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Diocese of Rochester


Diocese of Rochester

Diocese of Rochester
Ecclesiastical province Canterbury
Archdeaconries Bromley & Bexley, Rochester, Tonbridge
Parishes 218
Churches 268
Cathedral Rochester Cathedral
Current leadership
Bishop James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester
Suffragan Bishop of Tonbridge (vacant)
Archdeacons Paul Wright, Archdeacon of Bromley & Bexley;
Clive Mansell, Archdeacon of Tonbridge;
Simon Burton-Jones, Archdeacon of Rochester

The Diocese of Rochester is a Church of England diocese in the English county of Kent and the Province of Canterbury. The cathedral church of the diocese is Rochester Cathedral in the former city of Rochester.

An ancient diocese, it was established with the authority of King Æthelberht of Kent by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 604 at the same time as the see of London.[1] Only the adjacent Diocese of Canterbury is older in England. Its establishment was the first part of an unrealised plan conceived by Pope Gregory the Great for Augustine of Canterbury to consecrate 12 bishops in different places and another 12 for the prospective see (later province) of York.[2]

The Rochester diocese includes 268 parish churches throughout:

The diocese is subdivided into three archdeaconries:

The current diocesan boundaries roughly match its pre-19th century extent. On 1 January 1846 parishes in Hertfordshire from the dioceses of Lincoln and of London and Essex (from London diocese) were added to Rochester, while all West Kent parishes except those in the Rochester Deanery were transferred to the Diocese of Canterbury.[3] In May 1877, Essex and Hertfordshire became part of the newly-created Diocese of St Albans. On 1 August 1877,[4] the Diocese of Rochester gained some northern parts of Surrey from the Diocese of Winchester which were later transferred to the Diocese of Southwark at its creation in 1905.


  • Bishops 1
  • References 2
    • Sources 2.1
  • External links 3


The present diocesan bishop, the Bishop of Rochester, is James Langstaff. The diocese also has a suffragan bishop, the Bishop of Tonbridge, which See is currently vacant; the suffragan see of Tonbridge was created in 1959. Since 1994 the Bishop of Fulham (Jonathan Baker from 2013) has provided "alternative episcopal oversight" in the diocese (as well as in the London and Southwark dioceses) to parishes which reject the ministry of priests who are women. Baker is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop in order to facilitate his ministry in the diocese.

In addition to the diocesan and suffragan bishops, there are a number of other bishops licensed in the diocese:


  1. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, II.3
  2. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, I.29
  3. ^ "The Dioceses of England: An Outline History", p. 34.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24483. p. 4189. 17 July 1877. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  5. ^ Gear, Michael Frederick.  
  6. ^ Venner, Stephen Squires.  
  7. ^ Turnbull, Michael.  
  8. ^ Cray, Graham Alan.  


  • Church of England Statistics 2002

External links

  • Diocese of Rochester official website
  • Parish churches in the Diocese of Rochester
  • Church In Society, a community charity associated with the Dioceses of Canterbury and Rochester

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