Diocese of Llandaff

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Diocese of Llandaff
Church in Wales
Province: Wales
Arms of the Bishop of Llandaff
Llandaff Cathedral.JPG

Llandaff Cathedral
Bishop: Barry Morgan

The Diocese of Llandaff is a Church in Wales diocese, headed by the Bishop of Llandaff, whose seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Llandaff, a suburb of Cardiff. The diocese today covers most of Glamorgan, but once it stretched from the River Towy to the middle of the Wye Valley.


Legendary foundation

The diocese was reputedly founded in 560 or earlier by Saint Teilo, during the monastic movement initiated by Saint Dubricius who presided over several monasteries in Ergyng, including Hentland and Moccas. Dubricius is said to have made Teilo abbot of this daughter monastery at Llandaff, which after Dubricius' death became a monastic cathedral. Saint Dubricius is usually given as the first bishop.

Places mentioned in the 'Book of Llandaff'

The early history of diocese is controversial, because the chief authority, the diocesan charters in the Book of Llandaff, though dating from the late 6th century, were considerably doctored to raise Llandaff's profile when they were copied in the early 12th century. Similarly, the saints' 'lives' therein have little basis in fact. Gilbert Hunter Doble and others have clearly demonstrated that there is no evidence that Saints Dubricius and Teilo had anything to do with Llandaff. Dubricius was only active in Ergyng and Gwent, while Teilo's associations with Llandaff have been transferred from his great abbey at Llandeilo Fawr.

Early times

The original church at Llandaff (perhaps a monastery) may well have been an early foundation. However, it is likely to have been founded by Saint Oudoceus rather than Saint Teilo. The early episcopal authority in the area was, indeed, in Ergyng and Gwent, originally under Dubricius and then his disciples. Their base may have been at Welsh Bicknor, Kenderchurch or Glasbury. Teilo's foundation at Llandeilo may have superseded Ergyng in the mid-7th century or, as David Nash Ford suggests, the two may have remained the seats of independent, yet parallel, bishoprics, as late as the mid-9th century. Both had accepted Roman practices in 777.

There certainly seems to have only been a single diocese by the late 9th century, based at Llandeilo. The Bishops were known as 'Bishop of Teilo'. When exactly the bishop's cathedra (and the Teilo traditions) moved to Llandaff, however, is not clear. Ford, again, suggests a date not much later, after the death of Bishop Nobis in 874. However, a date in the early 11th century or even later cannot be ruled out. The bishops of Llandaff long maintained absolute independence within their own territories, and the rights and privileges of the Church of Llandaff were extensive. However, there is a tradition that by 872, the bishops had already, nominally at least, accepted the authority of the Province of Canterbury. Certainly this was the case by 982. The first English bishop, Wulfrith, had been installed in 930, though he may have been of dual-nationality.

Norman times onwards

After the Norman Conquest of south-east Wales in the 1090s, the Archbishops of Canterbury began to exercised their jurisdiction over Wales, and Anselm placed Bishop Herewald of Llandaff under interdict. Herewald's successor, Urban, was consecrated at Canterbury, after taking an oath of canonical obedience to the archbishop, and from that time Llandaff became a full dependent of Canterbury. A standing difficulty was the admixture of race and language due to the English settlements, also to the ignorance and incontinence of the Welsh clergy, who had ceased to observe celibacy and gave scandal to the Normans and English alike. A reform was gradually effected, chiefly by the establishment of new monasteries and mendicant houses. The Book of Llandaff, now at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth reflects Urban's territorial ambitions for his diocese. The present cathedral dates substantially his time, 1120 plus.


In the religious turmoil of the 16th century, the Bishop of Llandaff, Anthony Kitchin, was the only Bishop in office at the accession of Elizabeth I who acquiesced in the religious changes and was accounted an apostate by Romanists. He died in 1563.

Thereafter, there continued a line of Anglican bishops up to the present day. Some of the earlier ordinaries showed aptitude for the conditions of the post, for example Blethyn and Morgan (the translator of the Bible), also those appointed under Charles II. Another Morgan suffered many years imprisonment for his Laudian convictions. The administration of the diocese suffered from its poor endowment and limited patronage, leading at the end of the eighteenth century to non-resident bishops and the holding with other ecclesiastical benefices (such as the Deanery of St. Paul's).

Bishop Ollivant notably took up the challenge of providing churches for the newly industrialised valleys. The population explosion created pressure for the division of the diocese, which was put into effect after disestablishment. The diocese remained part of the Province of Canterbury until the creation of the Church in Wales on 31 March 1920.

Bishops of Llandaff

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office.)

To the Reformation

Tenure Incumbent Notes
Diocese of 'Glamorgan and Gwent' - Traditional list
522 to c.550 Dubricius Bishop of Ergyng
c. 550 to c.610 Saint Teilo Bishop of Teilo
c.650 to c.700 Oudoceus
??? to ??? Ubylwinus 7th century bishop, probably of Ergyng
??? to ??? Aedanus 7th century bishop, probably of Ergyng
??? to ??? Elgistil 7th century bishop, probably of Ergyng
??? to ??? Iunapeius 7th century bishop, probably of Ergyng
??? to ??? Comergius 7th century bishop, probably of Ergyng
??? to ??? Arwistil 7th century bishop, probably of Ergyng
??? to ??? Gurvan 8th century bishop, probably of Gwent
??? to ??? Guodloiu 9th century bishop, probably of Gwent
??? to ??? Edilbinus 9th century bishop, probably of Gwent
??? to ??? Grecielis 9th century bishop, probably of Gwent
c.700 to ??? Berthwyn Llandaff Charters
??? to ??? Tyrchanus
??? to ??? Elvogus probably a mistake: Elfoddw, Bishop of Bangor
??? to ??? Catguaret
??? to ??? Cerenhir
??? to 874 Nobis Bishop of Teilo; probably the same as the Bishop of St David's
874 to ??? Nudd suggested 1st Bishop of Llandaff
??? to 927 Cimeliauc
927 to 929 Libiau
??? to ??? Wulfrith
??? to ??? Pater
??? to 982 Gugan
982 to 993 Marcluith
993 to 1022 Bledri
Diocese of Llandaff
1022 to 1059 Joseph
1059 to 1107 Herewald
1107 to 1134 Urban Archdeacon of Llandaff
1134 to 1140 vacant For 6 years
1140 to 1148 Uhtred
1148 to 1183 Nicholas ap Gwrgant
1186 to 1191 William de Saltmarsh possibly Prior of Goldcliff, Saltmarsh being still a named part of that parish
1193 to 1218 Henry de Abergavenny Prior of Abergavenny
1219 to 1229 William de Goldcliff A priory established at Goldcliff since 1113
1230 to 1240 Elias de Radnor
1240 to 1244 William de Christchurch
1245 to 1253 William de Burgh
1253 to 1256 John de la Ware
1257 to 1266 William de Radnor
1266 to 1287 William de Braose
1287 to 1297 Philip de Staunton
According to Prynne, or
According to general consensus
1297 to 1323 John de Monmouth
1323 to 1323 Alexander de Monmouth Elected only
1323 to 1347 John de Egglescliffe Translated from Connor, Ireland
1347 to 1361 John Paschal
1361 to 1382 Rodger Cradock Translated from Waterford, Ireland
1383 to 1385 Thomas Rushhook Chichester
1385 to 1389 William Bottlesham Rochester
1390 to 1393 Edmund Bromfeld
1394 to 1395 Robert Tideman of Winchcombe Worcester
1395 to 1396 Andrew Barret
1396 to 1398 John Burghill Confessor to Richard II; translated to Lichfield & Coventry
1398 to 1407 Thomas Peverel Translated from Ossory, Ireland; translated to Worcester
1408 to 1423 John de la Zouche
1425 to 1440 John Wells
1440 to 1458 Nicholas Ashby Prior of Westminster
1458 to 1476 John Hunden Prior of King's Langley; resigned
1476 to 1478 John Smith
1478 to 1496 John Marshall
1496 to 1499 John Ingleby Prior of Shene
1500 to 1516 Miles Salley Abbot of Eynsham
1517 to 1537 George de Athequa Chaplain to Queen Catharine (with whom he left Spain for England)
1537 to 1545 Robert Holgate Prior of Wotton; translated to York

From the Elizabethan Reformation to disestablishment

Tenure Incumbent Notes
1545 to c.1557 Anthony Kitchin Abbot of Eynsham
c.1557 to 1560 vacant For 3 years
1560 to 1575 Hugh Jones
1575 to 1591 William Blethyn Prebendary of York
1591 to 1594 Gervase Babington Prebendary of Hereford; translated to Exeter
1594 to 1601 William Morgan Translated to St Asaph
1601 to 1618 Francis Godwin Canon of Wells; translated to Hereford
1618 to 1619 George Carleton Translated to Chichester
1619 to 1627 Theophilus Feild Rector of Cotton, Suffolk; translated to St David's
1627 to 1639 William Murray Translated from [Kilfenora, Ireland
1639 to c.1644 Morgan Owen
c.1644 to 1660 vacant
1660 to 1667 Hugh Lloyd Archdeacon of St David's
1667 to 1675 Francis Davies Archdeacon of Llandaff
1675 to 1679 William Lloyd Prebendary of St Paul's, London; translated to Peterborough
1679 to 1707 William Beaw Vicar of Adderbury, Oxfordshire
1707 to 1724 John Tyler Dean of Hereford
1724 to 1728 Robert Clavering Canon of Christchurch, Oxford; translated to Peterborough
1728 to 1738 John Harris Prebendary of Canterbury
1738 to 1740 Matthias Mawson Rector of Hadstock, Essex; translated to Chichester
1740 to 1748 John Gilbert Dean of Exeter; translated to Salisbury then York
1748 to 1754 Edward Cresset Dean of Hereford
1754 to 1761 Richard Newcome Canon of Windsor; translated to St Asaph
1761 to 1769 John Ewer Canon of Windsor; translated to Bangor
1769 to 1769 Jonathan Shipley Dean of Winchester; translated to St Asaph
1769 to 1782 The Hon Shute Barrington Canon of St Paul's, London; translated to Salisbury and then to Durham
1782 to 1816 Richard Watson Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge; Archdeacon of Ely
18 July 1816 to 1819 Herbert Marsh Translated to Peterborough
15 May 1819 to 1826 William Van Mildert Translated to Durham
1826 to 1827 Charles Sumner Translated to Winchester
1827 to 1849 Edward Copleston died in office
1 November 1849 to 16 December 1882 Alfred Ollivant Canon of St David's, and Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge; died in office
16 February 1883 to 1905 Richard Lewis

From disestablishment

Tenure Incumbent Notes
16 February 1883 to 1905 Richard Lewis
1905 to 1931 Joshua Pritchard Hughes
1931 to 1939 Timothy Rees
1939 to 1957 John Morgan Archbishop of Wales 1949
1957 to 1971 Glyn Simon DD Translated from Swansea & Brecon, Archbishop of Wales 1968
1971 to 1975 Eryl Thomas Translated from Monmouth
1976 to 1985 John Poole-Hughes MA Translated from Southwest Tanganyika. Assistant Bishop of Llandaff
1985 to 1999 Roy Davies
1999 to present Dr Barry Morgan Translated from Bangor, Archbishop of Wales 2002



  • Davies, Wendy. (1982). Wales in the Early Middle Ages.
  • Doble, G. H. (1971). Lives of the Welsh Saints