Post-Reformation sources for the Church of England

Diocesan records

Study of St Bernard by Edward Burne-Jones for a window of the Church of St Mary the Virgin Mother, Margam, West Glamorgan, 1873 (Whitworth Art Gallery) Gothic Revival design for Church of St Oudoceus, Llandogo by J.C.Carter and J.P.Seddon, c.1890 (National Library of Wales)During the Commonwealth England and Wales followed Scotland in turning Presbyterian. In 1643 Parliament abolished diocesan administration and in 1646 the offices of archbishop and bishop were formally abolished. However, the situation was reversed at the Restoration in 1660, so the break in diocesan records was comparatively short.

Diocesan records in England are held either in the diocesan registry or the county record office. D. M. Owen, The Records of the Established Church in England, excluding Parochial Records (1970) lists locations.

The Church in Wales came into being in 1920 with the disestablishment of the Church of England within Wales. All the early diocesan and capitular records were transferred to the National Library. A good survey of these records will be found in J. Conway Davies, 'The records of the Church in Wales', National Library of Wales Journal, vol. 4 (1945), 1-34.

The visitation books of bishops and archdeacons, particularly 18th-century archdeacons, note the state of the fabric of churches. No alteration could be made to the fabric of a church or churchyard without faculties or licences granted by the bishop, which from around 1600 should be recorded in faculty petitions and books. From the 19th century the diocesan records often contain detailed correspondence about new building works, with estimates, bills and plans. Some catalogues of diocesan records are in print.

Lambeth Palace Library

Holds the archive of the archbishops of Canterbury. It includes archbishops' registers (some of which have been published in calendar by the Canterbury and York Society) and 16th and 17th-century surveys of clergy and churches. The records of the Incorporated Church Building Society 1840-80, held here, are useful for the many new churches built in the 19th century. For further details see the entry for LPL in the archives section.

Church Commissioners for England

The records of the CCE (established 1948) embrace those of its predecessors, the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty, the Church Building Commissioners and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England. They are housed in the Church of England Record Centre.