Bishop of Durham
Bishop of Durham
Coat of arms
Aldhun (first bishop of Durham)
|Established||635 (at Lindisfarne)|
995 (translation to Durham)
|Cathedral||Durham Cathedral (since 995)|
St Mary and St Cuthbert, Chester-le-Street (882–995)
The Bishop of Durham is the Anglican bishop responsible for the Diocese of Durham in the Province of York. The diocese is one of the oldest in England and its bishop is a member of the House of Lords. Paul Butler has been the Bishop of Durham since his election was confirmed at York Minster on 20 January 2014. The previous bishop was Justin Welby, now Archbishop of Canterbury. The bishop is one of two (the other is the Bishop of Bath and Wells) who escort the sovereign at the coronation.
He is officially styled The Right Reverend (Christian Name), by Divine Providence Lord Bishop of Durham, but this full title is rarely used. In signatures, the bishop's family name is replaced by Dunelm, from the Latin name for Durham (the Latinised form of Old English Dunholm). In the past, bishops of Durham varied their signatures between Dunelm and the French Duresm. Prior to 1836 the bishop had significant temporal powers over the Liberty of Durham and later the County Palatine of Durham.
For centuries, each bishop lived in Durham Castle from its construction in the 11th century. In 1832, Auckland Castle became the official residence of the bishops of Durham until July 2012 when ownership of the castle was transferred over to the Auckland Castle Trust, a charitable foundation with the aim of beginning a major restoration of the grounds and castle and creating permanent exhibitions on the history of Christianity in Britain and the North East. The bishop continues to have offices in Auckland Castle but no longer resides there.
The Bishop of Lindisfarne is an episcopal title which takes its name after the tidal island of Lindisfarne, which lies just off the northeast coast of Northumberland, England. The title was first used by the Anglo-Saxons between the 7th and 10th centuries. In the reign of Æthelstan (924–939) Wigred, thought by Simon Keynes to have been Bishop of Chester-le-Street, attested royal charters. According to George Molyneaux, the church of St Cuthbert "was in all probability the greatest landholder between the Tees and the Tyne". Traditionally, following the chronology of the twelfth-century writer Symeon of Durham, historians have believed that the body of St Cuthbert and centre of the diocese lay at Chester-le-Street from the ninth century until 995, but recent research has suggested that the bishops may have been based at Norham on the River Tweed until after 1013. The title of "bishop of Lindisfarne" is now used by the Roman Catholic Church for a titular see.
The Anglo-Saxon bishops of Lindisfarne were ordinaries of several early medieval episcopal sees (and dioceses) in Northumbria and pre-Conquest England. The first such see was founded at Lindisfarne in 635 by Saint Aidan.
From the 7th century onwards, in addition to his spiritual authority, the bishops of Lindisfarne, and then Durham, also acted as the civil ruler of the region as the lord of the liberty of Durham, with local authority equal to that of the king. The bishop appointed all local officials and maintained his own court. After the Norman Conquest, this power was retained by the bishop and was eventually recognised with the designation of the region as the County Palatine of Durham. As holder of this office, the bishop was both the earl of the county and bishop of the diocese. Though the term 'prince-bishop' has become a common way of describing the role of the bishop prior to 1836, the term was unknown in Medieval England.
A UNESCO site describes the role of the prince-bishops in the "buffer state between England and Scotland":
From 1075, the bishop of Durham became a prince-bishop, with the right to raise an army, mint his own coins, and levy taxes. As long as he remained loyal to the king of England, he could govern as a virtually autonomous ruler, reaping the revenue from his territory, but also remaining mindful of his role of protecting England’s northern frontier.
A 1788 report adds that the bishops had the authority to appoint judges and barons and to offer pardons.
Except for a brief period of suppression during the English Civil War, the bishopric retained this temporal power until it was abolished by the Durham (County Palatine) Act 1836 with the powers returned to the Crown. The bishop of Durham, however, continued to hold a seat in the House of Lords; that has continued to this day by virtue of the ecclesiastical office.
List of bishops
Early Medieval bishops
|Bishops of Lindisfarne|
|In 664 the diocese was merged to York by Wilfrid (who succeeded Tuda following his death), leaving one large diocese in the large northern Kingdom of Northumbria.|
|The diocese was reinstated in 678 by Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury following Wilfrid's banishment from Northumbria by King King Ecgfrith. Its new seat was initially (at least in part) at Hexham (until a new diocese was created there in 680).|
|678||685||Eata of Hexham||Saint Eata.|
|c. 915||c. 925||Tilred|
|c. 925||maybe 942?||Wilgred|
|unknown, expelled after 6 months||Sexhelm|
|before 946||maybe 968?||Aldred|
|maybe 968?||maybe 968?||Ælfsige||Called "Bishop of St Cuthbert".|
|990||995||Aldhun||According to the traditional account, the see was moved to Durham.|
|In 995, the King had paid the Danegeld to the Danish and Norwegian Kings and peace was restored. According to the legend, Aldhun was on his way to reestablish the see at Lindisfarne when he received a divine vision that the body of St Cuthbert should be laid to rest in Durham.|
|Bishops of Durham|
|Bishops of Durham|
|1081||1096||William de St-Calais|
|1143||1153||William of St. Barbara|
|1153||1195||Hugh de Puiset|
|1197||1208||Philip of Poitou|
|1209||1213||Richard Poore||Election quashed by Pope Innocent III (who was quarrelling with King John); later elected and consecrated.|
|1214||1214||John de Gray||Died before consecration.|
|1226||1227||William Scot||Election quashed.|
|1229||1237||Richard Poore||Translated from Salisbury.|
|1237||1240||Thomas de Melsonby||Resigned before consecration.|
|1249||1260||Walter of Kirkham|
|1274||1283||Robert of Holy Island|
|1284||1310||Antony Bek||Also Titular Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1306 to 1311 (the only English person ever to hold this post).|
|1311||1316||Richard Kellaw||In the ensuing vacancy, Thomas de Charlton, John Walwayn and John de Kynardesley were nominated by Edward II, Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford and Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster respectively, but the chapter elected Henry de Stamford OSB on 6 November 1316. That election was never confirmed, but quashed by Pope John XXII on 10 December.|
|1317||1333||Lewis de Beaumont|
|1333||1345||Richard de Bury|
|1382||1388||John Fordham||Translated to Ely.|
|1388||1406||Walter Skirlaw||Translated from Bath & Wells.|
|1437||1457||Robert Neville||Translated from Salisbury|
|1457||1476||Lawrence Booth||Translated to York.|
|1494||1501||Richard Foxe||Translated from Bath & Wells, later translated to Winchester.|
|1502||1505||William Senhouse||Translated from Carlisle.|
|1507||1508||Christopher Bainbridge||Translated to York.|
|1523||1529||Thomas Wolsey||Archbishop of York. Held Durham in commendam.|
|1530||1559||Cuthbert Tunstall||Translated from London.|
|Bishops of Durham|
|1577||1587||Richard Barnes||Translated from Carlisle.|
|1589||1595||Matthew Hutton||Translated to York.|
|1595||1606||Tobias Matthew||Translated to York.|
|1617||1627||Richard Neile||Translated from Lincoln, later translated to Winchester.|
|1627||1628||George Montaigne||Translated from London, later translated to York.|
|1628||1632||John Howson||Translated from Oxford|
|1632||1659||Thomas Morton||Translated from Lichfield.|
|1674||1722||Nathaniel Crew||Translated from Oxford.|
|1722||1730||William Talbot||Translated from Salisbury.|
|1730||1750||Edward Chandler||Translated from Lichfield.|
|1750||1752||Joseph Butler||Translated from Bristol.|
|1752||1771||Richard Trevor||Translated from St David's.|
|1771||1787||John Egerton||Translated from Lichfield.|
|1787||1791||Thomas Thurlow||Translated from Lincoln.|
|1791||1826||Shute Barrington||Translated from Salisbury.|
|1826||1836||William Van Mildert||Translated from Llandaff.|
Late modern bishops (since 1836)
Among those who have served as assistant bishops of the diocese have been:
- 1889–1902 (ret.): Daniel Sandford, Rector of Boldon and coadjutor bishop; former Bishop of Tasmania
- 1904–1906: Noel Hodges, former Bishop of Travancore and Cochin (later Assistant Bishop of Ely and of St Albans)
- 1970–1975: Kenneth Skelton, Rector of Bishopwearmouth and former Bishop of Matabeleland (became Bishop of Lichfield)
- Archbishop of York – Bishop of Durham Election Confirmed (Accessed 20 January 2014)
- "Positive Developments at Auckland Castle". Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Our Plans". Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- Keynes, Atlas, Table XXXVII
- Molyneaux 2015, p. 30.
- Woolf 2018, pp. 232-33.
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ancient Diocese and Monastery of Lindisfarne". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- Liddy, Christian D. (2008). The Bishopric of Durham in the Late Middle Ages. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. pp. 2. ISBN 978-1-84383-377-2.
The term 'prince-bishop' did not exist in medieval England. It is a literal translation of the German compound Fürstbischof.
- "The Prince Bishops of Durham". Durham World Heritage Site. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
- Drummond Liddy, Christian. The Bishopric of Durham in the Late Middle Ages. Boydell. p. 1. ISBN 1843833778.
- The Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. His Majesty's Statute and Law Printers. 1836. p. 130.
- "The Lord Bishop of Durham". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
- "Lords Spiritual and Temporal". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
- Fryde et al. 2003, pp. 214–215 and 219. sfn error: no target: CITEREFFrydeGreenwayPorterRoy2003 (help)
- "Historical successions: Durham (including precussor offices)". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- Diocese of Durham – New Bishop Announced
- "Election of Paul Butler as 74th Bishop of Durham confirmed in service". Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- "Hodges, Edward Noel". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- "Skelton, Kenneth John Fraser". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required)