Bishop of Winchester
Coat of arms of the
Arms of the Bishop of Winchester: Gules, two keys addorsed in bend the upper or the lower argent between them overlying the uppermost key a sword in bend sinister point upright of the third hilt and pommel or[1]
Philip Mounstephen
Ecclesiastical provinceCanterbury
ResidenceWolvesey Palace, Winchester
First holderWine
Established634 (at Dorchester)
660 (translated to Winchester)
CathedralWinchester Cathedral (since 660)
Dorchester (634–660)

The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat (cathedra) is at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.

The Bishop of Winchester has always held ex officio the office of Prelate of the Most Noble Order of the Garter since its foundation in 1348. except during the period of the Commonwealth until the Restoration of the Monarchy.[2] Bishops of Winchester also often held the positions of Lord Treasurer and Lord Chancellor ex officio.

During the Middle Ages, the Diocese of Winchester was one of the wealthiest English sees, and its bishops have included a number of politically prominent Englishmen, notably the 9th century Saint Swithun and medieval magnates including William of Wykeham and Henry of Blois.

The Bishop of Winchester is appointed by the Crown, and is one of five Church of England bishops who sit ex officio among the 26 Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords, regardless of their length of service.[3] Philip Mounstephen has been the Bishop of Winchester since 10 October 2023.[4][5]

The Diocese of Winchester is one of the oldest and most important in England. Originally it was the episcopal see of the kingdom of Wessex or the West Saxons, with its cathedra at Dorchester Cathedral near Oxford under Saints Birinus and Agilbert. The cathedral at Dorchester was founded in AD 634 by Birinius, a Roman missionary. The see was transferred to Winchester in AD 660.

Winchester was divided in AD 909, with Wiltshire and Berkshire transferring to the new See of Ramsbury. Nevertheless, the domains of the Bishop of Winchester ran from the south coast to the south bank of the River Thames at Southwark, where the bishop had one of his palaces, making it one of the largest as well as one of the richest sees in the land. In more modern times, the former extent of the Diocese of Winchester was reduced by the formation of a new diocese of Southwark in south London,[a] a new diocese of Guildford in Surrey and a new diocese of Portsmouth in Hampshire. The most recent loss of territory was in 2022 when the Channel Islands were removed from the diocese of Winchester after a dispute with Bishop Tim Dakin led to a breakdown in relations. The Channel Islands were transferred to the Diocese of Salisbury by an Order in Council made under the Channel Islands Measure 2020.[7]

Traditionally, in the general order of precedence before 1533, the Bishop of Winchester was given precedence over all other diocesan bishops - that is, the first English bishop in rank behind the archbishops of Canterbury and York. But in 1533, Henry VIII of England raised the rank of the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Durham, relegating Winchester to third (but still above other remaining diocesan bishops).[citation needed] The order of precedence was implicitly recognised by the Bishoprics Act 1878.[8][b]

The Report of the Commissioners appointed by his Majesty to inquire into the Ecclesiastical Revenues of England and Wales (1835) found the Winchester see was the third wealthiest in England, after Canterbury and London, with an annual net income of £11,151.[9]

The official residence of the Bishop of Winchester is Wolvesey Palace in Winchester. Historic homes of the bishops included Wolvesey Castle, Farnham Castle, Bishop's Waltham Palace and Winchester Palace in Southwark. The bishop is the visitor to five Oxford colleges, namely Magdalen College, New College, St John's College, Trinity College, and Corpus Christi College.

Recent history

The former bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, was enthroned on 21 April 2012, having been elected on 14 October 2011. He was consecrated as a bishop at St Paul's Cathedral, London, on 25 January 2012. On 20 May 2021, it was reported that Dakin had "stepped back" as diocesan bishop for six weeks, in light of the threat of a diocesan synod motion of no confidence in his leadership. David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke, also "stepped back" and Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton, served as acting diocesan bishop.[10] Dakin's leave was later extended to the end of August 2021.[11] He retired on 6 February 2022.[12]

Debbie Sellin continued as acting diocesan bishop during the vacancy, with retired bishop Richard Frith serving as the Archbishop's Episcopal Commissary in the diocese.[13] In July 2023, it was announced that Philip Mounstephen would be the next Bishop of Winchester[14] and that he was to leave his post at Truro in autumn 2023.[15] Debbie Sellin remained acting diocesan bishop pending Mounstephen's election (which took place on 11 September)[16] and confirmation on 10 October.[17]

List of bishops

Saxon to Norman

Bishops of Dorchester
From Until Incumbent Notes
634 c. 650 Birinus Sent from Rome by the pope, founded missionary diocese; Saint Birinius
c. 650 c. 660 Agilbert Resigned.
Bishops of Winchester
From Until Incumbent Notes
660 663 Wine also had his See at Dorchester
670 before 676 Leuthere
676 ?705 Hædde Canonized
c. 705 744 Daniel
744 betw. 749–756 Hunfrith
756 betw. 759–778 Cyneheard
betw. 759–778 betw. 759–778 Æthelheard
betw. 759–778 betw. 781–785 Ecgbald
betw. 781–785 betw. 781–785 Dudd
betw. 781–785 betw. 801–803 Cyneberht
betw. 801–803 betw. 805–814 Ealhmund
betw. 805–814 836 Wigthegn
before 825 836 Herefrith Never attests without Wigthegn.
betw. 833–838 838 Eadhun
838 or 839 betw. 844–853 Helmstan
852 or 853 betw. 862–865 Swithun Canonized. Patron saint of Winchester.
betw. 862–867 betw. 871–877 Ealhferth
betw. 871–877 878 or 879 Tunbeorht
878 or 879 908 Denewulf
909 932 or 933 Frithestan Canonized
931 934 Beornstan Canonized
934 or 935 951 Ælfheah (I)
951 959 Ælfsige (I) Translated to Canterbury
960 963 Beorhthelm Possibly translated from Selsey
963 984 Æthelwold (I) Canonized
984 1006 Ælfheah (II) Translated to Canterbury. Canonized.
1006 Cenwulf
1006 1012 Æthelwold (II)
1012 1032 Ælfsige (II)
1032 1047 Ælfwine
1047 1070 Stigand Translated from Elmham. Held Winchester with Canterbury 1052–1070.
Footnote(s):[c] and Source(s):[19][20]

Norman to Reformation

From Until Incumbent Notes
1070 1098 Walkelin
1100 1129 William Giffard
1129 1171 Henry of Blois
1173 1188 Richard of Ilchester
1189 1204 Godfrey de Luci
1205 (Richard Poore) Election quashed
1205 1238 Peter des Roches
1238 1239 (Ralph Neville) Election quashed
1240 1250 William de Raley Translated from Norwich
1250 1260 Aymer de Valence
1261 1262 (Andrew of London) Election quashed
1261 1262 (William de Taunton) Election quashed
1262 1268 John Gervais
1268 1280 Nicholas of Ely
1280 (Robert Burnell) Election quashed June 1280.
1280 1282 (Richard de la More) Never consecrated, resigned June 1282.
1282 1304 John of Pontoise
1305 1316 Henry Woodlock
1316 1319 John Sandale
1319 1323 Rigaud of Assier
1323 1333 John de Stratford Translated to Canterbury
1333 1345 Adam Orleton Translated from Worcester
1345 1366 William Edington
1366 1404 William of Wykeham Chancellor of England; founder of Winchester College and of New College, Oxford[21]
1404 1447 Cardinal Henry Beaufort Translated from Lincoln; Appointed Cardinal by Pope Martin V; The Bishop of Winchester in Shakespeare's First Part of Henry the Sixth
1447 1486 William Waynflete
1487 1492 Peter Courtenay Translated from Exeter
1493 1501 Thomas Langton Translated from Salisbury
1501 1528 Richard Foxe Translated from Durham
1529 1530 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey Archbishop of York. Held in commendam the see of Winchester.

During the Reformation

From Until Incumbent Notes
1531 1551 Stephen Gardiner (1st tenure)
1551 1553 John Ponet Translated from Rochester
1553 1555 Stephen Gardiner (2nd tenure)
1556 1559 John White Translated from Lincoln


From Until Incumbent Notes
1560 1580 Robert Horne
1580 1584 John Watson
1584 1594 Thomas Cooper Translated from Lincoln
1594 1595 William Wickham Translated from Lincoln
1595 1596 William Day
1597 1616 Thomas Bilson Translated from Worcester
1616 1618 James Montague Translated from Bath and Wells
1618 1626 Lancelot Andrewes Translated from Ely
1627 1632 Richard Neile Translated from Durham, later translated to York
1632 1646 Walter Curle Translated from Bath and Wells. Deprived 1646, and died 1647.
1646 1660 The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate.[26][27]
1660 1662 Brian Duppa Translated from Salisbury
1662 1684 George Morley Translated from Worcester
1684 1706 Peter Mews Translated from Bath and Wells
1707 1721 Sir Jonathan Trelawny Translated from Exeter
1721 1723 Charles Trimnell Translated from Norwich
1723 1734 Richard Willis Translated from Salisbury
1734 1761 Benjamin Hoadly Translated from Salisbury
1761 1781 John Thomas Translated from Salisbury
1781 1820 Brownlow North Translated from Worcester
1820 1827 Sir George Pretyman Tomline, Bt. Translated from Lincoln
1827 1869 Charles Sumner Translated from Llandaff
1869 1873 Samuel Wilberforce Translated from Oxford
1873 1891 Harold Browne Translated from Ely
1891 1895 Anthony Thorold Translated from Rochester
1895 1903 Randall Davidson Translated from Rochester, later translated to Canterbury
1903 1911 Herbert Edward Ryle Translated from Exeter
1911 1923 Edward Talbot Translated from Southwark
1923 1932 Theodore Woods Translated from Peterborough
1932 1942 Cyril Garbett Translated from Southwark, later translated to York
1942 1952 Mervyn Haigh Translated from Coventry
1952 1961 Alwyn Williams Translated from Durham
1961 1975 Falkner Allison Translated from Chelmsford
1975 1985 John Taylor
1985 1995 Colin James Translated from Wakefield
1995 2011 Michael Scott-Joynt Translated from Stafford
2012 2022 Tim Dakin
2022 2023 Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton and acting diocesan bishop
2022 2023 Richard Frith, Archbishop's Episcopal Commissary[13] former Bishop of Hereford
2023 present Philip Mounstephen[28] Translated from Truro;
confirmed 10 October 2023.[4][5]

Assistant bishops

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

See also


  1. ^ The area was transferred to the Diocese of Rochester in 1877 before being established as a separate diocese in 1905.[6]
  2. ^ The bishops are named in this order in the section.
  3. ^ The second edition of the Handbook of British Chronology listed Eadmund to have been bishop of Winchester between 833 and 838,[18] but in the third edition he is no longer listed to have been bishop.[19]



  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.1160, as depicted there, expanded for clarity
  2. ^ Charles Dodd (1844) Manual of Dignities, from the Revolution to the Present Day p.45
  3. ^ "Lords Spiritual". The Church of England in Parliament. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b "(section: Forthcoming Events)". St Mary-le-Bow. Archived from the original on 10 October 2023. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  5. ^ a b @BishopAngaelos (10 October 2023). "A joy to be at back at @BowBellsChurch for Confirmation of Election..." (Tweet). Archived from the original on 11 October 2023 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ "No. 27777". The London Gazette. 21 March 1905. p. 2169.
  7. ^ "Ink dries at last on transfer of Jersey deanery to Salisbury diocese".
  8. ^ "Bishoprics Act 1878, s. 5". Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  9. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge Vol.III, London, Charles Knight, 1847, p.362
  10. ^ "Bishop of Winchester steps back after diocesan rebellion". Church Times. No. 8253. 21 May 2021. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Talks about Dakin's future to continue". Church Times. No. 8259. 2 July 2021. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Bishop of Winchester announces retirement". Diocese of Winchester. 16 July 2021. Archived from the original on 24 November 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Archbishop confirms arrangements following Bishop of Winchester's retirement". Diocese of Winchester. 10 January 2022. Archived from the original on 14 April 2023.
  14. ^ "Appointment of Bishop of Winchester". Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. 6 July 2023.
  15. ^ "Bishop Philip to leave diocese". Diocese of Truro. 6 July 2023. Archived from the original on 6 July 2023. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  16. ^ "Bishop Philip Mounstephen Elected by College of Canons at Winchester Cathedral". Diocese of Winchester. 11 September 2023.
  17. ^ "(section: Forthcoming Events)". St Mary-le-Bow. Archived from the original on 10 October 2023. Retrieved 23 October 2023.
  18. ^ Powicke & Fryde 1961, Handbook of British Chronology, 2nd Edition, p. 257.
  19. ^ a b Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, 3rd Edition, p. 223.
  20. ^ a b c d "Historical successions: Winchester". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  21. ^ "Winchester College: Heritage". Winchester College. Archived from the original on 26 January 2022. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  22. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, 3rd Edition, pp. 276–277.
  23. ^ a b Greenway 1971, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 2, pp. 85–87.
  24. ^ a b Jones 1962, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: Volume 4, pp. 45–47.
  25. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, 3rd Edition, p. 277.
  26. ^ Plant, David (2002). "Episcopalians". BCW Project. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  27. ^ King, Peter (July 1968). "The Episcopate during the Civil Wars, 1642-1649". The English Historical Review. Oxford University Press. 83 (328): 523–537. doi:10.1093/ehr/lxxxiii.cccxxviii.523. JSTOR 564164.
  28. ^ "Appointment of Bishop of Winchester". Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. 6 July 2023.
  29. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, 3rd Edition, pp. 277–278.
  30. ^ Horn 1974, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857: Volume 3, pp. 80–83.
  31. ^ Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi: II p. 238
  32. ^ Les Ordinations Épiscopales, Year 1457, Number 21
  33. ^ "Westkarre, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/98333. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  34. ^ "Church news". Church Times. No. 1252. 21 January 1887. p. 46. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 20 December 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  35. ^ "Church news". Church Times. No. 2997. 2 July 1920. p. 10. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 20 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  36. ^ "Lang, Leslie Hamilton". Who's Who. A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  37. ^ "Cornwall, Nigel Edmund". Who's Who. A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  38. ^ "Dehqani-Tafti, Hassan Barnaba". Who's Who. A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)