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Manchester, diocese of

Manchester, diocese of. The rapid population expansion of the industrial north led the ecclesiastical commissioners of 1835 to recommend that Chester diocese be relieved by the creation of two new sees of Ripon and Manchester. The order in council (1838) to constitute the latter foundered on the sensitive issue of increasing the number of bishops in the House of Lords and the accompanying proposal to fuse Bangor and St Asaph. Manchester diocese was eventually established in 1847, with the constitutional innovation that bishops' seats in the Lords were occupied in order of consecration. Covering Lancashire, except for Liverpool district, Furness, and Cartmel (transferred to Carlisle), the initial archdeaconries of Manchester and Lancashire were augmented by those of Blackburn (1877) and Rochdale (1910); Blackburn became a separate diocese in 1926. Suffragan bishops were appointed at Burnley (1901), Whalley (1905), Hulme (1924), and Middleton (1926).

A grandiose scheme to build a new cathedral worthy of the see was realistically replaced by restoration of the dilapidated parish church of St Mary, St George, and St Denys, a collegiate church since 1422, with fourteen carved minstrel angels supporting the nave roof. No other English cathedral except Coventry suffered so severely in the Second World War.

A. S. Hargreaves

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