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Mark Sowerby
Principal of the
College of the Resurrection, Mirfield
2012 National Pilgrimage to Walsingham (7159951125) (Mark Sowerby cropped).jpg
Bishop Sowerby in 2012
In office2019–present
PredecessorPeter Allan
Other postsBishop of Horsham (2009–2019)
Ordination28 June 1987 (deacon)
by David Young
3 July 1988 (priest)
by Malcolm Menin
Consecration25 July 2009
by Rowan Williams
Personal details
Born (1963-10-28) 28 October 1963 (age 57)
Ripon, West Riding of Yorkshire, United Kingdom
ResidenceBishop's House, Horsham
ParentsGeoffrey (priest)
(m. 1989)
Alma materKing's College London

Mark Crispin Rake Sowerby (born 28 October 1963) is a British Anglican bishop. Since 2019, he has been the Principal of the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield; he was previously Bishop of Horsham, a suffragan bishop (formerly an area bishop) in the Diocese of Chichester.[1][2]

Early life

Sowerby was born on 28 October 1963 in Ripon, West Riding of Yorkshire.[3] His father, Geoffrey (a priest),[4] was a minor canon of Ripon Minster.[5] He studied theology at King's College, London, and graduated in 1985, with a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degree and the Associateship of King's College (AKC). He then entered the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, an Anglo-Catholic theological college, to train for the priesthood. He left the college in 1987 to be ordained.[6]

Ordained ministry

Sowerby was made a deacon in the Church of England at Petertide (28 June) 1987 by David Young, Bishop of Ripon, during a service at Ripon Cathedral.[7] He was ordained a priest the Petertide following (3 July 1988) by Malcolm Menin, Bishop of Knaresborough.[8] His first posts were curacies at Knaresborough and Darwen[6] after which he was Vicar of Accrington then Vocations Officer and Selection Secretary in The Ministry Division.

His last post before his appointment to the episcopate was Team Rector of St Wilfrid's Church, Harrogate.[9][10][11] One of his final acts as rector was to welcome a proposal from NEDL to erect a primary electricity station in the curtilage of the church. This proposal, generated criticism from, amongst others, the Victorian Society, Private Eye magazine and residents of Harrogate.[12]

Episcopal ministry

Appointed to become Bishop of Horsham — one of two suffragan bishops of the Diocese of Chichester — in 2009, Sowerby was ordained and consecrated a bishop by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Chichester Cathedral on 25 July 2009.[13] At first, his post was as an area bishop; but the area scheme was wound up in 2013 and he remained a non-area suffragan. During a protracted investigation – while there was a vacancy in the diocesan see — into the efficacy of safeguarding practices in the diocese, Sowerby was additionally Acting Bishop of Chichester. (The senior suffragan of the diocese, Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes, was involved in the ongoing investigation.)

On 30 April 2019, it was announced that Sowerby would be the next Principal of the College of the Resurrection, an Anglo-Catholic theological college in West Yorkshire and his alma mater. He succeeded Peter Allan CR, who retired at the end of the 2018–2019 academic year;[14][15] Sowerby resigned his see effective 31 August 2019.[16]


Sowerby previously held views consistent with traditionalist Anglo-Catholicism, such as holding a traditional Anglican view of the ordination of women as priests or bishops. In June 2015, he announced that he had changed his theological outlook and now accepts the ordination of women as priests and bishops. Consequently, he resigned from the Council of Bishops of The Society, a traditionalist Anglo-Catholic association in the Church of England.[17][18]

Personal life

Sowerby married in 1989 and has three children.[4]



  1. ^ The Diocese of Chichester – Acting Bishop of Chichester
  2. ^ Daily Telegraph, "Appointments in the clergy", p. 24, Issue no 47,929 (9 July 2009)
  3. ^ Debrett's People of Today — Mark Sowerby Horsham
  4. ^ a b "Sowerby, Mark Crispin Rake". Who's Who. 2017 (November 2016 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 15 August 2017. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  5. ^ "Geoffrey Nigel Rake Sowerby". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Mark Crispin Rake Sowerby". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Ordinations". Church Times (#6490). 3 July 1987. p. 13. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 17 August 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  8. ^ "Ordinations". Church Times (#6543). 8 July 1988. p. 13. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 17 August 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  9. ^ Diocese of Chichester website
  10. ^ Church Times
  11. ^ Church website Archived 30 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ [1] Archived 31 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ [2] (Archived [3], 1 August 2009; archive accessed 17 August 2017)
  14. ^ "Bishop of Horsham to be Principal of the College of the Resurrection". Diocese of Chichester. 30 April 2019. Archived from the original on 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Mark Sowerby to become principal of the College of the Resurrection after 10 years as Bishop of Horsham". Christian Today. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Bishop of Horsham – Resignation as a member of the Society's Council of Bishops". Diocese of Chichester. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  18. ^ Robinson, Tony (10 June 2015). "The Bishop of Horsham". The Society. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Lindsay Urwin
Bishop of Horsham
Succeeded by
Ruth Bushyager
This page was last edited on 30 December 2020, at 13:34
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