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Diocese of Winchester

Diocese of Winchester

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The Diocese of Winchester forms part of the Province of Canterbury
Province of Canterbury
The Province of Canterbury, also called the Southern Province, is one of two ecclesiastical provinces making up the Church of England...

 of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...


Founded in 676, it is one of the oldest and largest of the dioceses in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...


The area of the diocese incorporates:
  • the majority of the county
    A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

     of Hampshire
    Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

     (including the city of Southampton
    Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

    ), with the following exceptions:
    • the south-eastern quarter of the county (which together with the Isle of Wight
      Isle of Wight
      The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...

       constitutes the Diocese of Portsmouth
      Anglican Diocese of Portsmouth
      The Diocese of Portsmouth is an administrative division of the Church of England Province of Canterbury in England. The diocese covers south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight...

    • an area in the north-east (belonging to the Diocese of Guildford
      Diocese of Guildford
      The Diocese of Guildford is a Church of England diocese based in Guildford, covering most of Surrey and part of Hampshire. The cathedral is Guildford Cathedral and the bishop is the Bishop of Guildford. It is part of the Province of Canterbury....

    • a small area in the west (Diocese of Salisbury
      Diocese of Salisbury
      The Diocese of Salisbury is a Church of England diocese in the south of England. The diocese covers Dorset and most of Wiltshire and is a constituent diocese of the Province of Canterbury. The diocese is led by the Bishop of Salisbury and the diocesan synod...

    • one parish in the north (Diocese of Oxford
      Diocese of Oxford
      -History:The Diocese of Oxford was created in 1541 out of part of the Diocese of Lincoln.In 1836 the Archdeaconry of Berkshire was transferred from the Diocese of Salisbury to Oxford...


  • an area of eastern Dorset
    Dorset , is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Dorchester which is situated in the south. The Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch joined the county with the reorganisation of local government in 1974...

  • the Channel Islands
    Channel Islands
    The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

     (transferred from the diocese of Coutances in 1569, during the reign of King Henry VIII of England
    Henry VIII of England
    Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...


The diocese is divided into two Archdeacon
An archdeacon is a senior clergy position in Anglicanism, Syrian Malabar Nasrani, Chaldean Catholic, and some other Christian denominations, above that of most clergy and below a bishop. In the High Middle Ages it was the most senior diocesan position below a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church...

  • the Archdeaconry of Winchester
    • comprises the Deaneries
      Dean (religion)
      A dean, in a church context, is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. The title is used mainly in the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.-Anglican Communion:...

       of Andover
      Andover, Hampshire
      Andover is a town in the English county of Hampshire. The town is on the River Anton some 18.5 miles west of the town of Basingstoke, 18.5 miles north-west of the city of Winchester and 25 miles north of the city of Southampton...

      , Whitchurch
      Whitchurch, Hampshire
      Whitchurch is a town in Hampshire, England. It is on the River Test, from Newbury, Berkshire, from Winchester, miles from Andover and miles from Basingstoke. Much of the town is a Conservation Area. Because of the amount of wildlife in and near the river, parts of the town are designated as...

      , Basingstoke
      Basingstoke is a town in northeast Hampshire, in south central England. It lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon. It is southwest of London, northeast of Southampton, southwest of Reading and northeast of the county town, Winchester. In 2008 it had an estimated population of...

      , Odiham
      Odiham is a historic village and large civil parish in the Hart district of Hampshire, England. It is twinned with Sourdeval in the Manche Department of France. The current population is 4,406. The parish contains an acreage of 7,354 acres with 50 acres of land covered with water. The nearest...

      , Winchester, Alresford
      Deanery of Alresford
      The Deanery of Alresford lies within the Diocese of Winchester in England.It includes the parishes of Cliddesden, Dummer, Itchen Abbas, Martyr Worthy, New Alresford and Old Alresford Place.- External links :*...

       and Alton
      Alton, Hampshire
      Alton is a historic market town and civil parish in the East Hampshire district of the English county of Hampshire. It had a population of 16,584 at the 1991 census and is administered by East Hampshire district council. It is located on the source of the River Wey and is the highest town in...

  • the Archdeaconry of Bournemouth
    Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town in the ceremonial county of Dorset, England. According to the 2001 Census the town has a population of 163,444, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is also the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth...

    • comprises the Deaneries of Romsey
      Romsey is a small market town in the county of Hampshire, England.It is 8 miles northwest of Southampton and 11 miles southwest of Winchester, neighbouring the village of North Baddesley...

      , Eastleigh
      Eastleigh is a railway town in Hampshire, England, and the main town in the Eastleigh borough which is part of Southampton Urban Area. The town lies between Southampton and Winchester, and is part of the South Hampshire conurbation...

      , Southampton, Lyndhurst
      Lyndhurst, Hampshire
      Lyndhurst is a village and civil parish in the New Forest, Hampshire, England. It is a popular tourist location with many independent shops, art galleries, cafés, restaurants, pubs and hotels. The nearest city is Southampton located around nine miles to the north-east...

      , Christchurch
      Christchurch, Dorset
      Christchurch is a borough and town in the county of Dorset on the south coast of England. The town adjoins Bournemouth in the west and the New Forest lies to the east. Historically in Hampshire, it joined Dorset with the reorganisation of local government in 1974 and is the most easterly borough in...

       and Bournemouth.

The Bishop of Winchester heads the diocese and is assisted by two suffragan bishop
Suffragan bishop
A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop. He or she may be assigned to an area which does not have a cathedral of its own.-Anglican Communion:...

s, the Bishops of Basingstoke and Southampton, who are responsible as area bishops for the north and south of the diocese respectively (roughly corresponding to the archdeaconries of Winchester and Bournemouth).

The Guernsey
Guernsey, officially the Bailiwick of Guernsey is a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy.The Bailiwick, as a governing entity, embraces not only all 10 parishes on the Island of Guernsey, but also the islands of Herm, Jethou, Burhou, and Lihou and their islet...

 and Jersey
Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

 deaneries are not part of an archdeaconry. Due to their distinctive history and separate civil government, they are not subject to the same methods of governance and systems of canon law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

 as the rest of the Church of England.

The diocese historically covered a much larger area, originally including the greater part of south-eastern England. In the most recent major diocesan boundary changes in 1927, the Archdeaconry of Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

 was removed to form the new Diocese of Guildford, and south-eastern Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to form the Diocese of Portsmouth.

The Bishop of Winchester is ex officio a Lord Spiritual
Lords Spiritual
The Lords Spiritual of the United Kingdom, also called Spiritual Peers, are the 26 bishops of the established Church of England who serve in the House of Lords along with the Lords Temporal. The Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian, is not represented by spiritual peers...

 of the Westminster Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

, one of only five prelate
A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before", "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.-Related...

s of the Church of England with such automatic entitlement.

The Diocese of Winchester made news in late 2009 after it entered financial difficulty. The diocese faced a £1.4 million shortfall and as a result made multiple clergy redundancies, ceasing to fund their university and college chaplaincies and cutting 15% of the staff at the diocesan offices.

External links