 12 May 1638; died 13 April 1641
1641 1656 Joseph Hall Translated from Exeter; elected 15 November and confirmed 16 December 1641; died 8 September 1656
1656 1660 See vacant
1661 1676 Edward Reynolds Nominated 30 September 1660 and consecrated 13 January 1661; died 28 July 1676
1676 1685 Anthony Sparrow Translated from Exeter; elected 28 August and confirmed 18 May 1685
1685 1690 William Lloyd Translated from Peterborough; elected 11 June and confirmed 4 July 1685; deprived 1 February 1690; died 1 January 1710
1691 1707 John Moore Nominated 25 April and consecrated 5 July 1691; translated to Ely 31 July 1707
1708 1721 Charles Trimnell Nominated 13 January and consecrated 8 February 1708; translated to Winchester 19 August 1721
1721 1723 Thomas Green Nominated 19 August and consecrated 8 October 1721; translated to Ely 24 September 1723
1723 1727 John Leng Nominated 27 August and consecrated 3 November 1723; died 26 October 1727
1727 1732 William Baker Translated from Bangor; nominated 2 November and confirmed 19 December 1727; died 4 December 1732
1733 1738 Robert Butts Nominated 17 January and consecrated 25 February 1733; translated to Ely 27 June 1738
1738 1748 Thomas Gooch Translated from Bristol; nominated 29 August and confirmed 17 October 1738; translated to Ely 11 March 1748
1748 1749 Samuel Lisle Translated from St Asaph; nominated 17 March and confirmed 9 April 1748; died 3 October 1749
1749 1761 Thomas Hayter Nominated 13 October and consecrated 3 December 1749; translated to London 24 October 1761
1761 1783 Philip Yonge Translated from Bristol; nominated 27 October and confirmed 25 November 1761; died 23 April 1783
1783 1790 Lewis Bagot Translated from Bristol; nominated 15 May and confirmed 14 June 1783; translated to St Asaph 24 April 1790
1790 1792 George Horne Nominated 7 May and consecrated 6 June 1790; died 17 June 1792
1792 1805 Charles Manners-Sutton Nominated 5 February and consecrated 8 April 1792; translated to Canterbury 21 February 1805
1805 1837 Henry Bathurst Nominated 5 March and consecrated 28 April 1805; died 5 April 1837
1837 1849 Edward Stanley Nominated 14 April and consecrated 11 June 1837; died 6 September 1849
1849 1857 Samuel Hinds Nominated 26 September and consecrated 2 December 1849; resigned in 1857; died 7 February 1872
1857 1893 John Pelham Nominated 5 May and consecrated 11 June 1857; resigned 16 May 1893; died 1 May 1894
1893 1910 John Sheepshanks Nominated 26 May and consecrated 29 June 1893; resigned 19 February 1910; died 3 June 1912
1910 1942 Bertram Pollock Nominated 19 February and consecrated 25 April 1910; resigned 24 June 1942; died 17 October 1943
1942 1959 Percy Herbert Translated from Blackburn; nominated 1 July and confirmed 22 July 1942; resigned 25 July 1959; died 22 January 1968
1959 1971 Launcelot Fleming Translated from Portsmouth; nominated 23 October and confirmed 18 December 1959; also was Dean of Windsor; resigned both posts 30 June 1971; died 30 July 1990
1971 1985 Maurice Wood Nominated 12 July and consecrated 29 September 1971; resigned 26 August 1985; died 24 June 2007
1985 1999 Peter Nott Translated from Taunton; nominated and consecrated in 1985; resigned 1999
1999 present Graham James Translated from St Germans; enthroned 29 January 2000

Port-passing etiquette[edit]

When port wine is passed around at British meals, one tradition dictates that a diner passes the decanter to the left immediately after pouring a glass for his or her neighbour on the right; the decanter should not stop its clockwise progress around the table until it is finished. If someone is seen to have failed to follow tradition, the breach is brought to their attention by asking "Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?"; those aware of the tradition treat the question as a reminder, while those who don't are told "He's a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port."[6]

It is unknown which Bishop of Norwich is responsible for prompting the tradition.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rural England, Henry Rider Haggard, 1906. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b c Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (Third Edition, revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 217 and 261–262. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  3. ^ Greenway, Diana E. (1971). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300. volume 2: Monastic cathedrals (northern and southern provinces). pp. 55–58. 
  4. ^ a b Jones, B. (1963). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541. volume 4: Monastic cathedrals (southern province). pp. 23–25. 
  5. ^ a b Horn, Joyce M. (1992). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857. volume 7: Ely, Norwich, Westminster and Worcester dioceses. pp. 37–41. 
  6. ^ a b Wallop, Harry (26 September 2009). "Pass the port: Why do you pass to the left". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-03-11.