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Bishop of Sherborne

File:England diocese map post 950.svg
The Anglo-Saxon dioceses 950—1035

The Bishop of Sherborne is an episcopal title which takes its name after the market town of Sherborne in Dorset, England. The title was first used by the Anglo-Saxons between the 8th and 11th centuries. It is now used by the Church of England for a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Salisbury.

Diocesan Bishops of Sherborne

The Anglo-Saxon Diocese of Sherborne was established by Saint Aldhelm in about 705 and comprised the counties of Devon, Somerset, Dorset, and Cornwall. The diocese lost territory on the creation of the bishopric of Cornwall in the early 800s, and lost further territory on the creation of the bishoprics of Wells and Crediton by Archbishop Plegmund in 909.

In 1058, the Sherborne chapter elected Bishop Herman of Ramsbury as their own bishop. He had previously complained of the poverty of his diocese to the extent that, when his plan to become abbot of Malmesbury was blocked by Earl Godwin in 1055, he had abandoned his duties and left to become a monk at St Bertin in France. Following the Norman conquest, the 1075 Council of London united his two sees as a single diocese and translated them to the then-larger settlement around the royal castle at Salisbury (Old Sarum). With papal approval, this was later removed to New Sarum (modern Salisbury) in the 1220s.

List of Diocesan Bishops of Sherborne
From Until Incumbent Notes
c. 705 709 Saint Aldhelm Also Abbot of Malmesbury.
709 737? Forthhere Also recorded as Fordhere. Possibly resigned the see in 737.
736 766 x 774 Herewald
766 x 774 789 x 794 Æthelmod
793 796 x 801 Denefrith
793 x 801 816 x 825 Wigberht Also recorded as Wigheorht.
816 x 825 867 Eahlstan Also recorded as Alfstan.
867 or 868 871 Saint Heahmund Also recorded as Saint Hamund.
871 x 877 879 x 889 Æthelheah
879 x 889 890 x 900 Wulfsige I
890 x 900 909 Asser Also recorded as John Asser or Asserius Menevensis.
c. 909 c. 909 Æthelweard
c. 909 918, or 909 x 925 Wærstan
918, or 909 x 925 918, or 909 x 925 Æthelbald
918, or 909 x 925 932 x 934 Sigehelm
932 x 934 939 x 943 Alfred
939 x 943 958 x 964 Wulfsige II
958 x 964 978 Ælfwold I
978 or 979 991 x 993 Æthelsige I
993? 1002 Wulfsige III Died in office on 8 January 1002.
1002 1011 or 1012 Æthelric
1011 or 1012 c. 1014 Æthelsige II
1014 x 1017 1014 x 1017 Brithwine I
1017 1023 Ælfmaer Abbot of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. Died in office, possibly on 5 April 1023.
1023 1045 Brihtwine II Died in office, possibly on 2 June 1045.
1045 1058 Saint Ælfwold II Venerated as a saint with his Feast day on 25 March.
1058 1075 Herman Also Bishop of Ramsbury. Became the first Bishop of Salisbury when the sees of Sherborne and Ramsbury were transferred to Salisbury (Old Sarum) in 1075.

Suffragan Bishops of Sherborne

In 1925, the title Bishop of Sherborne was revived by the Church of England as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Salisbury. From 1981 to 2009, the bishop suffragan of Sherborne was responsible as area bishop for those parishes in Dorset and Devon belonging to the diocese.[3][4] Since 2009, the suffragan Bishop of Sherborne, along with the suffragan Bishop of Ramsbury, assists the diocesan Bishop of Salisbury in overseeing the whole of the diocese.[3]

The current Bishop of Sherborne is the Right Reverend Dr Graham Kings, PhD, MA(Oxon), DipTh, who was consecrated in a special service at Westminster Abbey on 24 June 2009 by the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.[5][6]

List of Suffragan Bishops of Sherborne
From Until Incumbent Notes
1925 1927 Robert Abbott
1928 1936 Gerald Allen Translated to Dorchester.
1936 1947 Harold Rodgers
1947 1960 Maurice Key Translated to Truro.
1960 1976 Victor Pike
1976 2001 John Kirkham First area bishop from 1981; also Bishop to the Forces (1992–2001).
2001 2009 Tim Thornton Translated to Truro.
2009 present Graham Kings Last area bishop until 2009.


  1. ^ "Historical successions: Salisbury (including precussor offices)". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I., eds. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd, reprinted 2003 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 222. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  3. ^ a b "Bishops". Diocese of Salisbury. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Salisbury Diocesan Synod minutes – 99th session, 7 November 2009 p. 3 (Accessed 23 April 2014)
  5. ^ "Biography of the Bishop of Sherborne". Diocese of Salisbury. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Consecration of The Bishop of Sherborne". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory (100th ed.). London: Church House Publishing. 2007. p. 948. ISBN 978-0-7151-1030-0. 

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