Skip to main content Accessibility help

Ely Diocesan Records

  • Dorothy M. Owen


Augustus Jessopp, reporting in 1891 for the Historical Manuscripts Commission on the records of the bishop of Ely, found three stores of documents: Ely House, Dover Street; the consistory court in Great St Mary’s church at Cambridge; and the palace at Ely. This division seems to have been customary since the sixteenth century and ended only when the bishop of Ely, Bishop Lord Alwyne Compton, had the contents of all three repositories moved, first into Bishop Alcock’s tower in the palace at Ely where Alfred Gibbons saw and listed them, and then into the ‘old prison,’ now 4 Lynn Road, Ely, where they remained until their transfer, in June 1962, to the Cambridge University Library. The consistory court had been a store of current records as long as the registrars or their deputies had their office in Cambridge; but about 1790 the diocesan registry seems to have been transferred to Ely, at which time began the long connection with the diocese of the firm of Evans and Son, solicitors, members of which firm acted as registrars almost without interruption from then until 1959. In Messrs. Evans’s office, and also since 1902 in the ‘old prison,’ the registrars had accumulated a considerable store of documents. These, too, have come to the University Library, where the Church Commissioners have also deposited the records of the Ely episcopal estates which they have held since the mid-nineteenth century.



Hide All

Page 176 of note 1 References to the Ely Diocesan Records are prefaced by the letters EDR.

Page 176 of note 2 HMC, Report XII, 1891, App. ix, 375-88.

Page 176 of note 3 Tanner noted this division, Notitia Monastica, 1744, Cambs. 37.

Page 176 of note 4 A. Gibbons, Ely Episcopal Records, Lincoln 1891.

Page 176 of note 5 For an account of this building, see VCH: County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely, ed. R.B. Pugh, IV, 1953, 31.

Page 177 of note 1 The registers which survive are those of the following bishops: Montacute 1337-45, Lisle 1345-51, Arundel 1374-88, Fordham 1388-1412, Bourchier 1444-54, Gray 1454-78, Alcock 1486-95, West 1515-34, Goodrich 1534-54. There is also a volume of miscellaneous acts for the period 1540-1600. It is worth noting that Arundel seems not to have had access to the registers of his immediate predecessors: see EDR D2/1, f. 19, ‘registra predecessorum nostrorum protunc ad manus non habuimus.’

Page 177 of note 2 Op. cit., 382-86.

Page 177 of note 3 Ely Diocesan Remembrancer, nos. 54-355, 1889-1914.

Page 177 of note 4 There are numerous references to such records in the second volume of the register of Roger Martival, bishop of Salisbury 1315-30, e.g. ff. 309 γυ , 331 υ , ‘in rotulis visitacionis.’ Cf. R.M.T. Hill, Rolls and Register of Bishop Oliver Sutton, iii, Lincoln Record Society XLVIII, 1954, xxviii-xxix.

Page 177 of note 5 EDR. D2/1. The volume was rescued from a waste paper merchant in the mid-eighteenth century by Samuel Peck, fellow of Trinity (Gibbons, op. cit. 79).

Page 178 of note 1 f. 72 υ . For the constitution see Lyndwood, W., Provinciale, Oxford 1679, lib. iv, tit. 3, c.2, 275-7 and Wilkins, D., Concilia Magnat Britanniae et Hibemiae, 4 vols. 1737, ii, 707 .

Page 178 of note 2 Morris, C., ‘The commissary of the bishop in the diocese of Lincoln,’ JEH, X (1959), 5065 .

Page 178 of note 3 ff. 82 υ -83.

Page 178 of note 4 f. 52 υ : ‘John Freborn de Fulbourn citatus ad instanciam Magistri Hugonis Caundelesby clerici domini archidiaconi Eliensis registrarli in causa salarli pro scriptura processus cause sue.....’

Page 178 of note 5 f.45 υ .

Page 178 of note 6 f.35.

Page 178 of note 7 For a discussion of this dispute Cf.Feltoe, C. L. and Minns, E. H., Vetus Liber Archidiaconi Eliensis, Cambridge Antiquarian Society publications, XLVIII, 1917, xxiiixxiv .

Page 179 of note 1 Palmer, W. M., ‘The faculty books of the diocese of Ely,’ Cambridge Antiquarian Society Proceedings, XXXV, 1933-4, 5486 .

Page 179 of note 2 Op cit. 36-45.

Page 179 of note 3 Palmer, W. M., ‘Episcopal visitation returns for Cambridgeshire,’ Transactions of the Cambridge and Huntingdonshire Archaeological Society, IV, 1915-30, 313411 ; ‘Archdeaconries of Cambridge and Ely in 1599,’ ibid, VI, 1938-47, 1-28.

Page 179 of note 4 In conversation with the writer.

Page 179 of note 5 EDR B3; Gibbons, op. cit. 45.

Page 179 of note 6 EDR F5 passim, H2, K5.

Page 180 of note 1 P. 177 n. 5 above and Palmer, W. M., ‘Churchwardens’ bills ... for the deanery of Barton, 1554,’ Tr. Cambs. and Hunts. Arch. Soc. V, 1931-37, 257-75.

Page 180 of note 2 Additional MS 3468. The particulars of its history and of its identification as the missing ‘Black Book’ by J. H. Crosby are entered on the fly-leaf of the manuscript.

Page 180 of note 3 Additional MS 6605.

Page 180 of note 4 Madan, F. and Palmer, W. M., Notes on Bodley manuscripts relating to Cambridge shire, Camb. Ant. Soc. Pub., LII, 1931 ; Palmer, art. cit.

Page 180 of note 5 Henry, Bradshaw, ‘Notes on the episcopal visitation of the archdeaconry of Ely in 1685,’ Camb. Ant. Soc. Proc., 111, 1864-76, 323-62.

Page 180 of note 6 An example of this class of record, for the diocese of Lincoln was partially printed by R. E. G. Cole, Speculum Dioeceseos, Lincoln Record Society, IV, 1913.

Page 180 of note 7 The earliest item in this series exists only in a copy in bishop Fleetwood’s transcripts, Gibbons, op. cit. 13-14.

Page 180 of note 8 Miller, E., The Abbey and Bishopric of Ely, Cambridge 1951, 47 .

Page 181 of note 1 These rolls were lost as long ago as 1809, Gibbons, op. cit. 78.

Page 181 of note 2 R. M. T. Hill, op. cit. xxviii.

Page 181 of note 3 EDR D5 and D6; Gibbons, op. cit. 92, 97. Some further rolls of Arundel’s time were found among the Downham records.

Page 181 of note 4 C.C.95579 and 95580. I owe this reference to my husband.

Page 181 of note 5 EDR D1.

Page 181 of note 6 Mr Miller has made some use of these in his paper, ‘The Liberty of Ely,’ VCH: Cambridgeshire, IV, 1953, 1-27; EDR E1-E14, F1-F4.

Page 181 of note 7 EDR A8; Gibbons, op. cit. 18.

Page 181 of note 8 EDR A5/1-25.

Page 181 of note 9 Most writers on these topics (e.g. Cooper, C. H., Annals of Cambridge, 5 vols., 1842-1908 ) have used the transcripts made by the antiquary Thomas Baker (1656-1740) whose manuscripts are now partly in the British Museum (MSS Harl. 4115, 4116) and partly in the Cambridge University Library (Mm.1.35-1.53); DNB., art. Baker, J. and Venn, J.A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, 8 vols. 1922-54 and A. B. Emden, A Biographical Dictionary of the University of Cambridge to 1500, 1963, have consulted the original registers.

Page 182 of note 1 EDR C4 and 5; Gibbons, op. cit. 58-66.

Page 182 of note 2 Additional MSS 60, 71,84 and various smaller items.

Page 182 of note 3 S.C.14986-7, Rawlinson letters 95.

Page 182 of note 4 Most of them were found in a trunk in the registrar’s office but a few bundles had been listed by Gibbons, op. cit. 50-3 (B6).

Page 182 of note 5 EDR B6, schools’ bundle.

Page 182 of note 6 This group, EDR K5, is completely unsorted but a brief survey shows that it includes much very interesting material on the practice, secular as well as ecclesiastical, of Cambridge lawyers in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I and indicates clearly that the town clerk might very well be a proctor in the bishop’s consistory court.

Page 183 of note 1 EDR F5 Gibbons, op. cit. 126-8.

Page 183 of note 2 I owe this reference to my husband. The Lincoln antiquary and book-collector Thomas Pownal owned it in 1726; Cf.Hunt, R. W., ‘Thomas Pownal’, Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society, Reports and Papers, IX, pt. 2, (1962).

Page 183 of note 3 Miller, op. cit.; Evans, S. J. A., ‘Ely Chapter Ordinances and Visitation records,’ Camden Miscellany, XVII, Camden Society, 3rd series, LXIV, 1940, xviixix .

Page 183 of note 4 Published by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, National Register of Archives.

Ely Diocesan Records

  • Dorothy M. Owen


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed