Opening the electronic gateway to the Church of England
Details of the extensive collection of archives and manuscripts cared for by Lambeth Palace Library and the Church of England Record Centre are now available online through a searchable catalogue.
The move means that readers worldwide can search the joint catalogue of these archives of the Church’s National Institutions via the Lambeth Palace Library website, www.lambethpalacelibrary.org. The development will enable users to retrieve information from almost 130,000 records across the two sites.
Lambeth Palace Library
As the historic library of the Archbishops of Canterbury, the collections comprise a great wealth of material reflecting the role of the Archbishop and the Church of England in national life, covering many subjects and ranging in date from charters of c.1100 - soon after the Norman Conquest - to correspondence of 20th-century church figures. Data now available online includes:
- papers of the Archbishops spanning a century, 1862-1961 - some 2,200 volumes covering the great variety of religious, political and social subjects on which they corresponded
- papers of the Lambeth Conferences, 1867-1968, relating to the worldwide Anglican Communion, ecclesiastical and theological affairs
- estate documents, charters and testamentary records from the archives of the Archbishops, dating from the 12th century to the 20th century
- visitation returns including the diocese of Canterbury, 1758-1935, documenting religious and social life in many parishes in Kent and other counties, of interest to local historians and others
The project to convert the catalogues and indexes at Lambeth Palace Library to electronic format is supported by funds generously donated by many charities and individuals following a public appeal. Further collections will become available regularly: the ultimate aim is to make all existing descriptions of the archive and manuscript collections (some 40,000 pages in total) available online in time for the 400th anniversary of the Library’s foundation in 2010.
Church of England Record Centre
The Record Centre holds the archives of the central institutions of the Church of England and their predecessor organisations relating to the organisation and activities of the Anglican Church in England, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as holding the records of some external church bodies. Data available online includes:
- part of the archive of the Governors of the Bounty of Queen Anne for the Augmentation of the Maintenance of the Poorer Clergy, 1704-1948
- records of HM Commissioners for Building New Churches, 1818-1856
- part of the archive of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England, 1836-1948
- part of the archive of the National Society, from 1811
- records of the Society of Patrons of the Anniversary of the Charity Schools, 1706-1896
- the Church of England Sunday School Institute archive, 1843-1941
- part of the archive of the British Council of Churches, 1942-1990
The archives and manuscripts catalogue sits alongside the electronic catalogue to printed books, the creation of which was funded by public support and which has been freely available online since 2002.