Diocese of Carlisle

More About Our Diocese

Founded in 1133 and is virtually co-terminus with the county boundary of Cumbria. It encompasses all the major towns, north of Morecambe Bay up to the Scottish border and from the Irish Sea coastline to the tranquil Eden Valley as well as the Cathedral city of Carlisle with a population of nearly 110,000.

Largely rural in nature, two of the major industries are farming and tourism, with more than 15 million tourists visiting the Lake District each year. The Diocese of Carlisle is one of 42 dioceses in the Church of England and is geographically one of the larger at 2,570 square miles, though one of the most sparsely populated, with a population of about 500,000. 

It consists of:

  • 340 churches
  • 263 parishes
  • 132 clergy posts (of which 33 are self-supporting)
  • 80 licensed lay ministers
  • 12,500 weekly worshippers
  • 104 C of E schools
  • 13 academies
  • 2 affiliated schools (non-Diocese of Carlisle church schools in the Good Shepherd MAT)

Each diocese comes under the authority of a bishop. The Rt Rev James Newcome was the 67th Bishop of Carlisle and retired on 31 August, 2023. There is currently a Vacancy in See. 

The Rt Rev Rob Saner-Haigh is the suffragan Bishop of Penrith, having been consecrated in July 2022.

The routine management of the clergy and parishes is overseen by three  Archdeacons, who also act as Strategic Development Officers for the roll-out of the ecumenical God for All strategy. 

In turn, the Archdeacons are supported by eleven Rural Deans, one from each  Deanery.

The administration of the diocese is undertaken by staff at the diocesan office in Penrith.

Information about governance within the Diocese