Bishop of St Asaph

Bishop of St Asaph
Gregory Cameron
Province Wales
Diocese St Asaph
Cathedral St Asaph Cathedral

The Bishop of St Asaph heads the Church in Wales diocese of St Asaph.

The diocese covers the counties of Conwy and Flintshire, Wrexham county borough, the eastern part of Merioneth in Gwynedd and part of northern Powys. The Episcopal seat is located in the Cathedral Church of St Asaph in the city of St Asaph in Denbighshire, north Wales.

The Bishop's residence is Esgobty, St Asaph. The current bishop is Gregory Cameron, who was elected on 5 January and consecrated on 4 April 2009. He became Bishop of St Asaph in succession to John Davies, who was consecrated in October 1999 and who retired in 2008.[1]

Early times

This diocese was supposedly founded by St Kentigern (Cyndeyrn) about the middle of the 6th century, although this is unlikely. The date often given is 583. Exiled from his see in Scotland, Kentigern is said to have founded a monastery called Llanelwy – which is the Welsh name for St Asaph – at the confluence of the rivers Clwyd and Elwy in north Wales, where after his return to Scotland he was succeeded by Asaph or Asa, who was consecrated Bishop of Llanelwy. The Diocese of Llanelwy originally largely coincided with the kingdom of Powys, together with the part of the kingdom of Gwynedd known as Gwynedd Is Conwy, but lost much territory first by the Mercian encroachment marked by Watt's dyke and again by the construction of Offa's Dyke, soon after 798. Nothing is known of the history of the diocese during the disturbed period that followed. Some historians doubt the existence of the diocese per se before the Norman period, and the bishop list and the fact that the Diocese of Bangor, in the kingdom of Gwynedd, held large tracts of land there tends to confirm this.

Middle Ages

Domesday Book gives scanty particulars of a few churches but is silent as to the cathedral. Early in the twelfth century Norman influence asserted itself and in 1143 Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, consecrated one Gilbert as Bishop of St. Asaph, but the position of his successors was very difficult and one of them, Godfrey, was driven away by poverty and the hostility of the Welsh. A return made in the middle of the thirteenth century (London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius, c. x.) shows the existence of eight rural deaneries, seventy-nine churches, and nineteen chapels. By 1291 the deaneries had been doubled in number and there were Cistercian houses at Basingwerk, Aberconwy, Strata Marcella and Valle Crucis, and a Cistercian nunnery, Llanllugan Abbey. The cathedral, which had been burnt in the wars, was rebuilt and completed in 1295. Dedicated to St Asaph, it was a plain massive structure of simple plan, and was again destroyed during the Wars of the Roses. When it was restored by Bishop Redman the palace was not rebuilt and thus the bishops continued to be nonresident, notwithstanding the fact that in the late Middle Ages the bishop had five episcopal residences, four of which were alienated under Edward VI of England. At the end of the fifteenth century there was a great revival of church building, as is evidenced by the churches of that date still existing in the diocese. The chief shrines in the diocese were St Winefred's Well, St Garmon in Yale, St Derfel Gadarn in Edeirnion, St Melangell at Pennant, and the Holy Cross in Strata Marcella. All these were demolished at the Reformation. At that time the diocese contained one archdeaconry, sixteen deaneries, and one hundred and twenty-one parishes.

The names and succession of the bishops after Saints Kentigern and Asaph are not clearly known until 1143. The last bishop in communion with Rome was Thomas Goldwell, who acceded in 1555 and was in the process of being transferred to Oxford when Queen Mary died and Elizabeth I came to the throne. Goldwell fled to the Continent and died in Rome on 13 April 1585, the last surviving member of the pre-Reformation hierarchy. The see continued to be part of the Church of England until the Church was disestablished in Wales in 1920, since when it has been part of the (Anglican) Church in Wales.

List of the Bishops of St Asaph

Tenure Incumbent Notes
UnknownKentigern (Saint Mungo)Originally Bishop of Glasgow from c.540; founded diocese as episcopus Elvensis, Elguensis, Elveiisis, Lanelwensis
UnknownSaint Asaph
About 600Tysilio
About 800Renchidus
About 928Cebur
About 1070Melanus
1143 to c.1151GilbertSee recreated as suffragan of Canterbury
c.1152 to 1154Geoffrey of Monmouth
1154 to 1155RichardDied in office
c.1160 to 1165GodfreyLeft see to become abbot of Abingdon in 1165, removed from office in 1175
1175 to 1181Adam the WelshmanCanon of Pershore
1183 to c.1186John I
1186 to c.1224Reiner
1225 to c.1233Abraham
1235 to c.1241HughMonk of the Friars
1242 to 1247Hywel ab EdnyfedAlso known as Howel ap Ednevet
1247 to 1249vacant
1249 to 1266Einion IAlso known as Anian
1267 to 1268John II
1268 to 1293Einion IIAlso known as Anian de Schonau, prior of Rhudland
1293 to 1314Llywelyn de BromfieldAlso known as Leolinus de Bromfield
1315 to c.1352Dafydd ap BleddynAlso known as David ap Blethin; canon of St. Asaph
1352 to 1357John Trevor (I)Also known as John Trevaur
1357 to 1375Llywelyn ap Madog Also known as Leolinus ap Madoc ap Elis; dean of St. Asaph
1376 to 1382William SpridlingtonAlso known as William de Spridlington; dean of St. Asaph
1382 to 1389Lawrence ChildMonk of Battle Abbey, licentiate of the civil law
1390 to 1394Alexander BacheAlso known as Alexander Bach; canon of St. Asaph
1395 to 1402John Trevor (II)Prebendary of Hereford; deprived, possibly reinstated following David II as see not declared vacant prior to his death in 1410
1402 to c.1408David II
1411 to c.1433Robert LancasterAlso known as Robert of Lancaster
1433 to 1444John LowAlso known as John Lobbe; a friar eremite; translated to Rochester
1444 to 1449Reginald PecockAlso known as Reginald Peacock; translated to Chichester
1450 to 1463Thomas Bird Also known as Thomas Knight; deprived for rebellion; temporalities of the diocese to the king, the bishop of Rochester, Robert Caunton, and John Stanley before the pardoning of Thomas in 1471
1471 to 1495Richard RedmanTranslated to Exeter
c.1495 to 1500Michael DeaconAlso known as Michael Dyacon; the king's confessor
1500 to 1503Dafydd ab IorwerthAlso known as David ap Yeworth; abbot of Valle Crucis
c.1503 to c.1513Dafydd ab OwainAlso known as David ap Owen; Abbot of Valle Crucis (Aberconwy?)
1513 to 1518Edmund BirkheadAlso known as Edmund Brokehed
1518 to 1535Henry Standish
c.1535 to 1536William BarlowTranslated to St David's, then Bath & Wells, then Chichester
1536 to 1554Robert Warton Also known as Robert Parfew; abbot of St. Savior's Bermondsey; translated to Hereford
1556 to c.1559Thomas GoldwellTheatines; went into voluntary exile
1560 to 1561Richard DaviesAlso known as Richard Davyes; translated St David's
1561 to 1573Thomas DaviesAlso known as Thomas Davyes
1573 to 1600William Hughes
1601 to 1604 William Morgan Translator of the Bible into Welsh. Translated from Llandaff
1604 to 1623Richard ParryDean of Bangor
c.1623 to 1629John HanmerPrebendary of Worcester
1629 to 1651John OwenArchdeacon of St Asaph; died in office
1651 to 1660vacantFor 9 years
1660 to 1666George GriffithArchdeacon of St Asaph
1667 to c.1669Henry GlemhamDean of Bristol
1670 to 1680Isaac BarrowTranslated from Sodor & Man
1680 to 1692 William Lloyd Dean of Bangor; translated to Lichfield & Coventry, then Worcester
1692 to 1703Edward JonesTranslated from Cloyne, Ireland
1703 to 1704 George Hooper Dean of Canterbury; translated to Bath & Wells
1704 to 1708 William Beveridge Archdeacon of Colchester
1708 to 1714 William Fleetwood Canon of Windsor; translated to Ely
1714 to 1727 John Wynne Principal of Jesus College, Oxford; translated to Bath & Wells
1727 to 1731Francis HareDean of Worcester and of St Paul's in London; translated to Chichester
1732 to 1735 Thomas Tanner Canon of Christ Church, Oxford
1736 to 1743Isaac MaddoxDean of Wells; translated to Worcester
1743 to 1744 John ThomasDean of Peterborough; elected in Nov. but translated to Lincoln in Jan. before consecration
1744 to 1748 Samuel Lisle Archdeacon of Canterbury; translated to Norwich
1748 to 1761 The Hon. Robert Hay Drummond Prebendary of Westminster; translated to Salisbury
1761 to 1769 Richard Newcome Translated from Llandaff
1769 to 1788 Jonathan Shipley Translated from Llandaff
1789 to 1790 Samuel Hallifax Also known as Samuel Halifax; translated from Gloucester
1790 to 1802 Lewis Bagot Translated from Norwich
1802 to 1806 Samuel Horsley Translated from Rochester
1806 to 1815 William CleaverTranslated from Bangor
1815 to 1830John LuxmooreTranslated from Hereford
1830 to 1846 William Carey Translated from Exeter
1846 to 1870 Thomas Short Translated from Sodor & Man
1870 to 1889Joshua HughesVicar of Llandovery
1889 to 1934 Alfred Edwards First Archbishop of Wales 1920–1934
1934 to 1950William Havard
1950 to 1971David Bartlett
1971 to 1982Harold Charles
1982 to June 1999Alwyn Rice JonesArchbishop of Wales 1991–1999
1999 to 2008John Davies
2009 onwardsGregory CameronConsecrated 4 April 2009


  1. "New Bishop of St Asaph is chosen". BBC. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  2. Hardy, T. Duffus. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae; or, a Calendar of the Principal Ecclesiastical Dignitaries in England and Wales, and of the Chief Officers in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge from the Earliest Times to the Year MDCCXV, Corrected and Continued to the Present Time, Vol. I, "St. Asaph's". Oxford Univ. Press, 1854. Accessed 18 Feb 2013.
  3. "Historical successions: St Asaph". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 22 July 2012.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ancient Diocese of Saint Asaph". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. 

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