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The Bishop of St Asaphmarker 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 Merionethmarker in Gwyneddmarker and part of northern Powysmarker. The Episcopal seat is located in the Cathedral Church of St Asaphmarker in the town of St Asaphmarker in Denbighshire, north Walesmarker.

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 the 76th Bishop of St Asaph in succession to Right Reverend John Stewart Davies, who was consecrated in October 1999 and who retired in 2008.

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 originally largely coincided with the kingdom of Powysmarker, together with the part of the kingdom of Gwyneddmarker known as Gwynedd Is Conwy, but lost much territory first by the Mercianmarker encroachment marked by Watt's dyke and again by the construction of Offa's Dykemarker, 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 Abbeymarker. 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. 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 Pennantmarker, 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 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

Tenure Incumbent Notes
c. 583 to ??? Kentigern
(Cyndeyrn/Mungo)
Bishop of Glasgow
??? to ??? Asaph
About 600 Tysilio
About 800 Renchidus
About 928 Cebur
About 1070 Melanus
1143 to 1152 Gilbert
1152 to 1154 Geoffrey of Monmouth
1154 to 1155 Richard Died in office
1155 to 1175 Godfrey
1175 to 1183 Adam Canon of Paris
1183 to 1186 John I
1186 to 1225 Reiner
1225 to 1235 Abraham
1235 to 1240 Hugh
1240 to c.1247 Hywel ab Ednyfed
c.1247 to 1249 vacant
1249 to 1267 Einion I
1267 to 1268 John II
1268 to 1293 Einion II
1293 to 1314 Llywelyn de Bromfield Canon of St Asaph
1314 to 1352 Dafydd ap Bleddyn
1352 to 1357 John Trevor I
1357 to 1376 Llywelyn ap Madog Dean of St Asaph
1376 to 1382 William Spridlington Dean of St Asaph
1382 to 1390 Lawrence Child Penitentiary to the pope
1390 to 1395 Alexander Bache
1395 to 1410 John Trevor II Prebendary of Hereford; deprived
1411 to 1433 Robert Lancaster
1433 to 1444 John Low Translated to Rochester
1444 to 1450 Reginald Peacock Translated to Chichester
1451 to 1471 Thomas Bird
(alias Thomas Knight)
1472 to 1495 Richard Redman Translated to Exeter
1495 to 1499 Michael Deacon
1499 to 1503 Dafydd ab Iorwerth
1503 to 1513 Dafydd ab Owain Abbot of Aberconwy
1513 to 1518 Edmund Birkhead
1518 to 1535 Henry Standish
1535 to 1536 William Barlow Translated to St David's
1536 to 1554 Robert Warton
(alias Robert Parfew)
Abbot of Bermondsey; translated to Hereford
1554 to 1559 Thomas Goldwell Went into voluntary exile
1559 to 1561 Richard Davies Translated St David's
1561 to 1573 Thomas Davies
1573 to 1601 William Hughes
1601 to 1603 William Morgan Translated from Llandaff
1603 to 1622 Richard Parry Dean of Bangor
1622 to 1629 John Hanmer Prebendary of Worcester
1629 to 1651 John Owen Archdeacon of St Asaph; died in office
1651 to 1660 vacant For 9 years
1660 to 1667 George Griffith Archdeacon of St Asaph
1667 to 1669 Henry Glenham Dean of Bristol
1669 to 1680 Isaac Barrow Translated from Sodor & Man
1680 to 1692 William Lloyd Dean of Bangor; translated from Lichfield & Coventry
1692 to 1703 Edward Jones Translated from Cloynes, Ireland
1703 to 1704 George Hooper Dean of Canterbury; translated to Bath & Wells
1704 to 1708 William Beveridge Archdeacon of Colchester
1708 to 1714 William Fleetwood Canon of Windsor; translated to Ely
1714 to 1727 John Wynne Principal of Jesus College, Oxford; translated to Bath & Wells
1727 to 1731 Francis Hare Dean of Worcester and dean of St Paul's, London; translated to Chichestermarker
1731 to 1736 Thomas Tanner Canon of Christ Church, Oxford
1736 to 1743 Isaac Maddox Dean of Wells; translated to Worcester
1743 to 1743 John Thomas Dean of Peterborough; elected but translated to Lincoln before consecration
1743 to 1748 Samuel Lisle Archdeacon of Canterbury; translated to Norwich
1748 to 1761 The Honourable Robert Drummond Prebendary of Westminster; translated to Salisbury
1761 to 1769 Richard Newcombe Translated from Llandaff
1769 to 1789 Jonathan Shipley Translated from Llandaff
1789 to 1790 Samuel Halifax Translated from Gloucester
1790 to 1802 Lewis Bagot Translated from Norwich
29 July 1802 to 4 October 1806 Samuel Horsley Translated from Rochester
15 October 1806 to 15 May 1815 William Cleaver Translated from Bangor
23 May 1815 to 21 January 1830 John Luxmore Translated from Hereford
23 February 1830 to 13 September 1846 William Carey Translated from Exeter
10 October 1846 to January 1870 Thomas Vowler Short Translated from Sodor & Man; resigned
25 May 1870 to 1889 Joshua Hughes Vicar of Llandovery
1889 to 1934 Alfred George Edwards first Archbishop of Wales 1920–1934; retired
1934 to 1950 William Thomas Havard
1950 to 1971 David Daniel Bartlett, DD
1971 to 1982 Harold John Charles, MA
1982 to June 1999 Alwyn Rice Jones Archbishop of Wales 1991–1999
1999 to 2008 John Stewart Davies
2009 onwards Gregory Cameron Consecrated 4th April 2009


Sources

  • Haydn's Book of Dignities (1894) Joseph Haydn/Horace Ockerby, reprinted 1969
  • Whitaker's Almanack 1883 to 2004 Joseph Whitaker & Sons Ltd/A&C Black, London
  • http://tejones.net/religion/Bishops


References




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