David Stancliffe

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The Rt Revd
David Stancliffe
MA(Oxon) DD(Cantuar)
Bishop of Salisbury
Diocese Diocese of Salisbury
Installed 9 December 1993
Term ended 13 July 2010
Predecessor John Baker
Successor Nick Holtam
Other posts Provost of Portsmouth
Ordination 1967
Consecration 30 November 1993
Personal details
Born (1942-10-01) 1 October 1942 (age 72)
Devizes, Wiltshire
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Parents Michael Stancliffe
Spouse Sarah Smith (m. 1965)
Profession formerly musician
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford

David Staffurth Stancliffe (born 1 October 1942[1]) is a retired Church of England bishop. He was Provost of Portsmouth Cathedral from 1982 to 1993, and the Anglican Bishop of Salisbury from 1993 to 2010. He is the third generation of his family to serve the ordained ministry.

Early life[edit]

The son of the former Dean of Winchester, the Very Revd Michael Stancliffe, who was himself ordained at Salisbury Cathedral, Stancliffe was born in 1942 in Devizes, Wiltshire, where his father was curate of St James' Southbroom, later serving at Ramsbury and Cirencester before becoming Chaplain to Westminster School. It was from Westminster School that Stancliffe went to Trinity College, Oxford to study classics and philosophy and where he was Organ Scholar.

While at university, Stancliffe abandoned thoughts of a musical career in favour of ordination and instead went to theological training at Cuddesdon College in October 1965.

Religious life[edit]

Ordained deacon in 1967 and priest the following year in the Diocese of Ripon, Stancliffe served as curate of the Leeds parish of St. Bartholomew's Armley. Three years later he returned to the West Country as Chaplain to Clifton College, Bristol.[2]

In 1977, Stancliffe was appointed a canon residentiary of Portsmouth Cathedral and the diocesan director of ordinands and, subsequently, the lay ministerial adviser. For a time he also undertook the role of precentor in a combination of duties which recognised his special interests in the areas of liturgy, church architecture and music, while also involving him in clergy formation and training and the work of the parishes in the diocese.

Stancliffe was appointed Provost of Portsmouth in 1982[3] and his major work from then until 1993 was the completion and reordering of Portsmouth Cathedral, shaping its life and work to fulfil its primary function of supporting the Bishop of Portsmouth in his ministry.

Alongside other duties in the Diocese of Portsmouth, he was Vice-Chairman of the Governors of Portsmouth Grammar School, a Governor of Chichester Theological College, a member of the governing bodies of the Southern Dioceses Ministerial Training Scheme and of Salisbury & Wells Theological College and he was Chairman of the Southern Regional Institute.

In July 1993, Stancliffe succeeded the Bishop of Winchester as Chairman of the Church of England's Liturgical Commission, a position which he held until 2005. He has served on the commission since 1986. Work with the commission has involved the publication of The Promise of His Glory and the preparation and publication of the Common Worship liturgies. This significant contribution to the life of the Church of England was recognised by the award by the Archbishop of Canterbury of a Lambeth Doctorate in Divinity in 2004. Stancliffe has been a member of the Council for the Care of Churches.

Stancliffe was consecrated as the 77th Bishop of Salisbury at Westminster Abbey on 30 November 1993 and enthroned in Salisbury Cathedral on 9 December 1993. In June 2008 Stancliffe suffered a stroke[4] and while remaining Bishop of Salisbury took a leave of absence from episcopal duties. On 6 January 2010 he announced his intention to retire from the See of Salisbury.[5] His final act as bishop was the ordination of priests in Salisbury Cathedral at Petertide on 3 July 2010.[6] Although he officially retired as of 13 July 2010,[5] he continued in his duties at General Synod and completed his commitments as bishop and member of the House of Lords.

He is a Fellow of St Chad's College, Durham and is the President of Affirming Catholicism and Vice-President of the Royal School of Church Music.

Personal life[edit]

At Oxford he met Sarah Smith, a member of the same small choir. They were married in Westminster Abbey in July 1965.



  1. ^ Who's Who 2008: London, A & C Black, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7136-8555-8
  2. ^ Crockfords(London, Church House 1995) ISBN 0-7151-8088-6
  3. ^ Debrett's People of Today: Ed Ellis,P (1992, London, Debrett's) ISBN 1-870520-09-2)
  4. ^ "Bishop in hospital after suffering stroke". Southern Daily Echo. 2008-06-23. 
  5. ^ a b The Daily Telegraph "Retirements and resignations in the clergy" p32 Issue 48,094 (dated 18 January 2010
  6. ^ Diocese of Salisbury "Press Release - Bishop to resign" (6 January 2010) http://www.salisburyanglican.org.uk/admin/news-nav.asp?page=45

External links[edit]