THE Archdeacon of Nottingham, the Ven. Peter
Hill (Southwark & Nottingham), introduced the Draft Church of
England (Naming of Dioceses) Measure, by explaining that the
Measure had come about as a result of the process leading to the
creation of the new diocese of Leeds.
The Archdeacon, a member of the Dioceses Commission, explained
that "extensive local consultation" had concluded that Leeds was
the natural focus of the diocese, and should be the see; but local
opinion also felt that the name should reflect the full area: West
Yorkshire & the Dales. The Commission were advised, however,
that naming a diocese after a city "represented the legal position
as well as long-standing practice".
"Given the strength of local opinion and the Commission's own
clear view, we asked the deputy legal advisor what could be done.
This led to the suggestion that, while the new diocese was strictly
the diocese of Leeds, the scheme could say 'it may be known as the
diocese of West Yorkshire & The Dales'".
This was "not a perfect solution", he said, because "it leaves
the diocese with two names, and the official name of the Bishop is
the Bishop of Leeds." He had "no doubt" that, if the new Measure
had been in force, the Commission would have chosen to name the
diocese West Yorkshire & the Dales.
The short Measure would enable dioceses to be named after the
see of the bishop - or from the geographic area within which the
see of the bishop was taken. In order for this to take effect, the
Measure effectively amended the Appointment of Bishops Act
Any change to the naming of dioceses would have to come about
through a review by the Dioceses Commission or an Order by the
Queen in Council.
Archdeacon Hill urged the Synod to give first consideration to
what he described as a "missional, sensible, and non-radical
Tim Allen (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
welcomed the draft Measure, which he said was "urgent, in light of
a diocese up t'north".
He gave a brief history of the formation of his diocese just
over 100 years ago, and said the name came about as a result of
church law dating from AD 343, which prevented the diocese's being
known as the diocese of Suffolk. Rural people did not identify with
urban towns, let alone two urban towns.
The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete
Broadbent (Southern Suffragans), chairing the debate, joked that he
thought "the diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich" was "a test
The Revd Jonathan Frais (Chichester) welcomed
the draft Measure, but disagreed with the requirement that the
bishop and diocese have the same name. "In Chichester, we have the
Bishop of Horsham. People don't stumble and ask 'Where are you
from?' They know that's part of Chichester."
He would prefer the diocese to be known as the diocese of
Sussex, and the bishop to continue to be known as the Bishop of
Chichester. The restriction was "just silly", he said. "We have
stumbled across a wonderful compromise. Please let's run with
Dr Elaine Storkey (Ely) told the story of a
group of law students who invited their tutor to a town and then
quoted an unrepealed law requiring him to buy them a drink. He did
so, but then quoted another ancient statute and fined them all for
not wearing a sword. "Tradition is wonderful", she said,
particularly regarding old laws, but "it's time for a change."
The Bishop of Sodor & Man, the Rt Revd
Robert Paterson, said that his colleague, the Archdeacon of Man,
had the best job title in the Church of England. The diocese had
originally been part of the Province of Canterbury, joining the
Province of York in 1533. The name Sodor came from the island in
the Hebrides which had not been connected to the Isle of Man for
700 years. "It's taken the Church of England a while to catch on.
Why are you rushing over the diocese of Leeds?"
Dr John Beal (Ripon & Leeds) was unhappy
with the requirement that the Bishop and the diocese should have
the same name: it could leave Leeds, the third largest city in
England, without a named bishop. The draft Measure was remitted to