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Diocese of Ely

Diocese of Ely
Armorials of Bishop of Ely: Gules, three ducal coronets or[1]
Ecclesiastical province Canterbury
Archdeaconries Cambridge, Huntingdon and Wisbech
Parishes 309
Churches 339
Cathedral Ely Cathedral
Current leadership
Bishop Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely
Suffragan Dr David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon
Archdeacons Hugh McCurdy, Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech
Alex Hughes, Archdeacon of Cambridge[2]

The Diocese of Ely is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury. It is headed by the Bishop of Ely, who sits at Ely Cathedral in Ely. There is one suffragan (subordinate) bishop, the Bishop of Huntingdon. The diocese now covers the modern ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire (excluding the Soke of Peterborough) and western Norfolk. The diocese was created in 1109 out of part of the Diocese of Lincoln.

The diocese is ancient, and the area of Ely was part of the patrimony of Saint Etheldreda. A religious house was founded in the city in 673. After her death in 679 she was buried outside the church, and her remains were later reburied inside, the foundress being commemorated as a great Anglian saint.

The diocese has had its boundaries altered various times. From an original diocese covering the historic county of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire were added in 1837 from the Diocese of Lincoln, as was the Sudbury archdeaconry in Suffolk from the Diocese of Norwich. In 1914 Bedfordshire became part of the Diocese of St Albans, and western Suffolk became part of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, whilst Ely took a western part of the Diocese of Norwich. Peterborough remains the seat of the Diocese of Peterborough.[3]

Today the Diocese covers an area of 1,507 square miles (3,900 km2). It has a population of 705,000 and comprises 209 benefices, 303 parishes and 335 churches with 145 stipendiary parochial clergy.


  • Bishops 1
  • Diocesan news publications 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The diocesan Bishop of Ely (Stephen Conway) is assisted by David Thomson, Bishop suffragan of Huntingdon.

There are also seven former bishops living in the diocese who are licensed as honorary assistant bishops:

Alternative episcopal oversight (for parishes in the diocese which reject the ministry of priests who are women) is provided by the provincial episcopal visitor, Norman Banks, Bishop suffragan of Richborough, who is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop of the diocese in order to facilitate his work there.

The Bishop of Peterborough has also been commissioned as assistant bishop in the diocese so that he can exercise pastoral care in several old Huntingdonshire parishes now within the Peterborough unitary authority: including Stanground, Orton, Woodston, Yaxley and Fletton.[11][12][13][14]

Diocesan news publications

Publication From To
Ely Diocesan Remembrancer[15] May 1885 December 1915
Ely Diocesan Gazette[16] January 1916 November 1989
Ely Ensign[17] December 1989 January 2007
eLife Diocesan Newsletter January 2009 Present


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.420
  2. ^ Diocese of Ely – Next Archdeacon of Cambridge appointed (Accessed 11 April 2014)
  3. ^ "History of the Diocese". Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  4. ^ "Dawes PS".   (subscription required)
  5. ^ Taylor, Rt Rev. John Bernard.  
  6. ^ Barrington-Ward, Rt Rev. Simon.  
  7. ^ Urwin, Rt Rev. Lindsay Goodall.  
  8. ^ Knowles, Rt Rev. Graeme Paul.  
  9. ^ Williams of Oystermouth, Baron, (Rt Rev. and Rt Hon. Rowan Douglas Williams).  
  10. ^ "Flack JR".   (subscription required)
  11. ^ "Bridging the divide in a city". Diocesan website - press releases (Diocese of Ely). 2004-07-29. Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  12. ^ Bridging the city divide. Ely Ensign. September 2004. Issue no. 178. p.4
  13. ^ "Bishops bridge boundaries aboard boat" Peterborough Telegraph 2 August 2004
  14. ^ "Bishop Donald becomes Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Ely" on the Peterborough Diocese website
  15. ^ [4] Ely Diocesan Remembrancer. British Library catalogue. Accessed 20 October 2014
  16. ^ [5] Ely Diocesan Gazette. British Library catalogue. Accessed 20 October 2014
  17. ^ [6] Ely Ensign. British Library catalogue. Accessed 20 October 2014

External links

  • Diocese of Ely
  • Church of England Statistics 2002
  • Summary diocesan statistics 2008/09

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