Historical development of Church of England dioceses

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Current dioceses of the Church of England.

This article traces the historical development of the dioceses and cathedrals of the Church of England. It is customary in England to name each diocese after the city where its cathedral is located. Occasionally, when the bishop's seat has been moved from one city to another, the diocese may retain both names, for example Bath and Wells. More recently, where a cathedral is in a small or little-known city, the diocesan name has been changed to include the name of a nearby larger city: thus the cathedral in Southwell now serves the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, and Ripon Cathedral was in Ripon and Leeds from 1999 until 2014. Cathedrals, like other churches, are dedicated to a particular saint or holy object, or Christ himself, but are commonly referred to by the name of the city where they stand. A cathedral is, simply, the church where the bishop has his chair or "cathedra".

The dioceses of the Church of England are administrative territorial units governed by a bishop, of which there are currently 42. These cover all of England, and also the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, and a small part of Wales. The Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe is also a part of the Church of England (rather than a separate Anglican church such as the Church in Wales), and covers the whole of mainland Europe, Morocco, Turkey and the territory of the former Soviet Union.

The structure of diocese within the Church of England was initially inherited from the Roman Catholic Church as part of the English Reformation. During the Reformation, a number of new dioceses were founded. No new dioceses were then created until the middle of the 19th century, when dioceses were founded mainly in response to the growing population, especially in the northern industrial cities.

The last dioceses were created in 1927. The 42 dioceses are divided into two Provinces, the Province of Canterbury (with 30 dioceses) and the Province of York (with 12 dioceses). The archbishops of Canterbury and York have pastoral oversight over the bishops within their province, along with certain other rights and responsibilities.

History[edit]

Durham Cathedral was under Benedictine rule.

The history of the cathedrals in Great Britain differs somewhat from that on the European continent. Their cathedrals have always been fewer in number than in Italy, France and other parts of Europe, while the buildings themselves have tended to be very large. While France, at the time of the French Revolution had 136 cathedrals, England had 27. Because of a ruling that no cathedral could be built in a village, any town in which a cathedral was located was elevated to city status, regardless of its size. To this day several large English cathedrals are located in small "cathedral cities", notably Wells and Ely Cathedrals, both of which rank among the greatest works of English Medieval Architecture.

Early organisation[edit]

In earlier times, populations were sparsely spread and towns were few. The total population of the kingdom of England in the 11th century is estimated at between one and two million, with Lincolnshire, East Anglia and East Kent the most densely populated areas. This is because many villages had been razed by the conquest armies.[1] Instead of exercising jurisdiction over definite areas, many of the bishops were bishops of tribes or peoples, as the bishops of the South Saxons, the West Saxons, the Somersætas, etc. The cathedra of such a bishop was often migratory.

In 1075 a council was held in London, under the presidency of Archbishop Lanfranc, which, reciting the decrees of the council of Sardica held in 347 and that of Laodicea held in 360 on this matter, ordered the bishop of the south Saxons to remove his see from Selsey to Chichester; the Wiltshire and Dorset bishop to remove his cathedra from Sherborne to Old Sarum, and the Mercian bishop, whose cathedral was then at Lichfield, to transfer it to Chester. Traces of the tribal and migratory system may still be noted in the designations of the Irish see of Meath (where the result has been that there is now no cathedral church) and Ossory, the cathedral church of which is at Kilkenny. Some of the Scottish sees were also migratory.

Late Middle Ages[edit]

The ruins of the medieval Bishop's Palace at Lincoln, which was ruled by secular canons

Between 1075 and the 15th century, the cathedrals of England were almost evenly divided between those ruled by secular canons headed by a dean and those ruled by monastic orders headed by a prior, all of which were Benedictine except Carlisle. Two cathedrals, Bath and Coventry, shared their sees with Wells and Lichfield, respectively.

Reformation[edit]

The entire structure of the monastic and cathedral system was overthrown and reconstituted during the Reformation. Cathedrals which were once Roman Catholic came under the governance of the Church of England.

All the English monastic cathedral chapters were dissolved by Henry VIII and, with the exceptions of Bath and Coventry, were refounded by him as churches of secular chapters, with a dean as the head, and a certain number of canons ranging from twelve at Canterbury and Durham to four at Carlisle, and with certain subordinate officers as minor canons, gospellers, epistolers, etc. The precentorship in these churches of the "New Foundation", as they are called, is not, as in the secular churches of the "Old Foundation", a dignity, but is merely an office held by one of the minor canons.

Henry VIII also created six new cathedrals from old monastic establishments, in each case governed by secular canons. Of these, Westminster did not retain its cathedral status. Four more of England's large historic churches were later to become cathedrals, Southwell, Southwark, Ripon and St Albans Abbey.

Roles within the Cathedral[edit]

Relationship of chapter and bishop[edit]

Historically, there was no distinction between the monastic cathedral chapters and those of the secular canons, in their relation to the bishop or diocese. In both cases the chapter was the bishop's consilium which he was bound to consult on all important matters and without doing so he could not act. Thus, a judicial decision of a bishop needed the confirmation of the chapter before it could be enforced. He could not change the service books, or "use" of the church or diocese, without capitular consent, and there are episcopal acts, such as the appointment of a diocesan chancellor, or vicar general, which still need confirmation by the chapter.

In its corporate capacity the chapter takes charge sede vacante of a diocese. In England, however (except as regards Salisbury and Durham), this custom has never obtained, the two archbishops having, from time immemorial, taken charge of the vacant dioceses in their respective provinces. When, however, either of the sees of Canterbury or York is vacant the chapters of those churches take charge, not only of the diocese, but of the province as well, and incidentally, therefore, of any of the dioceses of the province which may be vacant at the same time.

The Secular Chapter[edit]

The Chapter House at Lincoln Cathedral.

The normal constitution of the chapter of a secular cathedral church comprised four dignitaries (there might be more), in addition to the canons. These are the Dean, the Precentor, the Chancellor and the Treasurer. These four dignitaries, occupying the four corner stalls in the choir, are called in many of the statutes the quatuor majores personae of the church.

Dean[edit]

The dean (decanus) seems to have derived his or her designation from the Benedictine "dean" who had ten monks under his or her charge. The dean came into existence to supply the place of the provost in the internal management of the church and chapter. In England every secular cathedral church was headed by a dean who was originally elected by the chapter and confirmed in office by the bishop. The dean is president of the chapter, and within the cathedral has charge of the performance of the services, taking specified portions of them by statute on the principal festivals. He or she sits in the chief stall in the choir, which is usually the first on the right hand on entering the choir at the west.

Precentor[edit]

Next to the dean (as a rule) is the precentor (primicerius, cantor, etc.), whose special duty is that of regulating the musical portion of the services. He or she presides in the dean's absence, and occupies the corresponding stall on the left side, although there are exceptions to this rule, where, as at St Paul's, the archdeacon of the cathedral city ranks second and occupies what is usually the precentor's stall.

Chancellor[edit]

The third dignitary is the chancellor (scholasticus, écoldtre, capiscol, magistral, etc.), who must not be confused with the chancellor of the diocese. The chancellor of the cathedral church is charged with the oversight of its schools, ought to read divinity lectures, and superintend the lections in the choir and correct slovenly readers. He or she is often the secretary and librarian of the chapter. In the absence of the dean and precentor he or she is president of the chapter. The easternmost stall, on the dean's side of the choir, is usually assigned to him or her.

Treasurer[edit]

The fourth dignitary is the treasurer (custos, sacrisla, cheficier). He or she is guardian of the fabric, and of all the furniture and ornaments of the church, and his or her duty was to provide bread and wine for the Eucharist, and candles and incense, and he or she regulated such matters as the ringing of the bells. The treasurer's stall is opposite to that of the chancellor.

Additional clergy[edit]

Interior of the Chapter House at Southwell Cathedral

In many cathedral churches are additional dignitaries, as the praelector, subdean, vice-chancellor, succentor-canonicorum, and others, whose roles came into existence to supply the places of the other absent dignitaries, for non-residence was the fatal blot of the secular churches, and in this they contrasted very badly with the monastic churches, where all the members were in continuous residence. Besides the dignitaries there were the ordinary canons, each of whom, as a rule, held a separate prebend or endowment, besides receiving his or her share of the common funds of the church.

For the most part the canons also speedily became non-resident, and this led to the distinction of residentiary and non-residentiary canons, till in most churches the number of resident canons became definitely limited in number, and the non-residentiary canons, who no longer shared in the common funds, became generally known as prebendaries only, although by their non-residence they did not forfeit their position as canons, and retained their votes in chapter like the others.

This system of non-residence led also to the institution of vicars choral, each canon having his or her own vicar, who sat in his or her stall in his or her absence, and when the canon was present, in the stall immediately below, on the second form. The vicars had no place or vote in chapter, and, though irremovable except for offences, were the servants of their absent canons whose stalls they occupied, and whose duties they performed. Outside Britain they were often called demi-prebendaries, and they formed the bachcrur of the French churches. As time went on the vicars were themselves often incorporated as a kind of lesser chapter, or college, under the supervision of the dean and chapter.

Details of cathedrals and their foundation[edit]

Ancient cathedrals[edit]

The medieval Church of England was organized into 17 dioceses. About half of the diocesian cathedrals were also monasteries, with the prior serving double duty as dean of the cathedral. The rest were served by a college of "secular" canons — non-monastic priests living under no fixed rule of life. Both types often had Saxon foundations. Dioceses which exist in the Church of England today are indicated in bold type.

Pre-Conquest[edit]

England diocese map pre-925
850–925
England diocese map post 950
950–1035
The dioceses of Anglo-Saxon England 850–1035
Diocese Founded Monastic or secular? Notes
Canterbury 597 Monastic Also called archbishop of Kent in Anglo-Saxon times.[2]
Rochester 604 Monastic Also called bishop of the West Kentish in Anglo-Saxon times.[3]
London 604 Monastic Archbishops of London had existed previously; also called bishop of the East Saxons[4] or of Essex[5] in Anglo-Saxon times.
York 626 Secular In Anglo-Saxon times also called bishop of Northumbria[6] or of the Northumbrians,[7] or of Deira.[8]
East Anglia/Dunwich 631 (Dunwich or possibly Soham) Monastic Lapsed to Elmham in 950; also called bishop of the East Angles.[9]
Dorchester/Winchester 634 (Dorchester)
660 (Winchester)
Monastic Also called bishop of Wessex in Anglo-Saxon times.[10]
Lindisfarne/Durham 635 (Lindisfarne)
995 (Durham)
Monastic Transferred to Durham in 995 from Chester-le-Street, itself a transfer from Lindisfarne; earlier called bishop of Bernicia[11] or of the Bernicians.[12]
Mercia/Lichfield 656 (Repton)
669 (Lichfield)
Monastic/Secular After 1075, the see was occasionally Coventry or Chester; in Anglo-Saxon times called bishop of Mercia or of the Mercians.[13]
Elmham/Thetford/Norwich 672 (Elmham)
1072 (Thetford)
1091 (Norwich)
Secular?
Hereford 676 Secular Also called bishop of the Magonsæte in Anglo-Saxon times.[14]
Lindsey (Sidnacester) 678 Secular Merged with Dorchester, c. 1010; also called bishop of the Lindisfaras.[15]
Ripon 678 Secular One bishop only; merged to York before 700.
Worcester 680 Monastic In Anglo-Saxon times also called bishop of the Hwicce.[16]
Leicester/Dorchester/Lincoln 681 (Leicester)
878 (Dorchester)
1072 (Lincoln)
Unknown
Selsey/Chichester 681 & 706 (Selsey)
1075 (Chichester)
Monastic Selsey Abbey was founded in 681 and was the cathedra for the Kingdom of Sussex. That see lasted until 685, but was reasserted in 706. The bishopric was moved to Chichester by order of the Council of London in 1075; the bishops had previously also been known as bishop of Sussex[17] or of the South Saxons.[18]
Hexham 685 Monastic Absorbed into Lindisfarne by 854.
Sherborne/Salisbury 705 (Sherborne)
1078 (Salisbury)
Monastic
Cornish see (St Germans) Mid-9th century Monastic United into Exeter, 1050.
Tawton/Crediton/Exeter 905 (Tawton)
909 (Crediton)
1050 (Exeter)
Secular
Bath and Wells 909 Monastic/Secular Bath was monastical and Wells a college of secular canons; after 1090 Wells was usually reckoned as the cathedral; also called bishop of Somerset[19] or bishop of the Somersaetas[20] in Anglo-Saxon times.
Ramsbury 909 ? Reabsorbed into Sherborne, 1058.
(St) Teilo/Llandaff Under English jurisdiction from c. 982 (Teilo)
1115 (Llandaff)
Monastic Now a Church in Wales diocese.

Post-conquest[edit]

Diocese Founded Monastic or secular? Notes
Bangor Under English jurisdiction from c. 1081 Monastic Now a Church in Wales diocese.
Ely 21 November 1108 Monastic None
St David's Under English jurisdiction from c. 1115 Monastic Now a Church in Wales diocese.
Carlisle 1133 Monastic None
St Asaph Under English jurisdiction from 1141 Monastic Now a Church in Wales diocese.
Sodor and Man Under English jurisdiction from c. 1400 ?

The Henrican Reorganization[edit]

After Henry VIII's break with the Pope and the dissolution of the monasteries, the formerly monastic cathedrals were "re-founded" with secular canons. Furthermore, a number of new dioceses were formed, using some of the largest and finest of the other dissolved monasteries as cathedrals. Together, these two groups — the old monastic cathedrals and the new sees — were known as cathedrals of the New Foundation; the old cathedrals which had always been served by secular canons were known as those of the Old Foundation. Dioceses which exist in the Church of England today are indicated in bold type.

Diocese Founded Notes
Westminster 17 December 1540 Its cathedral was Westminster Abbey; but the diocese only existed 1540–50. From 1550–60, Westminster Abbey was a second cathedral, along with St Paul's, for the diocese of London. Since then the Abbey has not been a cathedral, but a Royal Peculiar, in which capacity (as a "neutral" non-diocesan Greater Church) the Archbishop of Canterbury (who lives on the other side of the Thames) still uses it for consecrations of bishops.
Chester 4 August 1541 St Werburgh's Abbey, an 11th-century Benedictine abbey was dissolved and made the new diocese's cathedral.
Gloucester 3 September 1541 St Peter's Abbey (another newly dissolved abbey) became the new diocese's cathedral. It had been in Benedictine hands since the 11th century.
Peterborough 4 September 1541 The new cathedral had been a Benedictine abbey since the 10th century (St Peter's Abbey).
Bristol 4 June 1542 The 12th century Augustinian abbey (St Augustine's Abbey) was dissolved and became the new diocese's cathedral.
Oxford 1 September 1542 The cathedral was initially (and briefly) at Osney Abbey, a 12th-century Augustinian abbey. In 1545, the see was transferred to the chapel of Christ Church, Oxford University (which had formerly been part of the Augustinian Priory of St Frideswide, Oxford)

Colonial dioceses[edit]

During the British colonial era, the Anglican religion was exported to the colonies. From 1787 onwards, Church of England dioceses were founded in the colonies. A structure of provinces and metropolitans developed until, in 1863, the imperial Privy Council ruled that the English church hierarchy had no legal status in the colonies. Immediately prior to that point, the United Church of England and Ireland had a total of 82 dioceses worldwide.

From 1863 onwards, Anglican (former) colonial dioceses have been separate from and independent of the English church. Exceptionally, the Archbishop of Canterbury has retained (and retains to this day) some metropolitan jurisdictions outside of England. Dioceses are listed by their name at creation and their present country, with only their cathedral(s) between creation and independence.

Diocese Year Notes Cathedral(s)
Nova Scotia, Canada 1787 First colonial diocese (founded 11 August 1787) – originally covered all British North America. Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island since 1999. St Luke's Pro-Cathedral, Halifax
Quebec, Canada 1793 Created from Nova Scotia diocese. Holy Trinity, Quebec City
Calcutta, India 1814 Jurisdiction originally included all of the Indian subcontinent and Australasia. St. Paul's, Kolkata
Barbados 1824 Originally one of two Caribbean dioceses. St Michael and All Angels, Bridgetown
Jamaica 1824 Originally one of two Caribbean dioceses. Now the West Indies Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. St. Jago de la Vega, Spanish Town
Madras, India 1835 Created from Calcutta diocese. At its creation, Calcutta gained metropolitan authority over all its former jurisdiction. St. George's, Chennai
Australia 1836 Created from Calcutta diocese. Originally covered all of Australia and New Zealand, etc. Now the metropolitan Diocese of Sydney. St Andrew's, Sydney
Bombay, India 1837 Created from Calcutta diocese. Now the CNI Diocese of Mumbai. St. Thomas, Mumbai
Newfoundland, Canada 1839 Created from Nova Scotia diocese (Split in 1975/6 into Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Central Newfoundland and Western Newfoundland. St. John the Baptist, St. John's
Toronto, Canada 1839 Split off from Nova Scotia diocese. Also called the Diocese of Upper Canada. St. James, Toronto
Jerusalem, Israel[N 1] 1841 Originally covered all of the area of the current Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, of which it is now a diocese.
New Zealand 1841 Originally covered the whole country. Now Auckland diocese. old St Mary's, Parnell
Antigua 1842 Also called the diocese of Antigua and the Leeward Islands. Now the West Indies Diocese of the North East Caribbean and Aruba. St. John the Divine, St. John's
Guyana 1842 Also called British Guiana. old St. George's, Georgetown
Georgetown Pro-Cathedral
Tasmania 1842 Extraprovincial (subject to no metropolitan) from its creation to the present day.
Colombo, Ceylon 1845 Created from Madras diocese and originally subject to the metropolitan bishop of Calcutta. Now extraprovincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Fredericton, Canada 1845 Created from Nova Scotia diocese. Christ Church, Fredericton
Adelaide, Australia 1847 Created from the first split of the Diocese of Australia. Adelaide and Melbourne are now metropolitan archiepiscopal sees. Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral, Adelaide
Melbourne, Australia St James Old Cathedral, Melbourne
Newcastle, Australia old Christ Church, Newcastle
Cape Town, South Africa 1847 Now primate, metropolitan and sole archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. old St. George's, Cape Town
Rupert's Land, Canada 1849 Originally covered the area of the current Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land. St. John (II), Winnipeg
Victoria, Hong Kong 1849 Originally covered all South China and Hong Kong. First in Canterbury province, then in China, split in 1998 into the three dioceses of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui. St. John's, Hong Kong
Montreal, Canada 1850 Created from Quebec diocese. old Christ Church, Montreal
Grahamstown, South Africa 1853 Split from Cape Town diocese. Cape Town became the metropolitan see. SS Michael & George, Grahamstown
Natal, South Africa St Peter's, Pietermaritzburg
Mauritius 1854 Created from Colombo diocese. St James's, Port Louis
Labuan, Malaysia 1855 Created from Calcutta diocese. old St. Thomas, Kuching
Christchurch, New Zealand 1856 Created from the first split of the New Zealand diocese. That diocese became Auckland diocese and its bishop metropolitan over all New Zealand.
Perth, Australia 1856 Created from Adelaide diocese. Metropolitan archbishop over North West Australia since 1914. old St George's, Perth
Huron, Canada 1857 Created from Toronto diocese. St Paul's, London (Ontario)
Brisbane, Australia 1858 Created from the Australian Newcastle diocese. Metropolitan archbishop over Queensland since 1905. old St John's Pro-Cathedral, Brisbane
Nelson, New Zealand 1858 Created from the New Zealand diocese. old Christ Church, Nelson
Waiapu, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand
British Columbia, Canada 1859 Created from Rupert's Land diocese.
St Helena 1859 Created from Cape Town diocese. Now in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. St Paul's, Saint Helena
Nassau, Bahamas 1861 Created from the Diocese of Jamaica. Christ Church, Nassau
Ontario, Canada 1862 Created from Toronto diocese. St. George's, Kingston
Goulburn, Australia 1863 Created by letters patent from Queen Victoria on 14 March 1863, from Sydney diocese. Now the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
Grafton & Armidale, Australia 1863 Created by letters patent from Queen Victoria in March 1863, from the Australian Newcastle diocese. Now the two dioceses of Armidale and of Grafton.

Irish dioceses[edit]

Between the 1801 Union and 1871 disestablishment, the Anglican dioceses of England and Ireland were united in one United Church of England and Ireland. As such, the Irish dioceses were, for a time, Church of England dioceses. Each diocese is listed with only her cathedral(s) during the United Church period.

Diocese Province Notes Cathedral(s)
Armagh Armagh Metropolitan archbishop and Primate of All Ireland. St Patrick's, Armagh
Meath Senior bishop after the archbishops. St Patrick, Trim
Derry Derry and Raphoe since 1834. St Columb's, Derry
St. Eunan, Raphoe
Down & Connor Down, Connor & Dromore 1842–1945, then split into Down & Dromore and Connor in 1945. Holy and Undivided Trinity, Downpatrick
St Saviour, Connor & Christ Church, Lisburn
Christ the Redeemer, Dromore
Raphoe United to Derry since 1834. St. Eunan, Raphoe
Kilmore Kilmore & Ardagh, 1839–1841; Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh since 1841. St Fethlimidh, Kilmore
St Mary's, Elphin
Dromore United to Down & Connor (1842–1945) then Down (since 1945). Christ the Redeemer, Dromore
Dublin and Glendalough Dublin Metropolitan archbishop and Primate of Ireland; united with Kildare as Dublin, Kildare and Glendalough (1846–1976). Christ Church & St Patrick's, Dublin
St Brigid, Kildare
Kildare Second most senior bishop after the archbishops. United with Dublin (1846–1976) and with Meath since. St Brigid, Kildare
Ferns & Leighlin United since 1597; united to Ossory since 1835. St Edan's, Ferns
St Laserian's, Old Leighlin
Ossory Ossory, Ferns & Leighlin (1835–1977); united to Cashel since. St Canice's, Kilkenny
St Edan's, Ferns
St Laserian's, Old Leighlin
Tuam and Ardagh Tuam (until 1839)
Armagh (since 1839)
Metropolitan archbishop over Tuam province until its union to Armagh province in 1939. Diocese included Ardagh (nonetheless regarded as remaining in Armagh province) 1742–1839 and Killala & Achonry 1834–1839; Diocese of Tuam, Killala & Achonry since 1839. St Mary's, Tuam
St Patrick's, Killala
St Crumnathy's, Achonry
Clogher United to the metropolitan diocese of Armagh (1850–1886). St Macartan's, Clogher
Elphin United to Kilmore since 1841. St Mary's, Elphin
Killala & Achonry United since 1622; united to Tuam since 1834. St Patrick's, Killala
St Crumnathy's, Achonry
Clonfert & Kilmacduagh Tuam (until 1834)
Cashel (1834–1838)
Dublin (since 1838)
United since 1627; united to Killaloe (since 1834) and to Limerick (since 1976). St Brendan's, Clonfert
St Colman's, Kilmacduagh
Cashel and Emly Cashel (until 1838)
Dublin (since 1838)
Metropolitan archbishop of the province until its union to Dublin province in 1838. United with Waterford (since 1838) and with Ossory (since 1977). St. John's, Cashel
St. Alibeus, Emly
Christ Church, Waterford
St Carthage's, Lismore
Cloyne United to Cork since 1835. St Coleman's, Cloyne
Cork & Ross United since 1583; Cork, Cloyne & Ross since 1835. old St Fin Barre's, Cork
St Coleman's, Cloyne
St. Fachtna, Rosscarbery
Killaloe & Kilfenora United since 1752; Killaloe & Clonfert (1834–1976); united to Limerick since 1976. St Flannan's, Killaloe
St Brendan, Clonfert
Limerick, Ardfert & Aghadoe United since 1661; Limerick & Killaloe since 1976. St Mary's, Limerick
Waterford & Lismore United since 1363; united to Cashel since 1838. Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford
St Carthage's Cathedral, Lismore

Late modern foundations[edit]

No further cathedrals were founded until, in the mid 19th century, the huge population growth of north-central England meant that redistricting could no longer be ignored. Since then twenty new dioceses have been founded, each with a cathedral — some are great medieval monasteries or collegiate churches which were not elevated by Henry VIII but might well have been; others are glorified parish churches; and others are totally new constructions. In the following table, bold type indicates the creation of a new diocese, whilst plain type is used to indicate changes to existing dioceses.

Diocese Date From Cathedral History
Ripon 5 October 1836 Created from part of York and Chester; dissolved in creation of Leeds diocese Great medieval collegiate church
Oxford 5 October 1836 took in Berkshire, from Salisbury College chapel of Christ Church, Oxford
Bristol 5 October 1836 suppressed: Bristol went to Gloucester, Dorset went to Salisbury
Lichfield 24 January 1837 Lichfield and Coventry became Lichfield; Coventry went to Worcester; Lichfield left with Derbyshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire
Ely May 1837 took in Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire from Lincoln; part of Suffolk from Norwich
Peterborough 1 May 1839[21] took in Leicestershire from Lincoln
Lincoln 1 May 1839 &
8 June 1841[21]
took in Nottinghamshire from York
Oxford 12 November 1845[21] took in Buckinghamshire from Lincoln
Rochester 1 January 1846[21] took in part of Hertfordshire from Lincoln and London
Rochester 1 January 1846[21] took in Essex from London
Manchester 1 November 1847 created from part of Chester Great medieval collegiate church
Carlisle 1856[21] took in rest of Westmorland, Cumberland, Furness and Cartmel from Chester
Truro 15 December 1876 created from part of Exeter New cathedral (completed 1910)
St Albans 4 May 1877 created from part of Rochester Great medieval monastery
Liverpool 9 April 1880 created from part of Chester Parish church, initially; later a huge wholly new cathedral was built
Newcastle 23 May 1882 created from part of Durham Parish church
Southwell 5 February 1884 created from part of Lincoln (Nottinghamshire) and Lichfield (Derbyshire) Southwell Minster: a great medieval collegiate church
Wakefield 18 May 1888 created from part of Ripon; dissolved in creation of Leeds diocese Parish church
Bristol 9 July 1897 reconstituted previous cathedral
Birmingham 13 January 1905 created from part of Worcester 18th century parish church
Southwark 1 May 1905 created from part of Rochester Great medieval monastery
Chelmsford 23 January 1914 created from part of St Albans Parish church
St Edmundsbury and Ipswich 23 January 1914 created from part of Ely and Norwich Parish church, with remnants of medieval monastery visible
Sheffield 23 January 1914 created from part of York, small part of Southwell Parish church
Coventry 6 September 1918 created from part of Worcester Very large parish church (and sometime cathedral); after destruction in the second world war, a wholly new cathedral was built, adjoining and overlooking the ruins.
Bradford 25 November 1919 created from part of Ripon; dissolved in creation of Leeds diocese Parish church
Blackburn 12 November 1926 created from part of Manchester Parish church
Leicester 12 November 1926 created from part of Peterborough Parish church
Guildford 1 May 1927 created from part of Winchester New cathedral
Portsmouth 1 May 1927 created from part of Winchester Parish church
Derby 7 July 1927 created from part of Southwell (Derbyshire) Parish church
Leeds 20 April 2014 created following dissolution of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Three existing cathedrals

Line of descent since St Augustine[edit]

There were archbishops in London, York and Caerleon and bishops in Lincoln before the 4th century. The following is a simplified breakdown of the creation of dioceses since St Augustine's 6th/7th century dioceses. It is simplified in that not every new diocese is formed from only one predecessor – they have often taken territory from two or more neighbouring dioceses. Today's dioceses are highlighted in bold type.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jerusalem's status is disputed and highly controversial. It is presently generally considered to be in Israel, but has also been in Palestine during the diocese's lifetime.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/life.html#6 The Domesday Book
  2. ^ Bede; Giles, J. A. (ed.). Ecclesiastical History of England, also the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (p. 316) (Google Books; accessed 29 November 2013)
  3. ^ Thackeray, William Makepeace. The Cornhill Magazine, Vol. 45 (p. 426) (Google Books; accessed 29 November 2013)
  4. ^ Cedd, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of the East Saxons (Exciting Holiness; accessed 29 November 2013)
  5. ^ Caine, A. Nuclear Ransom (p. 10) (Google Books; accessed 29 November 2013)
  6. ^ Hawkins, John. History of the Science and Practice of Music, Vol. 1 (p. 372) (Google Books; accessed 29 November 2013)
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Further reading[edit]