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Introduction

The surviving records relating to the diocesan administration of the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry and some of the records of the dean and chapter of Lichfield are held in the Lichfield Record Office.

Contact details:

Lichfield Record Office, The Friary, Lichfield WS13 6QG
Email: lichfield.record.office@staffordshire.gov.uk
Online catalogue: http://www.archives.staffordshire.gov.uk/DServe/DServe.exe?dsqApp=Archive2&dsqCmd=Index.tcl
Tel: 01543 510720

Unless otherwise indicated, all the records discussed are held in the Lichfield Record Office.

  • 1540 to 1660 (Reformation to Restoration)
  • 1660 to 1756 (from the Restoration to the commencement of the episcopate of Frederick Cornwallis in 1750).
  • 1750 to 1835 (from the appointment of Frederick Cornwallis as bishop to the end of the period covered by the database).

1540 to 1660 (Reformation to Restoration)

In preparation.

1660–1750 (from the Restoration to the commencement of the episcopate of Frederick Cornwallis in 1750).

In preparation.

From 1750 to 1835 (from the appointment of Frederick Cornwallis as bishop to the end of the period covered by the database).

As the account of the diocese itself indicates, Lichfield and Coventry was not only a big diocese, but an unusually complex one in terms of its internal geography, largely on account of the number and variety of peculiar jurisdictions it contained. The surviving records of the diocese are accordingly complex, and the user needs to be alert as to precisely what is contained in any volume that is being considered. However, the good news is that the records that do survive are well maintained and full of detail, enabling us to be fairly confident that we have achieved a pretty good account of the modern clerical events in the diocese after 1750.

Episcopal registers, etc. as sources for institutions and collations

Whereas in the diocese of Lincoln the size of the jurisdiction was reflected in a series of equally mighty registers, in Lichfield and Coventry the registers were kept manageable and covered only a small period each. B/A/1/21 (on the cover, ‘Act Book from 21 July 1749 to the 6 Sept 1768’) covers the episcopate of Bishop Frederick Cornwallis. As in the other registers, many of the institutions and collations it describes were carried out by commission, complicating the records which need to be extracted. B/A/1/22 (Act Book from Dec 1768 to 19 July 1771) is devoted to the episcopate of John Egerton; B/A/1/23 (Entry Book 1771), containing records from 9 September 1771 to June 1777, covers both the episcopate of Brownlow North (1771–4) and the first years of Richard Hurd. Some of the records here helpfully record dates of ordination as part of record of appointments. B/A/1/24 (Lichfield and Coventry Act Book), recording events from 1 July 1777 to the end of 1785 sees out Hurd to the end of his episcopate in 1781, and includes the first years of James Cornwallis. B/A/1/25 (‘Episcopal Reg of the Honble James Cornwallis Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry 1786 to 1791’) covers events from 28 January 1786 to 6 June 1791. B/A/1/26 (The Episcopal Register of the Honble Rt Rev James Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry from June 1791 to July 1797) continues the coverage of Cornwallis’s tenure, as does B/A/1/27, a much smaller affair which deals with the period from to August 1797 to 28 May 1801. B/A/1/28 (Episcopal Register 1801 to 1820) covers from 1 July 1801 to May 1820, but it is only with B/A/1/29 (Episcopal Reg 1820 to 1836) that we finally reach the end of Cornwallis is long episcopate, and Henry Ryder’s tenure takes us to the end of the period covered by the Database.

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

Once more the registers, B/A/1/21–9 are a major source. From the outset they record appointments to both perpetual and assistant curacies (giving nominators and stipends). A fair number of schoolmasters are also recorded. All such records of licensings have been extracted from the registers. In some cases curates are recorded not as being licensed but as being given ‘permission to serve’. Later on, they record chaplains being appointed to gaols, etc., but the curates disappear once separate records of their licences were maintained beginning in 1813. These separate bound volumes of copies of curates’ licences have also been extracted in full: B/A/11/2 A (1813–17), B (1817–24), C (1824–6), D (1826–30), E (1830–4) and F (1834–40), from the last of which only those records up to and including 31 December 1835 have been recorded.

Both the episcopal and curates registers have been cross checked against subscription books. On the whole, there is no evidence that these provide significant additional coverage although where individual records have been identified which relate to events not recorded in the registers they have been extracted. The one major exception to this is the register of Bishop Frederick Cornwallis which proved to have omitted schoolmasters and curates in significant numbers. We have therefore extracted all records of licensings from B/A/4A/34–6, subscription books for 1749–57, 1757–64, and 1764–73 respectively. The rest is small beer: B/A/4A/16 (Subscription book 1784) yielded two schoolmasters at Gnosall for 1752 and 1761;3 B/A/4A/8 (Subscription book 1781–1792) produced two additional curates; B/A/4A/41 (Bishop’s subscription book 1805–9) the licences for those ordained on 24 January 1806; B/A/4A/44 (Bishop’s subscription book 1825–34) a small number of schoolmasters.

Clergy lists

No diocesan clergy lists have been extracted for this period in the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, save for those published by David Robinson for the Staffordshire Record Society by George Hodson as archdeacon of Stafford in 1829–31: A/V/1/2.

Ordinations

The registers are the main source here, B/A/1/21–9. In the first few volumes the records generally give the titles on which candidates were ordained. Letters dimissory are recorded from B/A/1/23. Checks on the subscription books have not revealed any additional ordinations.

Records of peculiar jurisdictions

The unusually large number and complexity of peculiars in the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry means that a large number of records have had to be recovered from deposits associated with these peculiars.

Dean's, and Dean and Chapter's peculiar

Relevant records for curates, schoolmasters, and incumbents have been entered from D30/1/2/62 (Dean and Chapter Subscription book, 1660–1755) and D30/1/2/63 (Dean and Chapter Subscription book, 63 1715–1806); D30/1/2/64 (Dean and Chapter’s Subscription Book 1806–76) has been entered for all records up to 31 December 1835. D30/9/1 (Benefice Papers 1750–1835) has been used as a source of nomination papers, etc. D/D/A/4A/1 (Dean’s Subscription Book) yields four subscriptions.

Prebend of Alrewas

Relevant records have been extracted from the following sources: PAl/A/11A (Nominations of curates 1738–1803); PAl/A/7 (Resignations – one record only); PAl/A/11B (Nominations of schoolmasters – one record only); PAl/V/4 (Citations and processes –1761). Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers (see above); other material is found in D30/9/1.

Manor of Baddesley Clinton

No records recovered.

Prebend of Bishops Itchington

Names of clergy have been extracted from libri cleri in PBI/V/4 (Processes, 1827–9). Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers (see above); other material is in D30/9/1.

Prebend of Bishops Tachbrook

PTa/V/4 (Citations and processes 1731–76) has had all clerical names extracted from the liber cleri. Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers (see above); other material is in D30/9/1.

Royal Free Chapel of Bridgnorth

In preparation.

Burton upon Trent

Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers; curates appear in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813. (See above.)

Prebend of Colwich

Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers; curates appear in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813. (See above.) Other material is in D30/9/1.

Prebend of Eccleshall

Names of clergy have been extracted from libri cleri in PE/V/4 (Processes and monitions 1740–19th century). PE/A/11A contains a licence for a curate in 1819. Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers; curates appear in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813. (See above.)

Prebend of Freeford

Extra-parochial.

Manor of Gnosall

Names of clergy have been extracted from libri cleri until 1835 in PGn/V/4, 5 (Citations and processes 1704–1846). Licensings of perpetual curates are found in the bishops’ registers; curates appear in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813. (See above.)

Prebend of Handsacre and Armitage

Curates and perpetual curates have been extracted from PHA/A/11A (Nominations); other material is in D30/9/1 and D30/1/2/64.

Dean of Hartington

Induction mandates for 1755 and 1827 have been extracted from PH/A/6. A subscription for 1827 and a liber cleri have been extracted from PH/A/4B (Officials’ and deans’ subscriptions). PH/A/11/B, C (Nominations) contains a schoolmaster’s nomination for 1813. Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers and subscriptions in the diocesan subscription books (see above).

Manor of Knowle and Temple Balsall

Some relevant entries are found in the bishops’ registers and subscription books. No other records have yet been recovered.

Prebend of Longdon

Relevant entries have been extracted from PL/A/11 A, C (Nominations 1719–1810). Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers; curates appear in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813. (See above.) Other material is in D30/9/1.

Manor of Longdon-upon-Tern

No records have yet been recovered.

Prebend of High Offley and Flixton

Institutions are found in the bishops’ registers; curates appear in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813. (See above.) Other material is in D30/9/1 and D30/1/2/63–4.

Manor of Packwood

One licensing of a perpetual curate appears in the bishop’s register for 1786 (see above). No other records have yet been recovered.

Royal Free Chapel of Penkridge

Clerical appointments up to 31 Dec. 1835 have been extracted from PpeA/4A (Subscription book 1797–1848). Records relating to curates and schoolmasters have been extracted from PPe/A/11 (Nominations and resignations of curates) and PPe/A/11B (Nominations of schoolmasters). Resignations of officials have been extracted from PPe/A/28. Other material is in D30/1/2/63, and the bound diocesan curates’ licences (see above).

Prebend of Prees or Pipa Minor

Details of clergy have been extracted from libri cleri records up to 31 Dec. 1835 in PPr/V/4 (Citations and processes 1697–1845) and PPr/A/7, 11A (Nominations of curates). Institutions and some licensings are found in bishops’ registers and the licensings of curates post-1813 in diocesan curates’ registers (see above). Other material is in D30/9/1.

Prebend of Sawley

Nominations of perpetual curates are found in D30/9/1 and D30/1/2/63–4. Curates are recorded in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813 (see above).

Royal Free Chapel of Shrewsbury St Mary

Relevant records have been extracted from PSh/A/28 (Appointments of officials). Relevant records have been extracted for the period up to 1835 from PSh/A/11A (Nominations of curates 1743–1851) and PSh/V/4 (Citations 1738–1846). Further materials have been collected from Shropshire Record Office.

Royal Free Chapel of Tettenhall

Relevant records have been extracted from PTe/A/11A (Nominations and resignations of curates, 1797–1841) and PTe/A/28 (Appointment of Officials). Records for the period 1753–1835 have been extracted from PTe/V/4 (citations and processes). Some further records are in PWol/A/4A/1 and PpeA/4A.

Prebend of Ufton Decani

Nominations of perpetual curates have been extracted from D30/9/1 and D30/1/2/63. Curates are recorded in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813 (see above).

Prebend of Weeford

A curate’s nomination, 1811, has been extracted from PWe/A/11A. Other material is in D30/9/1 and D30/1/2/63. Curates are recorded in the bishops’ registers and bound curate licence volumes (see above).

Prebend of Whittington and Baswich

Nominations of perpetual curates have been extracted from D30/9/1 and D30/1/2/63, 4. Curates are recorded in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813 (see above).

Royal Free Chapel of Wolverhampton

All clerical appointments up to 31 Dec. 1835 have been extracted from PWol/A/1/1 (Act Book 1752–1818) and PWol/A/1/2 (Act Book 1819–39). All clerical and schoolmasters’ subscriptions have been extracted from PWol/A/4A/1 (Subscription book 1719–1800). Some later curates’ licences are recorded in the bound diocesan volumes (see above).

Manor of Wombridge

From 1780s perpetual curates are recorded in the diocesan records. Curates’ licences are recorded in the bound diocesan volumes after 1813 (see above); before then appointments have been extracted from D30/1/2/63.

Records of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield

The act books of the Lichfield cathedral chapter, held in the cathedral library, have not yet been incorporated into the Database. However, some other records are held in the Lichfield Record Office. D30/1/2/63 (Dean and Chapter’s Subscription Book 1715–1806) includes curates, schoolmasters and some incumbents in parishes in the peculiar jurisdiction of the chapter and individual prebendaries, and dignitaries and priest vicars; D30/1/2/64 (Dean and Chapter’s Subscription Book 1806–76) includes records relating to the appointment of canon residentiaries, prebendaries, and priest vicars in the cathedral, as well as perpetual curates, lecturers, curates and schoolmasters in parishes in the peculiar jurisdiction of the chapter and of individual prebendaries. We have recovered all records of this type up to and including 31 December 1835.