Bishop of Oxford
Bishop of Oxford
|First holder||Robert King|
|Cathedral||Christ Church Cathedral|
The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury; his seat is at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. The current bishop is Steven Croft, following the confirmation of his election to the See on 6 July 2016.
The Bishop of Oxford has authority throughout the diocese, but also has primary responsibility for the city and suburbs of Oxford, which form the Archdeaconry of Oxford.
The origins of Christianity in this part of England go back at least to the 7th century, when Saint Birinus brought his mission to the West Saxons in 634. The West Saxon King Cynegils was baptised in the River Thames near the present site of Dorchester Abbey, where the original See was established.
The see was transferred in 1092 to Winchester, before being absorbed into the Diocese of Lincoln, the vast extent of which covered much of central and eastern England from the River Thames to the Humber.
King Henry VIII, acting now as head of the Church in England, established by Act of Parliament in 1542 six new dioceses, mostly out of the spoils of the suppressed monasteries. These six were Bristol, Chester, Gloucester, Oxford, Peterborough and Westminster. This intervention by Henry VIII saw a new see located at Osney in Oxfordshire in 1542 before finally being moved to its present location in the City of Oxford in 1546.
While the city gained prosperity from the accession of thousands of students, it was never, apart from the university, again prominent in history until the seventeenth century, when it became the headquarters of the Royalist party, and again the meeting-place of Parliament. The city of Oxford showed its Hanoverian sympathies long before the university, and feeling between them ran high in consequence. The area and population of the city remained almost stationary until about 1830, but since then it has grown rapidly.
The modern diocese covers the counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire, with parishes also in Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, and Warwickshire. The see is in the City of Oxford where the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Christ which was elevated to cathedral status in 1546, and which (uniquely among English dioceses) is also the chapel of Christ Church, Oxford. The Oxford diocese at the present day contains the greatest number of parishes of any diocese on England (621) and also the most church buildings (815), of which 475 are grade 1 or 2* listed buildings.
Croft is the first to reside at the new Bishop's Lodge, Kidlington; "for decades" previously, bishops had resided at Linton Road in North Oxford. Each bishop signs + Christian name Oxon:; e.g. + Steven Oxon:.
List of bishops
List of the Bishops of Oxford, and its precursor offices.
(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)
|Bishops of Oxford|
|See at Osney|
|1542||1546||Robert King||previously suffragan bishop to the Bishop of Lincoln (as titular Bishop of Rheon, Greece)|
|See at Oxford|
|1546||1558||Robert King||previously Bishop of Rheon (above)|
|1558||1559||Thomas Goldwell||Translated from St Asaph: his nomination had however been left unsigned at the death of the Queen; deprived, fled to Milan, Naples and Rome|
|1567||1568||Hugh Curwen||Translated from Dublin|
|1589||1592||John Underhill||Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford|
|1604||1618||John Bridges||Dean of Salisbury|
|1619||1628||John Howson||Student of Christ Church, Oxford; translated to Durham|
|1628||1632||Richard Corbet||Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; translated to Norwich|
|1632||1641||John Bancroft||Master of University College, Oxford|
|1641||1663||Robert Skinner||Translated from Bristol; deprived during the Commonwealth; restored in 1660; translated to Worcester|
|1663||1665||William Paul||Dean of Lichfield|
|1665||1671||Walter Blandford||Warden of Wadham College, Oxford; translated to Worceser|
|1671||1674||Nathaniel Crew||Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, and Dean of Chichester; translated to Durham|
|1674||1676||Henry Compton||Canon of Christ Church, Oxford; translated to London|
|1676||1686||John Fell||Dean of Christ Church, Oxford|
|1686||1687||Samuel Parker||Archdeacon of Canterbury; died in office|
|1688||1690||Timothy Hall||Denied installation by the Chapter of Christ Church|
|1690||1699||John Hough||President of Magdalen College, Oxford; translated to Lichfield|
|1699||1715||William Talbot||Dean of Worcester; translated to Salisbury|
|1715||1737||John Potter||Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; translated to Canterbury|
|1737||1758||Thomas Secker||Translated from Bristol; translated to Canterbury|
|1758||1766||John Hume||Translated from Bristol; translated to Salisbury|
|1766||1777||Robert Lowth||Translated from St David's; translated to London|
|1777||1788||John Butler||Prebendary of Winchester; translated to Hereford|
|1788||1799||Edward Smallwell||Translated from St David's|
|1799||1807||John Randolph||Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; translated to Bangor|
|1812||1815||William Jackson||Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford|
|1816||1827||Edward Legge||Dean of Windsor|
|1827||1829||Charles Lloyd||Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford|
|1829||1845||Richard Bagot||Dean of Canterbury; translated to Bath & Wells|
|1845||1869||Samuel Wilberforce||Dean of Westminster; translated to Winchester|
|1870||1889||John Mackarness||Prebendary of Exeter|
|1889||1901||William Stubbs||Translated from Chester|
|1901||1911||Francis Paget||Dean of Christ Church, Oxford|
|1911||1919||Charles Gore||Translated from Birmingham; resigned|
|1919||1925||Hubert Burge||Translated from Southwark|
|1925||1937||Thomas Strong||Translated from Ripon; resigned|
|1937||1954||Kenneth Kirk||Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford|
|1955||1970||Harry Carpenter||Warden of Keble College, Oxford; resigned|
|1971||1978||Kenneth Woollcombe||Principal of Edinburgh Theological College; resigned|
|1978||1986||Patrick Rodger||Translated from Manchester; resigned|
|1987||2006||Richard Harries||Dean of King's College, London; ennobled on retirement|
|2006||2014||John Pritchard||Translated from Jarrow|
Bishop of Dorchester
|Acting Bishop. The unusually long vacancy was due to the Crown Nominations Commission failing to appoint in May 2015, and having to rejoin the back of the 'queue' for a second chance in March 2016.|
|6 July 2016||incumbent||Steven Croft||Translated from Sheffield|
Among those who have served the diocese as stipendiary (i.e. not retired) Assistant Bishops have been:
- 1921 – 1936 (ret.): Edward Shaw, Archdeacon of Oxford and canon residentiary of Christ Church; former Bishop suffragan of Buckingham
- 1936 – 1939: Gerald Allen, Archdeacon of Oxford and Canon of Christ Church, former Bishop of Sherborne (became first Bishop suffragan of Dorchester)
- 1947 – 1952 (ret.): Roscow Shedden, Vicar of Wantage and former Bishop of Nassau
Those who have served in (or into) retirement have included:
- Diocese of Oxford — Legal ceremony brings Bishop Steven a step closer Archived 14 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine & Diocese of Oxford — Letter from Bishop Steven (Both accessed 8 July 2016)
- Ffrench, Andrew. "New Bishop of Oxford will live outside city as current £10m house deemed too expensive". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- "No. 1". The Oxford Gazette. 7 November 1665. p. 1.
- Church of England Media Centre — Vacancy in the See of Oxford (Accessed 15 May 2015)
- "Church news". Church Times (#3827). 29 May 1936. p. 665. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 27 February 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
- "Allen, Gerald Burton". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- "Shedden, Roscow George". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Oxford Diocesan Year Book
- Haydn's Book of Dignities (1894) Joseph Haydn/Horace Ockerby, reprinted (1969)
- Whitaker's Almanack 1883 to 2004, Joseph Whitaker and Sons Ltd/A&C Black, London
- The above text is partly drawn from the Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1908