Archbishop of York

Arms of the Archbishop of York
Arms of the Archbishop of York

The Archbishop of York, Primate of England, is the metropolitan bishop of the Province of York, and is the junior of the two archbishops of the Church of England, after the Archbishop of Canterbury. The office has been vacant since February 2005 when David Hope stepped down after a decade. On June 17, 2005, it was announced that the Rt Revd John Sentamu, currently Bishop of Birmingham, will succeed him later this year.

The archbishop's cathedral is York Minster in central York and his official residence is the Archbishop's Palace in Bishopthorpe, village outside York.

The Province of York includes the 12 Dioceses north of the Midlands as well as the Diocese of Southwell (Nottinghamshire) and the Diocese of Sodor and Man (the Isle of Man). The Archbishop is also, ex officio, a member of the House of Lords.


There was a bishop in York from very early Christian times. Bishops of York were particularly present at the Councils of Arles and Nicaea. However, this early Christian community was later blotted out by the pagan Saxons. There was no important archbishop of York till the consecration of St. Wilfrid in 664. His successors acted as diocesan prelates until the time of Egbert of York, who received the pallium from Pope Gregory III in 735 and established metropolitan rights in the north. The sees of Canterbury and York were long struggling for precedence, often leading to scandalous scenes of dissension. In the 11th century, for instance, there was an arrangement which lasted until 1118 that the archbishops of York must be consecrated in Canterbury cathedral and swear allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the mid 14th century, Pope Innocent VI confirmed an arrangement that the Archbishop of Canterbury should take precedence with the title Primate of All England, and that the Archbishop of York should retain the style of Primate of England.

Several of the archbishops of York held the office of Lord Chancellor and played some parts in affairs of state. As Peter Heylyn (16001662) wrote: "This see has yielded to the Church eight saints, to the Church of Rome three cardinals, to the realm of England twelve Lord Chancellors and two Lord Treasurers, and to the north of England two Lord Presidents."

Walter de Grey purchased York Place in London, which after the fall of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, was to become the Palace of Whitehall.

Archbishops of York, 627–present

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