Nick Holtam

The Right Reverend
Nick Holtam
Bishop of Salisbury
Diocese Diocese of Salisbury
In office 2011–present
Predecessor David Stancliffe
Ordination 30 September 1979[1]
Consecration 22 July 2011[2]
Personal details
Born (1954-08-08) 8 August 1954
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Spouse Helen Harris
Children 3 sons (David, Timothy, Philip) and 1 daughter (Sarah)
Occupation Bishop, broadcaster, author
Alma mater Collingwood College, Durham
King's College London

Nicholas Roderick "Nick" Holtam (born 8 August 1954)[1] 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

Holtam was ordained deacon in 1979 and priest in 1980. 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.[4]

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.[5][6] 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)

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[7] and he was consecrated as a bishop on 22 July by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, at St Paul's Cathedral. He was installed in Salisbury on 15 October.[8]

In February 2012, Holtam became the first Church of England bishop to publicly support same-sex marriage.[9][10][11][12]

In June 2013, Holtam wrote in response to a request from Lord 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.[13] Acknowledging that members of the Church of England hold varied views, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in the House of Lords that this was a “strong and welcome contribution”.[14]

Holtam is a trustee of the National Churches Trust[15] and chairs the Church of England Ministry Division’s Committee for Ministry with and among Deaf and Disabled People.[16] He is a vice-president of the Royal School of Church Music[17] and in 2013 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians.[18]

Personal life

Holtam is married to Helen (née Harris), a mathematics teacher. They have four adult children.[4]


In 2005 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Durham University and made a Fellow of King’s College London.



  1. 1 2 Salisbury Diocese – Nick Holtam
  2. Diocese of Salisbury – Bishop Nicholas Consecrated
  3. Salisbury Diocese — New Bishop of Salisbury Announced
  4. 1 2 Number 10 — Diocese of Salisbury
  5. London Attractions – St Martin-in-the-Fields
  6. BBC Blog — Christmas Appeal
  7. Peter Owen – English Diocesan See Vacancies (Accessed 11 April 2014)
  8. Diocese of Salisbury – Bishop's enthronement has children at heart
  9. The Times – Church split as senior bishop comes out in favour of gay marriage
  10. "The Bishop of Salisbury backs gay marriage". Pink News. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  11. Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent (5 February 2012). "Church of England failing gay Christian couples, says bishop". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam (30 May 2013). "A letter from the Bishop of Salisbury to Lord Alli of Norbury". London: The Daily Telegraph. 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.
  14. |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. June 3, 2013. col. 953–954.
  15. Our People & Partners
  16. Bishop of Salisbury takes leading role in ministry of and among Deaf and disabled people
  17. 23 August 2012: RSCM announces new Vice-President
  18. "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.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
David Stancliffe
Bishop of Salisbury
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