The Cathedral story

The Diocese of Truro

A Diocese or See is a geographical grouping of parishes under the care of a Bishop. Cornwall had its own Bishop at St Germans, near Saltash, until the latter part of the 10th Century. The Cornish Diocese was then held jointly with the Devon Diocese at Crediton and then in 1050 at Exeter. Effectively the Cornish Diocese ceased to be a separate entity. Over 800 years later in 1877, after 30 years of intense lobbying, the Cornish Diocese was re-established at Truro. The Diocese of Truro covers the whole of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly plus two parishes in Devon!




diocese of truro

Bishop Benson

Edward White Benson was the first Bishop of Truro (1877 - 1883). He was previously Headmaster of Wellington College and then Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral. It was his vision and energy that really established the new Diocese of Truro and the building of this wonderful Cathedral. From 1883 until his death in 1896 he was Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1880 Bishop Benson created the ‘Service of Nine Lessons and Carols’ which for over 120 years has formed part of the Cathedral’s traditional worship on Christmas Eve.



Bishop Benson


Bishop Tim

The current position of Bishop of Truro is vacant.

The Right Reverend Tim Thornton, the former Bishop of Truro, has recently been installed as Bishop at Lambeth.

The Right Reverend Dr Chris Goldsmith continues as Bishop of St Germans.



Bishop Tim Thornton

Choosing Truro

Truro was not the only candidate for the siting of the Cathedral. Bodmin had been the medieval ecclesiastical centre of Cornwall, while the original Cornish See of St Germans also put forward a claim. The vicar of St Columb also offered his church! The merits of each place were much discussed and argued over. Eventually a Bill establishing the Diocese of Truro was finally passed by Parliament, on the 11th August 1876. The site chosen in Truro was where the Parish Church of St Mary’s stood. To build a Cathedral on this site meant that a number of properties on the northern side of the proposed development had to be bought and demolished. This was duly completed by 1880.




Cathedral Plan