Diocese of St Albans
|Diocese of Saint Albans|
|Archdeaconries||Bedford, Hertford, St Albans|
|Cathedral||St Albans Cathedral|
|Bishop||Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans|
|Suffragans||Richard Atkinson, Bishop of Bedford
Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford
|Archdeacons||Trevor Jones, Archdeacon of Hertford
Paul Hughes, Archdeacon of Bedford
Jonathan Smith, Archdeacon of St Albans
The diocese is home to more than 1.6 million people and comprises the historic Counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, or in terms of local government areas, Bedfordshire, Luton, Hertfordshire and parts of the London Borough of Barnet. It therefore ranges from small rural communities in villages and hamlets to major urban centres like Luton, Bedford, Watford and Hemel Hempstead, and includes suburban areas on London's outer reaches.
The new diocese was founded relatively recently by an Order in Council on 4 May 1877, implementing the Bishopric of St Albans Act 1875.
The see is in the City of St Albans, where the cathedra (bishop's seat) is located in St Albans Cathedral. The cathedral building itself dates from 1077. It was an abbey church (part of St Albans Abbey) prior to its dissolution in 1539, and then a parish church (purchased by the town in 1553) until its elevation to cathedral status in 1877.
In 1914, the new Diocese of Chelmsford was formed, removing Essex from the St Albans diocese. A few months later the county Archdeaconry of Bedford was added from the Diocese of Ely, thereby providing the diocese substantially with its current boundaries.
Current geographical limits and structure
The diocese currently includes:
- the county of Bedfordshire, including Luton
- the county of Hertfordshire
- parts of the London Borough of Barnet
The diocese is overseen by the Bishop of St Albans, whose cathedra (or seat) is in St Albans Cathedral. He is supported in his pastoral work in the diocese by two suffragan bishops, the Bishop of Hertford and the Bishop of Bedford as well as three archdeacons.
The diocese is divided into three archdeaconries:
- Archdeaconry of St Albans
- Archdeaconry of Bedford
- Archdeaconry of Hertford
The diocesan offices are located in Holywell Hill in St Albans.
The Bishop of St Albans (Alan Smith) leads the diocese, and is assisted by the Bishops suffragan of Bedford (Richard Atkinson) and of Hertford (Michael Beasley). The suffragan see of Bedford was created by the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534 but went into abeyance after one incumbent; that see was next filled in the late 19th century and has been in near-constant use again since 1935. The See of Hertford was created by Order in Council of 5 July 1889, but remained dormant until first filled in December 1967.
Alternative episcopal oversight (for parishes in the diocese which reject the ministry of priests who are women) is provided by the provincial episcopal visitor, Norman Banks, Bishop suffragan of Richborough, who is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop of the diocese in order to facilitate his work there. There are also several former bishops living in the diocese who are licensed as honorary assistant bishops:
- 2001–present: Robin Smith, retired Bishop suffragan of Hertford, lives in Redbourn.
- 2013–present: Stephen Venner, retired Bishop of Dover, former Bishop for the Falkland Islands and Bishop to the Forces, lives in St Albans, itself. Venner is also licensed in the Dioceses of Rochester and in Europe.
- Also, David Pytches (retired diocesan Bishop of Chile, Bolivia and Peru) lives in Chorleywood and John Gladwin (retired Bishop of Chelmsford) lives in Wheathampstead, but there is no evidence that either man is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop in the diocese.
Archdeacon of Hertford
The Archdeaconry of Hertford was created by Order in Council on 1 January 1997 from the eastern parts of the Archdeaconry of St Albans, which at the time was one of the largest archdeaconries in England. There has been only one Archdeacon of Hertford since the archdeaconry's institution: the incumbent, Trevor Jones.
- The London Gazette: . 4 May 1877. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- Diocese of St Albans – A History of the Sees of Hertford and Bedford (Accessed 20 August 2014)
- Smith, Robin Jonathan Norman. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- Venner, Stephen Squires. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- Pytches, (George Edward) David. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- Gladwin, John Warren. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- Greenway, Diana E., Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300 2, pp. 50–52
- Diocese of St Albans – History of the Archdeaconries
- Jones, Trevor Pryce. Who's Who 2013 (December 2012 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 4 June 2013.