Bishop of Oxford
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 acting bishop is Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester.
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.
The Bishop's residence is Diocesan Church House, Oxford. He signs + Christian name 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||Suffragan Bishop of Lincoln|
|See at Oxford|
|1546||1558||Robert King||Suffragan Bishop of Lincoln|
|1558||1559||Thomas Goldwell||Previously Bishop of St Asaph; 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; appointed Bishop of Durham|
|1628||1632||Richard Corbet||Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Norwich|
|1632||1641||John Bancroft||Master of University College, Oxford|
|1641||1663||Robert Skinner||Translated from Bristol; deprived during the Commonwealth; restored in 1660; appointed Bishop of Worcester|
|1663||1665||William Paul||Dean of Lichfield|
|1665||1671||Walter Blandford||Warden of Wadham College, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Worcester|
|1671||1674||Nathaniel Crew||Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, and Dean of Chichester; appointed Bishop of Durham|
|1674||1676||Henry Compton||Canon of Christ Church, Oxford; appointed Bishop of 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; appointed Bishop of Lichfield|
|1699||1715||William Talbot||Dean of Worcester; appointed Bishop of Salisbury|
|1715||1737||John Potter||Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; appointed Archbisop of Canterbury|
|1737||1758||Thomas Secker||Bishop of Bristol; appointed Archbishop of Canterbury|
|1758||1766||John Hume||Bishop of Bristol; appointed Bishop of Salisbury|
|1766||1777||Robert Lowth||Bishop of St David's; appointed Bishop of London|
|1777||1788||John Butler||Prebendary of Winchester; appointed Bishop of Hereford|
|1788||1799||Edward Smallwell||Bishop of St David's|
|1799||1807||John Randolph||Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; appointed Bishop of 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; appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells|
|1845||1869||Samuel Wilberforce||Dean of Westminster; translated to Winchester|
|1870||1889||John Mackarness||Prebendary of Exeter|
|1889||1901||William Stubbs||Bishop of Chester|
|1901||1911||Francis Paget||Dean of Christ Church, Oxford|
|1911||1919||Charles Gore||Bishop of Birmingham; resigned|
|1919||1925||Hubert Burge||Bishop of Southwark|
|1925||1937||Thomas Strong||Bishop of 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||Bishop of Manchester; resigned|
|1987||2006||Richard Harries||Dean of King's College, London; ennobled on retirement|
|2006||2014||John Pritchard||Suffragan Bishop of Jarrow|
|2014||present||Colin Fletcher, acting bishop||Area Bishop of Dorchester
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||present||Steven Croft||Translated from Sheffield|
- Diocese of Oxford — Legal ceremony brings Bishop Steven a step closer & Diocese of Oxford — Letter from Bishop Steven (Both accessed 8 July 2016)
- The Oxford Gazette: . 7 November 1665. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
- Church of England Media Centre — Vacancy in the See of Oxford (Accessed 15 May 2015)
- 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