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Bishop of Salisbury

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Bishop of Salisbury
Stephen Lake
Ecclesiastical provinceCanterbury
ResidenceSouth Canonry, Salisbury
First holderAldhelm
Herman (first bishop at Sarum)
1075 (translated to Salisbury)
CathedralSalisbury Cathedral

The Bishop of Salisbury is the ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese of Salisbury in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers much of the counties of Wiltshire and Dorset. The see is in the City of Salisbury where the bishop's seat is in the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The current bishop is Stephen Lake.[1]


The English dioceses 950–1035

The Diocese of Sherborne (founded c. AD 705) was the origin of the present diocese; St Aldhelm was its first bishop.[2]

In about 705 the vast diocese of Wessex at Winchester was divided in two with the creation of a new diocese of Sherborne under Bishop Aldhelm, covering Devon, Somerset and Dorset. Cornwall was added to the diocese at the end of the ninth century, but in about 909 the diocese was divided in three with the creation of the bishoprics of Wells, covering Somerset, and Crediton, covering Devon and Cornwall, leaving Sherborne with Dorset.[3][4]

In 1058, the Sherborne chapter elected Herman, Bishop of Ramsbury to be also Bishop of Sherborne. Following the Norman Conquest, the 1075 Council of London united his two sees as a single diocese and translated them to the then-larger settlement around the royal castle at Old Sarum. Disputes between Bishops Herbert and Richard Poore and the sheriffs of Wiltshire led to the removal of the see in the 1220s to New Sarum (modern Salisbury). This was chartered as the city of New Sarum by King Henry III in 1227,[5] but it was not until the 14th century that the office was described (by Bishop Wyvil) as the bishop of Sarum (episcopus Sarum).[6] The diocese, like the city, is now known as Salisbury. The archdeaconry around Salisbury, however, retains the name of Sarum.

Reforms within the Church of England led to the annexation of Dorset from the abolished diocese of Bristol in 1836; Berkshire, however, was removed the same year and given to Oxford. In 1925 and 1974, new suffragan bishops were appointed to assist the Bishop of Salisbury; the new offices were titled the bishops of Sherborne and Ramsbury, respectively.[2] Until 2009[7] the bishops operated under an episcopal area scheme established in 1981, with each suffragan bishop having a formal geographical area of responsibility, and being known as "area bishops": the Bishop of Ramsbury had oversight of the diocese's parishes in Wiltshire, while the Bishop of Sherborne had oversight of the parishes in Dorset. This scheme was replaced to reflect the increased working across the whole diocese by all three bishops. The two suffragans may now legally function anywhere in the diocese, and the Bishop of Salisbury may delegate any of his functions to them. The Bishop of Salisbury's residence is now the South Canonry, near the cathedral.[8]

List of bishops[edit]


Bishops of Sherborne
From Until Incumbent Notes
c. 705 709 Saint Aldhelm Also Abbot of Malmesbury.
709 737? Forthhere Also recorded as Fordhere. Possibly resigned the see in 737.
736 766 x 774 Herewald
766 x 774 789 x 794 Æthelmod
793 796 x 801 Denefrith
793 x 801 816 x 825 Wigberht Also recorded as Wigheorht.
816 x 825 867 Eahlstan Also recorded as Alfstan.
867 or 868 871 Saint Heahmund Also recorded as Saint Hamund.
871 x 877 879 x 889 Æthelheah
879 x 889 890 x 900 Wulfsige I
890 x 900 909 Asser Also recorded as John Asser or Asserius Menevensis.
c. 909 c. 909 Æthelweard
c. 909 918, or 909 x 925 Wærstan
918, or 909 x 925 918, or 909 x 925 Æthelbald
918, or 909 x 925 932 x 934 Sigehelm
932 x 934 939 x 943 Alfred
939 x 943 958 x 964 Wulfsige II
958 x 964 978 Ælfwold I
978 or 979 991 x 993 Æthelsige I
993? 1002 Wulfsige III Died in office on 8 January 1002.
1002 1011 or 1012 Æthelric
1011 or 1012 c. 1014 Æthelsige II
1014 x 1017 1014 x 1017 Brithwine I
1017 1023 Ælfmær Abbot of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. Died in office, possibly on 5 April 1023.
1023 1045 Brithwine II Died in office, possibly on 2 June 1045.
1045 1058 Saint Ælfwold II Venerated as a saint with his Feast day on 25 March.
1058 1075 Herman Also Bishop of Ramsbury. Became the first Bishop of Salisbury when the sees of Sherborne and Ramsbury were transferred to Salisbury (Old Sarum) in 1075.


Bishops of Salisbury
From Until Incumbent Notes
See at Old Sarum
1075 1078 Herman Bishop of Sherborne (1058–75) and of Ramsbury (1045–55 and 1058–75). Removed the two sees to Salisbury (Old Sarum) in 1075. Died in office.
1078 1099 Saint Osmund Died in office. Canonized by Pope Callixtus III in 1457.
1099 1102 See vacant
1102 1139 Roger of Salisbury Formerly Lord Chancellor. Died in office.
1140 Henry de Sully Nominated by Henry of Blois, but was rejected by King Stephen. In compensation, Sully became abbot of Fécamp Abbey.
1140 1141 Philip de Harcourt Dean of Lincoln. Nominated by King Stephen, but Henry of Blois refused to consecrate. Harcourt appealed to Rome, but the nomination was quashed. Later became Bishop of Bayeux.
1142 1184 Josceline de Bohon Also recorded as Jocelin Bohon. Formerly Archdeacon of Winchester. Resigned in 1184 and became a Cistercian monk at Forde Abbey, Dorset.
1184 1189 See vacant
1189 1193 Hubert Walter Formerly Dean of York. Translated to Canterbury
1194 1217 Herbert Poore Formerly Archdeacon of Canterbury. Translated to Canterbury.
1217 1225 Richard Poore Previously Dean of Salisbury (1197–1215) and translated from Chichester. Removed see to Salisbury.
See at Salisbury
1225 1228 Richard Poore (cont.) Removed the see from Old Sarum. Translated to Durham.
1229 1246 Robert de Bingham Also recorded as Robert Bingham. Died in office.
1246 1256 William de York Formerly Provost of Beverley. Died in office.
1256 1262 Giles of Bridport Formerly Dean of Wells. Died in office.
1263 1271 Walter de la Wyle Formerly Sub-chanter of Salisbury. Died in office.
1271 1284 Robert Wickhampton Formerly Dean of Salisbury. Died in office.
1284 1286 Walter Scammel Formerly Dean of Salisbury. Died in office.
1287 1288 Henry Brandeston Formerly Dean of Salisbury. Died in office.
1288 Lawrence de Awkeburne Elected but died before consecration.
1288 1291 William de la Corner Formerly Archdeacon of Northumberland. Died in office.
1291 1297 Nicholas Longespee Formerly a Prebendary of Salisbury. Died in office.
1297 1315 Simon of Ghent Died in office.
1315 1330 Roger Martival Formerly Dean of Lincoln. Died in office.
1330 1375 Robert Wyvil Also recorded as Robert Wyville. Died in office.
1375 1388 Ralph Ergham Translated to Bath & Wells.
1388 1395 John Waltham Also Master of the Rolls and Lord Treasurer. Died in office.
1395 1407 Richard Mitford Translated from Chichester. Died in office.
1407 Nicholas Bubwith Also recorded as Nicholas Bubbewith. Translated from London. Afterwards translated to Bath & Wells.
1407 1417 Robert Hallam Formerly Archdeacon of Canterbury and Chancellor of Oxford. Created a pseudocardinal by Antipope John XXIII in 1411, but Hallam did not accept the promotion. Died in office.
1417 1426 John Chandler Also recorded as John Chaundler. Formerly Dean of Salisbury. Died in office.
1427 1438 Robert Neville Also recorded as Robert Nevill. Formerly Provost of Beverley. Translated to Durham.
1438 1450 William Ayscough Also recorded as William Aiscough. Murdered by an angry mob during Jack Cade's rebellion.
1450 1481 Richard Beauchamp Translated from Hereford. Died in office.
1482 1484 Lionel Woodville Formerly Dean of Exeter and Chancellor of Oxford. Died in office.
1485 1493 Thomas Langton Translated from St David's. Afterwards translated to Winchester.
1493 1499 John Blyth Also recorded as John Blythe. Also Master of the Rolls and Chancellor of Cambridge. Died in office.
1501 Henry Deane Translated from Bangor. Afterwards translated to Canterbury
1502 1524 Edmund Audley Translated from Hereford. Died in office.
1524 1534 Lorenzo Campeggio Bishop of Bologna. Appointed Administrator of Salisbury. Deprived by Act of Parliament on the grounds of non-residence. Continued to be recognized as Administrator by the Vatican until July 1539.

During the Reformation[edit]

Bishops of Salisbury
From Until Incumbent Notes
1535 1539 Nicholas Shaxton Formerly Treasurer of Salisbury. Resigned due to non-subscription to the Six Articles.
1539 1557 John Capon Also known as John Salcott. Translated from Bangor. Died in office.
1539 1542 Gasparo Contarini Bishop of Belluno. Appointed apostolic administrator of Salisbury by Pope Paul III, but was not recognised by King Henry VIII.
1543 1553 William Petow Appointed by Pope Paul III, but was not recognised by King Henry VIII. Did not take possession on the accession of Queen Mary I in 1553.
1558 Francis Mallet Dean of Lincoln (1555–1570). Nominated by Queen Mary but not consecrated, and set aside on her death.


Bishops of Salisbury
From Until Incumbent Notes
1559 1571 John Jewel Died in office.
1571 1577 Edmund Gheast Translated from Rochester. Also Lord High Almoner. Died in office.
1577 1589 John Piers Translated from Rochester. Also Lord High Almoner. Afterwards translated to York
1589 1591 See vacant
1591 1596 John Coldwell Formerly Dean of Rochester. Died in office.
1596 1598 See vacant
1598 1615 Henry Cotton Formerly a Prebendary of Winchester. Died in office.
1615 1618 Robert Abbot Formerly Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Died in office.
1618 1620 Martin Fotherby Formerly a Prebendary of Canterbury. Died in office.
1620 1621 Robert Tounson Also recorded as Robert Townson, Toulson, or Thompson. Formerly Dean of Westminster. Died in office.
1621 1641 John Davenant Formerly President of Queens' College, Cambridge. Died in office.
1641 1646 Brian Duppa Translated from Chichester. Deprived of the see when the episcopacy was abolished by Parliament.
1646 1660 See abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate.[16][17]
1660 Brian Duppa (restored) Reinstated on the restoration of the episcopacy. Afterwards translated to Winchester.
1660 1663 Humphrey Henchman Formerly Precentor of Salisbury. Translated to London.
1663 1665 John Earle Translated from Worcester. Died in office.
1665 1667 Alexander Hyde Formerly Dean of Winchester. Died in office.
1667 1689 Seth Ward Translated from Exeter. Died in office.
1689 1715 Gilbert Burnet Formerly Preacher at the Rolls Chapel. Died in office.
1715 1721 William Talbot Translated from Oxford. Afterwards translated to Durham.
1721 1723 Richard Willis Translated from Gloucester. Afterwards translated to Winchester.
1723 1734 Benjamin Hoadly Translated from Hereford. Afterwards translated to Winchester.
1734 1748 Thomas Sherlock Translated from Bangor. Afterwards translated to London.
1748 1757 John Gilbert Translated from Llandaff. Afterwards translated to York.
1757 1761 John Thomas (I.) Translated from Peterborough. Afterwards translated to Winchester
1761 Robert Hay Drummond Translated from St Asaph. Afterwards translated to York.
1761 1766 John Thomas (II.) Translated from Lincoln. Died in office.
1766 1782 John Hume Translated from Oxford. Died in office.
1782 1791 Shute Barrington Translated from Llandaff. Afterwards translated to Durham.
1791 1807 John Douglas Translated from Carlisle. Died in office
1807 1825 John Fisher Translated from Exeter. Died in office.
1825 1837 Thomas Burgess Translated from St David's. Died in office.
1837 1854 Edward Denison Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. Died in office.
1854 1869 Walter Kerr Hamilton Formerly a Canon-resident and Precentor of Salisbury. Died in office.
1869 1885 George Moberly Formerly a Canon of Chester. Died in office.
1885 1911 John Wordsworth Oriel Professor of Divinity, Oxford. Founder of Bishop Wordsworth's School. Died in office.
1911 1921 Frederick Ridgeway Translated from Kensington. Died in office.
1921 1935 St Clair Donaldson Translated from Brisbane. Died in office.
1936 1946 Neville Lovett Translated from Portsmouth. Retired.
1946 1948 Geoffrey Lunt Translated from Ripon. Died in office.
1949 1962 William Anderson Translated from Portsmouth. Retired.
1963 1972 Joseph Fison Died in office.
1973 1981 George Reindorp Translated from Guildford. Retired.
1982 1993 John Baker Retired.
1993 2010 David Stancliffe Retired.
2011 2021 Nicholas Holtam Nominated on 12 April,[18][19] consecrated on 22 July,[20] and installed on 15 October 2011.[21] Retired 3 July 2021.[22]
2021 2022 Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne Acting diocesan bishop in vacancy.[22]
2022 current Stephen Lake Consecrated 25 April 2022.[23]

Assistant bishops[edit]

Among those who have served the diocese as assistant bishops have been:


  1. ^ "Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester, elected as new Bishop of Salisbury". Diocese of Salisbury. 13 January 2022. Archived from the original on 13 January 2022. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b The Diocese of Salisbury. "The History of the Diocese" Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Church of England (Salisbury), 2015. Accessed 3 January 2015.
  3. ^ O'Donovan, M. A., ed. (1988). Charters of Sherborne. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. xiii. ISBN 978-0-19-726051-7.
  4. ^ Charles-Edwards, T. M. (2013). Wales and the Britons 350–1064. Oxford University Press. p. 431. ISBN 978-0-19-821731-2.
  5. ^ Easton, James. A Chronology of Remarkable Events Relative to the City of New Sarum, with the Year, and the Name of the Mayor in whose Time they occurred: Chiefly collected from the authentic Sources of the City Records, and Manuscripts of Citizens, From A.D. 1227 to 1823, a Period of 596 Years, Including the Prices of Wheat and Barley from an Early Æra: To which are added, Their annual Average Prices for 28 Years, Being from 1796 to 1823, 5th ed., p. 1. J. Easton (Salisbury), 1824.
  6. ^ Crittall, Elizabeth (ed.). "Victoria County History – Wiltshire – Vol 6 pp93-94 – Salisbury: The word 'Sarum'". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  7. ^ Salisbury Diocesan Synod minutes – 99th session, 7 November 2009 Archived 24 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine p. 3 (Accessed 23 April 2014)
  8. ^ "Nicholas Roderick Holtam". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d "Historical successions: Salisbury (including precursor offices)". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  10. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 222.
  11. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, pp. 270–271.
  12. ^ Greenway, D. E. (1991). "Bishops of Salisbury". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 4: Salisbury. British History Online. pp. 1–7.
  13. ^ a b Horn, J. M. (1962). "Bishops of Salisbury". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: Volume 3: Salisbury Diocese. British History Online. pp. 1–3.
  14. ^ a b c Horn, J. M. (1986). "Bishops of Salisbury". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857: Volume 6: Salisbury Diocese. British History Online. pp. 1–5.
  15. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, p. 271.
  16. ^ Plant, David (2002). "Episcopalians". BCW Project. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  17. ^ King, Peter (July 1968). "The Episcopate during the Civil Wars, 1642–1649". The English Historical Review. 83 (328): 523–537. doi:10.1093/ehr/lxxxiii.cccxxviii.523. JSTOR 564164.
  18. ^ "Diocese of Salisbury". Number10.gov.uk. 12 April 2011. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  19. ^ "New Bishop of Salisbury Announced – Diocese of Salisbury". Diocese of Salisbury. 23 April 2012. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Bishop Nicholas Consecrated". Diocese of Salisbury. 23 April 2012. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Bishop's Enthronement Has Children at Heart". Diocese of Salisbury. 23 April 2012. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  22. ^ a b Ford, Michael (1 February 2021). "Bishop of Salisbury to retire in July 2021". Diocese of Salisbury. Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  23. ^ "Consecration of Stephen Lake, 25 April at Southwark Cathedral". Diocese of Salisbury. 30 March 2022. Archived from the original on 7 April 2022. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  24. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, pp. 271–272.
  25. ^ "The Living Church Annual". 1928.
  26. ^ "Joscelyne, Albert Ernest". Who's Who. A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)


  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I., eds. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd, reprinted 2003 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-56350-5.

External links[edit]