Diocese of St Albans

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Coordinates: 51°45′07″N 0°20′20″W / 51.752°N 0.339°W / 51.752; -0.339

Diocese of St Albans

Dioecesis Sancti Albani
Coat of arms of the Diocese of St Albans
Coat of arms
Ecclesiastical provinceCanterbury
ArchdeaconriesBedford, Hertford, St Albans
CathedralSt Albans Cathedral
Current leadership
BishopAlan Smith, Bishop of St Albans
SuffragansRichard Atkinson, Bishop of Bedford
Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford
ArchdeaconsJanet Mackenzie, Archdeacon of Hertford
Dave Middlebrook, Archdeacon of Bedford
Jane Mainwaring, Archdeacon of St Albans

The Diocese of St Albans forms part of the Province of Canterbury in England and is part of the wider Church of England, in turn part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The diocese is home to more than 1.6 million people and comprises the historic Counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, or in terms of local government areas, Bedfordshire, Luton, Hertfordshire and parts of the London Borough of Barnet. It therefore ranges from small rural communities in villages and hamlets to major urban centres like Luton, Bedford, Watford and Hemel Hempstead, and includes suburban areas on London's outer reaches.


The diocese was founded by an Order in Council on 30 April 1877,[1] implementing the Bishopric of St Albans Act 1875.

The diocese was established from parts of the large Diocese of Rochester, extending the new bishop's jurisdiction over more than 600 parishes in the two counties of Essex and Hertfordshire.

The first Bishop of St Albans was Thomas Legh Claughton, who served from 1877 to 1890.

The see is in the City of St Albans, where the cathedra (bishop's seat) is located in St Albans Cathedral. The cathedral building itself dates from 1077. It was an abbey church (part of St Albans Abbey) prior to its dissolution in 1539, and then a parish church (purchased by the town in 1553) until its elevation to cathedral status in 1877.

In 1914, the new Diocese of Chelmsford was formed, removing Essex from the St Albans diocese. A few months later the county Archdeaconry of Bedford was added from the Diocese of Ely, thereby providing the diocese substantially with its current boundaries.

The suffragan bishopric of Bedford was revived in 1879 and again in 1935 and that of Hertford was created in 1968.

Current geographical limits and structure[edit]

The diocese currently includes:

The diocese is overseen by the Bishop of St Albans, whose cathedra (or seat) is in St Albans Cathedral. He is supported in his pastoral work in the diocese by two suffragan bishops, the Bishop of Hertford and the Bishop of Bedford as well as three archdeacons.

The diocese is divided into three archdeaconries:

The diocesan offices are located in Holywell Hill in St Albans.


The Bishop of St Albans (Alan Smith) leads the diocese, and is assisted by the Bishops suffragan of Bedford (Richard Atkinson) and of Hertford (Michael Beasley). The suffragan see of Bedford was created by the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534 but went into abeyance after one incumbent; that see was next filled in the late 19th century and has been in near-constant use again since 1935. The See of Hertford was created by Order in Council of 5 July 1889, but remained dormant until first filled in December 1967.[2]

Alternative episcopal oversight (for parishes in the diocese which reject the ministry of priests who are women) is provided by the provincial episcopal visitor, Norman Banks, Bishop suffragan of Richborough, who is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop of the diocese in order to facilitate his work there. There are also several former bishops living in the diocese who are licensed as honorary assistant bishops:

Archdeacon of Hertford[edit]

In the late 11th/early 12th century, Nicholas, an archdeacon of Lincoln diocese, was called "Archdeacon of Cambridge, Huntingdon and Hertford.[7]

The Archdeaconry of Hertford was created by Order in Council on 1 January 1997 from the eastern parts of the Archdeaconry of St Albans, which at the time was one of the largest archdeaconries in England.[8] There have been only two Archdeacons of Hertford since the archdeaconry's institution: the first, Trevor Jones,[9] who retired on 31 August 2016;[10] and the incumbent, Janet Mackenzie, who was collated on 6 September 2016.[11]


Outside deanery structures: St Albans Cathedral

Archdeaconry of Hertford[edit]

Deanery of Barnet: Arkley (St Peter), Barnet St John the Baptist, Barnet St Stephen, Barnet Vale (St Mark), Borehamwood All Saints, Borehamwood Holy Cross, Borehamwood St Michael & All Angels, East Barnet (St Mary the Virgin), Elstree (St Nicholas), Little Heath (Christ Church), Lyonsdown (Holy Trinity), New Barnet (St James), Potters Bar King Charles the Martyr, Potters Bar St Mary & All Saints, Ridge (St Margaret), South Mimms (St Giles), Totteridge (St Andrew)

Deanery of Bishop's Stortford: Albury (St Mary the Virgin), Bishop's Stortford Holy Trinity, Bishop's Stortford St Michael, Braughing (St Mary the Virgin), Eastwick (St Botolph), Furneux Pelham (St Mary the Virgin), Gilston (St Mary), High Wych (St James the Great), Hockerill (All Saints), Little Hadham (St Cecilia), Little Munden (All Saints), Much Hadham (St Andrew), Perry Green (St Thomas), Sacombe (St Catherine), Sawbridgeworth (Great St Mary), Standon (St Mary), Stocking Pelham (St Mary), Thorley (St James the Great)

Deanery of Buntingford: Anstey (St George), Ardeley (St Lawrence), Ashwell (St Mary the Virgin), Aspenden (St Mary), Baldock (St Mary the Virgin), Barkway (St Mary Magdalene), Barley (St Margaret of Antioch), Benington (St Peter), Brent Pelham (St Mary the Virgin), Buntingford (St Peter), Bygrave (St Margaret of Antioch), Clothall (St Mary the Virgin), Cottered (St John the Baptist), Hinxworth (St Nicholas), Hormead (St Nicholas), Kelshall (St Faith), Meesden (St Mary), Newnham (St Vincent), Reed (St Mary), Royston (St John the Baptist), Rushden (St Mary), Sandon (All Saints), Therfield (St Mary the Virgin), Throcking (Holy Trinity), Walkern (St Mary the Virgin), Wallington (St Mary), Westmill (St Mary the Virgin), Weston (Holy Trinity), Wyddial (St Giles)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "No. 24453". The London Gazette. 4 May 1877. p. 2933.
  2. ^ Diocese of St Albans – A History of the Sees of Hertford and Bedford Archived August 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine (Accessed 20 August 2014)
  3. ^ "Smith, Robin Jonathan Norman". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 20 August 2014. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ "Venner, Stephen Squires". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 18 August 2014. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Pytches, (George Edward) David". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 20 August 2014. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ "Gladwin, John Warren". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 20 August 2014. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ Greenway, Diana E. (1971), Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300, vol. 2, pp. 50–52
  8. ^ Diocese of St Albans – History of the Archdeaconries[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Jones, Trevor Pryce". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2013 (December 2012 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 4 June 2013. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. ^ Diocese of St Albans — Archdeacon of Hertford to retire in late 2016 (Accessed 31 January 2016)
  11. ^ Diocese of St Albans — New Archdeacon’s Collation date (Accessed 2 September 2016)


External links[edit]