Bishop of Sherborne

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The Bishop of Sherborne is an episcopal title which takes its name from the market town of Sherborne in Dorset, England. The see of Sherborne was established in around 705 by St Aldhelm, the Abbot of Malmesbury. This see was the mother diocese of the greater part of southwestern England in Saxon times, but after the Norman Conquest was incorporated into the new Diocese of Salisbury. The title Bishop of Sherborne is now used by the Church of England for a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Salisbury.[1]

The title Bishop of Sherborne was revived by the Church of England as a suffragan bishopric in the Diocese of Salisbury; that See was erected under the Suffragans Nomination Act 1888 by Order in Council dated 6 February 1925.[2] From 1981 to 2009, the suffragan Bishop of Sherborne was responsible as area bishop for those parishes in Dorset and Devon belonging to the diocese.[3][4] Since 2009, the suffragan Bishop of Sherborne, along with the suffragan Bishop of Ramsbury, has assisted the diocesan Bishop of Salisbury in overseeing the whole of the diocese.[3]

The post became vacant in 2015 on the resignation of Graham Kings, who had been consecrated in a special service at Westminster Abbey on 24 June 2009 by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.[5][6]

The present incumbent is the Right Reverend Karen Gorham, the first woman to have held the position. She was born in 1964 and was educated at Mayflower High School, a state school in Billericay, Essex.[7] She holds a B.A. degree from the University of Bristol and did her theological training for the ministry at Trinity College, Bristol. Before being ordained she held administrative posts with the Business and Technology Education Council and with the Royal Society of Arts. From 1995 to 1999 she served as a curate in the parish of Northallerton with Kirby Sigston in the Diocese of York, and was ordained priest in 1996. In 1999 she became Priest-in-Charge of St Paul's Church, Maidstone, in the Diocese of Canterbury. She was the Archdeacon of Buckingham from 2007 onwards, stepping down as archdeacon on 19 January 2016 in preparation for her consecration as bishop.[8] She has served on the General Synod of the Church of England for twelve years.[1]

Karen Gorham was consecrated as bishop on 24 February 2016 at Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and officially welcomed to the diocese on 6 March 2016 at Sherborne Abbey.[1] Welcoming her, the Very Revd June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, stated: "The last year has been a significant year for women in the ministry of the Church of England and this is a historic moment for the Diocese of Salisbury as its welcomes its first woman bishop."[9]

Bishops of Sherborne
From Until Incumbent Notes
1925 1927 Robert Abbott
1928 1936 Gerald Allen Translated to Dorchester.
1936 1947 Harold Rodgers
1947 1960 Maurice Key Translated to Truro.
1960 1976 Victor Pike
1976 2001 John Kirkham First area bishop from 1981; also Bishop to the Forces (1992–2001).
2001 2009 Tim Thornton Translated to Truro.
2009 15 July 2015 Graham Kings Last area bishop (until end 2009). Became Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion.[10]
2016 present Karen Gorham Consecrated 24 February 2016.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "The Bishop of Sherborne". Diocese of Salisbury. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  2. ^ "No. 33019". The London Gazette. 10 February 1925. p. 942.
  3. ^ a b "Bishops". Diocese of Salisbury. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  4. ^ Salisbury Diocesan Synod minutes – 99th session, 7 November 2009 p. 3 (Accessed 23 April 2014)
  5. ^ "Biography of the Bishop of Sherborne". Diocese of Salisbury. Archived from the original on 2 May 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Consecration of The Bishop of Sherborne". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  7. ^ "GORHAM, Ven. Karen Marisa". Who's Who 2016. Oxford University Press. November 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Archdeacon Karen to be Bishop of Sherborne". Diocese of Oxford. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Bishop of Sherborne the Ven Karen Gorham consecrated at Westminster Abbey". Dorset Echo. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  10. ^ Twitter — Graham Kings (Accessed 3 July 2015)
  11. ^ Diocese of Salisbury — Karen Gorham to be New Bishop of Sherborne (Accessed 26 November 2015)
  12. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory (100th ed.). London: Church House Publishing. 2007. p. 948. ISBN 978-0-7151-1030-0.