Introduction

Architectural and Historical Overview

The Diocese was created in 1882, and was formed out of the western portion of the Diocese of Southwark, as constituted at the restoration of the hierarchy in 1850. Its boundaries are roughly coterminous with the medieval diocese of Winchester. The diocese comprises the counties of Hampshire, Berkshire (south of the Thames), Oxfordshire (south of the Thames), Dorset (the Bournemouth area), the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. It is situated centrally within the Metropolitan Province of Southwark, extending as far as the outskirts of Oxford in the north, down to and including the Channel Isles in the south, and roughly from Liphook in the east to Andover in the west. The Diocese covers an area of 2,447 square miles and has a total population (2001 census) of 2,960,077. Its estimated Catholic population (2004) is 167,000. There are 112 parishes and 142 incardinated priests, with a further 83 from religious orders and congregations, as well as 39 permanent deacons (2007 Directory).