A FORMER 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.

The bishop was unafraid to court controversy and had strong views on many issue,s including animal welfare, nuclear weapons and gay clergy.

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

His funeral is 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.