Diocese of Leeds

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Diocese of Leeds
Church of England
Province: York
Arms of the Bishop of Leeds
Bishop: Nicholas Baines
Cathedral: Ripon Cathedral,
Wakefield Cathedral and
Bradford Cathedral
Archdeaconries: Richmond and Craven,
Halifax, Leeds,
Pontefract, Bradford
No. of parishes: 462
No. of churches: 656
Website: westyorkshiredales.anglican.org

The Diocese Leeds is a Church of England diocese in the Province of York. It styles itself the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. It is the largest diocese in England by area, including as it does almost the whole western part of Yorkshire; the northern and western parts of the West Riding of Yorkshire and thr western parts of the North Riding of Yorkshire, excluding Sedbergh, which has ben expelled to the neighbourung Diocese of Carlisle. It includes the cities of Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon.

The Diocese was created on 20 April 2014 following a review of the dioceses in Yorkshire, which led to the dissolution of the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield.

The diocese is led by the Bishop of Leeds and has three cathedrals of equal status: Ripon Cathedral, Wakefield Cathedral and Bradford Cathedral. Although the diocese and its bishop have their title from the city, there is no cathedral in Leeds. There are five episcopal areas within the diocese, each led by an area bishop: Leeds, Ripon, Wakefield, Bradford and Huddersfield. Interim arrangements are in place until appointments are made and formalised to these positions


The Dioceses Commission (as established in a new form in 2008), began its review of the dioceses of Yorkshire (York, Ripon and Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield and Bradford) on the 2009 recommendation of the House of Bishops. The review group considered the best ways for the Church of England in Yorkshire to serve the Church's mission to those communities. The group quickly decided that the dioceses of York and of Sheffield would need little adjustment, so focused on the dioceses in the West Riding and in the Yorkshire Dales.

Following an initial report and extensive consultation with the three dioceses and other interested parties, the Commission issued a second report[1] and Draft Reorganisation Scheme[2] in October 2011 including the observation that Leeds, as the largest city in the new see, should be the diocesan seat and thus the new diocese would be the Diocese of Leeds; in this way none of the three cathedrals of the superseded bishoprics would be a principal cathedral and all would have equal status, with a merged college led by a presiding dean It was also decided that Leeds Minster could become the “pro-cathedral” for the new diocese if and when the diocesan bishop decides.

The Bradford Diocesan Synod and the Ripon and Leeds Diocesan Synods voted in favour of the proposals, while Wakefield's did not; the General Synod of the Church of England therefore made the decision to approave the proposal on 8 July 2013,[3] and the new diocese came into being on Easter Day, 20 April 2014; the first new diocese in the Church of England since 1929.


Ripon, Bradford and Wakefield

There are three cathedrals in the diocese and none in the bishop's titular seat; the Geneal Synod did not have the heart to demote the cathedral churches of the former dioceses. These are:

Ripon Cathedral

Ripon Cathedral is a grand mediæval abbey church with an early Anglo-Saxon undercroft dating from the days of St Wilfred. It was elevated to cathedral status in 1836.

In in AD 672,so a contemporary account by Eddius Stephanus tells:

In Ripon, Saint Wilfrid built and completed from the foundations to the roof a church of dressed stone, supported by various columns and side-aisles to a great height and many windows, arched vaults and a winding cloister.

Wilfrid's church was destroyed in 948, leaving only the crypt. The church of today was built on Wilfred's foundation by Archbishop Roger de Pont l’Evêque’s in the 12th century, and substantial alterations and extenstions have been built in the subsequent centuries.

Wakefield Cathedral

  • The Cathedral Church of All Saints in Wakefield is a mediæval, Gothic church. It was elevated to cathedral status in 1888 at the creation of the Diocese of Wakefield.

The cathedral is built on the site of an Anglo-Saxon church, evidence of which was uncovered in 1900. A Norman church built here was rebuilt in 1329, and has received alterations and additions in various ages; it was largely rebuilt in the Perpendicular Gothic style in the early 15th century. Its current late mediaeval appearance results from a Victorian restoration by Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1858 and 1874.

Bradford Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St Peter in Bradford is a grand mediæval church in Bradford. It was elevated to cathedral status in 1919.

The church was built in the 14th century, apparantly using masonery from the earlier church destroyed in the Scottish wars and possibly from the Anglo-Saxon church which preceded it.

List of bishops

Bishops of Leeds
From Until Incumbent Notes
June 2014 onwards Nicholas Baines


The diocese is known formally as the Diocese of Leeds but referred to as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. Its bishop is the Bishop of Leeds. There are five episcopal areas within the diocese, each led by an area bishop: Leeds, Ripon, Wakefield, Bradford and Huddersfield.

Outside links


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