MANCHESTER: Introduction

Pages 117-118

Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857: Volume 11, Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Manchester, Ripon, and Sodor and Man Dioceses. Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 2004.

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The ecclesiastical commissioners of the eighteen-thirties decided that the populous town of Manchester should be the see of a new bishopric. This was enshrined in the statute 6 & 7 Will. IV, and made effective by various Orders in Council of 7 September and 12 December 1838. The new diocese was to be established when the Welsh dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor had been united, and was to consist of the whole county of Lancashire, formerly in the diocese of Chester, except for the area of Furness. Manchester collegiate church, whose average income 1828–31 was £4,025, was to become the new cathedral, and the four fellows of the collegiate church were to become its canons. Two new archdeaconries, of Manchester and Lancaster, were to be created. A 'fit residence' was to be provided for the bishop, whose salary was to be £4,500 per annum. The Act of 3 & 4 Vic. c. 113 transferred the patronage of the canonries from the archbishop of York to the bishop of Manchester. (fn. 1)

In 1843, although the conditions for founding the bishopric of Manchester had not yet come about, it was considered expedient to establish the archdeaconry of Manchester forthwith by an Order in Council of 23 August. As a temporary measure, the archdeaconry of Manchester was established in Chester diocese, under the collation of the bishop of Chester, until Manchester diocese should be set up. In the event, no archdeacon of Lancaster was appointed until 1870. (fn. 2)

By 1847, there were second thoughts about uniting the two Welsh dioceses, and commissioners, appointed by the queen, produced a report on 20 April recommending the continuance of St. Asaph and Bangor as separate dioceses, and the immediate establishment of a diocese of Manchester. This report led to the passing of the Act 10 & 11 Vic. c. 108 on 23 July in order to amend previous Acts. One reason for previous proposals to combine dioceses had been to avoid increasing the number of bishops in the house of lords. With the abandonment of the plan to join St. Asaph and Bangor, and with the creation of the new bishopric of Manchester, there were now more bishops than the traditional number of twentysix. The Act provided therefore that only the holders of the sees of Canterbury, York, London, Durham and Winchester should receive writs of summons to the Lords as of right: twenty-one other bishops were to summoned in order of seniority of appointment. An Order in Council of 10 Aug. endowed the new bishopric within the province of York. The first day of September was set as the date when the status of the fellows of Manchester collegiate church should be changed to that of canons of the new cathedral. John Rushton was to continue as archdeacon of Manchester, upon confirmation by the new bishop of Manchester. (fn. 3) The queen's presentation of a dean had already been published on 19 June. (fn. 4) The Act 13 & 14 Vic. c. 41 of 1850 attached parochial duties to each canon's stall in four different churches and fixed the dean's stipend at £1,000 and that of the canons at £600.

Thomas Duffus Hardy, in his revision of John Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, describes the arrangements for establishing the diocese of Manchester, and gives the first bishop and archdeacon of Manchester, and the first two deans. The records, both diocesan and capitular, are full and adequate for the production of these short lists.


  • 1. Rept. of the Commissioners ... to inquire into the Ecclesiastical Revenues pp. 26–7; Lond. Gaz. nos. 19666, 19670, 19676, 7 Sept. 1838; 19698, 12 Dec. 1838; Manchester Archives, M39Addnl/ Bishop's Reg. 1 pp. 1–16.
  • 2. Lond. Gaz. no. 20265, 23 Aug. 1843; M39Addnl/Bishop's Reg. 1 pp. 17–20.
  • 3. Lond. Gaz. no. 20769, 10 Aug. 1847; M39Addnl/Bishop's Reg. 1 pp. 23–37.
  • 4. Lond. Gaz. no. 20746, 19 June 1847.