Archbishop of York

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Archbishop of York
Installation of the Bishops of Barking and Colchester (14983891360) (Stephen Cottrell cropped).jpg
Arms SeeOfYork.svg
Arms of the Diocese of York: Gules, two keys in saltire the wards upwards argent in chief a regal crown proper [1]
Stephen Cottrell
since 9 July 2020
Style The Most Reverend and Right Honourable (otherwise His Grace)
Ecclesiastical province York
Residence Bishopthorpe Palace
First holder Paulinus of York
EstablishedBishopric in 626
Archbishopric in 735
Diocese York
Cathedral York Minster

The archbishop of York is a senior bishop in the Church of England, second only to the archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and the metropolitan bishop of the province of York, which covers the northern regions of England (north of the Trent) as well as the Isle of Man.


The archbishop's throne ( cathedra ) is in York Minster in central York and the official residence is Bishopthorpe Palace in the village of Bishopthorpe outside York. The current archbishop is Stephen Cottrell, since the confirmation of his election on 9 July 2020. [2]



There was a bishop in Eboracum (Roman York) from very early times; during the Middle Ages, it was thought to have been one of the dioceses established by the legendary King Lucius. Bishops of York are known to have been present at the councils of Arles (Eborius) and Nicaea (unnamed). However, this early Christian community was later destroyed by the pagan Anglo-Saxons and there is no direct succession from these bishops to the post-Augustinian ones.

Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval times

The diocese was 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 rather than archdiocesan prelates until the time of Ecgbert of York, [lower-alpha 1] who received the pallium from Pope Gregory III in 735 and established metropolitan rights in the north. Until the Danish invasion the archbishops of Canterbury occasionally exercised authority, and it was not until the Norman Conquest that the archbishops of York asserted their complete independence.

At the time of the Norman invasion York had jurisdiction over Worcester, Lichfield, and Lincoln, as well as claiming the dioceses in the Northern Isles and Scotland which were in fact independent. [4] But the first three sees just mentioned 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 York finally accepted it had no authority over all of the Scottish dioceses except Whithorn, so that only the dioceses of Whithorn, Durham, and Carlisle remained to the archbishops as suffragan sees. Of these, Durham was practically independent, for the palatine bishops of that see were little short of sovereigns in their own jurisdiction. Sodor and Man were returned to York during the 14th century, to compensate for the loss of Whithorn to the Scottish Church.

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.

English Reformation

At the time of the English Reformation, York possessed three suffragan sees, Durham, Carlisle and Sodor and Man, to which during the brief space of Queen Mary I's reign (1553–1558) may be added the Diocese of Chester, founded by Henry VIII, but subsequently recognised by the Pope.

Until the mid 1530s (and from 1553 to 1558) the bishops and archbishops were in communion with the pope in Rome. This is no longer the case, as the archbishop of York, together with the rest of the Church of England, is a member of the Anglican Communion.

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

Styles and privileges

The archbishop of York is an ex officio member of the House of Lords and is styled Primate of England (whereas the archbishop of Canterbury is the Primate of All England); he is referred to as "The Most Reverend", retired archbishops are styled as "The Right Reverend". As archbishops are, by convention, appointed to the Privy Council they may, therefore, also use the style of "The Right Honourable" for life (unless they are later removed from the council). In debates in the House of Lords, the archbishop is referred to as "The Most Reverend Primate, the archbishop of York". "The Right Honourable" is not used in this instance. He may also be formally addressed as "Your Grace"—or, more often these days, simply as "archbishop", or "Father".

The surname of the archbishop of York is not always used in formal documents; often only the first name and see are mentioned. The archbishop is legally entitled to sign his name as "Ebor" (from the Latin for York). The right to use a title as a legal signature is only permitted to bishops, peers of the Realm and peers by courtesy.[ citation needed ] The current archbishop of York usually signs as "+Stephen Ebor".

In the English and Welsh order of precedence, the archbishop of York is ranked above all individuals in the realm, with the exception of the sovereign and members of the royal family, the archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chancellor. [5] Immediately below him is the Prime Minister and then the Lord President of the Council.


The archbishop of York is the metropolitan bishop of the province of York and is the junior of the two archbishops of the Church of England after the archbishop of Canterbury. [6] The See is currently occupied by Stephen Cottrell since 9 July 2020.

The Province of York includes 10 Anglican dioceses in Northern England: Blackburn, Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, and York, as well as 2 other dioceses: Southwell and Nottingham in the Midlands and Sodor and Man covering the Isle of Man.

List of archbishops


Bishops of York
625633 Paulinus Formerly a monk at St. Andrew's Monastery in Rome; translated to Rochester; canonised. [7]
633664See vacant
664669 Chad Resigned the see of York; later became bishop of Mercia and Lindsey; canonised.
664678 Wilfrid (I)Ejected from York; later became bishop of Selsey [lower-alpha 2] canonised.
678706 Bosa Canonised.
706714 John of Beverley Translated from Hexham; resigned the see; canonised in 1037.
714732 Wilfrid (II)Resigned the see; canonised.
c.732735 Ecgbert York elevated to archbishopric in 735.
Pre-Conquest archbishops of York
735766EcgbertYork elevated to archbishopric in 735.
c.767c.780 Æthelbert Also known as Æthelbeorht, Adalberht, Ælberht, Aelberht, Aldbert or Æthelbert.
c.780796 Eanbald (I)
796c.808 Eanbald (II)
c.808c.834 Wulfsige
837854 Wigmund
854c.896 Wulfhere Fled the Danes in 872, returned in 873.
900c.916 Æthelbald Sometimes known as Æthelbeald, Athelbald, or Ethelbald.
c.916931 Hrotheweard Sometimes known as Lodeward.
931956 Wulfstan (I)
c.958971 Oscytel Also known as Oscytel. Translated from Dorchester.
971 Edwald Also known as Edwaldus or Ethelwold.
971992 Oswald Held both the sees of York and Worcester; canonised.
9951002 Ealdwulf Held both the sees of York and Worcester.
10021023 Wulfstan (II)Also known as Lupus. Also held the see of Worcester (1002–1016).
10231051 Ælfric Puttoc Also held the see of Worcester (1040–1041).
10511060 Cynesige Also known as Kynsige.
10611069 Ealdred Also known as Aldred. Held the see of Worcester 1046–1061, of Hereford 1056–1060, and of York 1061–1069.
Footnote(s): [lower-alpha 3] and Source(s): [10] [11]

Conquest to Reformation

Archbishops of York (Conquest to Reformation)
10701100 Thomas of Bayeux Also known as Thomas (I).
11001108 Gerard Translated from Hereford.
11091114 Thomas (II)
11191140 Thurstan He was elected in 1114, but was not consecrated until 1119.
1140 Waltheof of Melrose Nominated archbishop, but was quashed by King Stephen; later became Abbot of Melrose.
1140 Henri de Sully.JPG Henry de Sully Abbot of Fécamp Abbey. Nominated archbishop, but was quashed by Pope Innocent II.
11431147 William (FitzHerbert)Deposed by Pope Eugene III; canonised in 1226.
1147 Hilary of Chichester Deposed by Pope Eugene III, elected bishop of Chichester.
11471153 Henry Murdac Formerly Abbot of Fountains Abbey.
11531154William (FitzHerbert) (again)Restored by Pope Anastasius IV; canonised in 1226.
11541181 Roger de Pont L'Eveque.jpg Roger de Pont L'Évêque Formerly archdeacon of Canterbury.
11911212 Geoffrey (Plantagenet)Formerly bishop-elect of Lincoln; elected archbishop in 1189, but was 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 became archdeacon of Canterbury.
12161255 Yorkminsterwalterdegraytombvertical.jpg Walter de Gray Translated from Worcester.
12561258 Sewal de Bovil Formerly Dean of York.
12581265 Godfrey Ludham Also known as Godfrey Kineton. Formerly Dean of York.
1265 William Langton Dean of York (1262–1279); elected archbishop in March 1265, but was quashed in November 1265. [12]
12651266 Francois, Claude (dit Frere Luc) - Saint Bonaventure.jpg Bonaventure Selected as archbishop in November 1265, but never consecrated and resigned the appointment in October 1266.
12661279 Walter Giffard Translated from Bath and Wells.
12791285 William de Wickwane
12861296 John le Romeyn Also known as John Romanus.
12981299 Henry of Newark Formerly Dean of York.
13001304 Thomas of Corbridge
13061315 William Greenfield Formerly Dean of Chichester
13171340 Archbishop de Melton.jpg William Melton
13421352 William Zouche Also known as William de la Zouche.
13531373Cardinal John of Thoresby Translated from Worcester; created a Cardinal in 1361. [13]
13741388 Alexander Neville Translated to St Andrews in 1388.
13881396 Thomas Arundel.jpg Thomas Arundel Translated from Ely; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
13971398 Robert Waldby Translated from Chichester.
1398 Bishop Walter Skirlaw, East Window, York Minster.jpg Walter Skirlaw Bishop of Durham, elected but put aside by King Richard II.
13981405 Richard le Scrope Translated from Lichfield.
14051406 Thomas Langley Elected archbishop in August 1405, but was quashed in May 1406.
14061407 LedgerStone RobertHallam KonstanzMinster.jpg Robert Hallam Nominated archbishop in May 1406 by Pope Innocent VII, but was vetoed by King Henry IV.
14071423 Henry Bowet Translated from Bath and Wells.
14231424 Philip Morgan Elected archbishop in 1423, but was quashed in 1424.
14241425 Archbishop Richard Fleming.jpg Richard Fleming Conferred as archbishop by Pope Martin V, but was refused by King Henry V, and Fleming resigned the appointment in July 1425.
14261452 Cardinal John Kemp.jpg Cardinal John Kemp Translated from London; created a Cardinal in 1439; [14] translated to Canterbury.
14521464 William Booth Translated from Lichfield.
14651476 George Neville Translated from Exeter.
14761480 Lawrence Booth Translated from Durham.
14801500 Archbishop Thomas Rotherham.jpg Thomas Rotherham Translated from Lincoln.
15011507 Archbishop Savage.png Thomas Savage Translated from London.
15081514 Christopher Bainbridge.jpg Cardinal Christopher Bainbridge Translated from Durham; created a Cardinal in 1511. [15]
15141530 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.jpg Cardinal Thomas Wolsey Translated from Lincoln in 1514; created a Cardinal in 1515; [16] held with Bath and Wells 1518–23, Durham 1523–29 and Winchester 1529–30.
Source(s): [11] [17] [18] [19]


Post-Reformation archbishops of York
15311544 No image.svg Edward Lee Translated from St Davids.
15451554 Robertholgate.jpg Robert Holgate Translated from Llandaff.
15551559 Nicholas Heath by Hans Eworth.jpg Nicholas Heath Translated from Worcester.
15611568 No image.svg Thomas Young Translated from St Davids.
15701576 Edmund Grindal.jpg Edmund Grindal Translated from London; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
15771588 Edwin Sandys from NPG.jpg Edwin Sandys Translated from London.
15891594 Abp John Piers.jpg John Piers Translated from Salisbury.
15951606 MatthewHutton (1529-1606).jpg Matthew Hutton Translated from Durham.
16061628 Tobie (or Tobias) Matthew from NPG.jpg Tobias Matthew Translated from Durham.
1628 George Mountaigne DD.jpg George Montaigne Translated from Durham.
16291631 Harsnett crop.png Samuel Harsnett Translated from Norwich.
16321640 Richard Neile portrait.jpg Richard Neile Translated from Winchester.
16411646 Abp John Williams by Gilbert Jackson.jpg John Williams Translated from Lincoln. Deprived when the English episcopacy was abolished by Parliament. Died 1650.
16461660The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate. [20] [21]
16601664 Abp Accepted Frewen.jpg Accepted Frewen Translated from Lichfield.
16641683 AbRichardSterne.jpg Richard Sterne Translated from Carlisle.
16831686 ArchbishopDolben.jpg John Dolben Translated from Rochester.
16881691 Thomas Lamplugh-kneller.jpg Thomas Lamplugh Translated from Exeter.
16911714 Abp John Sharp.jpg John Sharp Formerly Dean of Canterbury.
17141724 Sir-William-Dawes-3rd-Bt.jpg Sir William Dawes, Bt. Translated from Chester.
17241743 Lancelot Blackburne (1658-1743), Archbishop of York.jpeg Lancelot Blackburne Translated from Exeter.
17431747 ThomasHerring.jpg Thomas Herring Translated from Bangor; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
17471757 Apb Matthew Hutton.jpg Matthew Hutton Translated from Bangor; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
17571761 John Gilbert portrait.jpg John Gilbert Translated from Salisbury.
17611776 Sir Joshua Reynolds - Robert Hay Drummond, D. D. Archbishop of York... - 46-1930 - Saint Louis Art Museum.jpg Robert Hay Drummond Translated from Salisbury.
17761807 William Markham by Benjamin West.jpg William Markham Translated from Chester.
18081847 Abp Edward V-Harcourt by Thomas Phillips (crop).jpg Edward Venables-Vernon Translated from Carlisle. Surname changed from Venables-Vernon to Venables-Vernon-Harcourt in 1831.
18471860 Abp Thomas Musgrave by FR Say.jpg Thomas Musgrave Translated from Hereford.
18601862 AbpCharlesThomasLongley.jpg Charles Longley Translated from Durham; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
18621890 William Thomson by A Bassano.jpg William Thomson Translated from Gloucester.
1891 William Connor Magee portrait.jpg William Connor Magee Translated from Peterborough.
Apb William Dalrymple Maclagan.jpg William Maclagan Translated from Lichfield.
19091928 Cosmo Lang by Laszlo.jpg Cosmo Gordon Lang Translated from Stepney; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
19291942 The Royal Navy during the Second World War A11567 (Archbp Temple crop).jpg William Temple Translated from Manchester; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
Cyril-Forster-Garbett.jpg Cyril Garbett Translated from Winchester.
19561961 Michael Ramsey 1974.jpg Michael Ramsey Translated from Durham; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
19611974 Donald Coggan (1964).jpg Donald Coggan Translated from Bradford; afterwards translated to Canterbury.
No image.svg Stuart Blanch Translated from Liverpool.
John Stapylton Habgood (1981).jpg John Habgood Translated from Durham.
No image.svg David Hope Translated from London.
Official portrait of The Lord Archbishop of York crop 2.jpg John Sentamu [22] Translated from Birmingham; retired 7 June 2020. [23]
2020present Bishop Stephen Cottrell (cropped).jpg Stephen Cottrell [24] Translated from Chelmsford; election confirmed 9 July 2020. [2]
Source(s): [11] [25] [26]

Archbishops who became peers

From 1660 to 1900, all the archbishops of York died in office or were translated to Canterbury and died in that office.

William Maclagan was the first to voluntarily resign his office in 1908, two years before his death. All of his successors who were not translated to Canterbury have also resigned their office before death, and (like all archbishops of Canterbury) have been offered a peerage upon resignation. [lower-alpha 4]

Cosmo Gordon Lang Baron Lang of Lambeth in 1942Extinct in 1945as archbishop of Canterbury
Michael Ramsey Baron Ramsey of Canterbury for life in 1974Extinct in 1988
Donald Coggan Baron Coggan for life in 1980Extinct in 2000
Stuart Blanch Baron Blanch for life in 1983Extinct in 1994
John Habgood Baron Habgood for life in 1995Retired from the House in 2011; [27] extinct in 2019
David Hope Baron Hope of Thornes for life in 2005Retired from the House in 2015; [28] extant
John Sentamu Baron Sentamu for life in 2021Extant

Assistant bishops

Among those who have served as assistant bishops of the diocese have been:

See also


  1. Paulinus was appointed archbishop of York by Pope Honorius I in 634, but the appointment was not effective since it occurred after Paulinus had fled from York and become bishop of Rochester. [3]
  2. Although Wilfrid established a monastic community in Selsey, there are no early sources that describe him as bishop of the South Saxons. Wilfrid is credited with being first bishop of the South Saxons, by William of Malmesbury and Florence of Worcester, also on some later Ecclesiastical lists, but he was still technically bishop of York when in charge of Selsey Abbey. Therefore, as Sussex had been annexed by Wessex then Selsey probably would have been subject to the Diocese of the West Saxons, when Wilfrid was there. [8]
  3. The second edition of the Handbook of British Chronology listed Æthelric to have been archbishop of York from 1041 to 1042, [9] but in the third edition he is no longer listed to have been archbishop. [10]
  4. William Temple died in office (as the archbishop of Canterbury), and Cyril Garbett died before his hereditary peerage could be created.

Related Research Articles

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Thurstan or Turstin of Bayeux was a medieval Archbishop of York, the son of a priest. He served kings William II and Henry I of England before his election to the see of York in 1114. Once elected, his consecration was delayed for five years while he fought attempts by the Archbishop of Canterbury to assert primacy over York. Eventually, he was consecrated by the pope instead and allowed to return to England. While archbishop, he secured two new suffragan bishops for his province. When Henry I died, Thurstan supported Henry's nephew Stephen of Blois as king. Thurstan also defended the northern part of England from invasion by the Scots, taking a leading part in organising the English forces at the Battle of the Standard (1138). Shortly before his death, Thurstan resigned from his see and took the habit of a Cluniac monk.

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Further reading