Stephen Cottrell

Archbishop of York and Primate of England
Installation of the Bishops of Barking and Colchester (14983891360) (Stephen Cottrell cropped).jpg
Cottrell in 2014
ChurchChurch of England
In office2020–present
PredecessorJohn Sentamu
Other post(s)Bishop of Reading (area bishop) (2004–2010)
Bishop of Chelmsford (2010–2020)
Ordination1 July 1984 (deacon)
30 June 1985 (priest)
by Ronald Bowlby
Consecration4 May 2004
by Rowan Williams
Personal details
Born (1958-08-31) 31 August 1958 (age 64)
ResidenceBishopthorpe Palace, York
Alma materPolytechnic of Central London
St Stephen's House, Oxford
Member of the House of Lords
(Lord Spiritual)
Assumed office
25 March 2014

Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell SCP (born 31 August 1958) is a Church of England bishop. Since 9 July 2020, he has been the Archbishop of York and Primate of England; the second-most senior bishop of the church and the most senior in northern England.[1] He previously served as Bishop of Reading (an area bishop in the Diocese of Oxford), 2004–2010, and as Bishop of Chelmsford, 2010–2020.

Early life and education

Cottrell was born on 31 August 1958 in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.[2][3] His brother, Professor David Cottrell, is a psychiatrist and academic.[4] He was educated at Belfairs High School.[5] He studied at the Polytechnic of Central London, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in media studies in 1979.[6][2][7] From 1981 to 1984, he trained for ordination at St Stephen's House, Oxford.[6] He later studied Christian leadership at St Mellitus College, London, graduating with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 2019.[8]

Ordained ministry

Cottrell was made a deacon at Petertide on 1 July 1984[9] and ordained a priest the next Petertide (30 June 1985), both times by Ronald Bowlby, Bishop of Southwark, at Southwark Cathedral.[10] His ordained ministry began as a curate at Christ Church, Forest Hill in the Diocese of Southwark.[11] From 1988 to 1993, he was priest in charge of St Wilfrid's Church, Chichester, and also assistant director of pastoral studies at Chichester Theological College.[12] He was then diocesan missioner for the Diocese of Wakefield and finally, before his ordination to the episcopate,[13]) canon pastor at Peterborough Cathedral.

Episcopal ministry

Cottrell (right) with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 2019
Cottrell (right) with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 2019

Cottrell was nominated area Bishop of Reading on 6 January 2004,[7] after Jeffrey John controversially withdrew his nomination to the post in 2003.[14] He had been a supporter of John's original appointment. He said of his nomination: "I am looking forward to becoming the next Bishop of Reading with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I believe my work in mission and evangelism has prepared me well for the challenges facing the church in this new century. I hope and pray that my love for and understanding of the different traditions of the Church of England will enable me to be a focus for unity in the Reading Episcopal area." He was consecrated on 4 May 2004 by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, at St Paul's Cathedral,[15][16] following confirmation of the appointment by letters patent.[13]

Following his nomination as bishop of Chelmsford on 22 March 2010,[3] he was translated to the see of Chelmsford on 6 October 2010.[17] He was installed at Chelmsford Cathedral on 27 November 2010.[17] In 2014, he became a Lord Spiritual, one of the 26 senior diocesan bishops entitled to sit in the House of Lords; he was introduced on 25 March 2014.[18]

On 17 December 2019, it was announced that Cottrell would succeed John Sentamu as Archbishop of York, Metropolitan of York and Primate of England, following the latter's retirement in June 2020.[1][19] The position is the second-most senior clerical position in the Church of England after that of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England. Cottrell's canonical election was held by video conference on 11 June 2020.[20] The confirmation of his election, by which he legally took office, was held on 9 July, and his enthronement took place at York Minster during a service of Evensong on 18 October.[21][22]

As a matter of course, Cottrell was appointed a Privy Counsellor on 21 July 2020.[23] Now a Lord Spiritual ex officio, he was re-introduced on 22 October 2020.[24]


He is a member of the Society of Catholic Priests (SCP),[25] and a member of Affirming Catholicism. In December 2014, he was selected as president of the movement, taking up the appointment at the start of 2015.[26]

In 2007, Cottrell publicly opposed the renewal of Britain's Trident missile systems.[27] The same year, his support for church celebrations of same-sex relationships was widely reported.[28] In 2017, while serving as Bishop of Chelmsford, Cottrell said "Whether you believe there should be same sex marriage or the blessing of same sex unions or whether you do not, you are still a faithful Anglican...We need to find ways of living with this diversity, not being torn apart by it."[29][30] He also stated that "there is no reason why prayers of thanksgiving for these [same-sex] relationships – perhaps a Eucharist – cannot be offered."[31][32]

In August 2021, Cottrell was criticised for suggesting, in an article for the Daily Telegraph, that Welsh and Scottish sports teams should sing "God Save the Queen" along with the English team in all-British matches, saying that it would help to support the union.[33] His idea met with angry responses on social media in Wales and Scotland.[34]

Personal life

Stephen Cottrell is married to Rebecca and they have three children.[3] He is also a patron of the charity Antibiotic Research UK.


Selected works

Cottrell has written several books on the subject of evangelism among his 38 published titles.[35]


  1. ^ a b "Bishop Stephen Cottrell to be the next Archbishop of York". The Church of England. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Chelmsford, Bishop of, (Rt Rev. Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell)". Who's Who 2020. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2019. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U44330. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Next Bishop of Chelmsford comes home 'hungry for us to be a Church that connects with every person and every community'" Archived 2012-08-03 at, Diocese of Chelmsford website, 22 March 2010. Retrieved on 22 March 2010.
  4. ^ "Cottrell, Prof. David John". Who's Who 2020. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2019. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U255781. Retrieved 11 July 2020. Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, since 1994, and Dean of Medicine, 2008–13, University of Leeds
  5. ^ Who's Who, 2008: London, A & C Black, ISBN 978-0-7136-8555-8
  6. ^ a b "Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Suffragan See of Reading Archived 2008-09-09 at the Wayback Machine, Prime Minister's office, 6 January 2004. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  8. ^ "York, Archbishop of, (Most Rev. and Rt Hon. Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell) (born 31 Aug. 1958)". Who's Who 2021. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Petertide ordinations". Church Times. No. 6334. 6 July 1984. p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 25 June 2016 – via UK Press Online archives.
  10. ^ "Petertide ordinations". Church Times. No. 6386. 5 July 1985. p. 16. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 8 June 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  11. ^ Forest Hill Christ Church with St Paul (within the parish of Perry Hill, St George with Christ Church & St Paul) Archived 2008-08-28 at the Wayback Machine, Anglican Diocese of Southwark. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  12. ^ "✠ The Rt Revd Stephen Geoffrey COTTRELL BA". The Church of England Year Book. Church House Publishing. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  13. ^ a b "No. 57279". The London Gazette. 4 May 2004. p. 5521.
  14. ^ New Bishop of Reading revealed, BBC Berkshire, 6 January 2004. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  15. ^ St Mary's Purley Parish News
  16. ^ BBC News Berkshire — New Bishop of Reading consecrated (Accessed 26 December 2016).
  17. ^ a b "Bishop of Chelmsford: Together we will be a transforming presence and make Christ known". Diocese of Chelmsford. Archived 9 February 2011. 11 October 2010. Archived from the original on 9 February 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  18. ^ "Introduction: The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 25 March 2014. col. 425.
  19. ^ Sherwood, Harriet (17 December 2019). "Stephen Cottrell named as next archbishop of York". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  20. ^ Chapter of York (11 June 2020). "Election of Bishop Stephen Cottrell as the 98th Archbishop of York". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Confirmation of Election of Bishop Stephen Cottrell as the 98th Archbishop of York, Thursday 9 July 2020". The Archbishop of York. 20 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  22. ^ A service of Evensong with the Enthronement of the Archbishop of York. Retrieved on 20 October 2020.
  23. ^ Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (21 July 2020). "Orders approved at the Privy Council held by The Queen at Windsor Castle on 21st July 2020" (PDF). Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  24. ^ "Introduction: The Lord Archbishop of York". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords.
  25. ^ The Rt Revd Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell, Anglican Communion News Service, 1 August 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  26. ^ "NEW PRESIDENT OF AFF CATH ANNOUNCED". Latest News. Affirming Catholicism. 20 December 2014. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  27. ^ Trident discussion | the Door
  28. ^ "Bishop Cottrell urges 'inclusion'". Church Times. No. 8035. 17 March 2017. p. 10. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  29. ^ Farley, Harry. "Bishop Calls For 'Thanksgiving' Prayers For Gay Couples". Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  30. ^ Farley, Harry. "Favourite for new Bishop of London backed church thanksgiving services for same-sex couples". Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  31. ^ "Church of England bishop backs formal 'thanksgiving' ceremonies for same-sex couples". PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBT+ news. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  32. ^ "Bishop of Chelmsford calls for "prayers of thanksgiving" for same sex relationships". Anglican Mainstream. 13 March 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  33. ^ Chris Wood (11 August 2021). "National anthem: Should Wales' teams sing God Save the Queen?". BBC. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  34. ^ "BBC Wales sparks furious backlash with God Save the Queen question". Nation Cymru. 11 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  35. ^ Amazon (2021). "Stephen Cottrell". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
Church of England titles Preceded byDominic Walker Bishop of Reading 2004–2010 Succeeded byAndrew Proud Preceded byJohn Gladwin Bishop of Chelmsford 2010–2020 Succeeded byGuli Francis-Dehqani Preceded byJohn Sentamu Archbishop of York 2020–present Incumbent Order of precedence in England and Wales Preceded byDominic Raabas Lord Chancellor Gentlemenas Archbishop of York Succeeded byRishi Sunakas Prime Minister