Diocese of the Free State

Diocese of the Free State

The Anglican Diocese of the Free State is a diocese in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.



The first service North of the Orange River to be taken by an Anglican clergyman was conducted in 1850 by Robert Gray, the first Bishop of Cape Town. In 1863, Edward Twells was consecrated the first Bishop of the Orange Free State and the Diocese was born. This new Diocese covered the area North of the Orange River, West of the Drakensberg and as far as the Zambezi River in the North.[1]

The Bishop arrived in Bloemfontein on 1 October 1863, with three priests and two teachers.[2] The Revd George Mitchell, was the first priest ordained in the Diocese, in 1865. The Cathedral was completed and consecrated in 1866. The Brotherhood of St Augustine of Hippo was established in the diocese a year later with Canon Beckett and seven members. Together they built the first Anglican church in Thaba Nchu, completed in 1868. This pioneering community established the Church’s work in Thaba Nchu and in places as far apart as Wepener and Harrismith and continued faithfully from their house at Modderpoort until their work was taken over by the Society of the Sacred Mission in 1902.[1]

The first Diocesan Synod met in 1872 and a good foundation was laid for the organizational side of the Church’s work. Two years later the need for Sisters for nursing, teaching and visiting was recognised and the Community of St Michael and All Angels was founded in Bloemfontein. Furthermore, the Transvaal became no longer the responsibility of Bloemfontein when the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria was formed in 1878. Then in 1891 the scope of the diocese again changed with the formation of the Anglican Diocese of Mashonaland.[1]

In 1899, the year the Anglo Boer war broke out (Boer Wars), the diocesan bishop, Bishop Hicks, died. Bishop Webb resigned the See of Grahamstown in the Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown and came back to look after his old diocese until a new bishop could be elected.

The first missionary conference was held in the Cathedral in 1904. Some years later, to aid the mission work of the church and oversight, the Anglican Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman was established in 1911.[3] This was repeated again in 1950 with the formation of the Anglican Diocese of Lesotho (then, Basutoland) and in 1952, with the founding of the Anglican Diocese of Matabeleland. In 2003 the diocese changed its name to the Diocese of the Free State.[1]

The seat of the diocese is in Bloemfontein in South Africa.

List of bishops

Bishops of Bloemfontein
From Until Incumbent Notes
1863 1869 Edward Twells Resigned among public allegations.
1870 1883 Alan Webb Translated to Grahamstown; later Dean of Salisbury.
1886 1891 George Knight-Bruce Translated to Mashonaland.
1892 1899 Wale Hicks Died in office.
1899 1902 sede vacante: The Very Revd Ranulph Vincent, Dean of Bloemfontein was vicar general.
1902 1920 Arthur Chandler Retired to the United Kingdom.
1921 1935 Walter Carey Resigned due to ill health and returned to the UK.
1935 1951 Arthur Howe-Browne
1951 1957 Cecil Alderson Translated from Damaraland; translated to Mashonaland.
1957 1967 Bill Burnett Translated to Grahamstown, then Cape Town.
1967 1982 Frederick Amoore
1982 1997 Thomas Stanage Previously Suffragan bishop in Johannesburg since 1978.
1997 2003 Patrick Glover Previously suffragan bishop in the diocese since 1994.
Bishops of the Free State
2003 present Patrick Glover Name of diocese & see changed.



  1. ^ a b c d http://www.eagle-i.co.za/dsc_wp/wp/?page_id=12
  2. ^ Karel Schoeman, 1986, The Free State Mission, page 12
  3. ^ Lewis, C & Edwards, G.E. 1934. Historical records of the Church of the Province of South Africa. London: SPCK p 515

External links

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