Categories
Story Of London

The Bishops of London

The Bishops of London
by Bill McCann

Archaeological and documentary evidence suggest that Christianity arrived in Britain before the third century. However, the first mention of a Bishop of London is not until the early fourth century and it is not until the seventh century that the record begins to appear complete. The present Bishop is believed to be the 132nd occupant of the See. This article provides as complete a list as possible with one 119 named bishops, 118 of them in an unbroken sequence from AD 604.


Find St Paul’s Cathedral on the Map

The Bishops of London

by Bill McCann

Exactly when the first Christian Bishop of London was anointed is not known with any accuracy. That Christianity arrived in Britain at a surprisingly early date is suggested by the martyrdom of St Alban (either 208-9 or 251-59). The first reference to a Bishop of London is in 314 when Eborius of York, Restitutus of London and Adelphius of Lincoln (or possibly Colchester) attended the Council of Arles. In 480, the biographer of Germanus claimed that the Catholic faith was the only one in Britain.

The record becomes more substantial after the arrival of Augustine in 596 and it is possible to compile a more or less accurate list from Mellitus in the early seventh century to the present (2002) incumbent Richard Chartres. There were two periods when the See is known to have been vacant. The first arose when Mellitus, was forced to flee into Kent. The second was during the Commonwealth (1649-1660).

The Bishops are listed here according to the Dynasties or Royal Houses under which they served. This is purely a matter of editorial convenience which breaks up a rather long list but also facilitates comparison with the Regnal Lists of the English Monarchs. The numbering of the Bishops is not without its problems. The present incumbent is officially described as the 132nd Bishop of London and the following list is based on that as the reference point. In the sixteenth century Bishop Bonner was deposed by Edward VI and replaced by Nicholas Ridley but restored by Mary Tudor. He two periods of office are not counted separately here.

[This reminds us that England did not become truly Protestant until well into the reign of Elizabeth I, and that consequently, the vast majority of the men listed here were (Roman) Catholic Bishops. A point which somehow seems unacknowledged (or even unknown) in modern Britain with its latent anti-Catholicism. This does raise the question of the Catholic Archbishops of Westminster since the sixteenth century and their historical relationship to the pre-Henrician bishops. A question which will be explored in a separate article.]

Anglo-Saxon Monarchs
?. Restitutus 314
?. Unknown 314 – 604
19. Mellitus 604 (Fled into Kent, 616)
See vacant for 38 years
20. Cedd 654
21. Wini 666
22. Earconwald 675
23. Waldhere 693
24. Ingwald 706
25. Ecgwulf 745
26. Sighaeh 772
27. Eadbert 774
28. Eadgar 789
29. Coenwealh 791
30. Aethelheard 726-40
31. Eadbald 794
32. Heathoberht 794
33. Osmund 802
34. Aethelnoth 811
35. Ceolberht 824
36. Deorwulf 860
37. Swithwulf –
38. Heahstan 898
39. Wulfsige 898
40. Theodred 926
41. Brythelm 953
42. Dunstan 959
43. Aelfstan 961
44. Eadred 946-55
45. Wulfstan 996
46. Aelfune 1004
Danish Monarchs
47. Aelfwig 1014
48. Aelfward 1035
English Monarchs
49. Robert of Jumieges1044
50. William 1051
Norman Monarchs
51. Hugh de Orval 1075
52. Maurice 1085
53. Richard de Beaumes 1108
54. Gilbert 1128
55. Robert de Sigillo 1141
56. Richard de Beaumes 1152
Angevin Monarchs
57. Gilbert Foliot 1163
58. Richard de Ely 1189
59. William of St. Mary’s Church 1199
Plantagenet Monarchs
60. Eustace Fauconberg 1221
61. Roger le Noir 1229
62. Fulk Basset 1242
63. Henry Wingham 1259
64. Henry Sandwich 1263
65. John Chishull 1274
66. Richard Gravesend 1280
67. Ralph Baldock1306
68. Gilbert Segrave 1313
69. Richard Newport 1317
70. Stephen Gravesend 1319
71. Richard Bentworth 1338
72. Ralph Stratford 1340
73. Michael Northburgh 1354
74. Simon Sudbury 1362
75. William Courtenay 1375
76. Robert Braybroke 1381
House of Lancaster
77. Roger Walden 1405
78. Nicholas Bubwith 1406
79. Richard Clifford 1407
80. John Kempe 1422
81. William Grey 1426
82. Thomas Redburne 1433
83. Robert Gilbert 1436
84. Thomas Kempe 1450
House of York
85. Richard Hill 1489
House of Tudor
86. Thomas Savage 1496
87. William Warham 1502
88. William Barons 1504
89. Richard Fitz-Jamesb1506
90. Cuthbert Tunstallb1522
91. John Stokesley 1530
92. Edmund Bonner 1540
93. Nicholas Ridley 1550
92. Edmund Bonner (restored) 1553
94. Edmund Grindal 1559
95. Edwin Sandys 1570
96. John Aylmer 1577
97. Richard Fletcher 1595
98. Richard Bancroft 1597
House of Stuart
99. Richard Vaughan 1604
100. Thomas Ravis 1607
101. George Abbot 1610
102. John King 1611
103. George Monteigne 1621
104. William Laud 1628
105. William Juxon 1633
The Commonwealth
See Vacant 1649 -1660
House of Stuart Restored
106. Gilbert Sheldon 1660
107. Humphrey Henchman 1663
108. Henry Compton 1675
House of Hanover
109. John Robinson 1714
110. Edmund Gibson 1723
111. Thomas Sherlock 1748
112. Thomas Hayter 1761
113 Richard Osbaldeston 1762
114. Richard Terrick 1764
115. Robert Lowth 1777
116. Beilby Porteous 1787
117. John Randolph 1809
118. William Howley 1813
119. Charles James Blomfield 1828
120. Arch. Campbell Tait 1856
121. John Jackson 1869
122. Frederick Temple 1885
123. Mandell Creighton 1896
House Of Saxe-Coburg
124. F.Winnington-Ingram 1901
Monarchs
125. Geoffrey Francis Fisher 1939
126. John W.C. Wand 1945
127. Henry M. Campbell 1956
128. Robert Wright Stopford 1961
129. Gerald Alexander Ellison 1973
130. Graham D. Leonard 1981
131. David Hope 1991
132. Richard Chartres 1995