Report on the Manchester CCEd conference 2006

Document Contents

This report is based on notes taken at the conference by Mary Clayton. It should not be regarded as a definitive account of what was said. Anyone who wishes to obtain further information about any of the papers is recommended to contact the speaker direct.


Jeremy Gregory and Arthur Burns:

Jeremy welcomed all to Manchester and thanked the CCEd team for instigating the conference. In praising the efforts of the CCEd team he reminisced on his time as a graduate student and wished that this resource had been around then.Arthur gave an overview of the project, and what we are doing now – record linkage and the development of the career narratives tool. He highlighted the interactivity of the project, the contacts we have made with interested parties across the world, the development of the ‘on-line journal’, and the ‘notes and queries’ sections of the website where contributions from genealogists are welcome.

Was the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry a ‘Northern diocese ’?

Paper delivered by ARTHUR BURNS and STEPHEN TAYLOR

Commentator: Kenneth Fincham

Stephen focused on the geographical and jurisdictional structure of the diocese, ie location. The diocese had characteristics found in both ‘northern’ and ‘southern’ dioceses as outlined by Mather.

Databases like order, rationality and hierarchy, but the Anglican Church was irrational, non-bureaucratic and non-hierarchical. It was basically still a medieval institution, so therefore it has been difficult to construct a coherent structure. Coventry and Lichfield had many peculiars, and many large parishes, especially in Derbyshire, like much of northern England, where many townships were included in one parish. Work has had to be undertaken on the nature and history of chapelries, to make sense of the locations that have appeared in the records. This has shown that different structures and different clerical communites existed in parishes such as Bakewell.

We have found a large number of schoolmasters licensed to townships and chapelries, sometimes before the known existence of a chapel, which may suggest that schoolmasters, many of whom were laymen were helping to fill the pastoral gap in these locations, and provide pastoral services.

Arthur: Work done so far on areas within the diocese of Lichfield have tended to focus on specific counties, not the diocese as a whole. However, it should not be assumed that findings of regionally based research are necessarily true for the national church. He called for greater understanding of pluralism, especially long distance pluralism at a time when even traveling short distances could be problematic, and geographical knowledge was minimal. He suggested that pluralism should not be thought of as absence, but multiple presence.

Many of the Lichfield ordinands were graduates, and in this respect Lichfield is more like Rochester than say Carlisle. And there were, of course, clerics who were not graduates when ordained but graduated later in their careers.

It seems that Derbyshire and Shropshire have more ‘northern’ attributes whilst Warwckshire and Staffordshire have more ‘southern’ characteristics. But all dioceses were part of a national movement, linked by a national doctrine, and national university education system, and also linked to the London-based press, although they lived in structures that had a local identity.

Panel: The Cathedral and Diocesan Administrators

Ian Atherton (Keele): ‘The Northern cathedral’

Between 1540 and 1649 Cathedrals were seen as a left over from the Catholic church. There were five types:

  • those of the old foundation like York, who had a dean and a large number of prebendaries
  • former monastic churches, re-founded after the dissolution, like Durham, which had a dean and chapter
  • ‘new foundation’, funded out of the spoils of the Reformation, like Chester
  • Sodor and Man, that had no dean and chapter, but were headed by the bishop
  • collegiate churches.

With the development of the Laudian church, altars were set up and new ceremonies instigated. Cathedrals were seen as worship centres, as the mother church with the parishes like the daughters. Various roles existed for cathedrals before Laudianism gave them a specific Laudian one. They combatted catholicism, having strong non-conformist elements within. They were also centres of preaching.

There was nothing distinctive about the northern cathedrals as opposed to the southern ones. Differences were more a result of factors such as financial resources, individual bishops, and interaction with town corporations etc. Cathedrals were seen as powerhouses of preaching. This particularly applied to the collegiate churches.

Andrew Foster (Chichester) and John Hawkins (SRA, CCEd): ‘Diocesan chancellors in the northern provmce 1540–1700’

Andrew and John are constructing a database of diocesan chancellors which, when finished, will be added to CCEd. Chancellors where the ‘Sir Humphreys’ of the diocese and were very powerful men. In the sixteenth century most were clerics, but not so later on. From the seventeenth century all were graduates, and many had law degrees. Chancellors tended to serve for longer than bishops, and were also usually from higher social backgrounds than the bishops.

Nigel Yates (University of Wales, Lampeter): The case of the diocese of Sodor and Man

Paper delivered by NIGEL YATES (University of Wales, Lampeter).

Nigel started with a brief history of the diocese. There are few documents for the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. The church courts were still very active in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. There was very little pluralism. During the eighteenth century Manx was gradually replaced by English, and in the nineteenth century the language began to die out, but the clergy were still required to speak it so that they could preach and take services in Manx. Distinct clerical dynasties were a feature of the diocese, with about half the island’s clergy being related to each other at any one time.

During the period 1649–60 the Anglican church continued normally, unlike the rest of England and Wales. After 1661 diocesan administration was good, and all church building either restored or rebuilt. There were fifteen Methodist chapels on the island by 1800. This growth of methodism flourished with Anglican support, with many people attending Anglican services in the morning and Methodist ones in the evening.

In discussion the issue of men who had difficulty being ordained elsewhere being ordained by Sodor and Man bishops was raised.

Clergy lists, chapels and curates: some observations and problems from Derbyshire 1558–1662

Paper delivered by RICHARD CLARK

Richard admitted to being an obsessive clergy lister, addicted to order and chronology, and hating gaps.

Patterns of worship in chapels remains unclear, as some chapels are listed in some visitation, but not in others. There does seem to be a link between poor education of curates, poor livings and poor pastoral care, but there were many exceptions. By 1620–30 most clergy in Debyshire were graduates The turnover of clergy in chapelries is higher than for benefices. Curates serving chapelries tend to be younger and at the beginning of their careers. Patronage was important to the development of many careers. There are lots of curate names that appear only once in the clergy lists. There was little sign that the people considered the chapelry provision to be a ‘second rate’ service.

Panel: Current postgraduate research

Alex Craven (Manchester Metropolitan): ‘“The Reason of the People’s Backwardness”: The Lancashire Presbyterian Ministers and the Commonwealth of England’

Lancashire in 1649 was the most catholic county in England, witchcraft was widespread, but a Presbyterian system has been established. The clergy were royalists, who were against the republican government, and disseminated anti-government propaganda. They resisted taking the Oath of Engagement, and several ministers were arrested for seditious preaching, but they did not support the Covenanters. Action against them was not as harsh as would have been expected as they were needed to counter the Catholicism of the area.

David Wilson (Manchester): Clergy and pastoral care in Madeley parish 1660–1815

The parish of Madeley is split between the dioceses of Hereford and Lichfield. It was the center of the East Shropshire coalfield. Colebrookdale was at the southern end of the parish. All incumbents in the period were graduates.. In the eighteenth century all but one were either non-resident or pluralists or both, but they provided curates. The vestry was active, poor relief was administered well, the sick were visited and services performed. There were a number of Catholics, and the communities were well integrated. There was a growth in the number of ale houses as part of popular culture.

Roundtable Discussion: The pastoral role of the northern clergy in the long eighteenth century

Participants: Michael Snape, Jeremy Gregory, Stephen Taylor

Jeremy: In the long eighteenth century ‘northern’ and ‘industrial’ tend to become synonymous in much of the literature. Alan Gilbert has stated that, with the expanding urban population that occurred with industrialization, local clergy could not cope and were overwhelmed. This made room for the methodists and Evangelicals. In addition, certain members of the clergy were personally ineffectual. Mark Smith’s study of Oldham and Saddleworth gives a more optimistic view of the situation.

This led him to three questions:

  • How inflexible and static was the church? (Seven churches were built in Manchester in eighteenth century.)
  • Was it church versus chapel, or was it church with chapels and other groups together?
  • How far is the CCEd going to help to answer these questions? Will it tll us about the pastoral work of the church?

Michael commented on the subject of church building. It was not even simple to build chapels in larger parishes. Who paid for what? Who organized it? With new chapels, the clergy of the existing parish or chapelry were reluctant to lose the income form baptisms and burials for the part of the parish to be served by the new chapel. This was confirmed as a problem that arose with Manchester Collegiate Church by Chris Hunwick, archivist of Manchester Cathedral.


Ian Atherton, University of Keele.
E-mail: i.j.atherton[at]

Arthur Burns, King’s College London.
E-mail: arthur.burns[at]

Richard Clark:Alex Craven, Manchester Metropolitan University

Kenneth Fincham, University of Kent at Canterbury.
E-mail: k.c.fincham[at]

Andrew Foster, University of Chichester.
E-mail: A.Foster[at]

Jeremy Gregory, University of Manchester.
E-mail: jeremy.gregory[at]

John Hawkins, Senior Research Assistant, CCEd Project

Michael Snape, University of Birmingham.
E-mail: m.f.snape[at]

Stephen Taylor, University of Reading.
E-mail: s.j.c.taylor[at]

David Wilson, University of Manchester

Nigel Yates, University of Wales, Lampeter.
E-mail: n.yates[at]