Bishop of Sodor and Man

The Bishop of Sodor and Man is the Ordinary of the Diocese of Sodor and Man (Manx Gaelic: Sodor as Mannin) in the Province of York in the Church of England. The diocese only covers the Isle of Man. The Cathedral Church of St German where the bishop's seat is located, is in the town of Peel. St German's was elevated to cathedral status on 1 November 1980.

Bishop of Sodor and Man
Peter Eagles
Ecclesiastical provinceYork
ResidenceThie yn Aspick, Douglas
DioceseSodor and Man
CathedralSt German's, Peel
Bishop's office
Cathedra (throne) of the Bishop of Sodor and Man, in Peel Cathedral.

The bishop is an ex officio member of the Legislative Council of the Isle of Man (the upper house of Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man) and of Tynwald Court. The bishop's residence is Thie yn Aspick (Bishop's House), Douglas.[1]

The right to appoint the Bishop of Sodor and Man is vested in the British crown; the Monarch acts, perhaps somewhat anomalously (in view of Man's status as a Crown Dependency), on the advice of the Prime Minister. However, unlike diocesan bishops in England, who are formally elected by the canons of the cathedral church in accordance with the monarch's congé d'elire,[2] the Bishop of Sodor and Man is appointed directly by the monarch by letters patent.[3]

Peter Eagles was appointed Bishop of Sodor and Man, and was installed at the Cathedral Church of St German at Peel on 30 September 2017.


The name "Sodor and Man" is from an earlier diocese which included not only the Isle of Man but also the Hebrides. The name for this whole area in the original Norse was Suðreyjar (Sudreys or "southern isles").[4] In Latin, the corresponding adjective was Sodorensis, later abbreviated in the English title as Sodor. In the Middle Ages, the diocese was considered part of Scotland, and was under the control of neither the Archbishop of York nor the Archbishop of Canterbury. During the Great Schism, the Pope created a different line of bishops in the southern part of the diocese which became part of the Church of England. An Act of Parliament in 1542, during the reign of King Henry VIII, included the diocese in the Province of York.[5] The termination "and Man" appears to have been added in the 17th century,[4] as later generations did not realise that "Sodor" originally included the Isle of Man. The designation "Sodor and Man" had become a fixture by 1684.[4]


The Arms of the Bishop of Sodor and Man

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

List of known Bishops of MannEdit

Tenure Incumbent Notes
Dates unknown Germanus See discussion of conflation of at least two men of similar names in medieval traditions in the Great Britain section of Germanus of Auxerre
fl. 447 Conindrius
Dates unknown Romulus
fl. 498 St Maughold[6] Later, often Latinized as Machutus despite being unconnected with both St Mechyll and St Malo.
fl. 648 Saint Conanus
Dates unknown Contentus
Dates unknown Baldus
Dates unknown Malchus
fl. 889 Torkinus
Dates unknown Brandon of Man
Before 1079 Roolwer Also called Rolf
Before 1079 William
fl. 1079x1095 Hamond

List of Bishops of Mann and the IslesEdit

The bishops of Mann and the Isles (Latin: Manniae et Insularum) were also styled bishops of Sodor (Old Norse: Suðreyjar; Latin: Sodoren; meaning Southern Isles, which comprised the Hebrides, the islands of the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Man).

Tenure Incumbent Notes
1134–38 to c.1148 Wimund Also known as Reymundus
c.1148 Nicholas (bishop-elect)
1151 to 1154 John (I) Formerly a monk of Sées, Normandy
c.1154 to bef.1166 Gamaliel
bef.1166 to c.1170 Reginald (I)
c.1170 to c.1190s Christian Either a native of Argyll (Latin: Ergadiensis) or of Orkney (Latin: Orcadensis)
1188–94 to 1203 Michael Died in office
1210 to 1217 Nicholas
1217 to 1226 Reginald (II)
1219 to 1225–26 Nicholas de Meaux Abbot of Furness
Until bef.1230 John (II), son of Hefar
1230 to 1248 Simon Either a native of Argyll (Latin: Ergadiensis) or of Orkney (Latin: Orcadensis).
1248 to 1249 Laurence (bishop-elect) Archdeacon of Man; shipwrecked and drowned on voyage from Norway before taking up the office
1249 to 1252 See vacant
1253 to 1274 Richard [de Natherton?] Died in office.
1275 Gilbert (bishop-elect) Elected, but not confirmed.
1275–76 to 1303 Mark Marcus, Mauritius; a native of Galloway; promoted by Alexander III, King of Scotland; died in office
1303 to 1305 See vacant
1305 to 1321 Alan Died in office
1321 to 1326–27 Gilbert Maclelan Scottish Gaelic: Giolla-Brighde Mac Giolla-Faoláin; a native of Galloway; died in office
1327–28 to 1331 Bernard of Kilwinning Abbot of Kilwinning, Scotland
1331 Cormac Cormacii (bishop-elect) Scottish Gaelic: Cormac Mac Chormaic; elected before 6 July 1331, but was not confirmed.
1331 to 1348 Thomas de Rossy Died in office
1349 to 1374 William Russell Abbot of Rushen; died in office.
1374 to 1387 John Dongan Lost control of the northern part of the see (the Scottish isles) in 1387, but retained the Isle of Man.

List of Bishops of Sodor and ManEdit

Tenure Incumbent Notes
1387[clarification needed] to 1391 John Dongan Translated to Derry and later to Down.
From 1392 John Sproten, O.Praed. Dominican friar.
1402 Conrad, O.Cist. Cistercian monk.
From 1402 Theodore Bloc, O.Crucif. Monk of the Order of the Crucifers.
1410 to c.1429–33 Richard Payl, O.Praed. Richard Pawlie, Payli, or Pully; Dominican friar; translated from Dromore.
From 1425–33 John Burgherlin Burgherlinus, Burgherssh, Bourgherssh, or Burwais; Franciscan friar or Cluniac monk.
From 1435 John Seyre John Feyre.
1455 to 1458 Thomas Burton, O.F.M. Franciscan friar; died in office.
From 1458 Thomas Kirkham, O.Cist. Abbot of Vale Royal, Cheshire; elected 21 June 1458
1478 to 1485/86 Richard Oldham, O.S.B. Abbot of Chester (1455–1485); died 13 October 1485 or 19 September 1486
1487 to 1509 Huan Blackleach, O.S.A. Austin friar.
From 1513 Huan Hesketh
From 1523 John Howden, O.Praed. Dominican friar.
Until 1545 Thomas Stanley Rector of Wigan; deprived
1546 to 1555–56 Henry Man Dean of Chester; Royal Assent to election given by King Henry VIII on 22 January 1546.
1555–56 to 1568 Thomas Stanley Rector of Winwick as well as Berwick; restored by Queen Mary; died in office.
1570 to 1573 John Salisbury Former abbot of Titchfield Abbey; translated from Thetford. Nominated 27 March 1569
1573 to 1576 See vacant. According to John Le Neve, James Stanley held the see during that period but nothing further about him is known.
1576 to 1599 John Meyrick John Merick, Mericke, or Merrick; Vicar of Hornchurch, Essex (1570–74); died in office
1599 to 1604 George Lloyd (From 1600 according to Haydn); rector of Heswall, Lancashire; translated to Chester
1604 to 1633 John Phillips John Philips; Archdeacon of Cleveland and Man; nominated by King James I 29 January 1604; consecrated 10 February 1604; judged the trial of the island's only Witchcraft execution in 1617; died in office
1634 or 1633, to 1635 William Forster William Foster; Prebendary of Chester
1635 to 1643 Richard Parr Rector of Lancashire; died in office
1643 to 1646 See vacant
1646 to 1660 See abolished (by Parliament on 9 October 1646.) during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate[7][8]
1661 to 1663 Samuel Rutter Archdeacon of Man
1663 to 1671 Isaac Barrow Fellow of Eton College; translated to St Asaph in 1670 but held Sodor & Man in commendam until 1671
1671 to 1682 Henry Bridgeman Dean of Chester
1682 to 1684 John Lake Archdeacon of Cleveland; translated to Bristol
1684 to 1692 Baptist Levinz Baptiste or Baptist Levinge; Prebendary of Winchester
1693 to 1697 See vacant
1697 or 1698, to 1755 Thomas Wilson Of Trinity College, Dublin; died in office
1755 to 1773 Mark Hiddesley Mark Hildesley; Vicar of Hitchin, Hertfordshire
1773 to 1780 Richard Richmond
1780 to 1783 George Mason Died in office
1784 to 1813 Claudius Crigan
1813 or 1814, to 1827 George Murray Translated to Rochester
1827 to 1838 William Ward Died in office
1838 to 1839 James Bowstead Translated to Lichfield
1839 or 1840, to 1841 Henry Pepys Translated to Worcester
1841 to 1846 Thomas Vowler Short Rector of St George's, Bloomsbury; translated to St Asaph
1846 to 1847 Walter Shirley Died in office
1847 to 1854 Robert Eden Translated to Bath & Wells
1854 to 1877 Horatio Powys Rector of Warrington and rural dean; died in office
1877 to 1887 Rowley Hill Canon of York; died in office
1887 to 1892 John Bardsley Archdeacon of Warrington; translated to Carlisle
1892 to 1907 Norman Straton Translated to Newcastle
1907 to 1911 Thomas Drury Translated to Ripon
1911 to 1925 Denton Thompson
1925 to 1928 Charles Thornton-Duesbury
1928 to 1943 William Stanton Jones
1943 to 1954 John Taylor
1954 to 1966 Benjamin Pollard Translated from Lancaster.
1966 to 1974 Eric Gordon
1974 to 1983 Vernon Nicholls
1983 to 1989 Arthur Attwell
1989 to 2003 Noël Jones Formerly Archdeacon of the Royal Navy.
2003 to 2007 Graeme Knowles Resigned on 1 October 2007 and became Dean of St Paul's, London.
2008 to 2016 Robert Paterson Announced 8 February 2008;[9] confirmed by Letters Patent, 18 April 2008;[10] consecrated 25 April 2008 at York Minster;[11] enthroned 14 June 2008 in St German's Cathedral at Peel;[12][13] retired 11 November 2016.[14]
2016 to 2017 Richard Blackburn, Bishop of Warrington Acting bishop during vacancy.[15]
From 2017 Peter Eagles Previously Archdeacon of the Army;[16] consecrated 22 June,[17] and installed 30 September.

Assistant bishopsEdit

In contrast with mainland dioceses, the Manx diocese seldom (if ever) has assistant bishops, whether full- or part-time, stipendiary or retired.

In fictionEdit

The Bishop of Sodor and Man is mentioned in the song "If you Want a Receipt for that Popular Mystery" sung by Colonel Calverley in the operetta Patience (1881) by Gilbert and Sullivan. The song lists the elements of a Heavy Dragoon, including "Style of the Bishop of Sodor and Man". The reference is to Rowley Hill (Bishop 1877-1887).

The fictional Isle of Sodor, home to Thomas the Tank Engine, is named after the diocese. In addition, the Sudrian Locale known popularly as Rolf's Castle is named after Roolwer.[18]


  1. ^ "Eagles Peter Andrew". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  2. ^ Hill M. (2007), Ecclesiastical Law (3rd ed, Oxford), paras.4.57-4.59
  3. ^ Gumbley, K F W (1994), Church Legislation in the Isle of Man, 3 Eccles. L.J. at p.294 [1]
  4. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sodor and Man" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 343.
  5. ^ Powicke Handbook of British Chronology 2nd ed. p. 254
  6. ^ Lewis, Barry (2015-12-16). "St Mechyll of Anglesey, St Maughold of Man and St Malo of Brittany". Studia Celtica Fennica. 11 (2014): 24–38. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  7. ^ Plant, David (2002). "Episcopalians". BCW Project. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  8. ^ King, Peter (July 1968). "The Episcopate during the Civil Wars, 1642-1649". The English Historical Review. Oxford University Press. 83 (328): 523–537. doi:10.1093/ehr/lxxxiii.cccxxviii.523. JSTOR 564164.
  9. ^ "Diocese of Sodor and Man". 10 Downing Street. Archived from the original on 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  10. ^ "No. 58678". The London Gazette. 24 April 2008. p. 6303.
  11. ^ "York Minster—Services and events calendar". Dean and Chapter of York Minster. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  12. ^ "Appointment of new Bishop of Sodor and Man". Diocesan website of Sodor and Man. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  13. ^ "Recovering tradition". Church Times (#7580). 27 June 2008. p. 10. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 7 June 2014 – via UK Press Online archives.
  14. ^ Diocese of Sodor and Man — Bishopannounces his retirement (Accessed 24 July 2016)
  15. ^ Diocese of Sodor and Man — Pray for a time of peace and rest (Accessed 5 January 2017)
  16. ^ Diocese of Sodor and Man — Bishop of Sodor and Man Announced (Accessed 4 May 2017)
  17. ^ York Minster — Consecration of the Bishop of Sheffield and Bishop of Sodor and Man[permanent dead link] (Accessed 22 June 2017)
  18. ^ Awdry, Rev. W. & G. - The Island Of Sodor: Its People, History & Railways - ISBN 9780434927623 - Heinemann 1987 - pg.22