Bishop of Oxford

Last updated

Bishop of Oxford
Steven Croft
Ecclesiastical province Canterbury
First holder Robert King
Diocese Oxford
Cathedral Christ Church Cathedral

The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury; his seat is at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. The current bishop is Steven Croft, following the confirmation of his election to the See on 6 July 2016. [1]



The origins of Christianity in this part of England go back at least to the 7th century, when Saint Birinus brought his mission to the West Saxons in 634. The West Saxon King Cynegils was baptised in the River Thames near the present site of Dorchester Abbey, where the original See was established.

The see was transferred in 1092 to Winchester, before being absorbed into the Diocese of Lincoln, the vast extent of which covered much of central and eastern England from the River Thames to the Humber.

King Henry VIII, acting now as head of the Church in England, established by Act of Parliament in 1542 six new dioceses, mostly out of the spoils of the suppressed monasteries. These six were Bristol, Chester, Gloucester, Oxford, Peterborough and Westminster. This intervention by Henry VIII saw a new see located at Osney in Oxfordshire in 1542 before finally being moved to its present location in the City of Oxford in 1546.

While the city gained prosperity from the accession of thousands of students, it was never, apart from the university, again prominent in history until the seventeenth century, when it became the headquarters of the Royalist party, and again the meeting-place of Parliament. The city of Oxford showed its Hanoverian sympathies long before the university, and feeling between them ran high in consequence. The area and population of the city remained almost stationary until about 1830, but since then it has grown rapidly.

Modern bishopric

The modern diocese covers the counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire, with parishes also in Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, and Warwickshire. The see is in the City of Oxford where the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Christ which was elevated to cathedral status in 1546, and which (uniquely among English dioceses) is also the chapel of Christ Church, Oxford. The Oxford diocese at the present day contains the greatest number of parishes of any diocese on England (621) and also the most church buildings (815), of which 475 are grade 1 or 2* listed buildings.

Croft is the first to reside at the new Bishop's Lodge, Kidlington; "for decades" previously, bishops had resided at Linton Road in North Oxford. [2] Each bishop signs + Christian name Oxon:; e.g. + Steven Oxon:.

List of bishops

List of the Bishops of Oxford, and its precursor offices.

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

Bishops of Oxford
See at Osney
15421546 No image.svg Robert King previously suffragan bishop to the Bishop of Lincoln (as titular Bishop of Rheon, Greece)
See at Oxford
15461558 No image.svg Robert Kingpreviously Bishop of Rheon (above)
15581559 No image.svg Thomas Goldwell Translated from St Asaph: his nomination had however been left unsigned at the death of the Queen; deprived, fled to Milan, Naples and Rome
15591567See vacant
15671568 No image.svg Hugh Curwen Translated from Dublin
15681589See vacant
15891592 No image.svg John Underhill Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford
15921604See vacant
16041618 No image.svg John Bridges Dean of Salisbury
16191628 Bp John Howson.jpg John Howson Student of Christ Church, Oxford; translated to Durham
16281632 Portrait of Richard Corbet Bishop of Norwich by Sylvester Harding.jpg Richard Corbet Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; translated to Norwich
16321641 Bp John Bancroft.jpg John Bancroft Master of University College, Oxford
16411663 No image.svg Robert Skinner Translated from Bristol; deprived during the Commonwealth; restored in 1660; translated to Worcester
16631665 No image.svg William Paul Dean of Lichfield
16651671 Bp Walter Blandford.jpg Walter Blandford Warden of Wadham College, Oxford; [3] translated to Worceser
16711674 Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew from NPG.jpg Nathaniel Crew Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, and Dean of Chichester; translated to Durham
16741676 Henry Compton by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg Henry Compton Canon of Christ Church, Oxford; translated to London
16761686 Bp John Fell.jpg John Fell Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
16861687 No image.svg Samuel Parker Archdeacon of Canterbury; died in office
16881690 No image.svg Timothy Hall Denied installation by the Chapter of Christ Church
16901699 John Hough portrait.jpg John Hough President of Magdalen College, Oxford; translated to Lichfield
16991715 William Talbot by Kneller.jpg William Talbot Dean of Worcester; translated to Salisbury
17151737 Abp John Potter.jpg John Potter Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; translated to Canterbury
17371758 Thomas Secker by Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg Thomas Secker Translated from Bristol; translated to Canterbury
17581766 John Hume Bp of Oxford.jpg John Hume Translated from Bristol; translated to Salisbury
17661777 Robert Lowth, after RE Pine.jpg Robert Lowth Translated from St David's; translated to London
17771788 No image.svg John Butler Prebendary of Winchester; translated to Hereford
17881799 Bp Edward Smallwell.jpg Edward Smallwell Translated from St David's
17991807 John Randolph Bishop of London 1811 by William Owen.jpg John Randolph Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; translated to Bangor
18071811 Bp Charles Moss.jpg Charles Moss
18121815 Bp William Jackson.jpg William Jackson Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford
18161827 Edward Legge by John Partridge.jpg Edward Legge Dean of Windsor
18271829 Charles Lloyd by BR Faulkner.jpg Charles Lloyd Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford
18291845 Richard Bagot by HW Pickersgill.jpg Richard Bagot Dean of Canterbury; translated to Bath & Wells
18451869 Samuel Wilberforce2.jpg Samuel Wilberforce Dean of Westminster; translated to Winchester
18701889 John Fielder Mackarness photo.jpg John Mackarness Prebendary of Exeter
18891901 Portrait of William Stubbs by Hubert von Herkomer.jpeg William Stubbs Translated from Chester
19011911 Francis Paget.jpg Francis Paget Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
19111919 Charles Gore NPG.jpg Charles Gore Translated from Birmingham; resigned
19191925 No image.svg Hubert Burge Translated from Southwark
19251937 Bp Thomas Banks Strong.jpg Thomas Strong Translated from Ripon; resigned
19371954 No image.svg Kenneth Kirk Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford
19551970 No image.svg Harry Carpenter Warden of Keble College, Oxford; resigned
19711978 No image.svg Kenneth Woollcombe Principal of Edinburgh Theological College; resigned
19781986 No image.svg Patrick Rodger Translated from Manchester; resigned
19872006 Richard Harries 20040428.jpg Richard Harries Dean of King's College, London; ennobled on retirement
20062014 John Pritchard crop.jpg John Pritchard Translated from Jarrow
20142016 Colin Fletcher
Bishop of Dorchester
Acting Bishop. 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 2016incumbent Official portrait of The Lord Bishop of Oxford crop 2.jpg Steven Croft Translated from Sheffield [1]

See also


  1. 1 2 Diocese of Oxford — Legal ceremony brings Bishop Steven a step closer Archived 14 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine & Diocese of Oxford — Letter from Bishop Steven (Both accessed 8 July 2016)
  2. Ffrench, Andrew. "New Bishop of Oxford will live outside city as current £10m house deemed too expensive". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  3. "No. 1". The Oxford Gazette . 7 November 1665. p. 1.
  4. Church of England Media Centre — Vacancy in the See of Oxford (Accessed 15 May 2015)

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