bishops after 1927
John McLean (2003–2006)
McLean came to the FCE from the Scottish Episcopal Church. Based at Emmanuel, Morecambe, for over half a century, he occupied many of the major posts in the denomination before being ordained bishop in 1999. He succeeded Bentley-Taylor as Northern Diocesan on the latter’s resignation in 2003. As Primus (2010-2013) he presided over the updating of the Free Church of England’s Constitution and Canons to equip the Church to face contemporary challenges and opportunities.
Arthur Bentley-Taylor (1999–2003)
A child of missionary parents, Bentley-Taylor came to the FCE from a background in independent Presbyterianism. He found it difficult to adjust to the Church’s Anglican ethos and resigned in 2003, leading a small secession of congregations, some of which subsequently returned to the FCE.
Cyril Milner (1973–1998)
After a curacy at Emmanuel, Birmingham, Milner ministered at St Paul’s, Fleetwood, until his death. In the mid 1990s he was co-chairman of the official conversations with the Church of England.
James Burrell (1967–1973)
Burrell served in a number of parishes in the Northern Diocese, including Emmanuel, Morecambe. In 1964 he warned the denomination that the choice it faced was ‘change or decay’.
Thomas Cameron (1958–1967)
A native of Scotland, Cameron served most of his ministry based at Holy Trinity, Oswaldtwistle.
Frank Vaughan (1927–1958)
Vaughan had served in the Grenadier Guards before conversion and was a man of great energy and vision. Originally a bishop in the Reformed Episcopal Church (UK) he was instrumental in bringing about that Church’s union with the original Free Church of England.
bishops before 1927
Prior to 1927 the original Free Church of England and Reformed Episcopal Church each had a Northern Diocese with a succession of bishops:
Free Church of England
E. V. Bland (1917–1927 President of Northern Synod, not consecrated)
Following the death of Bishop Troughton, Bland declined to accept the office of bishop in view of the likely merger of the two denominations. He was based at Emmanuel, Morecambe.
William Troughton (1901–1917)
Troughton was a native of Ulverston where for several years he led an FCE congregation in the Burlington Street Mission. He later moved to Morecambe where he became a much loved and respected minister, becoming Diocesan Bishop in 1901. For four years prior to that, he had, as a presbyter, served as President of the Northern Synod. His funeral was attended by the mayor and local dignitaries and clergy of several denominations.
William Baker (1889–1897)
Benjamin Price (1866–1889)
Price was the first Bishop of the Free Church of England. He exercised that ministry from 1866, but was not ordained in the historic succession until ten years later when consecration by a Reformed Episcopal bishop became available. For most of his ministry he had oversight of all the congregations; it was only towards the end that the diocesan structure began to emerge.
Reformed Episcopal Church
Joseph Fenn (1921–1927)
Philip Eldridge (1892–1921)
From 1892 until 1915 Eldridge had oversight of all the Reformed Episcopal congregations in the UK. From 1915 he was solely responsible for the Northern Diocese. Throughout his years as bishop Eldridge worked for closer relations with the Church of England, particularly following the Lambeth Conference of 1920.
Alfred Richardson (1881–1892)
Richardson was one of the generation of ministers who began their ministry in the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion. He was consecrated bishop in St Paul’s Church, Philadelphia, in 1879 by bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church in North America.