The history of our Diocese

by Michael Ford last modified 06 Oct, 2017 10:20 AM

A brief history of the Diocese of Salisbury from 705 to the present day.

The Diocese of Sherborne was created in 705, when it was carved out of the bishopric of the West Saxons. The first Bishop of Sherborne was Saint Aldhelm.

In 909, the Diocese of Ramsbury was carved out of the north-western portion of the Diocese of Winchester. In 1058, Herman, Bishop of Ramsbury, was elected as Bishop of Sherborne, and the two sees were combined under his personal oversight.

In 1078, Saint Osmund was appointed to the combined dioceses of Sherborne and Ramsbury and moved the see to Salisbury.

In 1836, Dorset was added with the abolition of the then Diocese of Bristol. Berkshire was removed and added to the Diocese of Oxford.

In 1925, a suffragan bishop was appointed to assist the Bishop of Salisbury and was titled Bishop of Sherborne.

In 1972, a link was established between the Diocese and Sudan by the then Bishop of Salisbury, George Reindorp, and colleagues in Sudan. South Sudan became independent in 2011, and we retain links with both countries.

In 1974, an additional suffragan bishop was appointed and titled Bishop of Ramsbury. A formal area scheme was created, with Ramsbury roughly covering the Wiltshire part of the Diocese and Sherborne covering the Dorset part.

In 1985, a link was established with the French Roman Catholic Diocese of Évreux by the then Archdeacon of Sherborne, John Oliver, and colleagues in France.

In the late 1980s, links were established with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. This relationship continued to grow and strengthen after Latvian independence in 1991.

In 2009, the formal area scheme was revoked and replaced by a collegiate scheme of delegated authority from the Diocesan Bishop. In many matters, the Bishop of Sherborne ministers in the part of the Diocese that lies in Dorset, and the Bishop of Ramsbury in the part that lies in Wiltshire.

The Right Revd Nicholas Holtam is the 78th Bishop of the Diocese (CV here).

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