CCEd is a valuable online resource for librarians and their readers. Those interested in clerical biographies, local or family history, the professions, or the institutional history of the Church of England and the wider culture of the period will find resources here to explore.
The CCEd consists of two linked elements: a relational database and a website. The database gathers in one place archival material documenting clerical careers between 1540 and 1835 gathered from over fifty widely scattered repositories. There are, of course, many printed lists of incumbents for English and Welsh dioceses, but coverage is far from universal for the period included in the database, and even those that do exist can be supplemented, and quite often corrected, by the evidence it contains. However, we have also reconstructed the careers of curates and chaplains to gaols, workhouses and hospitals, often rather transitory and poorly-recorded figures who have been ignored in most published lists of clergy. Additionally, the database has fairly full records of ecclesiastical patronage, not just by the crown and bishops, but by many individual lay people, including women, which adds new information to their biographies. The database also contains many records about schools (private, charitable or petty) and school teachers, which adds considerably to our current knowledge in printed sources.
The CCED website which houses the database itself also contains essential information about the structure of the Church including its complex types of location, the stages of the clerical career, glossaries of terms, lists of bishops, dioceses and parishes, and, for each diocese, we have begun providing maps, histories, lists of links and lists of manuscript sources and bibliographies of printed sources. Readers should find must of use here on the Church as an ecclesiastical and social institution, and on the history of the clerical and teaching professions, which complements and augments existing resources in print.
It is recommended that librarians directing their users to the CCEd for more information point out to such users the various introductions provided here, and also the very important ‘How to use the Database’ section of the website, which provides vital information on how best to interrogate and then interpret the vast body of data the CCEd now contains. It is important, for example, that users under the nature of the ‘career narratives’ which the Database provides rather than biographies; it may also be helpful to recommend to users to consult CCEd in combination with resources such as Venn and Foster’s lists of alumni of Oxford and Cambridge, the volumes of the Victoria County History and The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.