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Researching an Anglican clergyman

Institutions

The bishop’s registers of institutions (appointments of clergy) survive from 1299 onwards (see list DN/REG).

They record the institutions made by the Bishop of Norwich, giving:

  • The date and place of institution
  • The benefice
  • The name of the clergy and patron

Later registers often note the cause of the vacancy, such as the death or resignation of the previous incumbent.

The registers, 1299-1608, (except 1425-45) are indexed by parish and subject in DN/REG 17.

An index of institutions (c1299-c1725) arranged by archdeaconry, deanery and then by parish was compiled by Dr Thomas Tanner, who was chancellor of the diocese from 1700-31. See DN/REG 30-31.

This also includes a list of archdeacons and of priors and deans of Norwich, but it is not complete for every parish.

Tanner’s index was used by F Blomefield in his Topographical History of Norfolk (NRO and NHC), to which there is a personal names index.

T H Bryant’s Norfolk Churches (NRO and NHC) includes incumbents overlooked by Blomefield.

E H Carter’s Norfolk Incumbents for the Period 1660-1720, corrects and adds to Blomefield and Bryant. 

For the period 1643-60, see:

  • Walker’s Sufferings Revised and Calamy Revised by A G Matthews (mentioned in the previous section)
  • The Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Records of the Commonwealth 1643-60 (Lambeth Palace Library)
  • E H Carter, The Norwich Subscription Books (NRO and NHC), which also lists clergy not mentioned in Blomefield and Bryant

The Diocese Book takes Tanner’s index up to about 1968 (see DN/REG 35). It is arranged by archdeaconry, deanery and parish, but has a parish index.

There is also an accompanying personal names index for incumbents and curates (see DN/REG 36).

Unfortunately the Diocese Book does not always overlap with the end of Tanner’s index and there is sometimes a gap between c1700-c1770. You can fill this gap by consulting the original bishop’s registers, each of which contains a parish index.

Later incumbents can also be found in:

  • Dawson Turner, List of Norfolk Benefices, (NRO and NHC) which covers c1730-c1847
  • The Clergy List (NHC) first published in 1841
  • Crockford’s Clerical Directory (NHC), 1855 to the present
  • The Norwich Diocesan Directory (NHC), 1858 to the present

These all contain lists of incumbents and parishes. The Clergy List and Crockford’s cover the whole of the Anglican Communion and make it possible to trace a clergyman’s career outside Norfolk.