Diocese of Bristol

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Coordinates: 51°27′06″N 2°36′03″W / 51.4517°N 2.6008°W / 51.4517; -2.6008

Diocese of Bristol
Dio Bristol arms.png
Ecclesiastical province Canterbury
Archdeaconries Bristol, Malmesbury
Parishes 167
Churches 207
Cathedral Bristol Cathedral
Current leadership
Bishop Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol
Suffragan Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon
Archdeacons Christine Froude, Archdeacon of Malmesbury & Acting Archdeacon of Bristol

The Diocese of Bristol is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury, England. It is based in the city of Bristol and covers South Gloucestershire and parts of north Wiltshire to Swindon. The diocese is headed by the Bishop of Bristol and the Episcopal seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, commonly known as Bristol Cathedral.


Until the Reformation, Bristol was part of the medieval Diocese of Worcester.[1][2] Under the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534, Henry Holbeach was appointed the only suffragan bishop of Bristol in 1538 and assisted the Bishop of Worcester in overseeing the medieval diocese. Nearly two years later, Bristol became part of the then newly formed Diocese of Gloucester in 1541.[1][2] The following year, the Diocese of Bristol was established on 4 June 1542 and consisted of the city of Bristol together with the county of Dorset.[1][2] The Diocese of Bristol continued until 5 October 1836 when Dorset was annexed to the Diocese of Salisbury and the remainder, the city of Bristol, formed part of the Diocese of Gloucester and Bristol.[1][3] After sixty years, the Diocese of Bristol was "reconstituted" on 7 July 1897, but with different boundaries.[4]



The current diocesan Bishop of Bristol is Mike Hill, who is assisted by Lee Rayfield, Bishop suffragan of Swindon. The provincial episcopal visitor (for parishes in the diocese who reject the ministry of priests who are women) is Jonathan Goodall, Bishop suffragan of Ebbsfleet, who is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop of the diocese in order to facilitate his work there.

There are four retired bishops licensed as honorary assistant bishops in the diocese:

Archdeaconries and deaneries[edit]

The diocese is divided into two archdeaconries, each of which is further divided into deaneries (groups of parishes). The Archdeaconry of Bristol, created in 1836, is divided into the deaneries of Bristol City; Bristol South; and Bristol West. The Archdeaconry of Malmesbury is divided into the deaneries of Chippenham; Kingswood and South Gloucestershire; North Wiltshire; and Swindon.


  1. ^ a b c d Horn, J. M. (1996). "Bristol: Introduction". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857: Volume 8: Bristol, Gloucester, Oxford and Peterborough Dioceses. British History Online. pp. 3–6. 
  2. ^ a b c Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ancient Diocese of Bristol". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 19426. pp. 1734–1738. 7 October 1836. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26871. p. 3787. 9 July 1897. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  5. ^ Neale, Rt Rev. John Robert Geoffrey. Who's Who. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Bristol". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Firth, Rt Rev. Peter James. Who's Who. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Cassidy, Rt Rev. George Henry. Who's Who. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 

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