Each diocese in the Church of England has two legal officers, a Chancellor and a Registrar. The Registrar for the Diocese of Bristol is Mr Roland Callaby, who is a Solicitor who practices at the legal firm of Harris & Harris, based in the Market Place in Wells. He has been the Registrar for the Diocese since 2015 and he is also Registrar for Bath & Wells Diocese. The Diocesan Registry team is based at the offices in Wells.

The Diocesan Registry
14 Market Place,
Somerset BA5 2RE.

Roland Callaby
Diocesan Registrar
Phone: 01749 674747
Sarah Williams
Registrar’s Clerk
Phone: 01749 674747

The main areas of work undertaken by the Registry are:

Advice to Bishops, Clergy, Diocesan boards and Committees, PCCs, Churchwardens and members of the public relating to marriage, baptisms, burials, etc

Appointments of clergy – preparation of notices, licences and all documents relating to appointment of ordained clergy and lay officers

Consecrations – preparation of documents for consecration of churches, churchyards and cemeteries.

Diocesan Records – maintenance of records of churches and clergy, and advising on parish records and churchyard boundaries

Faculties – preparation of documents for changes or works to buildings and churchyards, and processing contested petitions

Marriage Licences – issuing Common Licences on behalf of Bishop to authorise marriages in parish churches

The General Register Office, along with HM Passport Office, publishes a useful Guidebook for the Clergy which gives comprehensive details about procedures and documentation for marriages, such as how to describe a ‘housewife’ on a marriage certificate or what to do when a mistake is discovered on a marriage certificate. The guide was most recently updated in March 2019 and can be found at For any questions about this, please contact the Diocesan Registry

Patronage – maintaining registers of patrons, ensuring that the legal provisions are complied with for filling vacant benefices.

To contact the Registry team: e-mail or call 01749 674747.


The Chancellor of the Diocese of Bristol is Mr Justin Gau, who is a senior barrister. He is also Deputy Chancellor for the Dioceses of Bath & Wells and Lincoln

The Diocesan Registry team at Harris & Harris also deals with matters relating to church property such as vicarages and church halls, and with church charities.