Bishop David Oakley

Thirteenth Bishop of Northampton
Press ReleaseCoat of Arms


Our new shepherd and guide

David James Oakley was born on 28th November, 1955 in Stourbridge. He is the eldest of five children to Joyce and Fred Oakley. The family moved to Birmingham when David was 7 years old. After school, he worked in a well-known department store and entered Oscott in September 1974. Fr David was ordained on 5th July 1980 and has served in several parishes within the Archdiocese of Birmingham. He has always suggested that the parish is his natural habitat. Fr David studied catechetics at the Maryvale Institute and was awarded a MEd degree. He was appointed Pastoral Director and Procurator at Oscott in 1994. During this time he researched a PhD thesis in Pastoral Theology, which was later published. As Parish Priest at Maryvale, Fr David directed the diocesan Department for Parish and Family Catechesis, developing resources in collaboration with CaFE. At the same time, he undertook licentiate studies in the Pontifical University of St Patrick’s, Maynooth and was awarded the STL degree. Since February 2013, he has been the twenty-third Rector of Oscott.

Bishop David’s Coat of Arms


The Shield

The shield shows two coats of arms impaled, that is, placed alongside each other.

On the left as one looks at the shield are the arms of the diocese of Northampton showing three fleurs-de-lis in the ‘chief’ or top of the shield, with three choughs in the base. The fleurs-de-lis are to signify Our Lady and the three birds are taken from the arms borne by, or attributed to, St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162-1170.

On the right as one looks at the shield are the arms of Bishop David Oakley. In the ‘chief’ or top of the shield is the cross of St Chad, patron saint of the Archdiocese of Birmingham where his relics are enshrined in the Metropolitan Cathedral and where Bishop David served as a Canon in the Metropolitan Chapter. Beneath the cross is a lion rampant signifying the Lion of the tribe of Judah, King David’s house and line from which was born the Messiah. It is a reference to Bishop David’s own name as is the green ‘field’ or base colour behind the cross and the lion: the latter part of the name Oakley can mean a meadow, a field, or a clearing in a wood.


The hat that ensigns the arms is a galero, the medieval headgear of a bishop and it is shown with twelve tassels and in green, signifying a bishop.

Processional Cross

Behind the shield is displayed a processional cross signifying the bishop’s rank.


Bishop David chose as his motto Beati Pauperes Spiritu ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’. The Beatitudes define our relationship with Jesus Christ and also the way we live in relationship with the world around us as disciples of the Lord.

The coat of arms of Bishop David Oakley was designed with the help and assistance of Fr Edmund Montgomery, a priest of the diocese of Shrewsbury, and conforms to the directive of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, Ut Sive Sollicite of 1969 ‘On the Dress, Titles, and Coats of Arms of Cardinals, Bishops and Lesser Prelates’.

“..I have been asking Our Lady and St Joseph to pray for me, and to intercede for us all in the Diocese of Northampton.

Let us keep each other in prayer over the next few weeks, and let us pray that as this new chapter in the Diocese of Northampton opens, that all of us together will be able to continue that great mission we have been entrusted with of building God’s kingdom in this part of his vineyard”

Bishop Elect David – January 8th 2020