Graham Dow
Bishop of Carlisle
In office2000 – April 2009 (retired)
PredecessorIan Harland
SuccessorJames Newcome
Other post(s)Bishop of Willesden (1992–2000)
Ordination1967 (deacon); 1968 (priest)
Consecration22 May 1992
Personal details
Born (1942-07-04) 4 July 1942 (age 80)
Edmonton, London
ParentsRonald and Dorothy Christie
SpouseMolly Sturges (m. 1966)
Children3 adult sons; 1 adult daughter
Alma materThe Queen's College, Oxford

Geoffrey Graham Dow (born 4 July 1942) is a retired British Anglican bishop. He was the Bishop of Carlisle from 2000 to 2009, the 66th holder of the office.[1] He is a well-known Evangelical.

Early life

Born in 1942, in Edmonton, London, Dow was educated at St Albans School and The Queen's College, Oxford.

Religious appointments

Before his arrival in Carlisle, Dow was the vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Coventry[2] prior to his appointment as Bishop of Willesden (an area bishopric in the Diocese of London) in 1992.[3] He was consecrated as bishop on 22 May 1992 at St Paul's Cathedral, by George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury.[4]

Dow was made the Bishop of Carlisle in 2000 and retired from this position at the end of April 2009.[5]

Position and statements

Dow was one of the rebel bishops who signed a letter against Rowan Williams' decision not to block the appointment of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading in 2003.[6] The other diocesan bishop signatories (referred to, since there were nine, as the Nazgûl) were: Michael Scott-Joynt (Bishop of Winchester), Michael Langrish (Exeter), Michael Nazir-Ali (Rochester), Peter Forster (Chester), James Jones (Liverpool), George Cassidy (Southwell & Nottingham), John Hind (Chichester) and David James (Bradford).[7]

In 2005, Dow attracted media attention when he said that a stone in Carlisle inscribed with a 16th-century curse should be removed. The curse was pronounced on the Border Reivers by the Archbishop of Glasgow and was inscribed on a stone as part of the city's millennium celebrations. Subsequently, some Carlisle residents blamed disasters, such as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, flooding and the relegation of the local football team from its league on the presence of the stone. Dow stated that "The original curse was not a godly act. For this reason I have always said that it would be better if the stone were not there" and said he intended to ask the current archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, to come to Carlisle and perform a blessing to remove the curse.[8]

Dow's activities have included giving a blessing at the launch of HMS Astute in Barrow-in-Furness on 8 June 2007.[9]

Natural disasters as divine retribution

Flooding in 2007, described by Dow as "God's judgement" on society's "moral degradation"
Flooding in 2007, described by Dow as "God's judgement" on society's "moral degradation"

In July 2007, following widespread storms over parts of the United Kingdom, Dow stated that he believed the resulting flooding (in which several people were killed) was an act of divine retribution, the result of God's "strong and definite judgement" on the "moral degradation" of British society. In particular, he blamed the economic exploitation of poorer nations and the United Kingdom's introduction of laws aimed at reducing discrimination against gay people, notably the proposals to introduce same-sex marriage.[10] He stated that "the Sexual Orientation Regulations are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God's judgement."[11]

According to an article in The Times, Dow is a specialist in exorcism, explaining in a leaflet entitled Explaining Deliverance that "There is a view that both oral and anal sexual practice is liable to allow entry to spirits."[12][13]

Personal life

Dow is married to Molly and they have four adult children.[14]


  1. ^ "No. 55920". The London Gazette. 21 July 2000. p. 8033.
  2. ^ Holy Trinity history pages
  3. ^ "No. 52923". The London Gazette. 15 May 1992. p. 8409.
  4. ^ "picture caption". Church Times. No. 6746. 29 May 1992. p. 2. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 3 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  5. ^ 'Diocese of Carlisle Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Telegraph – And suspicion begat spite, back-stabbing and schism
  7. ^ Frost's Meditations – Nazir-Ali Archived 26 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Bishop stands firm on 'ungodly' curse Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine The Cumberland News 11 March 2005
  9. ^ Astute launch pictures
  10. ^ Wynne-Jones, Jonathan (1 July 2007). "Floods are judgement on society, say bishops". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  11. ^ Article in The Times Online, July 4 2007 Retrieved July 2011
  12. ^ Ruth Gledhill, 'The face', The Times, 3 July 2007
  13. ^ Rev. Dr. Malcolm Johnson (30 August 2013). Diary of a Gay Priest: The Tightrope Walker. Christian Alternative. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-78099-999-9.
  14. ^ "Retirement of Bishop of Carlisle". Diocese of Carlisle website. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2012.