Tracing clergy from the Diocese of Winchester

Printed sources


Clerical directories give brief details of the careers of all Church of England clergy in post at the date of the particular volume. We have a Clergy List for 1845 and Crockford's clerical directories for a selection of years between 1877 and 1994.

Dictionaries and lists

Dictionaries and lists of Oxford and Cambridge alumni compiled in the 19th and 20th centuries often give career details of clergymen since many were graduates of universities. We have Foster’s Alumni Oxonienses 1500 to 1886, Venn’s Alumni Cantabrigienses to 1900, Wood’s Athenae Cantabrigienses 1500 to 1609 and Graduati Cantabrigienses 1760 to 1846 and 1800 to 1872.

For prominent local clergy or those with literary or political interests, we have the Dictionary of National Biography published 1890s, and a selection of Who’s Who 1931 to 1986. We also have Le Neve’s Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300 to 1857 which gives career details of important churchmen.

For 17th century clergymen, Walker Revised is a biographical dictionary of clergy who suffered during the English Civil War and Commonwealth period 1642-1660 and Calamy Revised, is a similar work relating to clergy ‘ejected or silenced’ 1660 to 1662.

For Hampshire clergymen, we hold a selection of Winchester diocesan directories 1881 to 1982; the Local Studies Library, Winchester holds other editions. The newsletter of the diocese of Winchester, the Winchester Diocesan Chronicle gives details of comings and goings in the diocese; we have these from 1893 to 1935. We also hold some individual biographies of prominent Hampshire clergy, which can be found using our online catalogue.

Manuscript sources

Diocese of Winchester

The main source of records relating to the career of clergymen is the Diocese of Winchester (ref 21M65). Until 1927 the diocese of Winchester included the counties of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (Winchester Archdeaconry) and most of Surrey (Surrey Archdeaconry). Diocesan records concerning appointments in the church will therefore contain entries for clergy from both archdeaconries.

Clergy appointments

Bishops’ registers and act books (21M65/A1-2) are the principal series of records recording the appointment of clergy, dating from 1284 and surviving in broken series until the present day. They give details of, among other things, ordinations of deacons and priests, and institutions and collations (appointments to benefices or parishes) of clergy. The largest gaps in the series of registers and act books occur between 1425 and 1447, 1616 and 1628, 1642 and 1665, and 1684 and 1743.

Some of the medieval and early modern registers have been published and these generally contain personal name and place indexes. In addition, there are personal name indexes to the two registers of William of Wykeham, 1367 to 1404 (19M54/9) and inside the bishops’ act books for the years 1876 to 1963 (21M65/A2/8-14).

All original bishops’ registers and act books before 1733 and some of the published editions and typed indexes are in Latin.

Other records relating to the appointment of clergy from the Winchester Diocesan records include ordination papers, curates’ nomination and licensing papers, presentation deeds, institution and collation papers and resignations (21M65/E1-6). In addition, the records of the Archdeacon of Winchester include induction mandates covering 1695 to 1973 which are listed individually on the online catalogue (35M48/6). These papers date for the most part from the early eighteenth century.

The records relating to clergy appointments generally supply names of parishes served, dates of appointment, and names of patrons and previous incumbents. Some, in particular the various appointment and ordination papers, may also be accompanied by testimonials and correspondence.

Other Winchester Diocesan records

The Winchester diocesan visitation books (21M65/B1) contain annotated lists of parishes, parish clergy and churchwardens, arranged by rural deanery. Holdings generally relate to the archdeaconry of Winchester (ie Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) only, and date from 1517 to 1961 (gaps in sequence up to the late seventeenth century). Where there are no bishops’ registers, they can be very useful in filling in names of incumbents and curates.

Other records which can help supply names of incumbents and dates of appointment include two registers of benefices and incumbents 1789 to 1827 and 1828 to 69 (21M65/B5/1-2), and subscription books, 1665 to 1865 (21M65/F1/2-23).

A clergyman may be charged with failing to conform to the established church, or to perform his duties adequately, which may be recorded in churchwardens’ presentments, summaries of presentments, and office act books. If he were involved in a dispute with his parishioners or with an individual over some church matter there may be some record of this in the instance act books and cause papers, many of which have been indexed.

Clergymen of Eastleigh Vicarage, 1905 Clergymen of Eastleigh Vicarage, 1905 (Finding No HPP8/P017)

Clergy of the Church of England Database

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