Anglican Diocese of Leeds

Coordinates: 53°47′59″N 1°31′50″W / 53.799789°N 1.530499°W / 53.799789; -1.530499

The Anglican Diocese of Leeds[7] (previously also known as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales)[8] is a diocese (administrative division) of the Church of England, in the Province of York. It is the largest diocese in England by area, comprising much of western Yorkshire: almost the whole of West Yorkshire, the western part of North Yorkshire, the town of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, and most of the parts of County Durham, Cumbria and Lancashire which lie within the historic boundaries of Yorkshire. It includes the cities of Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon. It was created on 20 April 2014 following a review of the dioceses in Yorkshire and the dissolution of the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield.

Diocese of Leeds

Dioecesis Loidensis
Diocese of Leeds arms.svg
The arms of the Diocese of Leeds as granted by the College of Arms to the Diocese on 27 June 2014.[1]
TerritoryWest Yorkshire, western North Yorkshire, northern Barnsley, Lancashire (West Craven), County Durham (South Teesdale), Cumbria (Sedbergh area)
Ecclesiastical provinceProvince of York
ArchdeaconriesRichmond and Craven, Halifax, Leeds, Pontefract, Bradford
Area2,425 sq mi (6,280 km2)
- Total

DenominationChurch of England
Established20 April 2014 (2014-04-20)[3]
CathedralEqually: Ripon Cathedral,
Wakefield Cathedral &
Bradford Cathedral[4]
Secular priests467
Current leadership
BishopNick Baines, Bishop of Leeds
SuffragansTony Robinson, area Bishop of Wakefield[5]
Helen-Ann Hartley, area Bishop of Ripon
Jonathan Gibbs, area Bishop of Huddersfield[6]
Toby Howarth, area Bishop of Bradford[6]
Paul Slater, suffragan Bishop of Kirkstall (area bishop for Leeds)
ArchdeaconsPeter Townley, Archdeacon of Pontefract
Anne Dawtry, Archdeacon of Halifax
Andy Jolley, Archdeacon of Bradford
Paul Ayers, Archdeacon of Leeds
Jonathan Gough, Archdeacon of Richmond and Craven

The diocese is led by the Anglican Bishop of Leeds and has three cathedrals of equal status: Ripon, Wakefield, and Bradford. There are five episcopal areas within the diocese, each led by an area bishop: Leeds, Ripon, Wakefield, Bradford and Huddersfield.


Review and 2010 reportEdit

The Dioceses Commission (as established in a new form in 2008), began its review of the dioceses of Yorkshire (York, Ripon & Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield and Bradford) on the 2009 recommendation of the House of Bishops. The review group considered the best ways for the Church of England in Yorkshire to serve the Church's mission to those communities. The group quickly decided that the dioceses of York and of Sheffield would need little adjustment, so focused on the dioceses in West Yorkshire and The Dales.

In its first report, published December 2010,[9] the Commission suggested one large diocese covering the area currently covered by the dioceses of Ripon & Leeds, of Wakefield and of Bradford, but divided into five episcopal areas, each with an area bishop (using the "area model" used elsewhere, e.g. the Diocese of London). Additionally, one of those five area bishops would also be the diocesan bishop over the new diocese. The five areas (and bishops) suggested were based on considerations including civic communities and established foci of local church activity. Those areas are: Ripon, Wakefield, Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield. Creating this diocese and area system would involve completely dissolving the existing diocesan sees, renaming the two existing suffragan sees and creating a new diocesan see and two more suffragan sees.

The Archdeaconry of Richmond would expand into the current Archdeaconry of Craven (Diocese of Bradford) and be renamed the Archdeaconry of Richmond and Craven, and would form the episcopal area of Ripon, while the Archdeaconry of Halifax would form the episcopal area of Huddersfield. The Leeds episcopal area would consist the Archdeaconry of Leeds, the Bradford area the Archdeaconry of Bradford and the Wakefield area the Archdeaconry of Pontefract.

In the 2010 report, a newly created Bishop of Wakefield would have been the diocesan bishop, and the diocese called the Diocese of Wakefield. Wakefield Cathedral would have been the "principal cathedral", while Bradford and Ripon Cathedrals would have remained as cathedrals of the diocese, with "seat[s] of honour" for their respective area bishops. The current colleges of the cathedrals would merge into one diocesan college, with the Dean of Wakefield as Dean and the Deans of Bradford and of Ripon would become Vice-Deans of that college.

Draft schemeEdit

Following extensive consultation with the three dioceses and other interested parties, the Commission issued a second report[10] and Draft Reorganisation Scheme[11] in October 2011. The draft scheme featured a few alterations from the initial report:

  • As the largest and most populous city in the area, it was generally felt that Leeds should be the diocesan see. Thus, the new diocese would be the Diocese of Leeds and its diocesan bishop the Bishop of Leeds.
  • Accordingly, none of the three cathedrals would be a "principal cathedral". Rather, they would have equal status, with a merged college led by a presiding dean (initially the senior one by tenure – i.e. Jonathan Greener, Dean of Wakefield – but later the one appointed by the diocesan bishop), while each cathedral's dean would remain in charge of his or her own cathedral.
  • Additionally, the Leeds Minster would become the pro-cathedral for the new diocese if and when the diocesan bishop decides. The governance of that church would not change, but the rector would become a canon of the diocesan college.

It was announced on 28 September 2012 that the commission had resolved, having considered all responses to its public consultation, to go ahead with the draft scheme, which will be discussed and voted upon at the three diocesan synods.[12]

2013 diocesan votes and creationEdit

The existing diocesan synods of the dioceses of Bradford, of Ripon and Leeds and of Wakefield voted on the proposed scheme on 2 March 2013.[13] The Bradford and Ripon & Leeds diocesan synods voted in favour of the proposals, while Wakefield's did not; however, the scheme could go before the General Synod of the Church of England without all three dioceses' approval according to the discretion of the Archbishop of York.[14] On 9 May 2013, the Archbishop announced that he had instructed the chair of the Dioceses Commission to set the Draft Scheme before General Synod for consideration (i.e. debate and voting.)[15]

The proposal was approved on 8 July 2013 by the General Synod.[16] The new diocese was created on Easter Day, 20 April 2014, becoming the first new diocese in the Church of England since 1929 and the largest diocese in England by area, covering 2,425 square miles (6,280 km2) and 2.3 million people, served by 656 churches.[17]

2017 deanery reorganisationsEdit

Effective 1 January 2017, several of the diocese's deaneries were reorganised. Among these were all the deaneries of the Bradford archdeaconry, which were entirely redrawn from five into four,[18] and the deaneries of Bowland and of Ewecross (in Richmond and Craven archdeaconry), both of which had lost parishes in the diocese's formation, merged into one deanery (Bowland and Ewecross).[19]


The diocese (which was usually referred to, from 2014 until 14 July 2016[7] as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales to reflect the geographical area it covers) is led by the Bishop of Leeds. There are five episcopal areas within the diocese, each led by an area bishop: Leeds, Ripon, Wakefield, Bradford and Huddersfield.[17]

Bishop of LeedsEdit

Once the three dioceses were dissolved by the scheme on 20 April 2014, the diocesan see of Leeds was newly constituted a diocesan see, whose incumbent, the Bishop of Leeds is bishop over the whole diocese generally and the Leeds episcopal area specifically. He has cathedrals at Ripon Cathedral, at Wakefield Cathedral, at Bradford Cathedral, and (if and only if he designates the minster as a pro-cathedral) at Leeds Minster.[4]

It was announced on 8 November 2013 that retired Bishop of Southwark Tom Butler would serve as "mentor bishop" for the diocese prior to the first diocesan bishop taking post.[20] During that period, Butler was also the interim area bishop in the Bradford area while the Bishop of Knaresborough was also interim area bishop in the Leeds area.[5] It was further announced on 4 February 2014 that Nick Baines would be the first diocesan and area Bishop of Leeds;[21] it was further announced on 15 April that Baines would be acting diocesan bishop and acting area bishop for Leeds from 22 April.[3]

Bishop of RiponEdit

After the dissolution of the diocesan see of Ripon and Leeds, the suffragan see of Knaresborough was transferred by Order in Council to Ripon on 19 March 2015.[22] The incumbent is the area bishop over the Ripon episcopal area; James Bell, then suffragan Bishop of Knaresborough, continued in post as the area bishop in the Ripon area and, until the diocesan bishop started acting as area bishop on 22 April, was additionally interim area bishop in the Leeds area.[5] The second and current area bishop is Helen-Ann Hartley.

Bishop of WakefieldEdit

Following the dissolution of Wakefield diocese, the suffragan see of Pontefract was transferred by Order in Council to Wakefield on 19 March 2015.[22] The incumbent is the area bishop over the Wakefield episcopal area; Tony Robinson, then suffragan Bishop of Pontefract, continued in post as the area bishop in the Wakefield area and, until a Bishop of Huddersfield was appointed, was also acting as interim area bishop in the Huddersfield area.[5]

Bishop of BradfordEdit

Once the diocesan see of the same name was dissolved, a new suffragan see of Bradford was created by the Scheme.[4] The incumbent is the area bishop over the Bradford episcopal area; since the appointment of a new area bishop had to wait until the diocesan bishop was in post, the diocesan 'mentor bishop', Tom Butler, initially served as interim area bishop in the Bradford area.[5] On 26 August 2014, it was announced that Toby Howarth was to become the first area bishop of Bradford; his consecration was held on 17 October.[6]

Bishop of HuddersfieldEdit

The Scheme also created a new suffragan see of Huddersfield,[4] whose incumbent is the area bishop over the Huddersfield episcopal area. Significant churches in the area include Huddersfield Parish Church, Halifax Minster and Dewsbury Minster. Since no new area bishop could be appointed until the diocesan bishop was in post, the Bishop of Pontefract also served as interim area bishop in the Huddersfield area.[5] On 26 August 2014, it was announced that Jonathan Gibbs was to become the first area bishop of Huddersfield; his consecration was held on 17 October.[6]

Bishop of KirkstallEdit

On 29 April 2015, the diocese announced that the See of Richmond would be revived for a suffragan bishop to assist the Bishop of Leeds in his area bishop duties.[23] On 19 July 2015, Paul Slater was consecrated to that See.[24]

On 14 March 2018, the See was translated from Richmond to Kirkstall (in Leeds) by Order in Council.[25]

Other bishopsEdit

Alternative episcopal oversight (for petitioning parishes in the diocese who reject the ministry of priests or bishops who are women) in the diocese is provided by Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield.[26]

At the first diocesan synod, three retired honorary assistant bishops were welcomed:

At the second diocesan synod, John Pritchard, retired Bishop of Oxford, was licensed as an honorary assistant bishop.[29]

Immediately prior to the formation of the new diocese, there were four other retired honorary assistant bishops licensed in the three predecessor dioceses:

Archdeaconries and deaneriesEdit

Episcopal area Archdeaconries Rural Deaneries Paid clergy Churches Population People/clergy People/church Churches/clergy
Bradford Episcopal Area

(area Bishop of Bradford)

Archdeaconry of Bradford[35] Deanery of Aire & Worth 18.5 29 143,866 7,777 4,961 1.57
Deanery of Inner Bradford 16.5* 18* 175,979* 10,665 9,777 1.09
Deanery of Outer Bradford 19 22 177,757 9,356 8,080 1.16
Deanery of South Craven & Wharfedale 12 13 53,328 4,444 4,102 1.08
Huddersfield Episcopal Area

(area Bishop of Huddersfield)

Archdeaconry of Halifax[36] Deanery of Almondbury 6 16 73,391 12,232 4,587 2.67
Deanery of Birstall 7 13 72,466 10,352 5,574 1.86
Deanery of Brighouse & Elland 9 17 67,559 7,507 3,974 1.89
Deanery of Calder Valley 3 11 40,260 13,420 3,660 3.67
Deanery of Dewsbury 8 17 111,583 13,948 6,564 2.13
Deanery of Halifax 14 16 91,155 6,511 5,697 1.14
Deanery of Huddersfield 10 19 108,820 10,882 5,727 1.9
Deanery of Kirkburton 10 20 55,470 5,547 2,774 2
Leeds Episcopal Area

(area Bishop of Kirkstall)

Archdeaconry of Leeds[37] Deanery of Allerton 15 19 146,872 9,791 7,730 1.27
Deanery of Armley 19 29 239,414 12,601 8,256 1.53
Deanery of Headingley 19 21 180,799 9,516 8,609 1.11
Deanery of Whitkirk 15 18 147,203 9,814 8,178 1.2
Wakefield Episcopal Area

(area Bishop of Wakefield)

Archdeaconry of Pontefract[38] Deanery of Barnsley 12 21 123,937 10,328 5,902 1.75
Deanery of Pontefract 16 30 151,482 9,468 5,049 1.88
Deanery of Wakefield 26* 31* 177,831* 6,840 5,736 1.19
Ripon Episcopal Area

(area Bishop of Ripon)

Archdeaconry of Richmond & Craven[39] Deanery of Bowland & Ewecross 9 25 19,007 2,112 760 2.78
Deanery of Harrogate 21 41 122,920 5,853 2,998 1.95
Deanery of Richmond 11 44 47,485 4,317 1,079 4
Deanery of Ripon 12* 53* 46,939* 3,912 886 4.42
Deanery of Skipton 10 23 41,123 4,112 1,788 2.3
Deanery of Wensley 8.5 36 25,765 5,153 716 4.24
Total/average 323 602 2,642,411 8,181 4,389 1.86

*including a cathedral

Archdeacon of Mission ResourcesEdit

Between his resignation as Archdeacon of Bradford (31 July 2015) and his retirement (31 January 2016), David Lee was given the unique role of "Archdeacon of Mission Resources".[40] He was given an archidiaconal title and status, but no territorial archdeaconry. The role has not been re-filled since.


  1. ^ Diocese press release, College of Arms website (both accessed 13 July 2016).
  2. ^ "Welcome to your new diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales" (PDF). 20 April 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b The Transformation Programme – First new diocese for more than 85 years created on April 20 Archived 20 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine (Accessed 19 April 2014).
  4. ^ a b c d The Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme 2013 (Archived 20 February 2014, which accessed 30 September 2019).
  5. ^ a b c d e f The Transformation Programme – Archbishop appoints interim area bishops Archived 10 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine (Accessed 10 January 2014).
  6. ^ a b c d "New Bishops announced for West Yorkshire and Dales" (Press release). Diocese of Leeds. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  7. ^ a b Diocese of Leeds — Diocese to be known only as Diocese of Leeds (Accessed 15 July 2016).
  8. ^ "Synod Approves new Diocese of Leeds". Church of England. Church of England. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  9. ^ The Dioceses Commission – Review Report No. 2: Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield
  10. ^ A New Diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales – The Draft Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme (Report)
  11. ^ The Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme 201?
  12. ^ Thinking Anglicans – Dioceses Commission announces draft scheme
  13. ^ Yorkshire Post – Baines: Fear of change shouldn't obscure mission (Accessed 22 February 2013).
  14. ^ Thinking Anglicans – proposed new diocese for West Yorkshire (Accessed 4 March 2013).
  15. ^ Archbishop of York – Reorganisation Referred to General Synod (Accessed 9 May 2013).
  16. ^ The Church of England – Synod approves new Diocese of Leeds for West Yorkshire and The Dales
  17. ^ a b "First New Diocese For More Than 85 years Will Be Created on Easter Day". Website of the Archbishop of York. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  18. ^ Diocesan News — January 2017 p. III (Accessed 8 February 2017).
  19. ^ Diocesan News — February 2017 p. IV (Accessed 8 February 2017).
  20. ^ The Transformation Programme – Former Bishop of Southwark to be 'mentor bishop' (Accessed 10 January 2014).
  21. ^ Number 10 – Diocese of Leeds: the Right Reverend Nicholas Baines approved (Accessed 4 February 2014).
  22. ^ a b Orders in Council, 19 March 2015 (Accessed 25 March 2015).
  23. ^ Diocese of Leeds — New Suffragan Bishop for the Diocese (Accessed 13 July 2016).
  24. ^ Diocese of Leeds — Archdeacon Paul Slater to be new Bishop of Richmond (Accessed 13 July 2016).
  25. ^ Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (14 March 2018). "Orders approved and business transacted at the Privy Council held by The Queen at Buckingham Palace on 14th March 2018" (PDF). Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  26. ^ The Society under the patronage of St Wilfred and St Hilda (2020). "Diocese of Leeds". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  27. ^ "Handford, (George) Clive". Who's Who. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  28. ^ Historic first Synod strikes a positive note as key decisions made Archived 4 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine (Accessed 29 November 2014).
  29. ^ Diocesan Synod accepts ‘innovative’ governance proposals (Accessed 25 March 2015).
  30. ^ "Jenkins, David Edward". Who's Who. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  31. ^ "Buchanan, Colin Ogilvie". Who's Who. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  32. ^ "Hope, David Michael". Who's Who. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  33. ^ Davies, Madeleine (31 October 2014). "Lord Hope ends formal ministry after Cahill Inquiry findings". Church Times. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  34. ^ "Butler, Thomas Frederick". Who's Who. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 April 2014. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  35. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory (2020). "Archdeaconry of Bradford". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  36. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory (2020). "Archdeaconry of Halifax". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  37. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory (2020). "Archdeaconry of Leeds". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  38. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory (2020). "Archdeaconry of Pontefract". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  39. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory (2020). "Archdeaconry of Richmond and Craven". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  40. ^ Bogle, Alison (8 May 2015). "Archdeacon of Bradford to retire". Diocese of Leeds. Retrieved 10 March 2021.

External linksEdit