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Nick Holtam
Bishop of Salisbury
Official portrait of The Lord Bishop of Salisbury (cropped).jpg
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 2019
DioceseDiocese of Salisbury
In office2011–present
PredecessorDavid Stancliffe
Other post(s)Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields (1995–2011)
Ordination1979 (deacon)
1980 (priest)
by Gerald Ellison (deacon)
Jim Thompson (priest)
Consecration22 July 2011
by Rowan Williams
Personal details
Born (1954-08-08) 8 August 1954 (age 66)
ResidenceSouth Canonry, Salisbury[1]
SpouseHelen Harris
Occupationbroadcaster, author
Alma materCollingwood College, Durham
King's College London

Nicholas Roderick Holtam (born 8 August 1954)[2] is a bishop of the Church of England. Since 2011, he has been the Bishop of Salisbury.[3]

Early life and education

Holtam grew up around Edmonton, London, where he attended the Latymer School before going to Collingwood College, Durham University, where he studied geography. After graduating, he studied for ordination at both King's College, London and Westcott House theological college, University of Cambridge.

Ordained ministry

As a priest

Holtam was made deacon at Michaelmas 1979 (30 September), by Gerald Ellison, Bishop of London, at St Paul's Cathedral,[4] and ordained priest the Michaelmas following (28 September 1980), by Jim Thompson, Bishop of Stepney, at St Mary's, Islington.[5] He was an assistant curate at St Dunstan's, Stepney. In 1983, he moved to Lincoln Theological College, where he was a tutor in Christian ethics and mission. In 1988, he became the vicar of The Isle of Dogs.[6]

From 1995 to 2011, Holtam was the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which is located in the busy Trafalgar Square area of the Diocese of London, where he initiated and led a £36 million buildings renewal. St Martin's has a ministry to homeless people as well as being the Royal Parish Church. Due to its location and tradition the church and its clergy have often had close connections to the Royal Family, the British Government, the Admiralty and the BBC.[7][8] While in this position, he was a regular broadcaster and the author of many articles and two books, A Room with a View: Ministry with the World at Your Door (SPCK 2008) and The Art of Worship: Paintings, Prayers and Readings for Meditation (National Gallery London with Yale University Press, 2011)

As a bishop

On 12 April 2011, it was announced that Holtam had been nominated to become the Bishop of Salisbury. His last service at St Martin-in-the-Fields was on 10 July 2011, his canonical election was confirmed on 21 July[9] and he was consecrated as a bishop on 22 July by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, at St Paul's Cathedral.[10] He was installed at Salisbury Cathedral on 15 October.[11]

Holtam was a trustee of the National Churches Trust (2008–16)[12] and chaired the Church of England Ministry Division's Committee for Ministry with and among Deaf and Disabled People (2013–18).[13] He is a vice-president of the Royal School of Church Music[14] and in 2013 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians.[15] Since 2014 he has been Chair of the C of E's Environmental Working Group and lead bishop for the Environment. Since 9 February 2015, he has been a member of the House of Lords as a Lord Spiritual.[16] He made his maiden speech on 2 June 2015, during the Lords debate on the Queen's Speech.[17]

In February 2021, it was announced that he would step down as Bishop of Salisbury on 3 July 2021, retiring one month short of his 67th birthday.[18]


In February 2012, Holtam became the first Church of England bishop to publicly support same-sex marriage.[19][20][21][22] In June 2013, Holtam wrote in response to a request from Waheed Alli asking him to clarify his views on same-sex marriage and explain why he differs from the official statements made by the Church of England.[23] Acknowledging that members of the Church of England hold varied views, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said in the House of Lords that this was a "strong and welcome contribution".[24] In 2017, speaking on same-sex marriage, Holtam stated that "the Church will come to see the goodness of supporting people in a fruitful relationship that is permanent, faithful and stable."[25]

Personal life

Holtam is married to Helen (née Harris), a mathematics teacher, and they have four adult children.[6]


In 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Durham University and made a Fellow of King's College London.



  1. ^ "Nicholas Roderick Holtam". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Salisbury Diocese – Nick Holtam". Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  3. ^ Ford, Michael. "Salisbury Diocese – New Bishop of Salisbury Announced". Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Michaelmas ordinations". Church Times (#6085). 28 September 1979. p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 10 June 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  5. ^ "Ordinations". Church Times (#6138). 3 October 1980. p. 4. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 10 June 2017 – via UK Press Online archives.
  6. ^ a b, 10 Downing Street, Web Team. " : Diocese of Salisbury". Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2018.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Pheenix. "PHEENIX::SELL". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  8. ^ "BBC - Radio 4 and 4 Extra Blog: The Radio 4 St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  9. ^ Peter Owen – English Diocesan See Vacancies (Accessed 11 April 2014)
  10. ^ Ball, Jonathan. "Bishop Nicholas Consecrated – Diocese of Salisbury". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  11. ^ Diocese of Salisbury – Bishop's enthronement has children at heart
  12. ^ "Our People & Partners". Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Media Centre - The Church of England". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  14. ^ 23 August 2012: RSCM announces new Vice-President 
  15. ^ "Guild of Church Musicians celebrates 125 years". The Church Times. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. The following were made Hon. Fellows of the Guild: the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury.
  16. ^ "The Lord Bishop of Salisbury". MPs and Lords. UK Parliament. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  17. ^ The Lord Bishop of Salisbury (2 June 2015). "Queen's Speech". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Lords. col. 316–318.
  18. ^ Ford, Michael (1 February 2021). "Bishop of Salisbury to retire in July 2021". Diocese of Salisbury. The Church of England. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Church split as senior bishop comes out in favour of gay marriage". The Times. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  20. ^ "The Bishop of Salisbury backs gay marriage". Pink News. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  21. ^ Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent (5 February 2012). "Church of England failing gay Christian couples, says bishop". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 February 2012. In remarks that reveal deep divisions in the church hierarchy, the Right Rev Nicholas Holtam said there were gay couples who were living faithfully and lovingly for life and that the quality and nature of their relationships meant it was appropriate to use the language of marriage.
  22. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (3 February 2012). "I've changed my mind, says bishop, and I now support gay marriage". The Times. p. 4. I think same-sex couples that I know who have formed a partnership have in many respects a relationship which is similar to a marriage and which I now think of as marriage. And of course now you can't really say that a marriage is defined by the possibility of having children.
  23. ^ The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam (30 May 2013). "A letter from the Bishop of Salisbury to Lord Alli of Norbury". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 18 July 2013. Thank you for asking me to set out why I am sympathetic to the possibility of equal marriage and have a different view from that stated in the Church of England’s response to the Equal Civil Marriage consultation.
  24. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 3 June 2013. col. 953–954.
  25. ^ "Reforming Marriage: Nicholas Holtam, David Monteith, Sally Hitchiner - St Martin-in-the-Fields - Trafalgar Square, concerts in London". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
David Stancliffe
Bishop of Salisbury
This page was last edited on 10 March 2021, at 23:46
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