‘For a bishop to live at one end of the world, and his Church at the other, must make the office very uncomfortable to the bishop, and in a great measure useless to the people.’ This was the verdict of Thomas Sherlock, bishop of London from 1748 to 1761, on the provision which had been made by the Church of England for the care of its congregations overseas. No Anglican bishopric existed outside the British Isles, but a limited form of responsibility for the Church overseas was exercised by the see of London. In the time of Henry Compton, bishop from 1675 to 1713, Anglican churches in the American colonies, in India and in European countrieshad all sought guidance from the bishop of London. By the 1740s the European connection had been severed; the bishop still accepted some colonial responsibilities but the arrangement was seen as anomalous by churchmen on both sides of the Atlantic. A three-thousand-mile voyage separated the colonists from their bishop, and those wishing to seek ordination could not do so unless they were prepared to cross the ocean. Although the English Church claimed that the episcopate was an essential part of church order, no Anglican bishop had ever visited America, confirmation had never been administered, and no church building in the colonies had been validly consecrated. While a Roman Catholic bishopric was established in French Canada at an early date, the Anglican Church overseas had no resident bishops until the end of the eighteenth century. In the words of Archbishop Thomas Seeker, this was ‘a case which never had its parallel before in the Christian world’.