Graham James (bishop)

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Graham James
Bishop of Norwich
Official portrait of The Lord Bishop of Norwich crop 2.jpg
ChurchChurch of England
In office1999–2019
PredecessorPeter Nott
SuccessorGraham Usher
Other post(s)Lord Spiritual (2004–2019)
Bishop of St Germans (1993–1999)
Ordination1975 (deacon); 1976 (priest)
by Douglas Feaver
Consecration23 February 1993
by George Carey
Personal details
Born (1951-01-19) 19 January 1951 (age 72)
ResidenceBishop's House, Norwich
ParentsLionel & Florence James
Julie Freemantle
(m. 1978)
Children3 (one deceased)
Alma materLancaster University

Graham Richard James (born 19 January 1951) is a retired British Anglican bishop. He was Bishop of Norwich in the Church of England from 1999 to 2019.

Early life and education[edit]

James was born in Bideford, Devon, England, to the Revd Lionel and Florence James. He was educated at Northampton Grammar School, an all-boys school in Northampton.[1] He studied at the University of Lancaster, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in history in 1972. He trained for ordination at Cuddesdon Theological College from 1972 to 1975, and studied theology at the University of Oxford, completing a diploma in 1974.[2]

Ordained ministry[edit]

James during the National Pilgrimage to Walsingham, 2012

James was ordained deacon at Michaelmas 1975 (21 September)[3] and priest the next Michaelmas (26 September 1976), both times by Douglas Feaver, Bishop of Peterborough, at Peterborough Cathedral.[4] He was assistant curate of Christ the Carpenter Church, Dogsthorpe[5] from 1975 to 1978. From there he moved to Christ the King, Digswell, from 1979 to 1983, became a member of the Advisory Council for the Church's Ministry in 1983 and held this post until 1987. Between 1983 and 1985, he was Selection Secretary and Secretary for Continuing Education and between 1985 and 1987 Senior Selection Secretary. He was chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1987 to 1993.

Episcopal ministry[edit]

On 23 February 1993, James was consecrated a bishop by George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Westminster Abbey.[6] He was the Bishop of St Germans in the Diocese of Truro from 1993 to 1999. From 1995 he was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and from 1999 the 71st Bishop of Norwich. He was installed at Norwich Cathedral on 29 January 2000.[7] In 2004, James became a Lord Spiritual and sat in the House of Lords. From 2006 he was a member of the Archbishops' Council and chair of the Ministry Division, Church of England. He chairs the BBC's Standing Conference on Religion and Belief.

James retired on 28 February 2019.[8] He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day.[9] Since late 2019, he has been licensed as an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Truro.[10]

Other activities[edit]

In 2004, James joined the House of Lords as a Lord Spiritual.[1] In 2011, he became a member of the Lords Select Committee on Communications,[11] and he was subsequently appointed spokesman for the Church of England on media issues. In 2019, he chaired the independent inquiry into the malpractice by surgeon Ian Paterson.[12][13]

Personal life[edit]

James has been married to Julie since 1978.[1] They have three children; one died in infancy.[14]



  • "DodOnline entry for the Bishop". Dod. Archived from the original on 7 December 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
  1. ^ a b c "James, Rt Rev. Graham Richard, (born 19 Jan. 1951), Bishop of Norwich, 1999–2019; an Honorary Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Truro, since 2020". Who's Who 2021. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Graham Richard James". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  3. ^ "September ordinations". Church Times. No. 5876. 26 September 1975. p. 15. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 May 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  4. ^ "Ordinations". Church Times. No. 5929. 1 October 1976. p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 May 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  5. ^ A Church Near You. "Christ the Carpenter Church". Retrieved 17 April 2009.
  6. ^ "News: Briefly". Church Times. No. 6785. 26 February 1993. p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 11 October 2015 – via UK Press Online archives.
  7. ^ Bishop of Norwich, Graham James (Diocese of Norwich)
  8. ^ Diocese of Norwich — Bishop of Norwich (Accessed 23 March 2019)
  9. ^ Mantell, Rowan (16 November 2018). "Bishop Graham James says goodbye to Norfolk". EDP Norfolk Magazine.
  10. ^ "Gazette: appointments". Church Times. No. 8172. 1 November 2019. p. 31. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 30 July 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  11. ^ The Rt Revd Graham Richard JAMES "✠ The Rt Revd Graham Richard JAMES". The Church of England Year Book. Church House Publishing. Retrieved 21 April 2021. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  12. ^ Denis Campbell; Alexandra Topping. "Chair of the Inquiry". Paterson Inquiry. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Ian Paterson inquiry: more than 1,000 patients had needless operations". The Guardian. 4 February 2020. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Norwich Bishop's grief over daughter's death". Network Norwich and Norfolk. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
Church of England titles
Preceded by Bishop of St Germans
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by