Chronology of Catholic Dioceses:Notes on the Diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, 656 - 1117

The diocese of Mercia was erected c. 656. In 669, the See was moved to Lichfield by the bishop, St Chad.

In 680, the diocese of Worcester was detached from Lichfield.

The diocese was raised to Metropolitan rank in 787 (other sources say 785), and was given authority over Worcester, Leicester, Lincoln, Hereford, Elmham and Dunwich. This new status was revoked in 803, when Canterbury's authority was restored.

Lichfield suffered under attacks from the Danes. In 1075, a council ordered that all Sees be moved to a walled city, and Lichfield was at this time an impoverished place. Bishop Peter moved the See to Chester, giving the diocese the new name Chester and Lichfield. The diocese was vacant from 1117 to 1121, and the new bishop, Robert de Limesey, moved the See to Coventry. The diocese was renamed Coventry and Lichfield.

In 1541, king Henry VIII schismatically detached the diocese of Chester from Coventry and Lichfield.

From 1524 to 1554, the diocese had two schismatical bishops, Roland Lee and Richard Sampson; the former properly elected and then lapsed, the latter schismatically elected. The last Catholic bishop was Ralph Bayne, 1554 to 1559. After the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1558, he was arrested and held in the home of the Protestant bishop until his death the next year.

(Sources: Catholic Encyclopedia, and Oxford DCC 1997)


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