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Introduction

The bulk of the surviving records relating to the diocesan administration of the diocese of Canterbury are held in two archives: Lambeth Palace Library and Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Contact details:

Lambeth Palace Library, London SE1 7JU
Email: lpl.staff@c-of-e.org.uk
Website: [http://www.lambethpalacelibrary.org/
Tel: 020 7898 1400
Fax: 020 7928 7932

Canterbury Cathedral Archives, The Precincts, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2EH
Email: archives@canterbury-cathedral.org
Website: [http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/index.aspx/
Tel: 01227 865330
Textphone: 01622 605249
Fax: 01227 865222 (specify ‘Archives’)

Except where otherwise indicated, all the records discussed are held at Lambeth Palace Library.

  • 1540 to 1660 (Reformation to Restoration)
  • 1660 to 1758 (from the Restoration to the commencement of the archiepiscopate of Thomas Secker in 1758).
  • 1758 to 1835 (from the appointment of Thomas Secker as archbishop to the end of the period covered by the Database).

1540 to 1660 (Reformation to Restoration)

The records for Canterbury diocese are split between Lambeth Palace Library and Canterbury Cathedral Archives, reflecting the complex jurisdictional authority of archbishops and the customary delegation of much routine diocesan work to the administration at Canterbury. At Lambeth, therefore, are the archiepiscopal registers, which were always lodged in the archbishop’s household, and some visitation records of peculiars such as the deaneries of Shoreham and Croydon. Other records, notably licensing and visitation books relating to the administration of the diocese, were compiled at Canterbury and there they have remained. The archiepiscopal registers themselves contain Canterbury diocesan appointments and business, as well as much material relating to the other twenty dioceses in the southern province of Canterbury. The particular strength of the diocesan archive at Canterbury is the sequence of libri cleri or visitation books from 1540 to the civil war, a representative sample of which have been extracted into the database. That for 1569 (CCA, Dcb/Z.3.10 part 3) is a survey by Archbishop Parker, with information about the marital status, residence, hospitality, pluralism, and preaching record of the diocesan clergy. There is a similar survey for thirteen incumbents in the deanery of the Arches in 1561–2 (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 97, fo. 97r).

The registers as sources for appointments to benefices and cathedral offices

The archiepiscopal registers record institutions and collations in the diocese and peculiars, including to chantries for 1540–5, as well as appointments to cathedral posts notably canonries, minor canonries and the office of Six Preachers, which was established at the refoundation of the cathedral in 1541. The registers also include business transacted during archiepiscopal vacancies, with the exception of 1553–6, which is filled from the printed edition of the sede vacante institutions by Canterbury chapter. The only gap in the registers occurs after 1639, and to remedy this institutions have been extracted from the returns to the First Fruits Office for 1638–50 (The National Archives, PRO E331 Canterbury/10–12). There are a small number of resignations deeds for 1633–8 (VC 1A/8).

Other appointments ( curates, preachers and lecturers, schoolmasters etc).

The licensing of curates, preachers and schoolmasters is recorded in the archiepiscopal registers and in the licensing books for 1568–1640, while the names of those in post occurs in the libri cleri. These three sources also record the names of preachers and schoolmasters. A particularly large number of preaching licences were granted at Archbishop Laud’s second visitation of Canterbury diocese, in 1637, as recorded in the licensing book for 1635–7. In archiepiscopal visitations of 1607 and 1634 each parish had to be report if they had or had not a curate or schoolmaster, so it is possible to establish precise numbers of curates and schoolmasters for those years (CCA, Dcb/V/V/11a, 45). Similar evidence is found in archiepiscopal libri cleri for 1615 and 1630, which have not been extracted (CCA, Dcb/V/V/25, 43). A small number of schoolmasters were licensed to teach in specified peculiars of the archbishop of Canterbury.

Ordinations

Archbishops rarely held ordinations themselves, though are a few conducted by Matthew Parker and George Abbot. The registers do contain plenty of letters dimissory, usually for ordination elsewhere, and dispensations for candidates to be ordained although under canonical age, as deacon and priest on the same day or at non-canonical seasonal, as well as non-specific dispensations to be ordained. Much of this business is provincial rather than diocesan.

Records of the dean and chapter of Canterbury cathedral

The records of the dean and chapter are held in the cathedral, and have not as yet been extracted.

1660-1758 (from the Restoration to the commencement of the archiepiscopate of Thomas Secker in 1758).

In preparation.

Episcopal Registers, etc. as sources for institutions and collations

In preparation.

Other appointments ( curates, preachers and lecturers, schoolmasters etc).

In preparation.

Ordinations

In preparation.

Visitation records and other clerical lists

In preparation.

Records of the dean and chapter of Canterbury cathedral

In preparation.

From 1758 to 1835 (from the appointment of Thomas Secker as archbishop to the end of the period covered by the database).

In preparation.

Episcopal registers, etc. as sources for institutions and collations

In preparation.

Other appointments (curates, preachers and lecturers, schoolmasters etc).

In preparation.

Clergy lists

In preparation.

Ordinations

In preparation.

Records of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury

In preparation.