Bishop of Edinburgh
John Armes
Ecclesiastical provinceScotland
First holderWilliam Forbes
DioceseDiocese of Edinburgh
CathedralSt Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh

The Bishop of Edinburgh, or sometimes the Lord Bishop of Edinburgh, is the ordinary of the Scottish Episcopal Diocese of Edinburgh.[1]

Prior to the Reformation, Edinburgh was part of the Diocese of St Andrews, under the Archbishop of St Andrews and throughout the mediaeval period the episcopal seat was St Andrew's Cathedral. The line of Bishops of Edinburgh began with the creation of the See of Edinburgh in 1633: the See was founded in 1633 by King Charles I. William Forbes was consecrated at St Giles' Cathedral as the first bishop on 23 January 1634 though he died later that year. The General Assembly of 1638 deposed David Lindsay and all the other bishops, so the next, George Wishart, was consecrated in 1662 after the Stuart Restoration.

In 1690, it was Alexander Rose (bishop 1687–1720) whose unwelcome reply to King William III (and II) led to the disestablishment of the Scottish Episcopalians as Jacobite sympathisers, and it was he who led his congregation from St Giles' to a former wool store as their meeting house, on the site now occupied by Old St Paul's Church. After the break with the Church of Scotland in 1689, Bishops of Edinburgh were ex officio metropolitan bishops until this rank was abolished by a concordat of 1731. Since then, the Episcopal Church has been led by a Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church elected from among any of the Scottish dioceses.[2]

After the repeal of the penal laws in 1792 and the reuniting of Episcopal and "Qualified" congregations, the diocese grew under the leadership of bishops Daniel Sandford, James Walker, Charles Terrot and Henry Cotterill. The high point of the 19th century was the consecration of St Mary's Cathedral in 1879.

The Bishop of Edinburgh is entitled to the style Lord Bishop, as a diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion.

The Lord Bishop of Edinburgh is ex-officio the Gentleman Usher of the White Rod in the Estates of Parliament of Scotland.[3]

The current bishop is John Armes. He became Bishop-elect of Edinburgh on 11 February 2012[4] and was consecrated and installed as bishop on 12 May 2012.[5]

Church of Scotland Protestant Bishops

John Dowden, Irish historian of the Scottish church, and bishop of Edinburgh
Church of Scotland bishops:[6][7][8]

Scottish Episcopal Church bishops


Assistant bishops

Among those who served as assistant bishops of the diocese were:

See also


  1. ^ "History of the affairs of church and state in Scotland" (PDF). Retrieved 20 August 2023.
  2. ^ Bertie, David (2001). Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689-2000. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 561. ISBN 9780567087461. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor".
  4. ^ "New Bishop Elected for Edinburgh | News | the Diocese of Edinburgh | A diocese of the Scottish Episcopal Church". Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  5. ^ Report of Bishop John's Consecration on the Scottish Episcopal Church website
  6. ^ Keith 1824, An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops, pp.60–72.
  7. ^ Scott 1928, Fasti Ecclesae Scoticanae, volume 7, pp.341–343.
  8. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, p. 309.
  9. ^ Keith 1824, An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops, pp.524–530.
  10. ^ Skinner 1818, Annals of Scottish Episcopacy, pp.533–538.
  11. ^ Bertie 2000, Scottish Episcopal Clergy, p.561.
  12. ^ "Danson, Ernest Denny Logie". Who's Who. A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  13. ^ "in memoriam: Bishop Neil Russell". Church Times. No. 6327. 18 May 1984. p. 14. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 14 November 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.