Bishop of Bolton appointed

Her Majesty the Queen has appointed the Venerable Mark David Ashcroft, Archdeacon of Manchester to be the next Bishop of Bolton in the Diocese of Manchester.

Mark Ashcroft, 61, has served as the Archdeacon of Manchester and Residentiary Canon of Manchester Cathedral since 2009. He will be consecrated in October at York Minster by the Archbishop of York and take up his appointment in November.

Mark is married to Sally and they have three adult children. They met in Kenya while volunteers with the Church Mission Society and have a lifelong commitment to mission.

Mark trained for ordination at Ridley Hall Cambridge after working in the catering industry in Edinburgh. Sensing a call to serve in urban areas, Mark was ordained in Manchester Diocese in 1982 and served as a curate in Burnage. Mark and Sally then went to Kenya with the Church Mission Society where Mark taught in a Theological college, later becoming the Principal. Returning to UK, Mark was appointed Rector of Christ Church Harpurhey where he served from 1996 to 2009. He was then appointed Archdeacon of Manchester. Mark’s role as Archdeacon of Manchester included being a Residentiary Canon at the Cathedral and significant involvement in Greater Manchester Churches together.

Mark said, “I am honoured and thrilled to have been appointed the next Bishop of Bolton. Greater Manchester is a fantastic place to live and serve, and I am looking forward to getting to know and love the communities and churches of Rossendale, Salford, Bury, Bolton and parts of Wigan for which I will have particular responsibility as Bishop of Bolton. It is a great privilege to be able to share the good news of Jesus, and to encourage and lead the church in being a blessing to their communities. I already know that I have wonderful colleagues to share this ministry with.”

The Bishop of Manchester, The Rt Revd Dr David Walker said. “I am delighted that Archdeacon Mark has accepted the crown’s invitation to be the next Bishop of Bolton. Having worked with him as a colleague, I know that he has the requisite gifts and skills, and that this new role will give him a base from which to offer even more to God and the Church.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said “Mark has a great passion for mission and evangelism which he will continue to build on in his new ministry as Bishop of Bolton.  He has a true heart for the poor and the marginalised and has lived this out throughout his ministry, both overseas and, here, in the Diocese of Manchester.”

Mark’s interests include gardening, birdwatching and walking the dog. He is a supporter of England teams, whatever the sport.


The new bishop will be announced at The Hope Centre, in Halliwell, Bolton. The Hope Centre serves the Johnson Fold Estate and its Storehouse Pantry in the basement of the building is a joint project between St Peter’s Halliwell, Urban Outreach and Bolton at Home. The Storehouse Pantry offers support to people living on the Johnson Fold Estate, including a food bank and a jobs club.

The Bishop of Bolton designate will then tour the Bury Markets, meeting stall holders and shoppers and sampling the famous Bury Black Pudding, before heading to St Paul’s Church of England Primary School in Salford.

 The Venerable Mark Ashcroft (aged 61), studied at Worcester College, Oxford for his MA, and at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he was awarded his BA. He trained for the ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served as curate at Burnage in Manchester diocese from 1982 to 1985 before moving to be a Tutor at St Paul’s School of Divinity Kapsabet in Kenya from 1986 to 1990, and then Principal from 1990 to 1995. He returned to Manchester in 1996 to be Rector of Christ Church, Harpurhey till 2009. He was Area Dean of North Manchester from 2000 to 2006. He was also Honorary Canon at Manchester Cathedral from 2004 to 2009. Since 2009 he has been Archdeacon of Manchester and Residentiary Canon of Manchester Cathedral.

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