Bishopric of Manchester Act 1847

The Bishopric of Manchester Act 1847 is an Act of Parliament with the principal purpose of delegating to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England the power to put forward a scheme (a form of secondary legislation) to create the Diocese of Manchester. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners scheme containing the precise arrangements for the diocesan changes was put forward to Queen Victoria at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, on 10 August 1847, where it was assented to in Chambers.[1]

Bishopric of Manchester Act 1847
Long titleAn Act for establishing the bishopric of Manchester, and amending certain Acts relating to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England,"
Territorial extentEngland

Whilst the Act was primarily a procedural enabling device to provide the legal framework for a relatively minor reorganisation within the Church of England, and would normally have ceased to be relevant once the scheme for the creation of the dioceses had been assented to, it incorporated provisions which set the number of Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords at 26, irrespective of the number of bishoprics in England, and created the mechanism for the determining the membership of the Lords Spiritual.[2]

The bill was the subject of debate in the House of Lords at the time, regarding whether "The limitation of the number of Lords Spiritual which it was proposed to establish by this Bill, was not only an infringement of the prerogatives of the Crown, but he also considered that it was a dangerous invasion of the rights and privileges of all the Members of their Lordships' House, temporal and spiritual." as it was Government legislation which sought to control the membership of the House of Lords[3] through limiting the ability of the exercise of Royal Prerogative in the right of issuing writs of summons to call a Bishop to the House of Lords that "with respect to the Peerage of this country, this was the first time it had ever been proposed to interfere with the right conferred by it".


  1. "London Gazette". London Gazette. London Gazette. 31 August 1847. pp. 3157–3160. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  2. "Bishops in the House of Lords - The Lords Spiritual". Church of England website. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  3. "BISHOPRIC OF MANCHESTER, ETC. BILL. HL Deb 22 June 1847 vol 93 cc788-97". Hansard.