Bishop of Winchester

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Bishop of Winchester
Arms SeeOfWinchester.svg
Arms of the Bishop of Winchester: Gules, two keys addorsed in bend the upper or the lower argent between them overlying the uppermost key a sword in bend sinister point upright of the third hilt and pommel or [1]
Acting: Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton

Archbishop's Commissary: Richard Frith
Ecclesiastical province Canterbury
Residence Wolvesey, Winchester
First holder Wine
Established634 (at Dorchester)
660 (translated to Winchester)
Diocese Winchester
Cathedral Winchester Cathedral (since 660)
Dorchester (634–660)

The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat ( cathedra ) is at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire. The Bishop of Winchester has always held ex officio (except during the period of the Commonwealth until the Restoration of the Monarchy) the office of Prelate of the Most Noble Order of the Garter since its foundation in 1348, [2] and Bishops of Winchester often held the positions of Lord Treasurer and Lord Chancellor ex officio . During the Middle Ages, it was one of the wealthiest English sees, and its bishops have included a number of politically prominent Englishmen, notably the 9th century Saint Swithun and medieval magnates including William of Wykeham and Henry of Blois.


The Bishop of Winchester is appointed by the Crown, and is one of five Church of England bishops who sit ex officio among the 26 Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords, regardless of their length of service. [3]

The Diocese of Winchester is one of the oldest and most important in England. Originally it was the episcopal see of the kingdom of Wessex or the West Saxons, with its cathedra at Dorchester Cathedral near Oxford under Saints Birinus and Agilbert. The cathedral at Dorchester was founded in AD 634 by Birinius, a Roman missionary. The see was transferred to Winchester in AD 660.

Winchester was divided in AD 909, with Wiltshire and Berkshire transferring to the new See of Ramsbury. Nevertheless, the domains of the Bishop of Winchester ran from the south coast to the south bank of the River Thames at Southwark, where the bishop had one of his palaces, making it one of the largest as well as one of the richest sees in the land. In more modern times, the former extent of the Diocese of Winchester was reduced by the formation of a new diocese of Southwark in south London, [lower-alpha 1] a new diocese of Guildford in Surrey and a new diocese of Portsmouth in Hampshire. The most recent loss of territory was in 2014 when the Channel Islands were removed from the diocese of Winchester after a dispute with Bishop Tim Dakin led to a breakdown in relations. However, this arrangement is expressed to be an interim one and will not necessarily become permanent. The Channel Islands remain part of the Diocese of Winchester effectively under a scheme of episcopal delegation. The Bishop of Winchester delegated his episcopal authority in relation to the Channel Islands to the Archbishop of Canterbury who in turn placed the Channel Islands under the pastoral supervision of the Bishop of Dover. The Channel Islands have not[ verification needed ] been transferred to and incorporated within another diocese. [5]

Traditionally, in the general order of precedence before 1533, the Bishop of Winchester was given precedence over all other diocesan bishops - that is, the first English bishop in rank behind the archbishops of Canterbury and York. But in 1533, Henry VIII of England raised the rank of the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Durham, relegating Winchester to third (but still above other remaining diocesan bishops).[ citation needed ] The order of precedence was implicitly recognised by the Bishoprics Act 1878. [6] [lower-alpha 2]

The Report of the Commissioners appointed by his Majesty to inquire into the Ecclesiastical Revenues of England and Wales (1835) found the Winchester see was the third wealthiest in England, after Canterbury and London, with an annual net income of £11,151. [7]

The official residence of the Bishop of Winchester is Wolvesey Palace in Winchester. Other historic homes of the bishops included Farnham Castle, Bishop's Waltham Palace and a town residence at Winchester Palace in Southwark, Surrey (now London). The bishop is the visitor to five Oxford colleges, namely Magdalen College, New College, St John's College, Trinity College, and Corpus Christi College.

The most recent bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, was enthroned on 21 April 2012, having been elected on 14 October 2011. He was consecrated as a bishop at St Paul's Cathedral, London, on 25 January 2012. On 20 May 2021, it was reported that Dakin had "stepped back" as diocesan bishop for six weeks, in light of the threat of a diocesan synod motion of no confidence in his leadership. David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke, also "stepped back" and Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton, served as acting diocesan bishop. [8] Dakin's leave was later extended to the end of August 2021. [9] He retired on 6 February 2022. [10] A new bishop is to be appointed; Debbie Sellin continues as acting diocesan bishop during the vacancy, with retired bishop Richard Frith serving as the Archbishop's Episcopal Commissary in the diocese. [11]

List of bishops

Saxon to Norman

Bishops of Dorchester
634c. 650 Birinus Sent from Rome by the pope, founded missionary diocese; Saint Birinius
c. 650c. 660 Agilbert Resigned.
Bishops of Winchester
660663 Wine also had his See at Dorchester
670before 676 Leuthere
676?705 Hædde Canonized
c.705744 Daniel
744betw. 749–756 Hunfrith
756betw. 759–778 Cyneheard
betw. 759–778betw. 759–778 Æthelheard
betw. 759–778betw. 781–785 Ecgbald
betw. 781–785betw. 781–785 Dudd
betw. 781–785betw. 801–803 Cyneberht
betw. 801–803betw. 805–814 Ealhmund
betw. 805–814836 Wigthegn
before 825836 Herefrith Never attests without Wigthegn.
betw. 833–838838 Eadhun
838 or 839betw. 844–853 Helmstan
852 or 853betw. 862–865 Swithun Canonized. Patron saint of Winchester.
betw. 862–867betw. 871–877 Ealhferth
betw. 871–877878 or 879 Tunbeorht
878 or 879908 Denewulf
909932 or 933 Frithestan Canonized
931934 Beornstan Canonized
934 or 935951 Ælfheah (I)
951959 Ælfsige (I)Translated to Canterbury
960963 Beorhthelm Possibly translated from Selsey
963984 Æthelwold (I)Canonized
9841006 Ælfheah (II)Translated to Canterbury. Canonized.
1006 Cenwulf
10061012 Æthelwold (II)
10121032 Ælfsige (II)
10321047 Ælfwine
10471070 Stigand Translated from Elmham. Held Winchester with Canterbury 1052–1070.
Footnote(s): [lower-alpha 3] and Source(s): [13] [14]

Norman to Reformation

10701098 Walkelin
11001129 William Giffard
11291171 Henry of Blois
11731188 Richard of Ilchester
11891204 Godfrey de Luci
1205(Richard Poore)Election quashed
12051238 Peter des Roches
12381239(Ralph Neville)Election quashed
12401250 William de Raley Translated from Norwich
12501260 Aymer de Valence
12611262(Andrew of London)Election quashed
12611262(William de Taunton)Election quashed
12621268 John Gervais
12681280 Nicholas of Ely
1280(Robert Burnell)Election quashed June 1280.
12801282(Richard de la More)Never consecrated, resigned June 1282.
12821304 John of Pontoise
13051316 Henry Woodlock
13161319 John Sandale
13191323 Rigaud of Assier
13231333 John de Stratford Translated to Canterbury
13331345 Adam Orleton Translated from Worcester
13451366 William Edington
13661404 WilliamOfWykeham.jpg William of Wykeham
14041447Cardinal Henry Beaufort Translated from Lincoln; Appointed Cardinal by Pope Martin V; The Bishop of Winchester in Shakespeare's First Part of Henry the Sixth
14471486 WilliamWaynflete.jpg William Waynflete
14871492 Peter Courtenay Translated from Exeter
14931501 Thomas Langton Translated from Salisbury
15011528 Richard Foxe from NPG.jpg Richard Foxe Translated from Durham
15291530 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.jpg Cardinal Thomas Wolsey Archbishop of York. Held in commendam the see of Winchester.
Source(s): [14] [15] [16] [17]

During the Reformation

15311551 Der-kanonikus-stephan-gardiner.jpg Stephen Gardiner (1st tenure)
15511553 John Ponet Translated from Rochester
15531555 Der-kanonikus-stephan-gardiner.jpg Stephen Gardiner (2nd tenure)
15561559 John White Translated from Lincoln
Source(s): [14] [16] [17] [18]


15601580 Bp Robert Horne.jpg Robert Horne
15801584 No image.svg John Watson
15841594 No image.svg Thomas Cooper Translated from Lincoln
15941595 No image.svg William Wickham Translated from Lincoln
15951596 No image.svg William Day
15971616 Bp Thomas Bilson.jpg Thomas Bilson Translated from Worcester
16161618 Bp James Montagu, c1608-16.jpg James Montague Translated from Bath and Wells
16181626 Lancelot Andrewes Pembroke.jpg Lancelot Andrewes Translated from Ely
16271632 Richard Neile portrait.jpg Richard Neile Translated from Durham, later translated to York
16321646 Bp Walter Curll.jpg Walter Curle Translated from Bath and Wells. Deprived 1646, and died 1647.
16461660The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate . [19] [20]
16601662 BrianDuppa.jpg Brian Duppa Translated from Salisbury
16621684 GeorgeMorley.jpg George Morley Translated from Worcester
16841706 Peter Mews c Dahl.jpg Peter Mews Translated from Bath and Wells
17071721 Sir Jonathan Trelawny, 3rd Bt by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg Sir Jonathan Trelawny Translated from Exeter
17211723 Bp Charles Trimnell.jpg Charles Trimnell Translated from Norwich
17231734 Bp Richard Willis.jpg Richard Willis Translated from Salisbury
17341761 Benjamin Hoadly by Sarah Hoadly.jpg Benjamin Hoadly Translated from Salisbury
17611781 John Thomas, Bishop of Winchester.jpg John Thomas Translated from Salisbury
17811820 Bp Brownlow North by Henry Howard.jpg Brownlow North Translated from Worcester
18201827 SirGeorgePretymanTomline.jpg Sir George Pretyman Tomline, Bt. Translated from Lincoln
18271869 CharlesRichardSumner.jpg Charles Sumner Translated from Llandaff
18691873 Samuel Wilberforce2.jpg Samuel Wilberforce Translated from Oxford
18731891 EH Browne by Bassano.jpg Harold Browne Translated from Ely
18911895 Thorold.jpg Anthony Thorold Translated from Rochester
18951903 AbpRandallDavidson.jpg Randall Davidson Translated from Rochester, later translated to Canterbury
19031911 Dr HE Ryle NPG.jpg Herbert Edward Ryle Translated from Exeter
19111923 Edward Stuart Talbot 001.jpg Edward Talbot Translated from Southwark
19231932 FrankTheodoreWoods.jpg Theodore Woods Translated from Peterborough
19321942 Cyril-Forster-Garbett.jpg Cyril Garbett Translated from Southwark, later translated to York
19421952 No image.svg Mervyn Haigh Translated from Coventry
19521961 No image.svg Alwyn Williams Translated from Durham
19611975 No image.svg Falkner Allison Translated from Chelmsford
19751985 No image.svg John Taylor
19851995 No image.svg Colin James Translated from Wakefield
19952011 No image.svg Michael Scott-Joynt Translated from Stafford
20122022 The Rt Revd Tim Dakin.jpg Tim Dakin
2022 Debbie Sellin , Bishop of Southampton (acting)

Richard Frith , Archbishop's Episcopal Commissary [11]

former Bishop of Hereford

Source(s): [14] [21] [22]

Assistant bishops

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

See also


  1. The area was transferred to the Diocese of Rochester in 1877 before being established as a separate diocese in 1905. [4]
  2. The bishops are named in this order in the section.
  3. The second edition of the Handbook of British Chronology listed Eadmund to have been bishop of Winchester between 833 and 838, [12] but in the third edition he is no longer listed to have been bishop. [13]


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  11. 1 2 "Archbishop confirms arrangements following Bishop of Winchester's retirement". Diocese of Winchester. 10 January 2022. Retrieved 16 March 2022.[ dead link ]
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  13. 1 2 Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, 3rd Edition, p. 223.
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  17. 1 2 Jones 1962, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: Volume 4, pp. 45–47.
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