Author Archives: Arthur Burns

CCEd Upgrade February 2015

The CCEd is very pleased to announce that we have recently been able to implement another substantial upload of new data to the CCEd website.

As promised in January, this is notable for seeing the completion of the linkage of records for the Diocese of London since 1760 to both place and person, and the publishing of the location links for the records for the diocese of Chester since the same date. This marks a major leap forward in our coverage for the north-west of England, covering as it does parishes in Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumberland, Westmorland and west and north Yorkshire. Work is now underway on linking the Chester records to persons for the same period (it is not yet publicly available, but we are up to surnames beginning with F!)

Further south, linkage for modern records for the diocese of Gloucester is now completed with the linkage of records for surnames beginning R to Z, and a start has been made on Hereford for the same period. Linkage has been continuing for the diocese of St David’s.

For the earlier part of the database, new records have been linked from the diocese of Peterborough 1540-1640 and from the Patent Rolls 1540-1603. Both of these remain work in progress.

It is also worth noting that the London records include many relating to the church in the British empire and other overseas locations.

The clergy down under!

CCED users may well be interested in a new book just published by the Australian historian Michael Gladwin, who teaches at Charles Sturt university in Canberra. Entitled Anglican Clergy in Australia 1788-1850: Building a British World, and published by Boydell and Brewer as part of the prestigious Royal Historical Society Studies in History series, Gladwin’s book gives a fascinating account of the lives of the Anglican clergy in the early years of the settler colonies in the Australian continent. A lot of work has been published over recent years about missionaries in the British empire, but in comparison the lives and work of clergy serving the (ostensibly!) Christian communities of settlers and negotiating the challenge of working out the relations of the Church in a new political, social and geographical context has only recently begun to attract the serious attention it deserves (three other recent studies of importance in this respect have been Hilary Carey’s God’s Empire: Religion and Colonialism in the British World c.1801-1908 [Cambridge, 2011], G A Bremner’s Imperial Gothic:Religious Architecture and High Anglican Culture in the British Empire, 1840-1870 [Yale, 2013], and  Joe Hardwick’s An Anglican British world: the Church of England and the expansion of the settler empire, c. 1790-1860 [Manchester, 2014]).

Gladwin’s book focuses exclusively on Australia, and by doing so is able to offer a richly textured description of the lives of the Anglican clergy which will be of great help to anyone tracing the lives of the clerics involved in this very particular aspect of the growth of global Anglicanism. Michael made use of the CCEd in his work, which cast some light on the careers of the clerics before and in some cases after they went out to Australia, and it is particularly opportune that it should appear shortly after the traces of colonial careers to be found in the English archives began to go live on the Database website. We are delighted to see the database being used in such work. The team congratulate Dr Gladwin on his important volume  (I should declare an interest here, in that I served as Gladwin’s academic editor for the book, but I can honestly say that I have learned a very great deal from it, and that it was a fascinating and thought-provoking study).

Arthur Burns

This is how Gladwin himself summarizes the content of his book:

Anglican clergymen in Britain’s Australian colonies in their earliest years faced very particular challenges. Lacking relevant training, experience or pastoral theology, these pioneer religious professionals not only ministered to a convict population unique in the empire, but had also to engage with indigenous peoples and a free-settler population struggling with an often inhospitable environment. This was in the context of a settler empire that was being reshaped by mass migration, rapid expansion and a widespread decline in the political authority of religion and the confessional state, especially after the American Revolution.
Previous accounts have caricatured such clerics as lackeys of the imperial authorities: “moral policemen”, “flogging parsons”. Yet, while the clergy did make important contributions to colonial and imperial projects, this book offers a more wide-ranging picture. It reveals them at times vigorously asserting their independence in relation both to their religious duties and to humanitarian concern, and shows them playing an important part in the new colonies’ social and economic development, making a vital contribution to the emergence of civil society and intellectual and cultural institutions and traditions within Australia. It is only possible to understand the distinctive role that the clergy played in the light of their social origins, intellectual formation and professional networks in an expanding British World, a subject explored systematically here for the first time

Michael Gladwin, Anglican Clergy in Australia 1788-1850: Building a British World (Boydell and Brewer for the Royal Historical Society, 2015; 13 Digit ISBN: 9780861933280; £50.

2015 news from the Clergy Database

The Clergy Database team would like to wish all our users a happy new year and all the best for their researches in 2015!

We are pleased to be able to announce that another important update of the Database is about to occur, with thousands of new records becoming available in linked form. One of the most important features is the completion of linkage on all our post-1760 records for the diocese of London, a major landmark in the history of the project, involving the identification of many tricky locations (including a chapel afloat on the Thames). More progress has also been made on the many colonial and foreign records contained in the London archives, and we are beginning work on records relating to naval chaplains from the same source.

Other important additions will include: completion of linkage on the more modern records of the diocese of Gloucester; the linkage to place of post-1760 Chester records (where we have finally been able to rekey a seminal source which had become corrupted; linkage to person is now underway for these 12,000 records).

Arthur Burns

A critique of CCEd from Sinead Finn, University of Hertfordshire

Those interested in Digital Humanities and the various approaches to presenting historical data employed online might find the blog entry by Sinead Finn posted on 1 March 2014 of interest, in which she examines CCEd and questions some of its approaches to its sources. She raises some interesting points, which the team may briefly reply to at some point in the future. It is not the only recent student discussion of Digital Humanities to make use of the CCEd – we have also featured in a student blog at the University of Indiana: ‘Clergy of the Church of England Database: Is there a distinction between DH projects and tools?‘. Good to see the Database is being discussed in such forums.

CCEd update April 2014: CCEd goes global!

We are pleased to announce another upgrade of the CCEd. New data has been made available, in particular for the diocese of Canterbury in the modern era since 1780, where the data is now nearly complete save for a few records relating to schoolmasters, and which also supplies dispensation information of great value to other diocesan records in enabling the reallocation of events to specific individuals, merging records which could not previously be linked to one individual with confidence.There is also new material for the most modern period in Gloucester.

Two aspects of this upgrade should be highlighted. First, a great deal of new material for the diocese of London in the most recent and central periods of the database has been made available.There remains a significant amount of material still to be definitively linked and processed, But for the most modern period, after 1760, we have now linked all of that relating to people with surnames beginning A-F to persons, along with the majority of that relating to clergy with surnames G-Z,  All of this material has been linked to location. and we have for the first time offered our interpretation of material relating to proprietary chapels in London, which are often hard to identify from the records, as well as such anomalies as #the floating chapel off the Tower [of London]’ on the Thames!

Secondly, and perhaps most important of all, for the first time we are, as promised, making available data relating to locations in the Church of England overseas: records of appointments to chaplaincies and other posts in the colonies, and in settlements in Europe and elsewhere are now not only being linked to persons, but to places (‘locations’). Linkage is stlll progressing for this material, and we will shortly post some more detailed information on how to interpret and access it. But the search engines will now permit you to search for clergy and events in ‘dioceses’ for Asia, Europe, America etc which are listed at the end of the diocesan lists. Most of the linkage so far relates to the last eighty years covered by the database, but we will soon be linking that relating to earlier periods. This is an extremely exciting development for the project, and we hope it will be of interest to many of our users, not least those themselves resident in the locations now available!


Arthur Burns for the CCEd team

Just published …

ccl005Users of the database might be interested in a volume which has just appeared in the Borthwick Texts and Studies series : Clergy, Church and Society in England and Wales c. 1200-1800, edited by Rosemary C. E. Hayes and William J. Sheils (Borthwick Texts and Studies no 41, York 2013; ISBN 978-I-904497-58-5; £40). The volume brings together papers relating to three database projects giving access to Church records over the medieval and early modern periods: The Records of Central Government in England and Wales: Clerical Taxes 1173-1664; Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York 1300-1858; and CCEd itself. All the essays are potentially of interest, but two in particular are of especial relevance to users of CCED.

The project directors have contributed an essay on ‘The problems and potential of pouring old wine into new bottles: reflections on the Clergy of the Church of England Database 1999-2009 and beyond’, which reflects on the nature of the project and the experience of working on it as academic historians trained in more traditional archival practices. Secondly, Dr Daniel Cummins, who has worked as a volunteer assistant on the project for some years, doing immensely valuable linkage of records for several dioceses, has contributed an essay on ‘The Clergy Database as a tool for academic research: A study of the parochial patronage of the archbishops of York  c. 1730-1800’, which draws on the important work he did on that region for his very interesting PhD thesis (‘Ecclesiastical Property in the Dioceses of York and Bath and Wells:a Reassessment of Church and Society  1730-1800’, Reading University, 2011).

The book is available from Borthwick Publications at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York.

Robert Pearson: a tribute from the CCEd team

Robert Pearson

The Clergy of the Church of England Database would not be what it is today were it not for the remarkable contribution made to the project by a number of volunteer associates who over the years have assisted the core project team in a variety of ways. Over the Christmas period the team received the very sad news that one of our most committed and long-term volunteers, Robert Pearson, had died after a long illness on 23 December 2013.

Robert  Pearson began working at the Wiltshire Record Office (as it was then) as a volunteer in 2002, where he did vital work in indexing the late 17th century clergy ordination papers for the diocese of Salisbury. This coincided fortuitously with the early years of the CCEd project during which the team was recruiting researchers to input the record we had identified as relevant to our purposes in diocesan archives. Robert was enlisted and played a key role in recovering the records of the diocese of Salisbury. He proved a very enthusiastic and reliable inputter, and went on to input records from the Canterbury archives as well. Such was his enthusiasm, in fact, that he later volunteered to join the core project team in the work of linking records to both person and place, and, drawing on his considerable local knowledge of the Salisbury records, continued to assist with the record linkage work up to his death. In October 2003, he was appointed as a part-time archives assistant in the WRO. This employment enabled him progress his career as an archivist and in April 2004 he began part-time distance learning with the University College Wales, Aberystwyth. He graduated with an MSc (Econ) in Archive Administration in 2008. At the end of that year he took on a secondment of 7 hours a week as an archivist at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre while still holding his post as archives assistant. In May 2011 he began work as the archivist cataloguing the archives of the earls of Radnor of Longford Castle, a collection that is deposited in the History Centre. Sadly he did not live to finish this work, but he laid down the arrangement of the collection and managed to list the bulk of the archives. His work will be completed by archivists at the History Centre.

Robert had by this time been suffering from his illness for some time, but he nevertheless undertook an index of records of the Wiltshire militia during the Napoleonic war which he completed, all bar a few months, work which combined his interests in military history and genealogy. Like his continued work for the CCEd project, this will leave a legacy of enduring value to researchers and the Wiltshire historical community, and for which we should all be most grateful.

The CCEd project in particular owes Robert a great deal. Together with his colleague Steven Hobbs, he helped  make the Wiltshire Record Office and then the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre a constant source of encouragement, support and sound advice for the project from which we all benefited. His commitment to the project in the most difficult of circumstances was humbling, as was the fortitude with which he faced his situation. The CCEd team is enormously grateful for his support over the years, and would through this posting both want to publicly acknowledge that gratitude and also to send its sympathy and condolences to Robert’s family in their loss, He will be much missed, and his contribution to the project irreplacable.

Robert’s funeral will take place at Hinton Park burial ground (Christchurch) on Mon 13 Jan 12.30.

Arthur Burns for the CCED team




Happy new year from the CCEd team!

The CCEd team would like to extend their best wishes for 2014 to all users!

What does 2014 have in store for CCEd? Well, we hope that the new website, to which we have had many appreciative responses, will bed down in ways that allow us to realise more of its tremendous potential. We have already been able to take advantage of it to post more regular updates of new and revised data than has been possible in the recent past. A lot of the contact details for record offices, for example, have been overhauled (it is really striking how many have changed either or both their name and their location over the past few years). We hope soon to add to the material in the journal and supporting documentation.

However, the most important developments will of course lie in the addition of new data on Anglican clergy in our period. And here the most immediate and very exciting prospect we can offer users is the imminent appearance for the first time of data relating to Anglican clergy overseas, both in the British empire and in other expatriate communities in Europe and beyond. Over the Christmas break we implemented a new element to our location structure which for the first time allows us to fully link material on chaplains and other expatriate clergy so that this data will appear in career narratives in the usual manner. For the moment the process of linkage is occurring behind the scenes, but at the next update its fruits will begin to be visible for the first time. With Anglicanism overseas currently a hot topic in academic research, this will be a very welcome development to all users of the database.

A great new look for the Clergy Database!

We are very pleased to be able to announce that the Clergy of the Church of England Database website is undergoing a major transition. Thanks to a series of upgrades carried out in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, a new front end has been created for the Database which for the first time allows the project team to take over active management of the website. This will greatly facilitate updating and posting, and as part of the upgrade a new blog facility has been created where we will be able to interact with our users much more directly and publicly than has hitherto been the case. We will also be able to expand the support pages much more regularly than has been the case in recent years. So we are not just a pretty ‘new’ face, but an much enhanced website! We look forward to exploring the new possibilities of the site in coming months

Arthur Burns for the Project Team


PS: Intrigued by our new front page image? Can you name the clerics depicted? Have a guess, then click here for the correct answers!

New content in CCEd Online Journal

We are delighted to announce the publication of two new items in our Online Journal. First is William H. Campbell’s account of reconstructing clerical careers based on his experience at the Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae project. You can read it here.

Second, we are publishing a review of Annabelle Hughes’ edition of Sussex Clerical inventories by W. M. Jacob. This publication inaugurates the reviews section of the journal, where we hope in future to be able to alert users to important new resources for the study of the history of the clergy. Read it here.