On this day in 1914, the Diocese of Sheffield was created under King George V. It was formed by the division from the Diocese of York (along with that part of the Diocese of Southwell in the city of Sheffield).
The first Diocesan Bishop of Sheffield was The Rt Revd Leonard Hedley Burrows, the former Suffragan Bishop of Lewes. The first two Archdeacons were The Ven H Gresford-Jones (then just called the Archdeaconry of Sheffield) and The Ven FC Sandford (Archdeaconry of Doncaster).
The new diocese was given an endowment of £4,000, of which £1,000 was provided from the Diocese of York. After much deliberation, Sheffield was chosen as the See town due to its population and the university.
The London Gazette covered the news by reporting:
His Majesty is pleased, by and with the advice of His Most Honourable Privy Council, to order and declare as follows:
(1) The Bishopric of Sheffield is hereby founded.
(2) The Diocese of the said Bishopric shall consist (subject to the provisions contained in the First Schedule to the Bishoprics of Sheffield, Chelmsford, and for the County of Suffolk Act, 1913, as to rearrangement of boundaries) of the Rural Deaneries of Sheffield, Doncaster, Ecclesfield, Rotherham, Wath, and Snaith, together with such portions of the Rural Deanery of Dronfield, otherwise known as the Rural Deanery of Eyam, in the Diocese of Southwell, as are now included in the city of Sheffield.
(3) The parish church of Sheffield, in the county of York, subject to the rights of the patron and incumbent of such church, shall be the Cathedral Church of the said Bishopric.
(4) The Bishop of Sheffield is constituted a Body Corporate, and is hereby invested with all such rights, privileges, and jurisdictions as are possessed by any other Bishop in England, and is subjected to the metropolitan jurisdiction of the Archbishop of York.
(5) This Order shall come into operation on the publication of the same in the London Gazette.
The new Bishop was enthroned on 1 May 2014. Reporters from Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Goole covered the event in a favourable way. The Bishop chose for his address “Jesus Christ is Alive” and he said “a new Diocese means his church is alive.” Holding his first diocesan conference in January 1915, he said “The Diocese of Sheffield will, I hope, be known far and wide as a missionary diocese.”
Since its formation, the Diocese of Sheffield has seen two devastating world wars, the decline of industry, the miners’ strike, the decline of the coalfields, economic recessions and pandemics, to name but a few.
Yet throughout all of this, the Church has been there to minister to the diverse, vibrant and changing communities that make up our Diocese of Sheffield.