|Number of units in system:|
|Geographical Level:||7 (County)|
|ADL Feature Type:||countries, 2nd order divisions|
|May be part of:||Ecclesiastical Province|
|May have as parts:||Archdeaconry , Rural Deanery , Ecclesiastical Parish|
The diocese was the basic geographical division of the church from the earliest times. There was a continual rearrangement of dioceses before the Normans, but the system established by them in the eleventh century remained until the nineteenth century, altered only slightly in the sixteenth century. Dioceses are directed by a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction, and the town in which his cathedral is located is properly called a city. On occasion, the term 'city' has been granted to other towns by royal letters patent (Cambridge and Southampton in the 20th century, for example).