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Diocese of Lichfield

Diocese of Lichfield
Ecclesiastical province Canterbury
Archdeaconries Lichfield, Stoke, Salop, Walsall
Parishes 429
Churches 582
Cathedral Lichfield Cathedral
Current leadership
Bishop Bishop of Lichfield (vacant)
Suffragans Clive Gregory, area Bishop of Wolverhampton
Mark Rylands, area Bishop of Shrewsbury
Geoff Annas, area Bishop of Stafford
Archdeacons Paul Thomas, Archdeacon of Salop
Simon Baker, Archdeacon of Lichfield
Matthew Parker, Archdeacon of Stoke
Sue Weller, Archdeacon of Walsall

The Diocese of Lichfield is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury, England. The bishop's seat is located in the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Chad in the city of Lichfield. The diocese covers 4,516 km² (1,744 sq. mi.) of the counties of Powys (Wales), Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands.


  • History 1
  • Bishops 2
  • Archdeacons of Walsall 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


The Diocese of Mercia was created by Bishop Diuma in around 656 and the see was settled in Lichfield in 669 by the then bishop, Ceadda (later Saint Chadd), who built a monastery there.[1] At the Council of Chelsea, Bishop Higbert was raised to the rank of archbishop and given authority over the dioceses of Worcester, Leicester, Lincoln, Hereford, Elmham and Dunwich. This was due to the persuasion of King Offa of Mercia, who wanted an archbishop to rival Canterbury. On Offa's death in 796, however, the Pope removed the archiepiscopal rank and restored the dioceses to the authority of Canterbury. In 803 the Council of Clovesho accepted this decision.

During the 9th century, the diocese was devastated by the Vikings. Lichfield itself was unwalled and had become rather poor, so Bishop Peter moved the see to the fortified and wealthier Chester in 1075. His successor, Robert de Limesey, transferred it to Coventry and the diocese was renamed the Diocese of Coventry and Lichfield. At this stage it also covered Derbyshire and most of Warwickshire. In 1539 the see was transferred back to Lichfield and the name was reversed to become the Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry.

The diocese was one of the largest in medieval England and was divided into five archdeaconries roughly coinciding with the constituent counties or parts of counties: Chester (covering Cheshire and south Lancashire), Coventry, Derby, Salop and Stafford. In 1541 the diocese of Chester was created and parishes in south Lancashire, Cheshire, Denbighshire and Flintshire were transferred to the new diocese. On 24 January 1837, the archdeaconry of Coventry was transferred to the diocese of Diocese of Worcester[2] and the Bishop, see and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry all accordingly renamed Lichfield.[2] In 1884 the archdeaconry of Derby was transferred to the new diocese of Southwell.[3] In 1877 part of the archdeaconry of Stafford became the archdeaconry of Stoke-upon-Trent[4] (now generally called merely Stoke) and in 1981 the remainder was renamed the archdeaconry of Lichfield. In 1997 another part of the archdeaconry (of Lichfield) was removed to form the new archdeaconry of Walsall, covering Trysull, Walsall, Wednesbury, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton. [5]


The diocesan see of the Bishop of Lichfield is currently vacant following the retirement of Jonathan Gledhill.[6] The bishop diocesan is assisted by the area bishops of Shrewsbury (responsible for the Salop archdeaconry), Stafford (responsible for the Stoke archdeaconry), and Wolverhampton (responsible for the Lichfield and Walsall archdeaconries). The See of Shrewsbury was in existence from 1888 to 1905, then re-created in 1940; the See of Stafford was created in 1909, and the See of Wolverhampton in 1979. The diocesan area scheme was instituted in 1992.[7]

The provincial episcopal visitor (for parishes in this diocese – among twelve others in the western part of the Province of Canterbury – who reject the ministry of priests who are women, since 1994) is Jonathan Goodall, Bishop suffragan of Ebbsfleet, who is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop of the diocese in order to facilitate his work there.

There are also three retired bishops resident in (or near) the diocese who are licensed to serve as honorary assistant bishops:

Archdeacons of Walsall

The archdeaconry of Walsall was created from Lichfield archdeaconry in 1997.[5]
  • 1997–2004 (ret.): Tony Sadler (afterwards archdeacon emeritus)[11]
  • 2004–2009 (res.): Bob Jackson[12]
  • 1 November 2009–29 September 2014 (ret.):[13] Chris Sims[14]
  • 11 January 2015–present: Sue Weller[15]

See also


  1. ^  "Lichfield".  
  2. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 19460. pp. 169–170. 24 January 1837. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  3. ^ From Parson to Professional: The Changing Ministry Of the Anglican Clergy In Staffordshire, 1830-1960. A thesis written by the Rev. Dr. John W. B. Tomlinson (2008 Birmingham University)
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24486. pp. 4316–4318. 24 July 1877. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Diocese of Lichfield". Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  6. ^ Who's Who - ecclesiastical structure, Diocese of Lichfield website
  7. ^ "4: The Dioceses Commission, 1978–2002" (PDF). Church of England. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Bentley, Rt Rev. David Edward.  
  9. ^ "Mottahedeh IK".   (subscription required)
  10. ^ "Bowlby RO".   (subscription required)
  11. ^ Sadler, Ven. Anthony Graham.  
  12. ^ Jackson, Ven. Robert William.  
  13. ^ "Gazette". Diocese of Lichfield. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Sims, Ven. Christopher Sidney.  
  15. ^ "The new Archdeacon of Walsall". Diocese of Lichfield. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 

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