A RETIRED senior bishop who retired to Winchester has died aged 86 after a long period of ill-health.

The Rt Rev John Baker was Bishop of Salisbury from 1982 to 1993 and previously Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons before moving to Kingsgate Road, St Cross.

Bishop John was unafraid to court controversy and had strong views on many issues including battery farming, hunting, nuclear disarmament and gay clergy.

He described the Church of England’s decision to allow women into the priesthood as a “great day”.

Bishop John was a widely-admired preacher, lecturer and author of several books on theology. He is survived by his wife Jill.

His funeral was due to be held at The Hospital of St Cross on Tuesday June 24 at 11.30am.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at Salisbury Cathedral on Friday September 5 at 2.30pm.