Diocese of Chichester

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Diocese of Chichester
Church of England
Province: Canterbury
counties: Sussex
Chichester cathedral.jpg

Chichester Cathedral
Bishop: Martin Warner
Cathedral: Chichester Cathedral
Bishops of Horsham, Lewes
Archdeaconries: Chichester, Horsham
Lewes & Hastings
No. of parishes: 389
No. of churches: 515
Website: diochi.org.uk

The Diocese of Chichester is a Church of England diocese based in Chichester, covering Sussex. It is part of the Province of Canterbury.

The Diocese was created in 1075 to replace the old Diocese of Selsey, which was based at Selsey Abbey from 681.[1]


The seat of the Bishop of Chichester is Chichester Cathedral; the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity.

Diocesan structure

The Bishop of Chichester has overall episcopal oversight of the diocese, but is primarily in charge of the Chichester Episcopal Area which covers Chichester and its environs and also Brighton and Hove.[2][3]

The Bishop of Chichester is assisted by the Area Bishops of Horsham and Lewes who between them oversee the diocese.[4] The Horsham Episcopal Area covers most of the west of the county apart from parishes under the Diocesan Bishop's direct oversight on the south coast. The Lewes Episcopal Area covers most of the east of the county.

The three archdeaconries of the diocese are Chichester, Horsham, and Lewes & Hastings.[5] The Archdeaconry of Chichester covers the western end of the coastal towns, the Archdeaconry of Horsham the west of the county inland, and the Archdeaconry of Lewes and Hastings the east of the county.

The 21 deaneries of the diocese are:[3]

  • Arundel and Bognor
  • Battle and Bexhill
  • Brighton
  • Chichester
  • Cuckfield
  • Dallington
  • Eastbourne
  • East Grinstead
  • Hastings
  • Horsham
  • Hove
  • Hurst
  • Lewes and Seaford
  • Midhurst
  • Petworth
  • Rotherfield
  • Rye
  • Storrington
  • Uckfield
  • Westbourne
  • Worthing


The Kingdom of Sussex remained steadfastly non-Christian until the arrival of Saint Wilfrid in 681 AD.[1] Wilfrid built his cathedral church in Selsey, and dedicated it to Saint Peter. The original structure would have been made largely of wood. The stones from the old cathedral would have been used in the later church.[1] Some stonework discovered in a local garden wall was believed to have come from the palm cross that stood outside the original cathedral, and is now integrated into the war memorial that is in the perimeter wall outside the church.[1]

In 1066, William of Normandy landed at Hastings, in the diocese, and soon took the throne. He hastily replaced English clergy in favour of his own men; Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury was replaced in 1070, while in Selsey King William's chaplain, also called Stigand, replaced Æthelric, and this Stigand appeared at the consecration of Lanfranc to Canterbury on 29 August 1070. He died in 1087, his successor, Godfrey William, died within the year, and was succeeded by Ralph de Luffa.

At the Council of London in 1075 the South Saxon see was transferred from Selsey to Chichester. The chronicler William of Malmesbury wrote that Chichester had a church dedicated to St Peter, as well as a convent, and the church might have become the first cathedral.

Chichester Cathedral according to tradition was begun by one of Stigand's successor's, Ralph de Luffa, but the architectural historian R. D. H. Gem argues it is possible that Stigand began the building of Chichester Cathedral,.[4] Tatton-Brown goes further by suggesting that "most of the first church was completed as far as the fourth bay in the nave by the time of Bishop Luffa".[5] The problem for historians is that virtually no legitimate charters or other documents survive from Stigand's time.[6] The loss of most of the documents has been attributed to the sacking of the cathedral by the Parliamentarians in 1642, during the English Civil war.[7]

The cathedral, probably planned during Stigand's tenure, consisted of an eight-bay nave with flanking western towers; however evidence from the fabric shows that only the eastern four bays were built in the first phase.[5]

The cathedral founded at Selsey was probably built, where the chancel of the old church still remains, at Church Norton .[6] Selsey Abbey was the first seat of the South Saxon bishopric.

The seat was moved to Chichester in 1075 under William the Conqueror,[1] and the Bishop of Selsey, Stigand, moved to his new seat to become the first Bishop of Chichester

Child protection scandal

In 2011 the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed an enquiry into the diocese, which discovered that over two decades, child abuse by some clergy had not been prevented by the diocese. Because of concerns that safeguarding still remained dysfunctional, Lambeth Palace took over the oversight of clergy appointments and the protection of children and vulnerable adults in the diocese.[7] A previously judicial enquiry by Baroness Butler-Sloss had led to the conviction of a priest in 2008.[8]

On 13 November 2012 two former clergy of the diocese, including the former Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball, were arrested by police investigating allegations of child sex abuse in the 1980s and 1990s.


The list of the Bishops of Chichester is as follows:

Pre-Reformation Bishops of Chichester
From Until Incumbent Notes
1075 1087 Stigand Hitherto Bishop of Selsey; died in office.
1088 1088 Godfrey William; died in office.
1091 1123 Ralph de Luffa Radulphus; died in office.
1125 1145 Seffrid (I) Seffridus Pelochin; also Abbot of Glastonbury; deprived.
1147 1169 Hilary Date of consecration sometimes given as 1133; previously unsuccessfully nominated for York; died in office.
1169 1173 See vacant
1173 1180 John of Greenford John de Greenford; previously Dean of Chichester; died in office.
1180 1204 Seffrid (II) Seffridus; died in office.
1204 1207 Simon of Wells Simon Sutwell, Simon FitzRobert, Simon de Camera; died in office.
1209 1214 Nicholas de Aquila Gilbert de l'Aigle; Dean of Chichester; election quashed.
1215 1217 Richard Poore Previously Dean of Salisbury; translated to Salisbury then Durham.
1217 1222 Ranulf of Wareham Ralph de Warham; previously Prior of Norwich; died in office.
1224 1244 Ralph Neville Also Lord Chancellor; elected to Canterbury but rejected by the Pope; also unsuccessfully elected to Winchester; died in office.
1244 Robert Passelewe Archdeacon of Lewes; Henry III's favoured candidate; election declared void by Pope Innocent IV.
1244 1253 Saint Richard Richard de Wych; Archbishop Boniface's favoured candidate; election confirmed by Pope Innocent IV; died in office.
1253 1262 John Climping John of Arundel; previously Chancellor of Chichester; died in office.
1262 1287 Stephen Bersted Stephen of Pagham; died in office.
1288 1305 Gilbert of St Leonard Gilbert de Sancto Leofardo; previously Treasurer of Chichester; died in office.
1305 1337 John Langton Also Lord Chancellor; previous election to Ely quashed; died in office.
1337 1362 Robert de Stratford Previously Archdeacon of Canterbury; also Lord Chancellor and Chancellor of the University of Oxford; died in office.
1362 1368 William Lenn William Lullimore; previously Dean of Chichester; translated to Worcester.
1369 1385 William Reade Previously Archdeacon of Rochester; died in office.
1386 1389 Thomas Rushhook Thomas Rushocke; translated from Llandaff; exiled to Breifne.
1390 1395 Richard Mitford Previously unsuccessfully elected to St David's; also Lord Treasurer of Ireland; translated to Salisbury.
1395 1396 Robert Waldby Translated from Dublin; translated to York.
1396 1415 Robert Reed Translated from Carlisle; died in office.
1417 Stephen Patrington Translated from St David's; died immediately after appointment.
1418 1420 Henry Ware Previously official to the Archbishop of Canterbury; died in office.
1421 1421 John Kemp Translated from Rochester; translated to London.
1421 1426 Thomas Polton Thomas Pulton; translated from Hereford; translated to Worcester.
1426 1429 John Rickingale Chancellor of York; died in office.
1429 Thomas Brunce Thomas Brouns; election quashed; later Bishop of Rochester then of Norwich.
1430 1438 Simon Sydenham Simon Sidenham; died in office.
1438 1445 Richard Praty Richard Pratty; also Chancellor of the University of Oxford.
1446 1450 Adam Moleyns Adam Molins; previously Dean of Salisbury; also Lord Privy Seal; died in office.
1450 1459 Reginald Pecock Reginald Peacock; translated from St Asaph; deprived for heresy.
1459 1477 John Arundel Previously Archdeacon of Richmond.
1478 1503 Edward Story Translated from Carlisle.
1503 1506 Richard FitzJames Translated from Rochester; translated to London.
1508 1536 Robert Sherborne Robert Sherburne; translated from St David's; resigned shortly before his death.
Bishops of Chichester during the Reformation
From Until Incumbent Notes
1536 1543 Richard Sampson Previously Dean of Lichfield; also Dean of St Paul's; translated to Lichfield & Coventry.
1543 1551 George Day Provost of King's College, Cambridge; deprived by Edward VI.
1552 1553 John Scory Translated from Rochester; deprived by Mary I; later Bishop of Hereford.
1553 1556 George Day (again) Restored by Mary I; died in office.
1557 1558 John Christopherson Previously Dean of Norwich; died in office.
Post-Reformation Bishops of Chichester
From Until Incumbent Notes
1559 1568 William Barlow]] Had been deposed by Mary from Bath and Wells (being married); died in office.
1570 1582 Richard Curteys Richard Curtis; died in office.
1582 1586 See vacant
1586 1596 Thomas Bickley Previously Warden of Merton College, Oxford.
1596 1605 Anthony Watson Previously Lord High Almoner; also Dean of Bristol 1590–1598; died in office.
1605 1609 Lancelot Andrewes Previously Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge; translated to Ely then Winchester.
1609 1619 Samuel Harsnett Previously Archdeacon of Essex; translated to Norwich then York.
1619 1628 George Carleton Translated from Llandaff; died in office.
1628 1638 Richard Montagu Previously Archdeacon of Hereford; translated to Norwich.
1638 1641 Brian Duppa Previously Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; translated to Salisbury.
1642 1646 Henry King Previously Dean of Rochester; deprived of the see when bishops were abolished by Parliament on 9 October 1646.
1646 1660 The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and Protectorate.[9][10]
1660 1669 Henry King (again) Reinstated on the restoration of the episcopacy; died in office.
1670 1675 Peter Gunning Previously Master of St John's College, Cambridge; also Regius Professor of Divinity 1661–1674; translated to Ely.
1675 1678 Ralph Brideoake Previously Dean of Salisbury; died in office.
1679 1685 Guy Carleton Translated from Bristol; died in office.
1685 1689 John Lake Translated from Bristol; deprived as a non-juror.
1689 1691 Simon Patrick Previously Dean of Peterborough; translated to Ely.
1691 1696 Robert Grove Previously Archdeacon of Middlesex; died in office.
1696 1709 John Williams Died in office.
1709 1722 Thomas Manningham Previously Dean of Windsor; died in office.
1722 1724 Thomas Bowers Also Archdeacon of Canterbury since 1721.
1724 1731 Edward Waddington Died in office.
1731 1740 Francis Hare Translated from St Asaph.
1740 1754 Matthias Mawson Translated from Llandaff; translated to Ely.
1754 1797 Sir William Ashburnham, 4th Baronet Previously Dean of Chichester.
1798 1824 John Buckner Sometime Rector of St Giles, London; died in office.
1824 1831 Robert Carr Previously Dean of Hereford; translated to Worcester.
1831 1836 Edward Maltby Translated to Durham.
1836 1840 William Otter Previously Principal of King's College, London; died in office.
1840 1842 Philip Shuttleworth Previously Warden of New College, Oxford; died in office.
1842 1870 Ashurst Gilbert Previously Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford; died in office.
1870 1895 Richard Durnford Previously Archdeacon of Manchester; died in office.
1896 1907 Ernest Wilberforce Translated from Newcastle; died in office.
1908 1919 Charles Ridgeway Previously Dean of Carlisle.
1919 1929 Winfrid Burrows Translated from Truro; died in office.
1929 1958 George Bell Previously Dean of Canterbury; died in office.
1958 1974 Roger Wilson KCVO Translated from Wakefield; retired.
1974 2001 Eric Kemp Previously Dean of Worcester; retired and became "Bishop Emeritus of Chichester".
2001 2012 John Hind Translated from Europe; retired.
2012 Martin Warner Previously suffragan Bishop of Whitby.
Source(s): [11][12][13][14][15]

Outside links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Diocese of South Saxons - St Peter's, Selsey
  2. "Diocese of Chichester: About Us". Diocese of Chichester. http://www.diochi.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=about.content&cmid=9. Retrieved 19 Aug 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Churches in the Diocese of Chichester ("A Church Near You")". Church of England. http://www.acny.org.uk/result.php?d=10. Retrieved 19 Aug 2011. 
  4. "Chichester Diocese:Assistant and Area bishops". Diocese of Chichester. http://www.diochi.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=about.content&cmid=19. Retrieved 19 Aug 2011. 
  5. "Diocese of Chichester:Archdeacons". Diocese of Chichester. http://www.diochi.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=about.content&cmid=521. Retrieved 19 Aug 2011. 
  6. Tatton-Brown.Chichester Cathedral:The Mediæval Fabric. p.25
  7. Rowan Williams (30 August 2012). "Archbishop's Chichester Visitation - interim report published". Archbishop of Canterbury. http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2604/archbishops-chichester-visitation-interim-report-published. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  8. "Church of England criticised over Sussex sex abuse". BBC. 25 May 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-13540173. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  9. Episcopy. British Civil Wars, Commonwealth and Protectorate 1638–60. Retrieved on 20 August 2011.
  10. King, Peter (July 1968). "The Episcopate during the Civil Wars, 1642–1649". The English Historical Review (Oxford University Press) Volume 83 (No 328): pp. 523–537. http://www.jstor.org/pss/564164. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  11. "Historical successions: Chichester (including precussor offices)". Crockford's Clerical Directory. http://www.crockford.org.uk/listing.asp?id=702. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  12. Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S. et al., eds (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd, reprinted 2003 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 238–241. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  13. Greenway, D. E. (1996). "Bishops of Chichester". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 5: Chichester. British History Online. pp. 1–6. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=34293. 
  14. Horn, J. M. (1964). "Bishops of Chichester". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: Volume 7: Chichester Diocese. British History Online. pp. 1–4. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=32091. 
  15. Horn, J. M. (1971). "Bishops of Chichester". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857: Volume 2: Chichester Diocese. British History Online. pp. 1–6. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=34642. 


Dioceses of the Church of England

Province of Canterbury:
Bath & Wells •
Birmingham • Bristol • Canterbury • Chelmsford • Chichester • Coventry • Derby • Ely • Exeter • Gibraltar in Europe • Gloucester • Guildford • Hereford • Leicester • Lichfield • Lincoln • London • Norwich • Oxford • Peterborough • Portsmouth • Rochester • Saint Albans • Saint Edmundsbury & Ipswich • Salisbury • Southwark • Truro • Winchester • Worcester
Province of York:
Blackburn •
Carlisle • Chester • Durham • Leeds • Liverpool • Manchester • Newcastle • Sheffield • Sodor & Man • Southwell & Nottingham • York