Bishop of Exeter
|Bishop of Exeter|
Arms of the Bishop of Exeter: Gules, a sword erect in pale argent hilted or surmounted by two keys addorsed in saltire of the last
The Bishop of Exeter is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Exeter in the Province of Canterbury. The current incumbent, since 30 April 2014, is Robert Atwell. The incumbent signs his name as his Christian name or forename followed by Exon., abbreviated from the Latin Episcopus Exoniensis ("Bishop of Exeter").
From the first bishop until the sixteenth century the Bishops of Exeter were in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. However, during the Reformation the church in England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church, at first temporarily and later more permanently. Since the Reformation, the Bishop and Diocese of Exeter has been part of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion.
The history of Christianity in the South West of England remains to some degree obscure. At a certain point the historical county of Devon formed part of the diocese of Wessex. About 703 Devon and Cornwall were included in the separate Diocese of Sherborne and in 900 this was again divided, the Devon bishop having from 905 his seat at Tawton (now Bishop's Tawton) and from 912 at Crediton, birthplace of St Boniface. Lyfing became Bishop of Crediton in 1027 and shortly afterwards became Bishop of Cornwall.
The two dioceses of Crediton and Cornwall, covering Devon and Cornwall, were permanently united under Edward the Confessor by Lyfing's successor Bishop Leofric, hitherto Bishop of Crediton, who became first Bishop of Exeter under Edward the Confessor, which was established as his cathedral city in 1050. At first the abbey church of St Mary and St Peter, founded by Athelstan in 932 and rebuilt in 1019, served as the cathedral.
The present cathedral was begun by Bishop William de Warelhurst in 1112, the transept towers he built being the only surviving part of the Norman building, which was completed by Bishop Marshall at the close of the twelfth century. The cathedral is dedicated to St Peter.
As it now stands, the cathedral is in the decorated style. It was begun by Bishop Quinel (1280–1291), continued by Bishops Bytton and Stapeldon, and completed, much as it has since remained, by Bishop Grandisson during his long pontificate of 42 years.
In many respects Exeter cathedral resembles those of France rather than others found in England. Its special features are the transept towers and the choir, containing much early stained glass. There is also an episcopal throne, separated from the nave by a choir screen (1324) and a stately West front. In a comparison with certain other English cathedrals, it is perhaps disadvantaged by the absence of a central tower and a general lack of elevation, but it is undoubtedly very fine.
The bishops of Exeter, like the general population of the diocese, always enjoyed considerable independence, and the see was one of the largest and richest in England. The remoteness of the see from London prevented it from being bestowed on statesmen or courtiers, so that over the centuries the roll of bishops possessed more capable scholars and administrators than in many other sees. The result was a long and stable line of bishops, leading to active Christian observance in the area.
The diocese contained 604 parishes grouped in four archdeaconries: Cornwall, Barnstaple, Exeter, and Totnes. There were Benedictine, Augustinian, Premonstratensian, Franciscan and Dominican religious houses, and four Cistercian abbeys.
This wealthy diocese was forced to cede land during the reign of Henry VIII, when Bishop Vesey was obliged to surrender fourteen out of twenty-two manors, and the value of the see was reduced to a third of what it formerly was. Vesey, despite his Catholic sympathies, held the see until 1551, when he finally had to resign, and was replaced by the Bible translator Miles Coverdale. Following the accession of Mary, in 1553, Vesey was restored, but died soon after in 1554. He was succeeded by James Turberville, the last Catholic Bishop of Exeter. Turberville was removed from the see by the Protestant Elizabeth I in 1559, and died in prison, probably in or about 1570.
Henry Phillpotts served as Lord Bishop of Exeter from 1830 to his death in office in 1869. He was England's longest serving bishop since the 14th century. The diocese was divided in 1876 along the border of Devon and Cornwall, creating the Diocese of Truro (but five parishes which were at the time in Devon were included in this diocese as they had always been within the Archdeaconry of Cornwall). The diocese covers the County of Devon. The see is in the City of Exeter where the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter which was founded as an abbey possibly before 690. The current incumbent is the Lord Bishop of Exeter
List of bishops
|Pre-Reformation Bishops of Exeter|
|1050||1072||Leofric||The first bishop who had transferred the sees of Crediton and Cornwall to Exeter|
|1155||1160||Robert of Chichester|
|1186||1191||John the Chanter|
|1206||1214||See vacant||Due to Pope Innocent III's interdict against King John's realms.|
|1214||1223||Simon of Apulia|
|1224||1244||William Briwere||Also recorded as William Brewer|
|1245||1257||Richard Blund||Also recorded as Richard Blundy|
|1258||1280||Walter Branscombe||Also recorded as Walter Bronescombe|
|1280||1291||Peter Quinel||Also recorded as Peter de Quivel or Quivil|
|1291||1307||Thomas Bitton||Also recorded as Thomas de Bytton|
|1308||1326||Walter de Stapledon|
|1327||John Godeley||Also recorded as John Godele. Elected, but quashed.|
|1370||1394||Thomas de Brantingham||Also recorded as Thomas Brantyngham|
|1419||John Catterick||Also recorded as John Ketterick. Translated from Lichfield.|
|1420||1455||Edmund Lacey||Also recorded as Edmund Lacy. Translated from Hereford.|
|1455||1456||John Hales||Appointed, but resigned before consecration.|
|1458||1465||George Neville||Translated to York|
|1478||1487||Peter Courtenay||Translated to Winchester|
|1487||1492||Richard Foxe||Translated to Bath and Wells|
|1493||1495||Oliver King||Translated to Bath and Wells|
|1496||1502||Richard Redman||Translated from St Asaph; later translated to Ely|
|1502||1504||John Arundel||Translated from Lichfield|
During the Reformation
|Bishops of Exeter during the Reformation|
|1519||1551||John Vesey (resigned)|
|1553||1554||John Vesey (restored)|
|Post-Reformation Bishops of Exeter|
|1560||1571||William Alley||Also recorded as William Alley|
|1595||1597||Gervase Babington||Translated to Worcester|
|1627||1641||Joseph Hall||Translated to Norwich|
|1660||1662||John Gauden||Translated to Worcester|
|1662||1667||Seth Ward||Translated to Salisbury|
|1667||1676||Anthony Sparrow||Translated to Norwich|
|1676||1688||Thomas Lamplugh||Translated to York|
|1689||1707||Sir Jonathan Trelawney Bt||Translated from Bristol; later translated to Winchester|
|1717||1724||Lancelot Blackburne||Translated to York|
|1742||1746||Nicholas Clagett||Translated from St David's|
|1797||1803||Reginald Courtenay||Translated from Bristol|
|1803||1807||John Fisher||Translated to Salisbury|
|1807||1820||George Pelham||Translated from Bristol; later translated to Lincoln|
|1820||1830||William Carey||Translated to St Asaph|
|1830||1830||Christopher Bethell||Translated from Gloucester; later translated to Bangor|
|1869||1885||Frederick Temple||Translated to London|
|1901||1903||Herbert Edward Ryle||Translated to Winchester|
|1916||1936||Lord William Cecil|
|1936||1948||Charles Curzon||Translated from Stepney|
|1973||1985||Eric Mercer||Translated from Birkenhead|
|1985||1999||Hewlett Thompson||Translated from Willesden|
|1999||30 June 2013||Michael Langrish||Translated from Birkenhead|
|30 April 2014||present||Robert Atwell||Translated from Stockport|
- Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.432
- Crockford's Clerical Directory, 100th edition, (2007), Church House Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7151-1030-0.
- Diocese of Exeter – Election of new Bishop of Exeter formally confirmed (Accessed 9 May 2014)
- Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (Third Edition, revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 246–248. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
- Horn, J. M. (1962). "Bishops of Exeter". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: Volume 9: Exeter Diocese. British History Online. pp. 1–3.
- "Historical successions: Exeter (including precussor offices)". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- The London Gazette: . 8 September 1792.
- BBC News – Bishop Langrish retires from office (Accessed 1 July 2013)
- Some text adapted from Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1908.