Bishop of St Asaph
Coat of arms of the (({name))}
Coat of arms
Gregory Cameron
Ecclesiastical provinceWales
DioceseSt Asaph
CathedralSt Asaph Cathedral

The Bishop of St Asaph 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 Merioneth in Gwynedd and part of northern Powys. The Episcopal seat is located in the Cathedral Church of St Asaph in the city of St Asaph in Denbighshire, north Wales.

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 Bishop of St Asaph in succession to John Davies, who was consecrated in October 1999 and who retired in 2008.[1]

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 of Llanelwy originally largely coincided with the kingdom of Powys, together with the part of the kingdom of Gwynedd known as Gwynedd Is Conwy, but lost much territory first by the Mercian encroachment marked by Watt's dyke and again by the construction of Offa's Dyke, 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

The Domesday Book of 1086 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 Abbey. 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. Redman was abbot of Shap Abbey and visitor for the Premonstratensian canons, and spent most of his time visiting their monasteries or his diocese; he was diligent in his duties and felt no need to be resident in the city. 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 Pennant, 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 Report of the Commissioners appointed by his Majesty to inquire into the Ecclesiastical Revenues of England and Wales (1835) found the see had an annual net income of £6,301. This made it the wealthiest diocese in Wales and the fourth richest in Britain after Canterbury, London and Winchester.[2]

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

Pre-reformation bishops

Bishops of St Asaph
From Until Incumbent Notes
6th century AD Kentigern (Saint Mungo) Originally Bishop of Glasgow from c. 540; founded diocese as episcopus Elvensis, Elguensis, Elveiisis, Lanelwensis
6th century AD Saint Asaph
c. 600 Saint Tysilio
c. 800 Renchidus
c. 928 Cebur
c. 1070 Melanus
1143 c. 1151 Gilbert See recreated as suffragan of Canterbury
c. 1152 1154 Geoffrey of Monmouth
1154 1155 Richard Died in office
c. 1160 1165 Godfrey Left see to become abbot of Abingdon in 1165, removed from office in 1175
1175 1181 Adam the Welshman Canon of Pershore
1183 c. 1186 John I
1186 c. 1224 Reiner
1225 c. 1233 Abraham
1235 c. 1241 Hugh Monk of the Friars
1242 1247 Hywel ab Ednyfed Also known as Howel ap Ednevet
1247 1249 vacant
1249 1266 Einion I Also known as Anian
1267 1268 John II
1268 1293 Einion II Also known as Anian de Schonau, prior of Rhudland
1293 1314 Llywelyn de Bromfield Also known as Leolinus de Bromfield
1315 c. 1352 Dafydd ap Bleddyn Also known as David ap Blethin; canon of St. Asaph
1352 1357 John Trevor (I) Also known as John Trevaur
1357 1375 Llywelyn ap Madog Also known as Leolinus ap Madoc ap Elis; dean of St. Asaph
1376 1382 William Spridlington Also known as William de Spridlington; dean of St. Asaph
1382 1389 Lawrence Child Monk of Battle Abbey, licentiate of the civil law
1390 1394 Alexander Bache Also known as Alexander Bach; canon of St. Asaph
1395 1402 John Trevor (II) Prebendary of Hereford; deprived, possibly reinstated following David II as see not declared vacant prior to his death in 1410
1402 c. 1408 David II
1411 c. 1433 Robert Lancaster Also known as Robert of Lancaster
1433 1444 John Low Also known as John Lobbe; a friar eremite; translated to Rochester
1444 1449 Reginald Pecock Also known as Reginald Peacock; translated to Chichester
1450 1463 Thomas Bird Also known as Thomas Knight; deprived for rebellion; temporalities of the diocese to the king, the bishop of Rochester, Robert Caunton, and John Stanley before the pardoning of Thomas in 1471
1471 1495 Richard Redman Translated to Exeter
c. 1495 1500 Michael Deacon Also known as Michael Dyacon; the king's confessor
1500 1503 Dafydd ab Ieuan ab Iorwerth Also known as David ap Yeworth; abbot of Valle Crucis
c. 1503 c. 1513 Dafydd ab Owain Also known as David ap Owen; abbot of Aberconwy
1513 1518 Edmund Birkhead Also known as Edmund Brokehed
1518 1535 Henry Standish

During the Reformation

Bishops of St Asaph
From Until Incumbent Notes
c. 1535 1536 William Barlow Prior of Haverfordwest. Translated to St David's, then Bath & Wells, then Chichester
1536 1554 Robert Parfew Also known as Robert Warton; abbot of St. Savior's Bermondsey; translated to Hereford
1556 c. 1559 Thomas Goldwell CR Went into voluntary exile (as Catholic)


Bishops of the Church of England

Bishops of St Asaph
From Until Incumbent Notes
1560 1561 Richard Davies Translated to St David's
1561 1573 Thomas Davies
1573 1600 William Hughes
1601 1604 William Morgan Translator of the Bible into Welsh. Translated from Llandaff
1604 1623 Richard Parry Dean of Bangor
1624 1629 John Hanmer Prebendary of Worcester
1629 1646 John Owen Archdeacon of St Asaph; deprived of the see when episcopacy was abolished by Parliament on 9 October 1646; died 1651
1646 1660 The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate.[3][4]
1660 1666 George Griffith Archdeacon of St Asaph
1667 1670 Henry Glemham Dean of Bristol
1670 1680 Isaac Barrow Translated from Sodor & Man
1680 1692 William Lloyd Dean of Bangor; translated to Lichfield & Coventry, then Worcester
1692 1703 Edward Jones Translated from Cloyne, Ireland
1703 1704 George Hooper Dean of Canterbury; translated to Bath & Wells
1704 1708 William Beveridge Archdeacon of Colchester
1708 1714 William Fleetwood Canon of Windsor; translated to Ely
1714 1727 John Wynne Principal of Jesus College, Oxford; translated to Bath & Wells
1727 1731 Francis Hare Dean of Worcester and of St Paul's in London; translated to Chichester
1732 1735 Thomas Tanner Canon of Christ Church, Oxford
1736 1743 Isaac Maddox Dean of Wells; translated to Worcester
1743 1744 John Thomas Dean of Peterborough; elected in Nov. but translated to Lincoln in Jan. before consecration
1744 1748 Samuel Lisle Archdeacon of Canterbury; translated to Norwich
1748 1761 Robert Hay Drummond Prebendary of Westminster; translated to Salisbury
1761 1769 Richard Newcome Translated from Llandaff
1769 1788 Jonathan Shipley Translated from Llandaff
1789 1790 Samuel Hallifax Also known as Samuel Halifax; translated from Gloucester
1790 1802 Lewis Bagot Translated from Norwich
1802 1806 Samuel Horsley Translated from Rochester
1806 1815 William Cleaver Translated from Bangor
1815 1830 John Luxmoore Translated from Hereford
1830 1846 William Carey Translated from Exeter
1846 1870 Thomas Vowler Short Translated from Sodor & Man
1870 1889 Joshua Hughes Vicar of Llandovery
1889 1920 Alfred George Edwards Church in Wales disestablished 1920

Bishops of the disestablished Church in Wales

Bishops of St Asaph
From Until Incumbent Notes
1920 1934 Alfred George Edwards First Archbishop of Wales 1920–1934
1934 1950 William Havard
1950 1971 David Bartlett
1971 1981 Harold Charles
1981 1999 Alwyn Rice Jones Archbishop of Wales 1991–1999
1999 2008 John Davies
2009 incumbent Gregory Cameron Consecrated 4 April 2009

Assistant bishops

Among those who have served as assistant bishops of the diocese have been:


  1. ^ "New Bishop of St Asaph is chosen". BBC. 5 January 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  2. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge Vol.III, (1847), London, Charles Knight, p.362
  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. ^ Hardy, T. Duffus. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae; or, a Calendar of the Principal Ecclesiastical Dignitaries in England and Wales, and of the Chief Officers in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge from the Earliest Times to the Year MDCCXV, Corrected and Continued to the Present Time, Vol. I, "St. Asaph's". Oxford Univ. Press, 1854. Accessed 18 Feb 2013.
  6. ^ "Historical successions: St Asaph". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 22 July 2012.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ancient Diocese of Saint Asaph". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.