Diocese of Bath and Wells

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Diocese of Bath and Wells
Wells Cathedral, Somerset.jpg
Wells Cathedral
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Province Canterbury
Archdeaconries Bath, Wells, Taunton
Legal Jurisdictions
Bishops Court Court of the Bishop of Bath and Wells
Location of Archive
Somerset Heritage Centre

The Diocese of Bath and Wells forms part of the Province of Canterbury of the Church of England.

History[edit | edit source]

Before 909, Somerset lay within the Diocese of Sherborne. At this date, Athelm (later Archbishop of Canterbury) was appointed the first bishop of the Diocese of Wells, making the secular church there into the diocesan cathedral. In 1090 it was renamed the Diocese of Bath when the see was moved to the Abbey Church in Bath. During the 12th century the seat was located at both Bath and Wells but the diocesan title remained the same. In 1197 Glastonbury Abbey was forcibly annexed and the see became officially known as the Diocese of Glastonbury and then Diocese of Bath and Glastonbury. In 1219 the claim to Glastonbury was renounced and the name reverted to Diocese of Bath, until 1245 when, following an appeal to the Pope, the name was styled the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

The diocese gave up parishes to the Diocese of Bristol in 1541 and 1845, and to other neighbours in the 19th and 20th centuries as Somerset changed its own boundaries.

The area of the diocese incorporates:

Archdeaconries and deaneries[edit | edit source]

The diocese is divided into three Archdeaconries containing a total of eighteen deaneries:

  • the Archdeaconry of Bath
    • comprises the Deaneries of Bath, Chew Magna, Locking, Midsomer Norton and Portishead
  • the Archdeaconry of Wells
    • comprises the Deaneries of Axbridge, Bruton & Cary, Frome, Glastonbury, Ivelchester, Shepton Mallet and Yeovil.
  • the Archdeaconry of Taunton
    • comprises the Deaneries of Crewkerne & Ilminster, Exmoor, Quantock, Sedgemoor, Taunton and Tone

Local Histories[edit | edit source]