chapter  3
The Episcopate, 1570-1640
Pages 10

There were twenty-three English and four Welsh sees during this period, divided for the purposes of eeelesiastieal administration into two provinees: Canterbury and York. The latter, eomprising York, Durharn, Chester, Carlisle, and Sodor & Man, eovered extensive territory, but was elearly the junior partner of the two provinees. So, in theory, there should have been twenty-seven bishops (ineluding the two arehbishops) at any one time, all bar Sodor & Man entitled to sit in the House of Lords. The word 'theory' maUers, for in praetiee, partieularly during the reign of Elizabeth, sees were often left vaeant, or in the ease of Gloueester and Bristol between 1562 and 1589 held in commendam* (that is, in association with another living). Vaeaneies were most eommon in the reign of Elizabeth, and only in 1627-28 did a number of sees stand vaeant for more than one year under the Stuarts. This refleets the new respeet with whieh bishops were treated by the Crown after 1603.