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!




Diocesan Logo

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 present Bishop of Truro is Bishop Tim Thornton. He is the Church of England’s spiritual leader in the Diocese. He is the 15th Bishop to hold this office.

The Bishop’s chair, known as a ‘Cathedra’, is the reason this building is known as a Cathedral Church.

Bishop Tim is very much looking forward to his ministry in Cornwall. “I have been a tremendous admirer of Bishop Bill for a long time,” he says, “and like him I am
optimistic about the future of the Church; I have been and remain a strong advocate for Anglican values and beliefs.” The Bishop, who is well known for having a quick sense of humour and for being very approachable, says that, over the next ten years he plans to see churches growing, discovering where God is at work in their communities and taking risks to try new ways of creating community. “I believe significant priority must be given to nurturing disciples and to emphasis that we are only fully the people God wants us to be in relationship to others.” he says “It is
crucial for us to help people live out their faith ‘seven whole days, not one in seven’” Above all the Church must be a prophetic voice in society, prepared to speak out and to stand alongside the weak and the marginalised. He is helped by Bishop Roy Screech who is the Suffragan (Assistant) Bishop of the Diocese.



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