RepositoryCheshire Record Office
LevelCollection (Fonds)
TitleDiocese of Chester records
Date16th century-21st century
DescriptionAdministration Bishop's act books 1502-1955: ordinations and appointments of clergy, indexed 1752-1955. Whole diocese (EDA 1) Bishop's registers 1525-1944: church alterations, new buildings, churchyards, parish boundaries etc, indexed 1746-1900. Whole diocese (EDA 2, 3/2) Subscription books 1669-1979: oaths and declarations of clergy, schoolmasters etc. Whole diocese (EDA 4) Ordination papers 1689-1979: baptism certificates, testimonials etc, incomplete before 1838. Whole diocese (EDA 5) Parish bundles 16-20th cents.: papers relating to clergy, church fabric, parsonage houses, glebe, schools etc. Cheshire only (EDP) Faculties 1977-2000 (EDP) Register of transfers 1898-1973: transfers of rights of patronage, indexed. Cheshire only (EDA 18) Archdeacon's certificates to repair 1971-9: authorisations for church maintenance and repair (EDA 19) Marriage act books 1606-1945: whole diocese (EDC 7). Abstracts and indexes published 1606-1700 in Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society volumes 53, 56, 57, 61, 69, 73, 77 Marriage bonds and allegations 1661-1979: Cheshire and South Lancs. (EDC 8). Abstracts and indexes published 1700-19 in Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society volumes 82, 85, 97, 101 Court of High Commission 1543, 1562-73: Crown Commissioners appointed to enforce prescribed forms of worship. Whole Diocese (EDA 12) Diocesan and Parliamentary Returns Bishop's transcripts 16-20th cent.: copies of baptism, marriage and burial registers, Cheshire parishes and Bangor, Hanmer, Overton, Worthenbury (Flintshire) and Holt, Isycoed (Denbighshire) (EDB) Tithe maps and apportionments 1838-5 1: large scale maps, schedule supplying name of owner, occupier, premises, state of cultivation, acreage and rent charge. Most Cheshire townships (EDT) see MAPS AND PLANS Dissenters' places of worship 1752-1852. Whole diocese (EDA 13) Returns of valuations of benefices 1704-6,1716-18, papists 1706, 1717,1767, schools and charities 1716-19, 1718-25, 1815, townships and churchwardens 1724. Whole diocese (EDA 6) Returns of parochial statistics 1918-38 (EDA 7) Returns of health of clergy 1971-2: (restricted access) (EDA 11) Registrar Precedent books c. 1640-18th cent. (EDR 6,EDD); memoranda books 1575-1873 (EDR 5); letterbooks 1859- 1935 (EDR 3); correspondence 1699-1907 (EDR 4);financial records 1706-1912 (EDR 1,2, EDD) Consistory Court Court books 1502-1976: before 1541, volumes refer to court of archdeacon of Chester, mainly matrimonial, testamentary and tithe cases (EDC 1) Court papers 1525-1860: detailed list to 1731 (EDC 5) Depositions books 1529-74: evidence of witnesses (EDC 2) Citations books 1693-1944: requiring appearance at court (EDC 3, EDD 1) Caveat books 1587-1791: court warnings preventing certain diocesan actions (EDC 4) Penances and excommumcations 1606-1786 (EDC 6, EDX) Surrogates' papers 1754-1949: bonds of surrogates undertaking the issue of marriage licences, probate etc (EDA 9) Visitation Articles of enquiry 18-19th cents.: incumbents' answers to questions about church services, charities, schools, parsonage, patron, dissenters, papists. Whole diocese (EDA 6, EDV 7, Mf 44) Terriers 1662-1938: inventories of church property. Cheshire only (EDV 8) Clergy call booksc. 1532-62,1671-1908: early volumes give details of clergy, schoolmasters, surgeons, midwives; from 18th cent. clergy only. Mainly archdeaconry of Chester, some whole diocese (EDV 2) Churchwardens and sidesmens call books 1670-1975: archdeaconry of Chester to 1844, whole diocese from 1849 (EDV 3); Correction books 1554-1781: clergy etc. misdemeanours. Mainly Chester archdeaconry (EDV 1) Churchwardens presentments 17- 19th cents.: uninformative from mid- 1 8th cent., unsorted (EDV 5) Personal and miscellaneous Bishop Bridgeman's register: transcripts of records collected by John Bridgeman, Bishop of Chester 1619-43; Ms calendar. Whole diocese (EDA 3) Gastrell's Notitia Cestriensis: historical notes compiled by Francis Gastrell, Bishop of Chester 1714-25. Whole diocese (EDA 3). Printed for Lancashire and Cheshire in Chetham Society Old Series, volumes 8, 19, 2 1, 22 and for Welsh portions in Cheshire Sheaf 3rd series, volume 6 Diocesan calendars 1859-1988, gazettes 1887-1936 and leaflets 1953-2007 (EDA 15, EDD 3913, EDA 16) Diocesan Secretary: Boards, Committees and Societies The nineteenth century witnessed a proliferation of diocesan organisations and today the administration of these and their successors and the management of the majority of the diocesan boards, committees, societies and affiliated bodies are organised from Diocesan House under the direction of the Diocesan Secretary. Records received are generally minutes, reports and accounts. Bishop's Council and Diocesan Council 1967-80 (ED 3952); Conference 1882-1969 (EDNI 9, ED 3952); Board of Finance (formerly Finance Association) 1873-1974 (EDNI 11, ED 3952); Board of Education 1867- 1919 (EDM 3); Board of Church Social Work (formerly Moral Welfare, formerly Association for Promotion of Social Purity) 1922-75 (EDM 2); Missionary Council (formerly Board of Missions) 1907-65 (EDM 4); Evangelistic Board 1923-31 (EDM 10); Dilapidations Board 1939-74 (ED 4010); Pensions Fund Board (formerly Clergy Pensions Fund) 1887-1970 (EDM 7); Church Schools Association (Diocesan Education Association) 1897-1952 (ELM 6); Missionary Studentship Association 1859-1925 (EDM 14); Diocesan Advisory Committee 1970-83 (ED4105); Building Committee of Board of Finance quinquennial inspections 1955-78 (ED 3952); Union of Benefices Committee 1925-39 (EDM 20); Pastoral Committee 1957-74 (ED 3952); War Emergency Committee 193945 (ED 3952); Press and Publications Sub-Committee (formerly Publications Committee) 1955-68 (ED 3952); Cheshire Churches Planning Committee 1964-70 (ED 3952); Benefices Augmentation Fund 1870-1959 (EDM 1, ED 3952); Church Building Society 1879-1950 (EDM 5); Warrington Institutions 1940-55 cash book only (see SCHOOLS: Warrington Training College formain group) (EDNI 2 1); Spiritual Aid Fund 1896-1959 (EDM 17, ED 3952); Ordination Candidates Fund 1911 - 62 (EDM 16, ED 3952); Occasional Duty Fund 1934-63 (EDM 15) Affiliated Bodies Moral Welfare Associations and Homes: Altrincham, Bowdon, Knutsford and district 1912-68 (EDM 22, 27); Chester and district 1951-69 (EDM 23); Stockport and Mottram 1950-73 (EDM 26); Crewe and district 1924-59 (EDM 24); Macclesfield, Congleton and district 1928-75 (EDM 25); the Girls' Home (formerly House of Shelter) 1885-1949 (ELM 12); St Bridget's Home (formerly House of Mercy) 1888-1972 (EDM 18); Stockport House of Refuge 1894-1959 (EDM 28) Guild of Bellringers: Chester 1919-72 (EDM 13) Stockport and Mottram Church Aid Society: 1911-79 (EDM 19)
Administrative HistoryThe diocese of Chester was founded in 1541 out of the dioceses of York and Lichfield and Coventry. Geographically, it comprised the whole of Lancashire and Cheshire, parts of Yorkshire, Cumberland and Westmorland, Flintshire and Denbighshire. It was divided into two archdeaconries: the archdeaconry of Richmond to the north of the River Ribble in Lancashire and the archdeaconry of Chester to the south of it, the latter including all of south Lancashire and Cheshire (see Victoria County History of Cheshire volume 3). The main series of diocesan records are at the Chester Diocesan Record Office, part of the Cheshire Record Office.Those which relate exclusively to the eastern deaneries of the archdeaconry of Richmond are at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds; many relating to the western deaneries are at the Lancashire Record Office, which also holds the main probate series. Other classes of records (eg tithe, wills) have been split on a geographical basis between those offices, the Cumbria Record Office and the National Library of Wales. The diocese was reduced in size by the creation of the dioceses of Manchester in 1847 and Liverpool in 1880, and by the transfer of certain parishes to the dioceses of St Asaph in 1849 and Carlisle in 1856. Series continue to be received from two sources. Those relating to the functions of the bishop, his chancellor and registrar are received from the Diocesan Registrar and Legal Secretary and are listed first. Records resulting from the management of diocesan boards, committees, societies and affiliated bodies are generally received via the Diocesan Secretary. Access: 50 year closure period.
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