The British garrison of Port Elizabeth saw the arrival of 500 settlers in 1825, which included Francis McClelland, who was appointed the same year Colonial Chaplain. It was also laid the foundation stone of the Collegiate Church of St. Mary the Virgin, who only would be opened for worship in 1832. The Anglican Diocese of Port Elizabeth was created in 1970, being his first bishop, Philip Russell, until 1974. The diocese supported the anti-apartheid campaign under his tenure and the one of his successor, Bruce Evans. He was followed by Eric Pike, who would be in office from 1993 to 2001. Bethlehem Nopece was elected as the first black bishop of the diocese in 2001.
The diocese registered a coat of arms at the Bureau of Heraldry in 1977 : Argent, on a cross Gules, between in dexter chief an anchor, in sinister chief a cross moline, in dexter base a clay pot and in sinister base a triangle Sable voided of the field, a lamb couchant proper, the shield ensigned with a mitre proper.