Bishop of St Asaph

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Bishop of St Asaph
Coat of Arms of the Diocese of St Asaph.svg
Coat of arms
Gregory Cameron
Ecclesiastical province Wales
Diocese St Asaph
Cathedral St Asaph Cathedral

The Bishop of St Asaph heads the Church in Wales diocese of St Asaph.


The diocese covers the counties of Conwy and Flintshire, Wrexham county borough, the eastern part of Merioneth in Gwynedd and part of northern Powys. The Episcopal seat is located in the Cathedral Church of St Asaph in the city of St Asaph in Denbighshire, north Wales.

The Bishop's residence is Esgobty, St Asaph. The current bishop is Gregory Cameron, who was elected on 5 January and consecrated on 4 April 2009. He became Bishop of St Asaph in succession to John Davies, who was consecrated in October 1999 and who retired in 2008. [1]

Early times

This diocese was supposedly founded by St Kentigern (Cyndeyrn) about the middle of the 6th century, although this is unlikely. The date often given is 583. Exiled from his see in Scotland, Kentigern is said to have founded a monastery called Llanelwy – which is the Welsh name for St Asaph – at the confluence of the rivers Clwyd and Elwy in north Wales, where after his return to Scotland he was succeeded by Asaph or Asa, who was consecrated Bishop of Llanelwy. The Diocese of Llanelwy originally largely coincided with the kingdom of Powys, together with the part of the kingdom of Gwynedd known as Gwynedd Is Conwy, but lost much territory first by the Mercian encroachment marked by Watt's dyke and again by the construction of Offa's Dyke, soon after 798. Nothing is known of the history of the diocese during the disturbed period that followed. Some historians doubt the existence of the diocese per se before the Norman period, and the bishop list and the fact that the Diocese of Bangor, in the kingdom of Gwynedd, held large tracts of land there tends to confirm this.

Middle Ages

Domesday Book gives scanty particulars of a few churches but is silent as to the cathedral. Early in the twelfth century Norman influence asserted itself and in 1143 Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, consecrated one Gilbert as Bishop of St. Asaph, but the position of his successors was very difficult and one of them, Godfrey, was driven away by poverty and the hostility of the Welsh. A return made in the middle of the thirteenth century (London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius, c. x.) shows the existence of eight rural deaneries, seventy-nine churches, and nineteen chapels. By 1291 the deaneries had been doubled in number and there were Cistercian houses at Basingwerk, Aberconwy, Strata Marcella and Valle Crucis, and a Cistercian nunnery, Llanllugan Abbey. The cathedral, which had been burnt in the wars, was rebuilt and completed in 1295. Dedicated to St Asaph, it was a plain massive structure of simple plan, and was again destroyed during the Wars of the Roses. When it was restored by Bishop Redman the palace was not rebuilt and thus the bishops continued to be nonresident, notwithstanding the fact that in the late Middle Ages the bishop had five episcopal residences, four of which were alienated under Edward VI of England. Redman was abbot of Shap Abbey and visitor for the Premonstratensian canons, and spent most of his time visiting their monasteries or his diocese; he was diligent in his duties and felt no need to be resident in the city. At the end of the fifteenth century there was a great revival of church building, as is evidenced by the churches of that date still existing in the diocese. The chief shrines in the diocese were St Winefred's Well, St Garmon in Yale, St Derfel Gadarn in Edeirnion, St Melangell at Pennant, and the Holy Cross in Strata Marcella. All these were demolished at the Reformation. At that time the diocese contained one archdeaconry, sixteen deaneries, and one hundred and twenty-one parishes.

The names and succession of the bishops after Saints Kentigern and Asaph are not clearly known until 1143. The last bishop in communion with Rome was Thomas Goldwell, who acceded in 1555 and was in the process of being transferred to Oxford when Queen Mary died and Elizabeth I came to the throne. Goldwell fled to the Continent and died in Rome on 13 April 1585, the last surviving member of the pre-Reformation hierarchy.

The Report of the Commissioners appointed by his Majesty to inquire into the Ecclesiastical Revenues of England and Wales (1835) found the see had an annual net income of £6,301. This made it the wealthiest diocese in Wales and the fourth richest in Britain after Canterbury, London and Winchester. [2]

The see continued to be part of the Church of England until the Church was disestablished in Wales in 1920, since when it has been part of the (Anglican) Church in Wales.

List of the Bishops of St Asaph

Pre-reformation bishops

Bishops of St Asaph
6th century ADKentigern (Saint Mungo)Originally Bishop of Glasgow from c.540; founded diocese as episcopus Elvensis, Elguensis, Elveiisis, Lanelwensis
6th century AD Saint Asaph
c.600 Tysilio
c.800 Renchidus
c.928 Cebur
c.1070 Melanus
1143c.1151 Gilbert See recreated as suffragan of Canterbury
c.11521154 Geoffrey of Monmouth
11541155 Richard Died in office
c.11601165 Godfrey Left see to become abbot of Abingdon in 1165, removed from office in 1175
11751181 Adam the Welshman Canon of Pershore
1183c.1186 John I
1186c.1224 Reiner
1225c.1233 Abraham
1235c.1241 Hugh Monk of the Friars
12421247 Hywel ab Ednyfed Also known as Howel ap Ednevet
12491266 Einion I Also known as Anian
12671268 John II
12681293 Einion II Also known as Anian de Schonau, prior of Rhudland
12931314 Llywelyn de Bromfield Also known as Leolinus de Bromfield
1315c.1352 Dafydd ap Bleddyn Also known as David ap Blethin; canon of St. Asaph
13521357 John Trevor (I)Also known as John Trevaur
13571375 Llywelyn ap Madog Also known as Leolinus ap Madoc ap Elis; dean of St. Asaph
13761382 William Spridlington Also known as William de Spridlington; dean of St. Asaph
13821389 Lawrence Child Monk of Battle Abbey, licentiate of the civil law
13901394 Alexander Bache Also known as Alexander Bach; canon of St. Asaph
13951402 John Trevor (II)Prebendary of Hereford; deprived, possibly reinstated following David II as see not declared vacant prior to his death in 1410
1402c.1408 David II
1411c.1433 Robert Lancaster Also known as Robert of Lancaster
14331444 John Low Also known as John Lobbe; a friar eremite; translated to Rochester
14441449 Reginald Pecock Also known as Reginald Peacock; translated to Chichester
14501463 Thomas Bird Also known as Thomas Knight; deprived for rebellion; temporalities of the diocese to the king, the bishop of Rochester, Robert Caunton, and John Stanley before the pardoning of Thomas in 1471
14711495 Richard Redman Translated to Exeter
c.14951500 Michael Deacon Also known as Michael Dyacon; the king's confessor
15001503 Dafydd ab Ieuan ab Iorwerth Also known as David ap Yeworth; abbot of Valle Crucis
c.1503c.1513 Dafydd ab Owain Also known as David ap Owen; abbot of Aberconwy
15131518 Edmund Birkhead Also known as Edmund Brokehed
15181535 Henry Standish

During the Reformation

Bishops of St Asaph
c.15351536 William Barlow Prior of Haverfordwest. Translated to St David's, then Bath & Wells, then Chichester
15361554 Robert Parfew Also known as Robert Warton; abbot of St. Savior's Bermondsey; translated to Hereford
1556c.1559 Thomas Goldwell CR Went into voluntary exile (as Catholic)


Bishops of the Church of England

Bishops of St Asaph
15601561 No image.svg Richard Davies Translated to St David's
15611573 No image.svg Thomas Davies
15731600 No image.svg William Hughes
16011604 BpWilliamMorgan.jpg William Morgan Translator of the Bible into Welsh. Translated from Llandaff
16041623 No image.svg Richard Parry Dean of Bangor
16241629 No image.svg John Hanmer Prebendary of Worcester
16291646 No image.svg John Owen Archdeacon of St Asaph; deprived of the see when episcopacy was abolished by Parliament on 9 October 1646; died 1651
16461660The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate. [3] [4]
16601666 George Griffith DD, Bp of St Asaph.jpg George Griffith Archdeacon of St Asaph
16671670 No image.svg Henry Glemham Dean of Bristol
16701680 No image.svg Isaac Barrow Translated from Sodor & Man
16801692 WilliamLloydBpOfStAsaph.jpg William Lloyd Dean of Bangor; translated to Lichfield & Coventry, then Worcester
16921703 No image.svg Edward Jones Translated from Cloyne, Ireland
17031704 Bp George Hooper.jpg George Hooper Dean of Canterbury; translated to Bath & Wells
17041708 Bp William Beveridge by Benjamin Ferrers.jpg William Beveridge Archdeacon of Colchester
17081714 WilliamFleetwood.jpg William Fleetwood Canon of Windsor; translated to Ely
17141727 Bishop John Wynne.jpg John Wynne Principal of Jesus College, Oxford; translated to Bath & Wells
17271731 No image.svg Francis Hare Dean of Worcester and of St Paul's in London; translated to Chichester
17321735 Bp Thomas Tanner.jpg Thomas Tanner Canon of Christ Church, Oxford
17361743 No image.svg Isaac Maddox Dean of Wells; translated to Worcester
17431744 John Thomas (bishop of Salisbury).jpg John Thomas Dean of Peterborough; elected in Nov. but translated to Lincoln in Jan. before consecration
17441748 Bp Samuel Lisle.jpg Samuel Lisle Archdeacon of Canterbury; translated to Norwich
17481761 Joshua Reynolds - Robert Hay Drummond.jpg Robert Hay Drummond Prebendary of Westminster; translated to Salisbury
17611769 Bp Richard Newcome by Benjamin West.jpg Richard Newcome Translated from Llandaff
17691788 JonathanShipley.jpg Jonathan Shipley Translated from Llandaff
17891790 Henry Edridge00.jpg Samuel Hallifax Also known as Samuel Halifax; translated from Gloucester
17901802 Bp Lewis Bagot by John Hoppner.jpg Lewis Bagot Translated from Norwich
18021806 Samuel Horsley by Mrs Barou.jpg Samuel Horsley Translated from Rochester
18061815 Bp William Cleaver by John Hoppner.jpg William Cleaver Translated from Bangor
18151830 No image.svg John Luxmoore Translated from Hereford
18301846 Bp William Carey.jpg William Carey Translated from Exeter
18461870 Thomas Vowler Short by MA Shee.jpg Thomas Vowler Short Translated from Sodor & Man
18701889 Joshua Hughes DD, Bp of St Asaph.jpg Joshua Hughes Vicar of Llandovery
18891920 Alfred George Edwards by Solomon J Solomon.jpg Alfred George Edwards Church in Wales disestablished 1920

Bishops of the disestablished Church in Wales

Bishops of St Asaph
19201934 Alfred George Edwards by Solomon J Solomon.jpg Alfred George Edwards First Archbishop of Wales 1920–1934
19341950 Bishop Havard by Evan Walters.jpg William Havard
19501971 No image.svg David Bartlett
19711981 No image.svg Harold Charles
19811999 No image.svg Alwyn Rice Jones Archbishop of Wales 1991–1999
19992008 No image.svg John Davies
2009incumbent Gregory-Cameron.jpg Gregory Cameron Consecrated 4 April 2009
Source(s): [5] [6]

Assistant bishops

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


  1. "New Bishop of St Asaph is chosen". BBC. 5 January 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  2. The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge Vol.III, (1847), London, Charles Knight, p.362
  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. Hardy, T. Duffus. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae; or, a Calendar of the Principal Ecclesiastical Dignitaries in England and Wales, and of the Chief Officers in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge from the Earliest Times to the Year MDCCXV, Corrected and Continued to the Present Time, Vol. I, "St. Asaph's". Oxford Univ. Press, 1854. Accessed 18 Feb 2013.
  6. "Historical successions: St Asaph". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 22 July 2012.

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Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ancient Diocese of Saint Asaph". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.