Bishop of Bedford
Richard Atkinson
Ecclesiastical provinceCanterbury
First holderJohn Hodgkins
DioceseSt Albans

The Bishop of Bedford is an episcopal title used by a Church of England suffragan bishop who, under the direction of the Diocesan Bishop of St Albans, oversees 150 parishes in Luton and Bedfordshire.[1][2]

The title, which takes its name after the town of Bedford, was created under the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534. The first three suffragan bishops were appointed for the Diocese of London, but through reorganisation within the Church of England in 1914, Bedford came under the Diocese of St Albans.[2]

Richard Atkinson, formerly Archdeacon of Leicester, was consecrated by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in St Paul's Cathedral on 17 May 2012.


With the huge increase in London's population in the 19th century, the Bishop of London was one of the first to require help from other bishops. Alongside assistant bishops (including some returned from the colonies; see Assistant Bishop of London, he gradually resumed appointments to suffragan Sees — Bedford was first in 1879. That See was chosen as the one erected by the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534 nearest to London; and the stipend of the bishop was provided by appointing him to St Andrew Undershaft,[3] in the east of the City of London. The suffragan was always intended to take responsibility for the East End; by 1887 this meant the rural deaneries of Spitalfields, of Hackney and of Stepney.[4] To these were added the rural deaneries of Islington, Shoreditch, St Sepulchre (the part outside the City), and Enfield in 1888,[5] such that the bishop's area became known as "East and North London" — i.e. the East and North of the then-County of London (inside the diocese). Billing called himself Bishop-Suffragan for East London,[6] and this responsibility passed to the Bishop of Stepney (which See was newly-erected under the Suffragans Nomination Act 1888) on Billing's resignation of his London duties in 1895.[7] How was resident at Stainforth House, Upper Clapton by 1887;[4] Billing was still residing there in 1895.[8]

List of the Bishops of Bedford

Bishops of Bedford
From Until Incumbent Notes
1537 1560 John Hodgkins Deprived by Queen Mary I; died in office.
1560 1879 in abeyance
1879 1888 Walsham How Suffragan for the East End; translated to Wakefield.
1888 1898 Robert Billing Suffragan for East and North London; resigned duties in 1895, retaining the see until his death.
1898 1935 in abeyance
1935 1939 Lumsden Barkway Translated to St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane.
1939 1942 Alymer Skelton Previously Archdeacon of St Albans; translated to Lincoln.
1948 1953 Thomas Wood Previously Archdeacon of St Albans.
1953 1957 Campbell MacInnes Translated to Jerusalem.
1957 1962 Basil Guy Translated to Gloucester.
1963 1968 John Trillo Translated to Hertford then Chelmsford.
1968 1976 John Hare Previously Archdeacon of Bedford; died in office.
1977 1981 Alec Graham Translated to Newcastle.
1981 1993 David Farmbrough Previously Archdeacon of St Albans.
1994 2002 John Richardson Translated to honorary assistant bishop. Living
2003 2012 Richard Inwood Previously Archdeacon of Halifax. Translated to Southwell and Nottingham
2012 present Richard Atkinson [9] Previously Archdeacon of Leicester.


  1. ^ "The Rt Revd Richard Inwood's biography on St Albans Diocese's website". Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Crockford's Clerical Directory (100th ed.). London: Church House Publishing. 2007. p. 945. ISBN 978-0-7151-1030-0.
  3. ^ "Summary". Church Times. No. 859. 11 July 1879. p. 439. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 20 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  4. ^ a b "East London Church Fund Sunday". Church Times. No. 1295. 18 November 1887. p. 938. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 20 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  5. ^ "Church news". Church Times. No. 1335. 24 August 1888. p. 727. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 20 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  6. ^ "East London Diocesan Deaconesses' Home". Church Times. No. 1394. 11 October 1889. p. 920. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 20 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  7. ^ "Church news". Church Times. No. 1681. 11 April 1895. p. 418. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 19 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  8. ^ "advertisement". Church Times. No. 1674. 22 February 1895. p. 203. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 20 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  9. ^ Number 10 – Suffragan See of Bedford
  10. ^ E. B. Fryde; D. E. Greenway; S. Porter; I. Roy, eds. (2003) [1986]. Handbook of British Chronology (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 287. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.