Bishop of Oxford

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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;[1] the acting bishop is Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester.

History[edit]

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.

Modern bishopric[edit]

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[edit]

List of the Bishops of Oxford, and its precursor offices.

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

Bishops of Oxford
From Until Incumbent Notes
See at Osney
1542 1546 Fond blanc.svg Robert King Suffragan Bishop of Lincoln
See at Oxford
1546 1558 Fond blanc.svg Robert King Suffragan Bishop of Lincoln
1558 1559 Fond blanc.svg Thomas Goldwell Previously Bishop of St Asaph; deprived, fled to Milan, Naples and Rome
1559 1567 See vacant
1567 1568 Fond blanc.svg Hugh Curwen Translated from Dublin
1568 1589 See vacant
1589 1592 Fond blanc.svg John Underhill Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford
1592 1604 See vacant
1604 1618 Fond blanc.svg John Bridges Dean of Salisbury
1619 1628 Bp John Howson.jpg John Howson Student of Christ Church, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Durham
1628 1632 Portrait of Richard Corbet Bishop of Norwich by Sylvester Harding.jpg Richard Corbet Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Norwich
1632 1641 Bp John Bancroft.jpg John Bancroft Master of University College, Oxford
1641 1663 Fond blanc.svg Robert Skinner Translated from Bristol; deprived during the Commonwealth; restored in 1660; appointed Bishop of Worcester
1663 1665 Fond blanc.svg William Paul Dean of Lichfield
1665 1671 Bp Walter Blandford.jpg Walter Blandford Warden of Wadham College, Oxford;[2] appointed Bishop of Worcester
1671 1674 Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew from NPG.jpg Nathaniel Crew Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, and Dean of Chichester; appointed Bishop of Durham
1674 1676 Henry Compton by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg Henry Compton Canon of Christ Church, Oxford; appointed Bishop of London
1676 1686 Bp John Fell.jpg John Fell Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
1686 1687 Fond blanc.svg Samuel Parker Archdeacon of Canterbury; died in office
1688 1690 Fond blanc.svg Timothy Hall Denied installation by the Chapter of Christ Church
1690 1699 John Hough portrait.jpg John Hough President of Magdalen College, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Lichfield
1699 1715 William Talbot by Kneller.jpg William Talbot Dean of Worcester; appointed Bishop of Salisbury
1715 1737 Abp John Potter.jpg John Potter Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; appointed Archbisop of Canterbury
1737 1758 Thomas Secker by Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg Thomas Secker Bishop of Bristol; appointed Archbishop of Canterbury
1758 1766 John Hume Bp of Oxford.jpg John Hume Bishop of Bristol; appointed Bishop of Salisbury
1766 1777 Robert Lowth portrait.jpg Robert Lowth Bishop of St David's; appointed Bishop of London
1777 1788 Fond blanc.svg John Butler Prebendary of Winchester; appointed Bishop of Hereford
1788 1799 Bp Edward Smallwell.jpg Edward Smallwell Bishop of St David's
1799 1807 John Randolph Bishop of London 1811 by William Owen.jpg John Randolph Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Bangor
1807 1811 Bp Charles Moss.jpg Charles Moss
1812 1815 Bp William Jackson.jpg William Jackson Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford
1816 1827 The Hon. & Right Rev. Edward Legge L.L.D. Lord Bishop of Oxford.jpg Edward Legge Dean of Windsor
1827 1829 BpCharlesLee.jpg Charles Lloyd Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford
1829 1845 Bp Richard Bagot.jpg Richard Bagot Dean of Canterbury; appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells
1845 1869 Samuel Wilberforce2.jpg Samuel Wilberforce Dean of Westminster; translated to Winchester
1870 1889 John Fielder Mackarness photo.jpg John Mackarness Prebendary of Exeter
1889 1901 Portrait of William Stubbs by Hubert von Herkomer.jpeg William Stubbs Bishop of Chester
1901 1911 Francis Paget.jpg Francis Paget Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
1911 1919 Charles Gore NPG.jpg Charles Gore Bishop of Birmingham; resigned
1919 1925 Fond blanc.svg Hubert Burge Bishop of Southwark
1925 1937 Bp Thomas Banks Strong.jpg Thomas Strong Bishop of Ripon; resigned
1937 1954 Fond blanc.svg Kenneth Kirk Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford
1955 1970 Fond blanc.svg Harry Carpenter Warden of Keble College, Oxford; resigned
1971 1978 Fond blanc.svg Kenneth Woollcombe Principal of Edinburgh Theological College; resigned
1978 1986 Fond blanc.svg Patrick Rodger Bishop of Manchester; resigned
1987 2006 Richard Harries 20040428.jpg Richard Harries Dean of King's College, London; ennobled on retirement
2006 2014 John Pritchard crop.jpg John Pritchard Suffragan Bishop of Jarrow
2014 present Fond blanc.svg 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.[3]
6 July 2016 present SteveCroft Consecration.JPG Steven Croft Translated from Sheffield[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • 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