John Diggle
Bishop of Carlisle
John William Diggle 001.jpg
ChurchChurch of England
DioceseDiocese of Carlisle
In office1905 to 1920
PredecessorJohn Bardsley
SuccessorHenry Williams
Consecrationc. 1905
Personal details
John William Diggle

(1847-03-02)2 March 1847
Died24 March 1920(1920-03-24) (aged 73)
ChildrenFive, including Percy Robert Diggle

John William Diggle (2 March 1847 – 24 March 1920) was an English Anglican bishop. He was Archdeacon of Westmorland from 1896 to 1901, Archdeacon of Birmingham from 1903 to 1904, and Bishop of Carlisle from 1905 to his death in 1920.

Early life and education

Diggle was the son of William Diggle, a warehouseman of Pendleton, Lancashire and his wife Nancy Ann née Chadderton. His younger brother, Joseph Diggle (1849–1917) was to become chairman of the London School Board.[1] He was educated at Manchester Grammar School.[2] and Merton College, Oxford.[3]

Ordained ministry

Diggle began his career with curacies at St Margaret, Whalley Range,[4] All Saints’, Liverpool and St John’s, Walton. From 1875 until 1897 he was Vicar of Mossley Hill.[5] He was in 1896 collated Archdeacon of Westmorland, serving until November 1901, and then in 1903 Archdeacon of Birmingham.[6]

In 1905, Diggle was appointed Bishop of Carlisle, the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Carlisle.[7] He was one of the most vociferous episcopal supporters of British involvement in the Great War. He blamed Prussian militarism and was appalled at what he regarded as German cruelty to Belgian and French civilians who had been overrun in the German advance. He regarded it as a spiritual war, the 'Good'of Britain and her allies facing the wickedness of Germany and, therefore, fighting for a choice between '...public law or military licence...freedom or absolutism, independence or servitude, truth or falsehood, purity or corruption, faith or force, love or hate, Christ or Beliel...'[8] He was very proud of clergy and their families who were especially active in the War. These included his own sons, Reginald, who won a MC as a chaplain, and Philip, who was a major in the Border Regiment;and Theodore Hardy, vicar of Hutton Roof, who was awarded the VC. His assistant, the Bishop of Barrow-in-Furness, who volunteered as a Chaplain and served with the Church Army, and the Vicar of Ambleside, who worked in a munitions factory during the week and returned to his parish at weekends to take services, were praised. Unlike most of his colleagues, he refused to forbid his clergy from joining the forces as combatants, writing 'If it is wrong for a clergyman to enlist, can he encourage others to enlist? If we honour and praise the dead for a sacred cause how can it be wrong for clergy to enlist in so noble a cause?'.[9] Diggle also refused to accept candidates for ordination if they were 'of military age and medically fit at this critical juncture in the nation's needs'.[10] One of Diggle's last tasks was to join President Wilson of the USA in the nonconformist chapel where Wilson's ancestors had worshipped, and was widely criticised since he was a CofE bishop. Diggle was unmoved and wanted to welcome the President on his visit to the diocese.[11] Diggle continued as bishop until his death on 24 March 1920.[12][13]

Personal life

In 1874, Diggle married Cicely Jane Butterfield. In 1884, Diggle married Edith Moss. Diggle had five children: four sons and one daughter.[14]

His son, Percy Robert Diggle, was a rugby union international, representing the Combined British on the 1910 RFU tour to Argentina, an early incarnation of the British and Irish Lions.


Constructs such as ibid., loc. cit. and idem are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (April 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
  1. ^ Donald P. Leinster-Mackay (2004). "Diggle, Joseph Robert (1849–1917)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  2. ^ “Who was Who” 1897–1990 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN 0-7136-3457-X
  3. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Diggle, John William" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 30 (12th ed.). London & New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company. p. 839.
  4. ^ Genuki
  5. ^ The Times, Thursday, Jul 11, 1889; pg. 5; Issue 32748; col D Ecclesiastical Appointments
  6. ^ London Gazette
  7. ^ Images of Cumbria
  8. ^ Carlisle Diocesan Gazette, July 1915. These monthly published gazettes had regular news and features about the War
  9. ^ Carlisle Diocesan Chronicle, December, 1915
  10. ^ Op cit June 1916
  11. ^ The Times obituary, 26.3.1920
  12. ^ National Archives
  13. ^ Obituary The Bishop Of Carlisle. A Liberal Prelate The Times Friday, Mar 26, 1920; p. 18; issue 42369; col B.
  14. ^ "Diggle, Rt. Rev. John William". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. April 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2017.