Bishop of Lichfield

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Bishop of Lichfield
Michael Ipgrave
Ecclesiastical province Canterbury
Residence Bishop's House, Lichfield
First holder Diuma
Winfrith (first bishop at Lichfield)
Established7th century AD
Diocese Lichfield
Cathedral Lichfield Cathedral

The Bishop of Lichfield is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield in the Province of Canterbury.


The diocese covers 4,516 km2 (1,744 sq. mi.) of the counties of Powys, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands. The bishop's seat is located in the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Chad in the city of Lichfield. The Bishop's residence is the Bishop's House, Lichfield, [1] in the cathedral close. In the past, the title has had various forms (see below). The current bishop is Michael Ipgrave, following the confirmation of his election on 10 June 2016. [2]


The Anglo-Saxon dioceses before 925 England diocese map pre-925.svg
The Anglo-Saxon dioceses before 925

The diocese of Mercia was founded 656 by Diuma with its see at Repton. When Chad was made Bishop in 669, he moved his seat to Lichfield, thus the diocese was named after that city. In 691 the area over which the bishop held authority was divided to form the smaller dioceses of Lichfield, Leicester, Lindsey, Worcester and Hereford.

It was briefly the seat of an archbishop under Hygeberht from 787 to 799 (officially dissolved in 803) during the ascendancy of the kingdom of Mercia. Offa, King of Mercia seemed to resent his own bishops paying allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Kent who, whilst under Offa's control, was not of his own kingdom of Mercia. Offa therefore created his own archbishopric in Lichfield, who presided over all the bishops from the Humber to the Thames, in 786, with the consent of Pope Adrian I. The Pope's official representatives were received warmly by Offa and were present at the Council of Chelsea (787), often called 'the contentious synod', where it was proposed that the Archbishopric of Canterbury be restricted in order to make way for Offa's new archbishop. It was vehemently opposed, but Offa and the papal representatives defeated Jænberht, Archbishop of Canterbury, installing Hygeberht as the new Archbishop of Lichfield. Pope Adrian sent Hygeberht his ceremonial garment, obviously denoting his support for this move. In gratitude, Offa promised to send an annual shipment of gold to the pope for alms and supplying the lights in St. Peter's church in Rome. However the Archbishopric of Lichfield only lasted for 16 years, ending after Offa's death, when at the Fifth Council of Clovesho it was restored to Æthelhard, Archbishop of Canterbury, by Pope Leo III.

The bishop's seat was briefly moved to Chester in 1075, but by 1102 was in Coventry. From 1228 Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield became the official title with seats at both cathedrals, though various older names remained in common usage.

After the Reformation of the 1530s the cathedral at Coventry was demolished, and after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 the bishop used the style Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. In 1837 the ancient bishopric was divided. The archdeaconry of Coventry (comprising northern and eastern Warwickshire) was transferred to the see of Worcester and the style Bishop of Lichfield adopted.

List of bishops

Bishops of Mercia (based at Repton)
 ?aft 655 Diuma Dwyna; Duma.
dates unclear Ceollach Cellach, a Scot; resigned and returned to Scotland.
c658c 662 Trumhere Trumhere, Abbot of Ingethling.
c 662c 667 Jaruman
Bishop of the Mercians and Lindsey people (based at Lichfield)
669672 Chad Saint Chad; Ceadda. Translated from York. After his consecration was first declared invalid and then restored; died in office.
Bishops of Lichfield
672c674 Winfrith Winfride; Winfrid. Deprived by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury.
c 676bef 692 Seaxwulf Saxulf; Sexulf. Abbot of Medeshamstede (Peterborough); Saint Sexwulf.
691bet 716–727 Headda Headdi; Eatheadus of Sidnacester.
bef 731737 Aldwine Aldwyn; Aldwini.
737bet 749–767 Witta Huitta.
bef 757765 Hemele Hemel.
c 765c 769 Cuthfrith Cuthred; died in office.
c 769bet 777–779 Berhthun Died in office.
779787 Hygeberht Higbert; created Archbishop by King Offa in 787.
Archbishop of Lichfield
787799HygeberhtHigbert; Bishop until 787.
Bishops of Lichfield
bet 799–801bet 814–816 Ealdwulf Adulphus; title of Archbishop laid aside.
bet 814–816bet 817–818 Herewine
818830 Æthelwold
830bet 830–836 Hunberght Humbert II.
bet 830–836bet 841–845 Cynefrith Cumbert; Cineferth; Saint Cumbert.
bet 843–845bet 857–862 Tunberht Tunbright; Tunfrith; Tumfriht.
bet 857–862bet 866–869 Wulfsige
bet 866–869bet 875–883 Eadberht or perhaps Burgheard
bet 875–883bet 889–900 Wulfred
bet 889–900bet 909–915 Wilferth or Wigmund; omitted from Haydn's.
bet 903–915bet 935–941 Ælfwine
bet 935–941bet 946–949 Wulfgar
bet 946–949bet 963–964 Cynesige Kinsey; Kynsy; Kinsius.
bet 963–964975 Wynsige Winsey; Winsius.
975bet 1002–1004 Elphege
bet 1002–1004after 1017 Godwin
after 1017bet 1026–1027 Leofgar Leosgar.
c 10271039 Brihtmær Brithmar.
10391053 Wulfsige Wulsy.
10531067 Leofwin Abbot of Coventry.
10671075 Peter In accordance with the decree of the Council of London (1075), removed see to Chester.
Bishops of Chester
10861102 Robert de Limesey Prebendary of St Paul's; removed see to Coventry.
Bishops of Coventry
11021117Robert de LimeseyAs above, title change only; died in office.
11171121Vacant for 4 years
11211126 Robert Peche Robert Pecham. Chaplain to Henry I; died in office.
11261129Vacant for 2 years
11291148 Roger de Clinton , Bishop of Lichfield and CoventryAlso called Bishop of Lichfield & Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.
11491159 Walter Durdent
11611182 Richard Peche
11831184 Gerard la Pucelle
11881198 Hugh Nonant
11981208 Geoffrey de Muschamp
12081215Vacant due to interdict by Pope Innocent III against King John's realms.
12151223 William de Cornhill
12241228 Alexander de Stavenby Became Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.
Bishops of Coventry and Lichfield
12281238Alexander de StavenbyPreviously Bishop of Coventry.
1239 William de Raley William Raleigh; elected by both the chapter of Coventry and that of Lichfield but being also elected Norwich he accepted that office.
1239 Nicholas Farnham Elected by the Chapter of Coventry but did not take office, later Bishop of Durham.
1239 William de Manchester Dean of Lichfield; elected by the Chapter of Lichfield but did not take office
1239December 1241 Hugh de Pateshull Lord Treasurer; accepted after much controversy between the two chapters and at Henry III's request; confirmed 25 December 1239; died in office.
December 12418 December 1241 Richard le Gras Abbot of Evesham, elected but declined office or died before the disputed election was resolved.
December 12411245Vacant
1243 Robert de Monte Pessulano Elected but refused the appointment, finding the election disagreeable to Henry III.
12451256 Roger Weseham Dean of Lincoln; appointed by Pope Innocent IV.
12581295 Roger de Meyland Roger Longespée; Roger de Molend.
12961321 Walter Langton Lord Treasurer and Lord Chancellor.
13221358 Roger Northburgh Roger de Northbrugh; Archdeacon of Richmond; Lord Keeper and Lord Treasurer.
13601385 Robert de Stretton Canon of Lichfield.
13861386 Walter Skirlaw Dean of St Martin's; translated to Bath & Wells.
13861398 Richard le Scrope Translated to York.
13981414 John Burghill Translated from Llandaff.
14151419 John Catterick John Keterich; translated from St Davids; translated to Exeter.
14191419 James Cary translated to Exeter but died before taking office thereof.
20 November 142013 March 1447 William Heyworth
14471452 William Booth Prebendary of St Paul's, London; translated to York.
1452 Nicholas Close Translated from Carlisle; Chancellor of Cambridge.
14531459 Reginald Boulers Translated from Hereford.
14591490 John Hales John Halse. Prebendary of St Paul's, London.
14931496 William Smyth Archdeacon of Surrey; translated to Lincoln.
14961502 John Arundel Dean of Exeter; translated to Exeter.
15031531 Geoffrey Blythe Geoffry Blyth. Dean of York.
15341539 Rowland Lee Chancellor and Prebendary of Lichfield and Lord President of Wales. Title changed when Coventry Cathedral was dissolved.
Bishops of Lichfield and Coventry
15391543Rowland LeePreviously Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, before the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
15431554 Richard Sampson Translated from Chichester; Lord President of Wales.
15541559 Ralph Baines The last Roman Catholic Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry; deprived and died soon after.
15601579 Thomas Bentham Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.
15801609 William Overton Prebendary of Winchester and Salisbury.
16091610 George Abbot from NPG cropped.jpg George Abbot Dean of Winchester; translated to London.
16101614 Richard Neile portrait.jpg Richard Neile Translated from Rochester; translated to Lincoln.
16141618 Joverall.jpg John Overall Dean of St Paul's, London; translated to Norwich.
16191632 Thomas Morton portrait.jpg Thomas Morton Translated from Chester; translated to Durham.
16321643 Robert Wright, Warden of Wadham.jpg Robert Wright Translated from Bristol.
16441646 Abp Accepted Frewen.jpg Accepted Frewen Dean of Gloucester; deprived of the see when the English episcopy was abolished by Parliament on 9 October 1646.
16461660The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate. [3] [4]
16601660 Abp Accepted Frewen.jpg Accepted FrewenRestored; translated to York, 4 October 1660.
16611670 Bp John Hacket.jpg John Hacket Canon-resident of St Paul's, London.
16711692 Bp Thomas Wood by Peter Lely.jpg Thomas Wood Dean of Lichfield.
16921699 WilliamLloydBpOfStAsaph.jpg William Lloyd Translated from St Asaph; translated to Worcester.
16991717 John Hough portrait.jpg John Hough Translated from Oxford; translated to Worcester.
17171730 EdwardChandler.jpg Edward Chandler Prebendary of Worcester; translated to Durham.
17311749 Bp Richard Smallbrooke.jpg Richard Smalbroke Translated from St Davids.
17501768 AbpFrederickCornwallis.jpg Frederick Cornwallis Canon of Windsor; Dean of St Paul's, London (1766); translated to Canterbury.
17681771 John Egerton Ep Dunelm.jpg John Egerton Translated from Bangor; translated to Durham.
17711774 Bp Brownlow North by Henry Howard.jpg Brownlow North Dean of Canterbury; translated to Worcester.
17751781 Richard-Hurd,-Bishop-of-Worcester.jpg Richard Hurd Master of the Temple; translated to Worcester.
17811824 Bp James 4th Earl Cornwallis.jpg James Cornwallis Earl Cornwallis after 1823. Dean of Canterbury; nephew of Frederick Cornwallis (above); died in office.
10 March 182431 March 1836 Bp Henry Ryder.jpg Henry Ryder Translated from Gloucester; died in office.
3 July 183624 January 1837 Samuel Butler Bp of Lichfield.jpg Samuel Butler Became Bishop of Lichfield when Coventry was transferred to Worcester diocese. [5]
Bishops of Lichfield
24 January 18374 December 1839 Samuel Butler Bp of Lichfield.jpg Samuel Butler Previously Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry; died in office.
23 January 184011 October 1843 Bp James Bowstead by Martin Archer Shee.jpg James Bowstead Translated from Sodor & Man.
3 December 184319 October 1867 JohnLonsdale.jpg John Lonsdale Archdeacon of Middlesex and Principal of King's College, London; died in office.
4 January 186811 April 1878 Selwyn, George Augustus (1809-1878), by Mason & Co..jpg George Selwyn Translated from New Zealand; died in office.
24 June 187828 July 1891 Apb William Dalrymple Maclagan.jpg William Maclagan Vicar of St Mary Abbots, Kensington; translated to York.
29 September 189115 March 1913 Bp Augustus Legge.jpg Augustus Legge Confirmed 28 September 1891; died in office.
13 June 191315 June 1937 John Augustne Kempthorne Bishop of Lichfield.jpg John Kempthorne
29 July 193711 January 1953 Edward Sydney Woods by Epstein.jpg Edward Woods Died in office.
29 September 19531 December 1974 No image.svg Stretton Reeve
2 January 197529 February 1984 No image.svg Kenneth Skelton former Bishop of Matabeleland and Assistant Bishop of Durham; retired.
12 October 19842003 No image.svg Keith Sutton
200330 September 2015 No image.svg Jonathan Gledhill [6]
30 September 201510 June 2016 Clive Gregory
Bishop of Wolverhampton
Acting bishop. [7]
10 June 2016incumbent No image.svg Michael Ipgrave

Assistant bishops

Among those called Assistant Bishop of Lichfield, or coadjutor bishop, were:


  1. "Michael Geoffrey Ipgrave" . Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing . Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  2. OurCofE twitter (Accessed 11 June 2016)
  3. Plant, David (2002). "Episcopalians". BCW Project. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  4. 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. JSTOR   564164.
  5. "No. 19460". The London Gazette . 24 January 1837. pp. 167–170.
  6. Diocese of Lichfield – "40 years seem a good stint" Archived 8 March 2015 at (Accessed 2 March 2015)
  7. Diocese of Lichfield — the Bishop of Lichfield Archived 19 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine (Accessed 18 November 2015)
  8. "Hobhouse, Edmund (HBHS858E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  9. "Abraham, Charles John (ABRN833CJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  10. "Bromby, Charles Henry (BRMY833CH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.

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