Bishop of Lichfield
Michael Ipgrave
Ecclesiastical provinceCanterbury
ResidenceBishop's House, Lichfield
First holderDiuma
Winfrith (first bishop at Lichfield)
Established7th century AD
CathedralLichfield Cathedral

The Bishop of Lichfield is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers 4,516 km2 (1,744 sq. mi.) of the counties of Powys, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands. The bishop's seat is located in the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Chad in the city of Lichfield. The Bishop's residence is the Bishop's House, Lichfield,[1] in the cathedral close. In the past, the title has had various forms (see below). The current bishop is Michael Ipgrave, following the confirmation of his election on 10 June 2016.[2]


The Anglo-Saxon dioceses before 925

The diocese of Mercia was founded 656 with Diuma as its first bishop; according to Bede he was at the same time the Bishop of Lindisfarne and of the Middle Angles, amongst whom he died. When Chad was made Bishop in 669, his seat was at Lichfield, thus the diocese was named after that city. In 691 the area over which the bishop held authority was divided to form the smaller dioceses of Lichfield, Leicester, Lindsey, Worcester and Hereford.

It was briefly the seat of an archbishop under Hygeberht from 787 to 799 (officially dissolved in 803) during the ascendancy of the kingdom of Mercia. Offa, King of Mercia seemed to resent his own bishops paying allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Kent who, whilst under Offa's control, was not of his own kingdom of Mercia. Offa therefore created his own archbishopric in Lichfield, who presided over all the bishops from the Humber to the Thames, in 786, with the consent of Pope Adrian I. The Pope's official representatives were received warmly by Offa and were present at the Council of Chelsea (787), often called 'the contentious synod', where it was proposed that the Archbishopric of Canterbury be restricted in order to make way for Offa's new archbishop. It was vehemently opposed, but Offa and the papal representatives defeated Jænberht, Archbishop of Canterbury, installing Hygeberht as the new Archbishop of Lichfield. Pope Adrian sent Hygeberht his ceremonial garment, obviously denoting his support for this move. In gratitude, Offa promised to send an annual shipment of gold to the pope for alms and supplying the lights in St. Peter's church in Rome. However the Archbishopric of Lichfield only lasted for 16 years, ending after Offa's death, when at the Fifth Council of Clovesho it was restored to Æthelhard, Archbishop of Canterbury, by Pope Leo III.

The bishop's seat was briefly moved to Chester in 1075, but by 1102 was in Coventry. From 1228 Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield became the official title with seats at both cathedrals, though various older names remained in common usage.

After the Reformation of the 1530s the cathedral at Coventry was demolished, and after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 the bishop used the style Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. In 1837 the ancient bishopric was divided. The archdeaconry of Coventry (comprising northern and eastern Warwickshire) was transferred to the see of Worcester and the style Bishop of Lichfield adopted.

List of bishops

Bishop of the Mercians
From Until Incumbent Notes
? aft 655 Diuma Dwyna; Duma.
dates unclear Ceollach Cellach, a Scot; resigned and returned to Scotland.
c658 c 662 Trumhere Trumhere, Abbot of Ingethling.
c 662 c 667 Jaruman
Bishop of the Mercians and Lindsey people (based at Lichfield)
669 672 Chad Saint Chad; Ceadda. Translated from York. After his consecration was first declared invalid and then restored; died in office.
Bishops of Lichfield
672 c674 Winfrith Winfride; Winfrid. Deprived by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury.
c 676 bef 692 Seaxwulf Saxulf; Sexulf. Abbot of Medeshamstede (Peterborough); Saint Sexwulf.
691 bet 716–727 Headda Headdi; Eatheadus of Sidnacester.
bef 731 737 Aldwine Aldwyn; Aldwini.
737 bet 749–767 Witta Huitta.
bef 757 765 Hemele Hemel.
c 765 c 769 Cuthfrith Cuthred; died in office.
c 769 bet 777–779 Berhthun Died in office.
779 787 Hygeberht Higbert; created Archbishop by King Offa in 787.
Archbishop of Lichfield
787 799 Hygeberht Higbert; Bishop until 787.
Bishops of Lichfield
From Until Incumbent Notes
bet 799–801 bet 814–816 Ealdwulf Adulphus; title of Archbishop laid aside.
bet 814–816 bet 817–818 Herewine
818 830 Æthelwold
830 bet 830–836 Hunberght Humbert II.
bet 830–836 bet 841–845 Cynefrith Cumbert; Cineferth; Saint Cumbert.
bet 843–845 bet 857–862 Tunberht Tunbright; Tunfrith; Tumfriht.
bet 857–862 bet 866–869 Wulfsige
bet 866–869 bet 875–883 Eadberht or perhaps Burgheard
bet 875–883 bet 889–900 Wulfred
bet 889–900 bet 909–915 Wilferth or Wigmund; omitted from Haydn's.
bet 903–915 bet 935–941 Ælfwine
bet 935–941 bet 946–949 Wulfgar
bet 946–949 bet 963–964 Cynesige Kinsey; Kynsy; Kinsius.
bet 963–964 975 Wynsige Winsey; Winsius.
975 bet 1002–1004 Elphege
bet 1002–1004 after 1017 Godwin
after 1017 bet 1026–1027 Leofgar Leosgar.
c 1027 1039 Brihtmær Brithmar.
1039 1053 Wulfsige Wulsy.
1053 1067 Leofwin Abbot of Coventry.
1067 1075 Peter In accordance with the decree of the Council of London (1075), removed see to Chester.
Bishops of Chester
1075 1085 Peter
1086 1102 Robert de Limesey Prebendary of St Paul's; removed see to Coventry.
Bishops of Coventry
From Until Incumbent Notes
1102 1117 Robert de Limesey As above, title change only; died in office.
1117 1121 Vacant for 4 years
1121 1126 Robert Peche Robert Pecham. Chaplain to Henry I; died in office.
1126 1129 Vacant for 2 years
1129 1148 Roger de Clinton, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry Also called Bishop of Lichfield & Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.
1149 1159 Walter Durdent
1161 1182 Richard Peche
1183 1184 Gerard la Pucelle
1184 1188 Vacant
1188 1198 Hugh Nonant
1198 1208 Geoffrey de Muschamp
1208 1215 Vacant due to interdict by Pope Innocent III against King John's realms.
1215 1223 William de Cornhill
1224 1228 Alexander de Stavenby Became Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.
Bishops of Coventry and Lichfield
From Until Incumbent Notes
1228 1238 Alexander de Stavenby Previously Bishop of Coventry.
1239 William de Raley William Raleigh; elected by both the chapter of Coventry and that of Lichfield but being also elected Norwich he accepted that office.
1239 Nicholas Farnham Elected by the Chapter of Coventry but did not take office, later Bishop of Durham.
1239 William de Manchester Dean of Lichfield; elected by the Chapter of Lichfield but did not take office
1239 December 1241 Hugh de Pateshull Lord Treasurer; accepted after much controversy between the two chapters and at Henry III's request; confirmed 25 December 1239; died in office.
December 1241 8 December 1241 Richard le Gras Abbot of Evesham, elected but declined office or died before the disputed election was resolved.
December 1241 1245 Vacant
1243 Robert de Monte Pessulano Elected but refused the appointment, finding the election disagreeable to Henry III.
1245 1256 Roger Weseham Dean of Lincoln; appointed by Pope Innocent IV.
1258 1295 Roger de Meyland Roger Longespée; Roger de Molend.
1296 1321 Walter Langton Lord Treasurer and Lord Chancellor.
1322 1358 Roger Northburgh Roger de Northbrugh; Archdeacon of Richmond; Lord Keeper and Lord Treasurer.
1360 1385 Robert de Stretton Canon of Lichfield.
1386 1386 Walter Skirlaw Dean of St Martin's; translated to Bath & Wells.
1386 1398 Richard le Scrope Translated to York.
1398 1414 John Burghill Translated from Llandaff.
1415 1419 John Catterick John Keterich; translated from St Davids; translated to Exeter.
1419 1419 James Cary translated to Exeter but died before taking office thereof.
20 November 1420 13 March 1447 William Heyworth
1447 1452 William Booth Prebendary of St Paul's, London; translated to York.
1452 Nicholas Close Translated from Carlisle; Chancellor of Cambridge.
1453 1459 Reginald Boulers Translated from Hereford.
1459 1490 John Hales John Halse. Prebendary of St Paul's, London.
1493 1496 William Smyth Archdeacon of Surrey; translated to Lincoln.
1496 1502 John Arundel Dean of Exeter; translated to Exeter.
1503 1531 Geoffrey Blythe Geoffry Blyth. Dean of York.
1534 1539 Rowland Lee Chancellor and Prebendary of Lichfield and Lord President of Wales. Title changed when Coventry Cathedral was dissolved.
Bishops of Lichfield and Coventry
From Until Incumbent Notes
1539 1543 Rowland Lee Previously Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, before the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
1543 1554 Richard Sampson Translated from Chichester; Lord President of Wales.
1554 1559 Ralph Baines The last Roman Catholic Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry; deprived and died soon after.
1560 1579 Thomas Bentham Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.
1580 1609 William Overton Prebendary of Winchester and Salisbury.
1609 1610 George Abbot Dean of Winchester; translated to London.
1610 1614 Richard Neile Translated from Rochester; translated to Lincoln.
1614 1618 John Overall Dean of St Paul's, London; translated to Norwich.
1619 1632 Thomas Morton Translated from Chester; translated to Durham.
1632 1643 Robert Wright Translated from Bristol.
1644 1646 Accepted Frewen Dean of Gloucester; deprived of the see when the English episcopy was abolished by Parliament on 9 October 1646.
1646 1660 The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate.[3][4]
1660 1660 Accepted Frewen Restored; translated to York, 4 October 1660.
1661 1670 John Hacket Canon-resident of St Paul's, London.
1671 1692 Thomas Wood Dean of Lichfield.
1692 1699 William Lloyd Translated from St Asaph; translated to Worcester.
1699 1717 John Hough Translated from Oxford; translated to Worcester.
1717 1730 Edward Chandler Prebendary of Worcester; translated to Durham.
1731 1749 Richard Smalbroke Translated from St Davids.
1750 1768 Frederick Cornwallis Canon of Windsor; Dean of St Paul's, London (1766); translated to Canterbury.
1768 1771 John Egerton Translated from Bangor; translated to Durham.
1771 1774 Brownlow North Dean of Canterbury; translated to Worcester.
1775 1781 Richard Hurd Master of the Temple; translated to Worcester.
1781 1824 James Cornwallis Earl Cornwallis after 1823. Dean of Canterbury; nephew of Frederick Cornwallis (above); died in office.
10 March 1824 31 March 1836 Henry Ryder Translated from Gloucester; died in office.
3 July 1836 24 January 1837 Samuel Butler Became Bishop of Lichfield when Coventry was transferred to Worcester diocese.[5]
Bishops of Lichfield
From Until Incumbent Notes
24 January 1837 4 December 1839 Samuel Butler Previously Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry; died in office.
23 January 1840 11 October 1843 James Bowstead Translated from Sodor & Man.
3 December 1843 19 October 1867 John Lonsdale Archdeacon of Middlesex and Principal of King's College, London; died in office.
4 January 1868 11 April 1878 George Selwyn Translated from New Zealand; died in office.
24 June 1878 28 July 1891 William Maclagan Vicar of St Mary Abbots, Kensington; translated to York.
29 September 1891 15 March 1913 Augustus Legge Confirmed 28 September 1891; died in office.
13 June 1913 15 June 1937 John Kempthorne
29 July 1937 11 January 1953 Edward Woods Died in office.
29 September 1953 1 December 1974 Stretton Reeve
2 January 1975 29 February 1984 Kenneth Skelton former Bishop of Matabeleland and Assistant Bishop of Durham; retired.
12 October 1984 2003 Keith Sutton
2003 30 September 2015 Jonathan Gledhill [6]
30 September 2015 10 June 2016 Clive Gregory Bishop of Wolverhampton. Acting bishop.[7]
10 June 2016 incumbent Michael Ipgrave

Assistant bishops

Among those called Assistant Bishop of Lichfield, or coadjutor bishop, were:


  1. ^ "Michael Geoffrey Ipgrave". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  2. ^ OurCofE twitter (Accessed 11 June 2016)
  3. ^ Plant, David (2002). "Episcopalians". BCW Project. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  4. ^ King, Peter (July 1968). "The Episcopate during the Civil Wars, 1642-1649". The English Historical Review. 83 (328). Oxford University Press: 523–537. doi:10.1093/ehr/lxxxiii.cccxxviii.523. JSTOR 564164.
  5. ^ "No. 19460". The London Gazette. 24 January 1837. pp. 167–170.
  6. ^ Diocese of Lichfield – "40 years seem a good stint" Archived 8 March 2015 at (Accessed 2 March 2015)
  7. ^ Diocese of Lichfield — the Bishop of Lichfield Archived 19 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine (Accessed 18 November 2015)
  8. ^ "Hobhouse, Edmund (HBHS858E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  9. ^ "Abraham, Charles John (ABRN833CJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  10. ^ "Bromby, Charles Henry (BRMY833CH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.