Bishop of Rochester
Arms of the Bishop of Rochester: Argent, on a saltire gules an escallop or
|Cathedral||Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Rochester|
The town of Rochester has the bishop's seat, at the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was founded as a cathedral in 604. During the late 17th and 18th centuries it was customary for the Bishop of Rochester to also be appointed Dean of Westminster: the practice ended in 1802. The diocese covers two London boroughs and West Kent which includes Medway and Maidstone.
The bishop's residence is Bishopscourt, Rochester. His Latin episcopal signature is: "(firstname) Roffen", Roffensis being the genitive case of the Latin name of the see. The office was created in AD 604 at the founding of the diocese in the Kingdom of Kent under King Æthelberht.
The Diocese of Rochester was historically the oldest and smallest of all the suffragan sees of Canterbury. Founded by St Augustine, who in 604 consecrated St Justus as its first bishop. (After two more Roman bishops, all subsequent bishops until 1066, beginning with Ithamar, were drawn from the Christianised inhabitants of Kent.) The diocesan territory consisted roughly of the western part of Kent, separated from the rest of the county by the River Medway, though the diocesan boundaries did not follow the river very closely. The restricted territory of the diocese meant that it needed only one archdeacon to supervise all 97 parishes.
From the foundation of the see the Archbishop of Canterbury had enjoyed the privilege of nominating the bishop, but Archbishop Theobald transferred the right to the Benedictine monks of the cathedral, who exercised it for the first time in 1148.
List of bishops
|Pre-Conquest Bishops of Rochester|
|604||624||Justus||Translated to Canterbury.|
|624||624 or 625||Romanus||Drowned in the Mediterranean Sea off Italy|
|624 or 625||633||Seat vacant|
|633||644||Paulinus||Translated from York.|
|bet. 655–664||c. 664||Damianus|
|possibly 669||676||Putta||Resigned. Translated to Hereford.|
|possibly 678||bet. 699–716||Gebmund|
|bet. 765–772||bet. 781–785||Diora|
|bet. 781–785||803 or 804||Waermund (I)|
|bet. 845–868||bet. 845–868||Badenoth|
|bet. 845–868||bet. 845–868||Waermund (II)|
|bet. 845–868||bet. 868–880||Cuthwulf|
|bet. 868–880||bet. 893–896||Swithwulf|
|bet. 893–900||bet. 909–926||Ceolmund|
|bet. 909–926||933 or 934||Cyneferth|
|933 or 934||bet. 946–964||Burgric|
|bet. 946–949||bet. 955–964||Beorhtsige|
|bet. ? – 964||994 or 995||Ælfstan|
|994 or 995||bet. c. 1013 – ?||Godwine (I)|
|bet. c. 1013 – ?||bet. 1046–1058||Godwine (II)|
Conquest to Reformation
|Bishops of Rochester (Conquest to Reformation)|
|1076||1077||Arnost||Died in office.|
|1077||1108||Gundulf||Builder of Rochester Castle, the White Tower and Father of the Corps of Royal Engineers. Died in office.|
|1108||1114||Ralph d'Escures||Translated to Canterbury.|
|1114||1124||Ernulf||Died in office.|
|1125||1137||John||Died in office.|
|1139||1142||John II||Died in office.|
|1142||1148||Ascelin||Died in office.|
|1148||1182||Walter||Died in office.|
|1182||1184||Waleran||Died in office.|
|1185||1214||Gilbert Glanvill||Died in office.|
|1215||1226||Benedict of Sausetun||Also recorded as Benedict of Sawston. Died in office.|
|1227||1235||Henry Sandford||Died in office.|
|1235||1250||Richard Wendene||Died in office.|
|1251||1274||Lawrence of St Martin||Died in office.|
|1274||1277||Walter de Merton||Formerly Archdeacon of Bath and Lord Chancellor. Died in office.|
|1278||1283||John Bradfield||Died in office.|
|1283||John Kirkby (bishop-elect)||Elected, but resigned without consecration. Later became Bishop of Ely.|
|1283||1291||Thomas Ingoldsthorpe||Died in office.|
|1292||1317||Thomas Wouldham||Died in office.|
|1353||1360||John Sheppey||Died in office.|
|1362||1364||William Whittlesey||Translated to Worcester.|
|1364||1372||Thomas Trilleck||Died in office.|
|1373||1389||Thomas Brinton||Died in office.|
|1389||1400||William Bottlesham||Also recorded as William Bottisham and Botklisham. Translated from Llandaff. Died in office.|
|1400||1404||John Bottlesham||Died in office.|
|1404||1418||Richard Young||Translated from Bangor. Died in office.|
|1419||1421||John Kemp||Translated to Chichester.|
|1421||1434||John Langdon||Died in office.|
|1435||1436||Thomas Brunce||Translated to Norwich.|
|1437||1444||William Wells||Died in office.|
|1444||1467||John Low||Translated from St Asaph. Died in office.|
|1468||1472||Thomas Rotherham||Also recorded as Thomas Scott. Translated to Lincoln.|
|1472||1476||John Alcock||Translated to Worcester.|
|1476||1480||John Russell||Translated to Lincoln.|
|1480||1492||Edmund Audley||Translated to Hereford.|
|1493||1496||Thomas Savage||Translated to London.|
|1497||1503||Richard FitzJames||Translated to Chichester.|
During the Reformation
|Bishops of Rochester during the Reformation|
|1504||1535||John Fisher||Cardinal, martyr and saint. Executed.|
|1535||1539||John Hilsey||Also recorded as John Hildesleigh. Died in office.|
|1540||1544||Nicholas Heath||Translated to Worcester.|
|1544||1547||Henry Holbeach||Translated from Bristol. Afterwards translated to Lincoln.|
|1547||1550||Nicholas Ridley||Translated to London. Martyr. Executed.|
|1550||1551||John Ponet||Also recorded as John Poynet. Translated to Winchester.|
|1551||1552||John Scory||Translated to Chichester.|
|1554||1558||Maurice Griffith||Also recorded Maurice Griffin. Died in office.|
|Post-Reformation Bishops of Rochester|
|1559||Edmund Allen (bishop-elect)||Elected, but died before consecration.|
|1560||1571||Edmund Gheast||Also recorded as Edmund Guest. Translated to Salisbury.|
|1572||1575||Edmund Freke||Translated to Norwich.|
|1576||1577||John Piers||Translated to Salisbury.|
|1578||1605||John Young||Died in office.|
|1605||1608||William Barlow||Translated to Lincoln.|
|1608||1610||Richard Neile||Translated to Lichfield and Coventry.|
|1611||1628||John Buckeridge||Translated to Ely.|
|1628||1629||Walter Curle||Translated to Bath and Wells.|
|1630||1637||John Bowle||Died in office.|
|1638||1646||John Warner||Deprived when the English episcopate was abolished by Parliament.|
|1646||1660||The see was abolished during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate.|
|1660||1666||John Warner (restored)||Reinstated on the restoration of the episcopate. Died in office.|
|1666||1683||John Dolben||Translated to York.|
|1683||1684||Francis Turner||Translated to Ely.|
|1684||1713||Thomas Sprat||Died in office.|
|1723||1731||Samuel Bradford||Translated from Carlisle.|
|1731||1756||Joseph Wilcocks||Translated from Gloucester. Died in office.|
|1756||1774||Zachary Pearce||Translated from Bangor. Died in office.|
|1774||1793||John Thomas||Died in office.|
|1793||1802||Samuel Horsley||Translated from St David's. Afterwards translated to St Asaph.|
|1802||1808||Thomas Dampier||Translated to Ely.|
|1809||1827||Walker King||Died in office.|
|1827||Hugh Percy||Translated to Carlisle.|
|1827||1860||George Murray||Translated from Sodor and Man. Died in office.|
|1860||1867||Joseph Wigram||Died in office.|
|1867||1877||Thomas Legh Claughton||Translated to St Albans.|
|1877||1891||Anthony Thorold||Translated to Winchester.|
|1891||1895||Randall Davidson||Translated to Winchester.|
|1895||1905||Edward Talbot||Translated to Southwark.|
|1905||1930||John Harmer||Translated from Adelaide. Retired.|
|1930||1939||Linton Smith||Translated from Hereford. Retired.|
|1988||1994||Michael Turnbull||Translated to Durham|
|2010||incumbent||James Langstaff||Translated from Lynn|
Among those who called Assistant Bishop of Rochester, or coadjutor bishop, were:
- Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.945
- Debretts Peerage, 1968, p. 945.
- "Historical successions: Rochester". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, p. 221.
- Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40/0541; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT6/R2/CP40no541a/bCP40no541adorses/IMG_0507.htm; third entry from the bottom; as defendant, on line 2
- Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, pp. 266–268.
- Greenway 1971, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300, volume 2, pp. 75–78.
- Jones 1962, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541, volume 4, pp. 37–40.
- Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, p. 268.
- Horn 1974, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857, volume 3, pp. 50–54.
- Episcopacy. British Civil Wars, Commonwealth and Protectorate 1638–60. Retrieved on 30 July 2013.
- 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.
- Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, pp. 268–269.
- "Barry, Alfred". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30621.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I., eds. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd, reprinted 2003 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
- Greenway, D. E. (1971). "Bishops of Rochester". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300. Volume 2: Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces). British History Online.
- Jones, B. (1962). "Bishops of Rochester". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541. Volume 4: Monastic Cathedrals (Southern Province). British History Online.
- Horn, J. M. (1974). "Bishops of Rochester". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857. Volume 3: Canterbury, Rochester and Winchester Dioceses. British History Online.