Province of York

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York Minster

The Province of York is one of two provinces making up the Church of England, the other being the Province of Canterbury. The Province of York consists of 14 dioceses which cover the northern third of England and also the Isle of Man.[1]

The Archbishop of York acts also as the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York. His seat is York Minster, formally known as The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York.

The province was created in 735 when Ecgbert Bishop of York was raised to the status of Archbishop. At one time, the Archbishops of York also claimed metropolitan authority over Scotland but these claims were disputed by the Scottish bishops in the Middle Ages and the claim ceased when the office of Archbishop of St Andrews was established to oversee the bishops of Scotland.


Arms of the Archbishop of York

The twelve dioceses overseen by the Province are:



There was a bishop in York from very early Christian times. Bishops of York were present at the Councils of Arles and Nicaea. However, this early Christian community was later destroyed by the pagan English and there is no direct succession from these bishops to the post-Augustinian ones.

Early Middle Ages

The diocese is said to have been refounded by Paulinus, a member of Augustine's mission, in the 7th century. Notable among these early bishops is Wilfrid. These early bishops of York acted as diocesan bishops under Canterbury until the time of Ecgbert of York, who was elevated to become an Archbishop in 735 and established metropolitan rights in the north. Until the Danish invasion the archbishops of Canterbury occasionally exercised authority, and it was not till the Norman Conquest that the archbishops of York asserted their complete independence.

In the later Anglo-Saxon period it became usual for the See of York to be held in plurality with the Worcester, and sometimes Lichfield, and Lincoln, since the Norsemen had mae such depredations upon the estates formerly held by the Archbishops in earlier ages that they did not have sufficient income to maintain the Archbishop and his court in a proper state,

The dioceses in the Northern Isles and in Scotland were taken from York in 1072. In 1154 the suffragan sees of the Isle of Man and Orkney were transferred to the Norwegian archbishop of Nidaros (today's Trondheim), and in 1188 all the Scottish dioceses except Whithorn were released from subjection to York, so that only the dioceses of Whithorn, Durham and Carlisle remained to the Province. Of these, Durham was practically independent, for the palatine bishops of that see were little short of sovereigns in their own jurisdiction.

Several of the archbishops of York held the ministerial office of Lord Chancellor of England and played some parts in affairs of state. As Peter Heylyn (1600–1662) wrote: "This see has yielded to the Church eight saints, to the Church of Rome three cardinals, to the realm of England twelve Lord Chancellors and two Lord Treasurers, and to the north of England two Lord Presidents." The bishopric's role was also complicated by continued conflict over primacy with the see of Canterbury.


At the time of the English Reformation, York possessed three suffragan sees, Durham, Carlisle and Sodor and Man and the new Diocese of Chester, founded by Henry VIII. At this time many of the secular rights belonging to the Archbishop were removed, though the Bishop of Durham's remarkable palatine jurisdiction remained for centuries.

Walter de Grey purchased York Place in London, which after the fall of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, was renamed the Palace of Whitehall.

Industrial Revolution and after

The Industrial Revolution vastly increased the populations of the towns in County Durham, Lancashire and Yorkshire and the industrial centres on the Tyne in Durham and Northumberland. As a result several new dioceses were created to give today's total of fourteen.

In 2012 the Dioceses Commission decided that the number of dioceses in Yorkshire should be reduced, which decision is still (2013) being considered.

Archbishop of York

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

The province's metropolitan bishop is the Archbishop of York, who also bears the title “Primate of England” (while his southern colleage in Caterbury is the “Primate of All England”, a formula derived from a mediæval compromise). York is the second of the Church’s archbishops, though amongst the bishops of the church they are considered “first amongst equals”.

The archbishop's throne is in York Minster in the heart of the City of York. His official residence is Bishopthorpe Palace in the village of Bishopthorpe, outside the city.

The Archbishop signs as Ebor., from the Latin name of York; Eboracum. (The current archbishop, John Sentamu signs not as "+John Ebor" but as as +Sentamu Ebor: since both "John" and "Sentamu" are Christian names.)

Anglo-Saxon Period

Bishops of York
From Until Incumbent Notes
626 633 Paulinus Formerly a monk at St. Andrew's Monastery in Rome; translated to Rochester; canonised.[2]
633 664 Vacant
664 669 Chad of Mercia Resigned the York; later became Bishop of Mercia and Lindsey; canonised.
664 678 Wilfrid (I) Ejected from York; later became Bishop of Selsey; canonised.
678 706 Bosa Canonised.
706 714 John of Beverley Translated from Hexham; resigned the see; canonised in 1037.
714 732 Wilfrid (II) Resigned the see; canonised.
c. 732 735 Ecgbert York elevated to Archbishopric in 735.
Archbishops of York
From Until Incumbent Notes
735 766 Ecgbert York elevated to Archbishopric in 735.
c. 767 c. 780 Æthelbert Also known as Æthelbeorht, Adalberht, Ælberht, Aelberht, Aldbert or Æthelbert.
c. 780 796 Eanbald (I)
796 c. 808 Eanbald (fl. 798) (II)
c. 808 c. 834 Wulfsige
837 854 Wigmund
854 c. 896 Wulfhere Fled the Danes in 872, returned in 873.
900 c. 916 Æthelbald Sometimes known as Æthelbeald, Athelbald, or Ethelbald.
c. 916 931 Hrotheweard Sometimes known as Lodeward.
931 956 Wulfstan (I)
c. 958 971 Oscytel Translated from Dorchester; also known as Oscytel.
971 Edwald Also known as Edwaldus or Ethelwold.
971 992 Oswald of Worcester Held both the sees of York and Worcester; canonised.
995 1000 Ealdwulf Held both the sees of York and Worcester.
1002 1023 Wulfstan (II) Held both the sees of York and Worcester until 1016.
1023 1041 Ælfric Puttoc Held the sees of York and Worcester 1040–41; ejected from both in 1041.
1041 1042 Æthelric Elected Archbishop in 1041, but was quashed in 1042.
1042 1051 Ælfric Puttoc (again) Restored to York only.
1051 1060 Cynesige Also known as Kynsige.
1061 1069 Ealdred Held the see of Worcester 1046-61, of Hereford 1056-60, and of York 1061-69; also known as Aldred.
Source(s): Crockfords

Conquest to Reformation

Archbishops of York (Conquest to Reformation)
From Until Incumbent Notes
1070 1100 Thomas of Bayeux Also known as Thomas (I).
1100 1108 Gerard Hereford.
1109 1114 Thomas (II)
1119 1140 Thurstan He was elected in 1114, but wasn't consecrated until 1119.
1140 Waltheof of Melrose Nominated Archbishop, but was quashed by King Stephen; later became Abbot of Melrose.
1140 Henry de Sully Abbot of Fécamp Abbey. Nominated Archbishop, but was quashed by Pope Innocent II.
1143 1147 William (FitzHerbert) Deposed by Pope Eugene III; canonised in 1226.
1147 1147 Hilary of Chichester Chichester.
1147 1153 Henry Murdac Formerly Abbot of Fountains Abbey.
1153 1154 William (FitzHerbert) (again) Restored by Pope Anastasius IV; canonised in 1226.
1154 1181 Roger de Pont L'Évêque Formerly Archdeacon of Canterbury.
1191 1212 Geoffrey (Plantagenet) Formerly Bishop-elect of Lincoln; elected Archbishop in 1189, but only consecrated in 1191.
1215 Simon Langton Elected Archbishop of York in June 1215, but was quashed on 20 August 1215 by Pope Innocent III on request from King John; later Archdeacon of Canterbury.
1216 1255 Walter de Gray Translated from Worcester.
1256 1258 Sewal de Bovil Formerly Dean of York.
1258 1265 Godfrey Ludham Formerly Dean of York; also known as Godfrey Kineton.
1265 William Langton Dean of York (1262–1279); elected Archbishop in March 1265, but was quashed in November 1265.[3]
1265 1266 Bonaventure Selected as Archbishop in November 1265, but never consecrated and resigned the appointment in October 1266.
1266 1279 Walter Giffard Translated from Bath and Wells.
1279 1285 William de Wickwane
1286 1296 John le Romeyn Also known as John Romanus.
1298 1299 Henry of Newark Formerly Dean of York.
1300 1304 Thomas of Corbridge
1306 1315 William Greenfield Formerly Dean of Chichester
1317 1340 William Melton
1342 1352 William Zouche Also known as William de la Zouche.
1353 1373 Cardinal John of Thoresby Translated from Worcester; created a cardinal in 1361.
1374 1388 Alexander Neville St Andrew's in 1388.
1388 1396 Thomas Arundel Translated from Ely; translated to Canterbury.
1397 1398 Robert Waldby Chichester.
1398 1398 Walter Skirlaw Bishop of Durham, elected but put aside by King Richard II.
1398 1405 Richard le Scrope Translated from Lichfield.
1405 1406 Thomas Langley Elected Archbishop in August 1405, but was quashed in May 1406.
1406 1407 Robert Hallam Nominated Archbishop in May 1406 by Pope Innocent VII, but vetoed by King Henry IV.
1407 1423 Henry Bowet Translated from Bath and Wells.
1423 1424 Philip Morgan Elected Archbishop in 1423, but was quashed in 1424.
1424 1425 Richard Fleming Conferred as Archbishop by Pope Martin V, but was refused by King Henry V, and Fleming resigned the appointment in July 1425.
1426 1452 Cardinal John Kemp Translated from London; created a cardinal in 1439; translated to Canterbury.
1452 1464 William Booth Translated from Lichfield.
1465 1476 George Neville Translated from Exeter.
1476 1480 Lawrence Booth Translated from Durham.
1480 1500 Thomas Rotherham Translated from Lincoln.
1501 1507 Thomas Savage Translated from London.
1508 1514 Cardinal Christopher Bainbridge Translated from Durham; created a cardinal in 1511.
1514 1530 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey Translated from Lincoln in 1514; created a Cardinal in 1515; held with Bath and Wells 1518-23, Durham 1523-29 and Winchester 1529-30.
Source(s): Crockfords

Archbishops from the Reformation

Post-Reformation Archbishops of York
From Until Incumbent Notes
1531 1544 Edward Lee Translated from St David's.
1545 1554 Robert Holgate Translated from Llandaff.
1555 1559 Nicholas Heath Translated from Worcester.
1561 1568 Thomas Young Translated from St David's.
1570 1576 Edmund Grindal Translated from London; translated to Canterbury.
1577 1588 Edwin Sandys Translated from London.
1589 1594 John Piers Translated from Salisbury.
1595 1606 Matthew Hutton Translated from Durham.
1606 1628 Tobias Matthew Translated from Durham.
1628 George Montaigne Translated from Durham.
1629 1631 Samuel Harsnett Translated from Norwich.
1632 1640 Richard Neile Translated from Winchester.
1641 1650 John Williams Translated from Lincoln.
1650 1660 Vacant
1660 1664 Accepted Frewen Translated from Lichfield.
1664 1683 Richard Sterne Translated from Carlisle.
1683 1686 John Dolben Translated from Rochester.
1688 1691 Thomas Lamplugh Translated from Exeter.
1691 1714 John Sharp Formerly Dean of Canterbury.
1714 1724 Sir William Dawes Bt Translated from Chester.
1724 1743 Lancelot Blackburne Translated from Exeter.
1743 1747 Thomas Herring Translated from Bangor; translated to Canterbury.
1747 1757 Matthew Hutton Translated from Bangor; translated to Canterbury.
1757 1761 John Gilbert Translated from Salisbury.
1761 1776 The Hon Robert Hay Drummond Translated from Salisbury.
1776 1807 William Markham Translated from Chester.
1808 1847 The Hon Edward Venables-Vernon
from 1831: The Hon Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt
Translated from Carlisle.
1847 1860 Thomas Musgrave Translated from Hereford.
1860 1862 Charles Longley Translated from Durham; translated to Canterbury.
1862 1890 William Thomson Translated from Gloucester.
1891 William Magee Translated from Peterborough.
1891 1908 William Maclagan Translated from Lichfield.
1909 1928 Cosmo Gordon Lang Former Suffragan Bishop of Stepney; translated to Canterbury.
1929 1942 William Temple Translated from Manchester; translated to Canterbury.
1942 1955 Cyril Garbett Translated from Winchester.
1956 1961 Michael Ramsey Translated from Durham; translated to Canterbury.
1961 1974 Donald Coggan Translated from Bradford; translated to Canterbury.
1975 1983 Stuart Blanch Translated from Liverpool.
1983 1995 John Habgood Translated from Durham.
1995 2005 David Hope Translated from London.
2005 present John Sentamu[4] Translated from Birmingham.
Source(s): Crockfords


The Bishop of Beverley is the Provincial Episcopal Visitor in the Province, popularly known as a "flying bishop". It is his role to minister to parishes which reject the ordination of wonen as priests.

See also

Outside links


  1. Cannon, John (2002). "York, metropolitan diocese of". The Oxford Companion to British History. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  2. St. Paulinus, Archbishop of York. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  3. William de Langeton alias of Rotherfield
  4. The Archbishop of York


Story, Joanna (August 2012). "Bede, Willibrord and the Letters of Pope Honorius I on the Genesis of the Archbishopric of York". English Historical Review cxxvii (527): 783-818. 

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