Diocese of Salisbury

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Diocese of Salisbury
Church of England
Province: Canterbury
counties: Wiltshire, Dorset
Arms of the Bishop of Salisbury

Salisbury Cathedral
Bishop: Nicholas Holtam
Cathedral: Salisbury Cathedral
Bishop of Ramsbury,
Bishop of Sherborne
Archdeaconries: Dorset, Sarum,
Sherborne, Wilts
No. of parishes: 459
No. of churches: 582
Website: salisburyanglican.org.uk

The Diocese of Salisbury is a Church of England diocese, within the Province of Canterbury, which covers Dorset and Wiltshire (excepting Swindon and other parts in the north of the county). The diocese is led by the Bishop of Salisbury, whose seat is at Salisbury Cathedral.



The diocese has its original in the Diocese of Sherborne, founded in about 705 with Aldhelm as its first Bishop. The Diocese of Ramsbury was created from the northwestern territory of the Bishopric of Winchester in 909.[1]

Herman of Wilton, bishop of both Ramsbury and then Sherborne,[1] obtained approval from King Edward the Confessor to transfer his seat to Malmesbury, but this plan was blocked by the monks of Malmesbury Abbey and Earl Godwin. Instead, following the Norman conquest, the 1075 Council of London named him Bishop of Sarisberie[2] (Latin: Seriberiensis episcopus[3]), a place now known as Old Sarum: Sarum had been made a royal stronghold by William the Conqueror.

The confines of the ancient hill fort on which the city of Sarum (Sarisberie) and its cathedral were built became apparent and there were disputes between the bishops Herbert and Richard Poore and the sheriffs of Wiltshire, which led to the removal of the see in the 1220s to a new site to the south, in the meadows where the rivers meet, and here the bishop built a new cathedral and a new town. The town received a charter as a city from King Henry III in 1227, by the name "New Sarum".[4] The diocese, like the city it administered, became known as Salisbury.


At the Henrician Reformation, new diocese were created, including the Diocese of Bristol, which took part of northern Wiltshire. In 1836, Dorset was removed from Bristol to be added to the Diocese of Salisbury, but Berkshire was transferred from Salisbury to the Diocese of Oxford.

In 1925 and 1974, new suffragan bishops were appointed to assist the Bishop of Salisbury; the new offices were given ancient titles was the bishops of Sherborne and Ramsbury, respectively.[1]


The diocese is divided into four archdeaconries, two for each county. These are further subdivided into deaneries and parishes.

Sarum Use

In the eleventh century, the Sarum Rite (more properly called Sarum Use) was devised in the diocese, as a variant of the Roman Rite, and was widely used throughout England for the ordering of Christian public worship, including the Mass. It is believed to have been established by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury in the 11th century and was originally the local form used in the Cathedral and Diocese of Salisbury; it later became prevalent throughout southern England and came to be used throughout most of England, Wales, Ireland and later Scotland until the Reformation.[5] Although abandoned at the Reformation of the 16th century, it was also a notable influence on the pattern of Anglican liturgy represented in the Book of Common Prayer. Occasional interest in and attempts at restoration of the liturgy by 'Oxford Movement' Anglicans and Roman Catholics have not produced a general revival.


Bishops of Sherborne
From Until Incumbent Notes
c. 705 709 Saint Aldhelm Also Abbot of Malmesbury.
709 737(?) Forthhere Also recorded as Fordhere. Possibly resigned the see in 737.
736 Between 766 & 774 Herewald
766 x 774 789 x 794 Æthelmod
793 796 x 801 Denefrith
793 x 801 816 x 825 Wigberht Also recorded as Wigheorht.
816 x 825 867 Eahlstan Also recorded as Alfstan.
867 or 868 871 Saint Heahmund Also recorded as Saint Hamund.
871 x 877 879 x 889 Æthelheah
879 x 889 890 x 900 Wulfsige I
890 x 900 909 Asser Asserius Menevensis, King Alfred's adviser and biographer
c. 909 c 909 Æthelweard
c. 909 918, or 909 x 925 Wærstan
918, or 909 x 925 918, or 909 x 925 Æthelbald
918, or 909 x 925 932 x 934 Sigehelm
932 x 934 939 x 943 Alfred
939 x 943 958 x 964 Wulfsige II
958 x 964 978 Ælfwold I
978 or 979 991 x 993 Æthelsige I
993 {?) 1002 Wulfsige III Died in office on 8 January 1002.
1002 1011 or 1012 Æthelric
1011 or 1012 c.1014 Æthelsige II
1014 x 1017 1014 x 1017 Brithwine I
1017 1023 Ælfmaer Abbot of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. Died in office, possibly on 5 April 1023.
1023 1045 Brihtwine II Died in office, possibly on 2 June 1045.
1045 1058 Ælfwold II Venerated as a saint with his Feast day on 25 March.
1058 1075 Herman Also Bishop of Ramsbury. Became the first Bishop of Salisbury when the sees of Sherborne and Ramsbury were transferred to Salisbury (Old Sarum) in 1075.
Source(s): [6][7]


Bishops of Salisbury
From Until Incumbent Notes
See at Old Sarum
1075 1078 Herman Bishop of Sherborne (1058–75) and of Ramsbury (1045–55 and 1058–75). Removed the two sees to Salisbury (Old Sarum) in 1075. Died in office.
1078 1099 Osmund Died in office. Canonized by Pope Callixtus III in 1457.
1099 1102 See vacant
1102 1139 Roger of Salisbury Formerly Lord Chancellor. Died in office.
1140 Henry de Sully Nominated by Henry of Blois, but was rejected by King Stephen. In compensation, Sully became abbot of Fécamp Abbey.
1140 1141 Philip de Harcourt Dean of Lincoln. Nominated by King Stephen, but Henry of Blois refused to consecrate. Harcourt appealed to Rome, but the nomination was quashed. Later became Bishop of Bayeux.
1142 1184 Josceline de Bohon Also recorded as Jocelin Bohon. Formerly Archdeacon of Winchester. Resigned in 1184 and became a Cistercian monk at Forde Abbey, Dorset.
1184 1189 See vacant
1189 1193 Hubert Walter Formerly Dean of York. Tanslated to Canterbury
1194 1217 Herbert Poore Formerly Archdeacon of Canterbury. Tanslated to Canterbury.
1217 1225 Richard Poore Previously Dean of Salisbury (1197–1215) and translated from Chichester. Removed see to New Sarum (Salisbury).
See at Salisbury
1225 1228 Richard Poore (cont.) Removed the see from Old Sarum. Translated to Durham.
1229 1246 Robert de Bingham Also recorded as Robert Bingham. Died in office.
1246 1256 William de York Formerly Provost of Beverley. Died in office.
1256 1262 Giles of Bridport Formerly Dean of Wells. Died in office.
1263 1271 Walter de la Wyle Formerly Sub-chanter of Salisbury. Died in office.
1271 1284 Robert Wickhampton Formerly Dean of Salisbury. Died in office.
1284 1286 Walter Scammel Formerly Dean of Salisbury. Died in office.
1287 1288 Henry Brandeston Formerly Dean of Salisbury. Died in office.
1288 Lawrence de Awkeburne Elected but died before consecration.
1288 1291 William de la Corner Formerly Archdeacon of Northumberland. Died in office.
1291 1297 Nicholas Longespee Formerly a Prebendary of Salisbury. Died in office.
1297 1315 Simon of Ghent Died in office.
1315 1330 Roger Martival Formerly Dean of Lincoln. Died in office.
1330 1375 Robert Wyvil Also recorded as Robert Wyville. Died in office.
1375 1388 Ralph Ergham Translated to Bath & Wells.
1388 1395 John Waltham Also Master of the Rolls and Lord Treasurer. Died in office.
1395 1407 Richard Mitford Translated from Chichester. Died in office.
1407 Nicholas Bubwith Also recorded as Nicholas Bubbewith. Translated from London. Afterwards translated to Bath & Wells.
1407 1417 Robert Hallam Formerly Archdeacon of Canterbury and Chancellor of Oxford. Created a cardinal by Antipope John XXIII in 1411, but did not accept the promotion. Died in office.
1417 1426 John Chandler Also recorded as John Chaundler. Formerly Dean of Salisbury. Died in office.
1427 1438 Robert Neville Also recorded as Robert Nevill. Formerly Provost of Beverley. Translated to Durham.
1438 1450 William Ayscough Also recorded as William Aiscough. Murdered by an angry mob during Jack Cade’s rebellion.
1450 1481 Richard Beauchamp Translated from Hereford. Died in office.
1482 1484 Lionel Woodville Formerly Dean of Exeter and Chancellor of Oxford University. Died in office.
1485 1493 Thomas Langton Translated from St David's. Afterwards translated to Winchester.
1493 1499 John Blyth Also recorded as John Blythe. Also Master of the Rolls and Chancellor of Cambridge University. Died in office.
1501 Henry Deane Translated from Bangor. Afterwards translated to Canterbury
1502 1524 Edmund Audley Translated from Hereford. Died in office.
1524 1534 Lorenzo Campeggio Bishop of Bologna. Appointed Administrator of Salisbury. Deprived by Act of Parliament on the grounds of non-residence. Continued to be recognized as Administrator by the Vatican until July 1539.

During the Reformation

Bishops of Salisbury
From Until Incumbent Notes
1535 1539 Nicholas Shaxton Formerly Treasurer of Salisbury. Resigned due to non-subscription to the Six Articles.
1539 1557 John Capon Also known as John Salcott. Translated from Bangor. Died in office.
1558 Francis Mallet Dean of Lincoln (1555–1570). Nominated by Queen Mary but not consecrated, and set aside on her death.


Bishops of Salisbury
From Until Incumbent Notes
1559 1571

John Jewel

Died in office.
1571 1577 Edmund Gheast Translated from Rochester. Also Lord High Almoner. Died in office.
1577 1589

John Piers

Translated from Rochester. Also Lord High Almoner. Afterwards translated to York
1589 1591 See vacant
1591 1596 John Coldwell Formerly Dean of Rochester. Died in office.
1596 1598 See vacant
1598 1615 Henry Cotton Formerly a Prebendary of Winchester. Died in office.
1615 1618 Robert Abbot Formerly Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Died in office.
1618 1620 Martin Fotherby Formerly a Prebendary of Canterbury. Died in office.
1620 1621 Robert Tounson Also recorded as Robert Townson, Toulson, or Thompson. Formerly Dean of Westminster. Died in office.
1621 1641 John Davenant Formerly President of Queens' College, Cambridge. Died in office.
1641 1646 Brian Duppa Chichester. Deprived of the see when the episcopacy was abolished by Parliament.
1646 1660 See abolished during the Commonwealth and Protectorate.[13][14]
1660 Brian Duppa (restored) Reinstated on the restoration of the episcopacy. Afterwards translated to Winchester.
1660 1663 Humphrey Henchman Formerly Precentor of Salisbury. Translated to London.
1663 1665 John Earle Translated from Worcester. Died in office.
1665 1667 Alexander Hyde Formerly Dean of Winchester. Died in office.
1667 1689 Seth Ward Translated from Exeter. Died in office.
1689 1715 Gilbert Burnet Formerly Preacher at the Rolls Chapel. Died in office.
1715 1721 William Talbot Translated from Oxford. Afterwards translated to Durham.
1721 1723 Richard Willis Translated from Gloucester. Afterwards translated to Winchester.
1723 1734 Benjamin Hoadly Translated from Hereford. Afterwards translated to Winchester.
1734 1748 Thomas Sherlock Translated from Bangor. Afterwards translated to London.
1748 1757 John Gilbert Translated from Llandaff. Afterwards translated to York.
1757 1761 John Thomas (I.) Translated from Peterborough. Afterwards translated to Winchester
1761 Robert Hay Drummond Translated from St Asaph. Afterwards translated to York.
1761 1766 John Thomas (II.) Translated from Lincoln. Died in office.
1766 1782 John Hume Translated from Oxford. Died in office.
1782 1791 Shute Barrington Translated from Llandaff. Afterwards translated to Durham.
1791 1807 John Douglas Translated from Carlisle. Died in office
1807 1825 John Fisher Translated from Exeter. Died in office.
1825 1837 Thomas Burgess Translated from St David's. Died in office.
1837 1854 Edward Denison Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. Died in office.
1854 1869 Walter Hamilton Formerly a Canon-resident and Precentor of Salisbury. Died in office.
1869 1885 George Moberly Formerly a Canon of Chester. Died in office.
1885 1911 John Wordsworth Oriel Professor of Divinity, Oxford. Founder of Bishop Wordsworth's School. Died in office.
1911 1921 Frederick Ridgeway Translated from Kensington. Died in office.
1921 1935 St Clair Donaldson Translated from Brisbane. Died in office.
1936 1946 Neville Lovett Translated from Portsmouth. Retired.
1946 1948 Geoffrey Lunt Translated from Ripon. Died in office.
1949 1962 William Anderson Translated from Portsmouth. Retired.
1963 1972 Joseph Fison Died in office.
1973 1981 George Reindorp Translated from Guildford. Retired.
1982 1993 John Baker Retired.
1993 2010 David Stancliffe Retired.
2011 incumbent Nicholas Holtam Nominated on 12 April, consecrated on 22 July, and installed on 15 October 2011.

Outside links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Diocese of Salisbury. "The History of the Diocese". Church of England (Salisbury), 2015. Accessed 3 Jan 2015.
  2. Palmer, J.J.N. & al. "Place: Salisbury" at Open Domesday.
  3. British History Online. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300, Vol. IV, "Salisbury: Bishops". Institute of Historical Research (London), 1991.
  4. Easton, James. A Chronology of Remarkable Events Relative to the City of New Sarum, with the Year, and the Name of the Mayor in whose Time they occurred: Chiefly collected from the authentic Sources of the City Records, and Manuscripts of Citizens, From Template:Sc 1227 to 1823, a Period of 596 Years, Including the Prices of Wheat and Barley from an Early Æra: To which are added, Their annual Average Prices for 28 Years, Being from 1796 to 1823, 5th ed., p. 1. J. Easton (Salisbury), 1824.
  5. "Photostats of Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria 2565, Sarum Missal". Bodley.ox.ac.uk. 2009-09-01. http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/mediæval/sarum-missal/sarum-missal.html. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Historical successions: Salisbury (including precursor offices)". Crockford's Clerical Directory. http://www.crockford.org.uk/listing.asp?id=610. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  7. Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S. et al., eds (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd, reprinted 2003 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 222. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  8. Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, pp. 270–271.
  9. Bishops of SalisburyFasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 4: Salisbury}}
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bishops of SalisburyFasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: Volume 3: Salisbury Diocese}}
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Bishops of Salisbury Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857: Volume 6: Salisbury Diocese
  12. Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, p. 271.
  13. Episcopy. British Civil Wars, Commonwealth and Protectorate 1638–60. Retrieved on 20 August 2011.
  14. King, Peter (July 1968). "The Episcopate during the Civil Wars, 1642–1649". The English Historical Review (Oxford University Press) 83 (328): 523–537. doi:10.1093/ehr/lxxxiii.cccxxviii.523. http://www.jstor.org/pss/564164. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  15. Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, pp. 271–272.

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