Alan Smithson

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Alan Smithson
Bishop of Jarrow
Diocese Diocese of Durham
In office 1990–2001
Predecessor Michael Ball
Successor John Pritchard
Other posts Honorary assistant bishop in Glasgow & Galloway (2002–2010) and in Edinburgh (2007–2010)
Ordination 1964 (deacon); 1965 (priest)
Consecration 1990
Personal details
Born (1936-12-01) 1 December 1936 (age 80)
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, United Kingdom[1]
Died 17 June 2010(2010-06-17) (aged 73)
Edinburgh, UK[2]
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Parents Herbert & Mary
Spouse Jean McKenzie (m. 1964)
Children 2 sons; 2 daughters
Alma mater Queen's College, Oxford
Smithson's grave, St Mark's, Portobello

Alan Smithson (1 December 1936[3] – 17 June 2010)[2] was Bishop of Jarrow from 1990 to 2001.

He was educated at Bradford Grammar School and Queen's College, Oxford (he gained an Oxford Master of Arts {MA(Oxon)} and a Diploma in Theology {DipTh}) before embarking on an ecclesiastical career with a curacy at Christ Church, Skipton[4] after which he was Chaplain at his old college.[5] Following this he was Vicar of Bracknell and later a Canon Residentiary at Carlisle Cathedral before being elevated to the Episcopate.[6] In retirement he served the Diocese of Edinburgh as an assistant bishop. He was also National Chaplain to the Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade from 1992-2006 where he was much loved.

He died in Edinburgh[2] and is buried in the churchyard of St Mark's in Portobello, just to the rear of the church.


In 1998, he contributed to the defence in a court case where the accused was Michael Golightly, a priest on a charge of attempted murder against his wife Enid. Enid was subjected to an attack with a hammer to the side of her head whilst asleep, and was left for some hours by Golightly with a severe brain injury. There was no evidence of forced entry and Golightly did not call an ambulance until late in the afternoon.

Before the trial, Smithson had succeeded in getting bail for the accused, who stayed with friars at Alnmouth. During the trial he stated that the accused was an upstanding clergyman and it was not in his nature to carry out such an act; his submission was opposed by Enid Golightly's family. The victim refused to give evidence for the prosecution. Michael Golightly was sentenced to five years' imprisonment[7] for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

After the trial, Enid Golightly lived in Durham, disabled and in poverty, until Michael was released. Re-united, they subsequently moved to the Hull area.


  1. ^ St Mark's Portobello – Smithson obituary
  2. ^ a b c Durham Times – a personal tribute to Smithson
  3. ^ Smithson, Alan. Who Was Who. 1920–2016 (April 2014 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  4. ^ Church History
  5. ^ Crockford's clerical directory, 1995” (Lambeth, Church House ISBN 0-7151-8088-6)
  6. ^ ”Debrett's People of Today 1992” (London, Debrett's) ISBN 1-870520-09-2)
  7. ^ [1], BBC News.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Michael Ball
Bishop of Jarrow
Succeeded by
John Pritchard