Diocese of Oxford

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Diocese of Oxford
Church of England
Province: Canterbury
Arms of the Bishop of Oxford
Cathedral oxford.jpg

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
Bishop: Steven Croft
Cathedral: Christ Church Cathedral
Bishop of Dorchester,
Bishop of Buckingham, Bishop of Reading
Archdeaconries: Oxford, Buckingham,
Berkshire, Dorchester
No. of parishes: 624
No. of churches: 847
Website: oxford.anglican.org

The Diocese of Oxford is a Church of England diocese within the Province of Canterbury. It encompasses Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

The Bishop of Oxford presides over the diocese, and his seat is Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, a unique cathedral in that it is within Christ Church College, part of the University of Oxford, and serves also as the college chapel.


The Diocese of Oxford was created by letters patent from King Henry VIII on 1 September 1542,[1] out of part of the Diocese of Lincoln. Osney Abbey was designated the original cathedral, but in 1545 this was changed to St. Frideswide's which became Christ Church Cathedral.

In 1836 the Archdeaconry of Berkshire was transferred from the Diocese of Salisbury to Oxford.

In 1837 the County of Buckingham was similarly transferred from the then Diocese of Lincoln, to become the Archdeaconry of Buckingham, although this annexation did not take effect until 1845.

In 2013 and 2014, the Diocese of Oxford discussed and resolved to undertake some pastoral alterations; the new archdeaconry of Dorchester was created on 1 March 2014.[2]


The diocesan Bishop of Oxford is assisted by the area bishops of Dorchester, Buckingham, and Reading; during the vacancy in the diocesan see, the Bishop of Dorchester is acting bishop. The suffragan See of Buckingham was created in 1914, and was the suffragan bishop for the whole diocese until 1939 when the See of Dorchester was created; the See of Reading was re-created in 1942, after having been 'in abeyance' since 1909.

The provincial episcopal visitor (for parishes in this diocese – among twelve others in the western part of the Province of Canterbury – who reject the ministry of priests who are women, since 1994) is the Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

Since 1984, the diocese has been divided into three episcopal areas corresponding to its archdeaconries. The Bishop of Oxford has authority throughout the diocese, but also has primary responsibility for the city and suburbs of Oxford, which are part of the Archdeaconry of Oxford.


Bishops of Oxford
From Until Incumbent Notes
Seat at Osney
1542 1546 Robert King Suffragan Bishop of Lincoln
Seat at Oxford
1546 1558 Robert King Suffragan Bishop of Lincoln
1558 1559 Thomas Goldwell Previously Bishop of St Asaph; deprived, fled to Milan, Naples and Rome
1559 1567 See vacant
1567 1568 Hugh Curwen Translated from Dublin
1568 1589 See vacant
1589 1592 John Underhill Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford
1592 1604 See vacant
1604 1618 John Bridges Dean of Salisbury
1619 1628 Bp John Howson.jpg John Howson Student of Christ Church, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Durham
1628 1632 Portrait of Richard Corbet Bishop of Norwich by Sylvester Harding.jpg Richard Corbet Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Norwich
1632 1641 Bp John Bancroft.jpg John Bancroft Master of University College, Oxford
1641 1663 Robert Skinner Translated from Bristol; deprived during the Commonwealth; restored in 1660; appointed Bishop of Worcester
1663 1665 William Paul Dean of Lichfield
1665 1671 Bp Walter Blandford.jpg Walter Blandford Warden of Wadham College, Oxford;[3] appointed Bishop of Worcester
1671 1674 Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew from NPG.jpg Nathaniel Crew Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, and Dean of Chichester; appointed Bishop of Durham
1674 1676 Henry Compton by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg Henry Compton Canon of Christ Church, Oxford; appointed Bishop of London
1676 1686 Bp John Fell.jpg John Fell Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
1686 1687 Samuel Parker Archdeacon of Canterbury; died in office
1688 1690 Timothy Hall Denied installation by the Chapter of Christ Church
1690 1699 John Hough portrait.jpg John Hough President of Magdalen College, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Lichfield
1699 1715 William Talbot by Kneller.jpg William Talbot Dean of Worcester; appointed Bishop of Salisbury
1715 1737 Abp John Potter.jpg John Potter Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; appointed Archbishop of Canterbury
1737 1758 Thomas Secker by Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg Thomas Secker Bishop of Bristol; appointed Archbishop of Canterbury
1758 1766 John Hume Bp of Oxford.jpg John Hume Bishop of Bristol; appointed Bishop of Salisbury
1766 1777 Robert Lowth portrait.jpg Robert Lowth Bishop of St David's; appointed Bishop of London
1777 1788 John Butler Prebendary of Winchester; appointed Bishop of Hereford
1788 1799 Bp Edward Smallwell.jpg Edward Smallwell Bishop of St David's
1799 1807 John Randolph Bishop of London 1811 by William Owen.jpg John Randolph Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; appointed Bishop of Bangor
1807 1811 Bp Charles Moss.jpg Charles Moss
1812 1815 Bp William Jackson.jpg William Jackson Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford
1816 1827 The Hon. & Right Rev. Edward Legge L.L.D. Lord Bishop of Oxford.jpg Edward Legge Dean of Windsor
1827 1829 Bp Charles Lloyd.jpg Charles Lloyd Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford
1829 1845 Bp Richard Bagot.jpg Richard Bagot Dean of Canterbury; appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells
1845 1869 Samuel Wilberforce2.jpg Samuel Wilberforce Dean of Westminster; translated to Winchester
1870 1889 John Fielder Mackarness photo.jpg John Mackarness Prebendary of Exeter
1889 1901 Portrait of William Stubbs by Hubert von Herkomer.jpeg William Stubbs Bishop of Chester
1901 1911 Francis Paget.jpg Francis Paget Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
1911 1919 Charles Gore NPG.jpg Charles Gore Bishop of Birmingham; resigned
1919 1925 Hubert Burge Bishop of Southwark
1925 1937 Bp Thomas Banks Strong.jpg Thomas Strong Bishop of Ripon; resigned
1937 1954 Kenneth Kirk Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford
1955 1970 Harry Carpenter Warden of Keble College, Oxford; resigned
1971 1978 Kenneth Woollcombe Principal of Edinburgh Theological College; resigned
1978 1986 Patrick Rodger Bishop of Manchester; resigned
1987 2006 Richard Harries 20040428.jpg Richard Harries Dean of King's College, London; ennobled on retirement
2006 2014 John Pritchard crop.jpg John Pritchard Suffragan Bishop of Jarrow
2014 present Colin Fletcher, acting bishop Area Bishop of Dorchester
The unusually long vacancy was due to the Crown Nominations Commission failing to appoint in May 2015, and having to rejoin the back of the 'queue' for a second chance in March 2016.[4]
6 July 2016 present SteveCroft Consecration.JPG Steven Croft Translated from Sheffield

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