Liber Cleri

Liber Cleri or visitation books (sometimes also called call books or lists – there is little evidence of consistency of terminology among either contemporaries or modern scholars) refer to the lists of clergy (incumbents, curates, readers and preachers) and others (schoolmasters, churchwardens, and sometimes surgeons and midwives) drawn up in advance of a visitation by an archdeacon, bishop or archbishop, or their officials. Some appear to have been simply a record of those summoned to appear at the visitation; others were used to record whether or not the clergy attended, displayed their documentation and paid their fees. In smaller, peculiar jurisdictions libri cleri are commonly found in visitation act books. In some dioceses, in some periods, more elaborate versions of liber cleri were compiled, in which the documents exhibited by the clergy were recorded, thus containing details of a clergyman’s ordination, institution, licences and dispensations. These volumes are sometimes called exhibit books (York), consignation books (Bath and Wells, Norwich) or Registers of Orders (Chichester). Please note that within CCEd ‘liber cleri’ is also used in a slightly different sense. When consulting the summary lists of records relating to a person or place, users of the Database will often note the ‘event’ described as ‘Libc’. On consulting the evidence record relating to such an event, users will see it described as a ‘Liber cleri detail record’. In these cases CCEd has adopted the term ‘liber cleri’ and used it generally to describe a type of record. Original evidence records have been collected for CCEd using a menu of screens – ‘Appointment’, ‘Ordination’, ‘Subscription’, ‘Liber cleri’, ‘Dispensation’, ‘Wills’, and ‘Monuments’. CCEd’s ‘Liber cleri’ screen has been used to enter into the Database all lists of clergy compiled on a specific date.