Bishopwearmouth is one of the ancient parishes of County Durham, England. It lies on the south bank of the mouth of the River Wear. Until 1719 it included the ancient borough of Sunderland (founded in the 1180s) within its territory. Sunderland was made a separate parish in 1719, but continued to have a close relationship with Bishopwearmouth. In 1835 Sunderland was made a municipal borough, covering the parish of Sunderland, and large parts of the parishes of Bishopwearmouth (including Bishopwearmouth village) and Monkwearmouth. In 1866 most of the parts of Bishopwearmouth outside Sunderland Borough were given their own parish councils: Ford (covering South Hylton), Ryhope, Silksworth and Tunstall. At the same time, the parts of Bishopwearmouth within Sunderland Borough were split into two parishes: Bishopwearmouth and Bishopwearmouth Panns, the latter being a small area of reclaimed land on the banks of the Wear which had had its own constable since the 16th century.
When County Councils were created in 1889, Sunderland was made a County Borough, and was thus independent of Durham County Council, although it was still deemed to geopgraphically lie within County Durham. In 1894 the remaining parts of Bishopwearmouth parish outside Sunderland Borough were made a separate parish called Bishopwearmouth Without. The parishes within Sunderland Borough (including Bishopwearmouth and Bishopwearmouth Panns) were abolished in 1897, since which time Bishopwearmouth has had no administrative status, being simply a suburb of Sunderland. Bishopwearmouth Without was absorbed into Sunderland in 1928. Ford, Ryhope, Silksworth and Tunstall were absorbed into Sunderland in 1967, thus bringing the whole area of the ancient parish of Bishopwearmouth within Sunderland.
Sunderland became part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear in 1974. Following the abolition of Tyne and Wear County Council in 1986, Sunderland became a self-governing unitary authority - effectively reinstating the situation which had existed between 1889 and 1974. Sunderland was made a city in 1992. Bishopwearmouth's former parish church of St Michael's was renamed Sunderland Minster in 1998. The modern city centre of Sunderland covers much of the former village of Bishopwearmouth.