Hampshire Archives and Local Studies

Tracing clergy from the Diocese of Winchester

Clerical directories give brief details of the careers of all Church of England clergy in post at the date of the particular volume. We have a Clergy List for 1845 and Crockford's clerical directories for a selection of years between 1877 and 1994.

Dictionaries and lists of Oxford and Cambridge alumni compiled in the 19th and 20th centuries often give career details of clergymen since many were graduates of universities. We have Foster’s Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1886, Venn’s Alumni Cantabrigienses to1900, Wood’s Athenae Cantabrigienses 1500-1609 and Graduati Cantabrigienses 1760-1846 and 1800-1872.

For prominent local clergy or those with literary or political interests, we have the Dictionary of National Biography published 1890s, and a selection of Who’s Who 1931-1986. We also have Le Neve’s Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae1300-1857 which gives career details of important churchmen.

For 17th century clergymen, Walker Revised is a biographical dictionary of clergy who suffered during the English Civil War and Commonwealth period 1642-1660 and Calamy Revised, is a similar work relating to clergy ‘ejected or silenced’ 1660-1662.

For Hampshire clergymen, we hold a selection of Winchester diocesan directories 1881-1982; the Local Studies Library, Winchester holds other editions. The newsletter of the diocese of Winchester, the Winchester Diocesan Chronicle gives details of comings and goings in the diocese; we have these from 1893 to 1935. We also hold some individual biographies of prominent Hampshire clergy, which can be found using our online catalogue.


Records of the Diocese of Winchester
Original manuscripts held at Hampshire Record Office give details of the careers of clergymen. Particularly useful are the records of the diocese of Winchester (21M65). These are listed in the Winchester Diocese binders on catalogue shelf 19 and described in detail in the guide, Records of the Diocese of Winchester in Hampshire Record Office by Sarah Lewin (1991), on sale at Hampshire Record Office reception for £1.00 (hereafter referred to as the diocesan guide).

Note that until 1927 the diocese of Winchester included the counties of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (Winchester Archdeaconry) and most of Surrey (Surrey Archdeaconry). Diocesan records concerning appointments in the church will therefore contain entries for clergy from both archdeaconries.

Clergy appointment records
Bishops’ registers and act books (21M65/A1-2) are the main series of records recording the appointment of clergy. In the diocese of Winchester they date from 1284 and survive in broken series until the present day. They give details of, among other things, ordinations of deacons and priests, and institutions and collations (appointments to benefices or parishes) of clergy. The largest gaps in the series of registers and act books occur between 1425 and 1447, 1616 and 1628, 1642 and 1665, and 1684 and 1743 (see lists in Winchester Diocese binder 21M65 A-D for details).

Some of the medieval and early modern registers have been published (listed in the diocesan guide and located on library shelves 39-41), and the published editions generally contain personal name and place indexes. In addition, there are separate typed place indexes to the medieval and early to mid sixteenth-century registers (19M54/1-6), details of which are given in the list 21M65/A1 in Winchester Diocese binder 21M65 A-D (catalogue shelf 19). There are also place indexes to the 19th and 20th century bishops’ registers or act books as follows: 1802-23 (volume on catalogue shelf 20); 1824-1920 (card index in search room index drawer 63); and 1876-1963 (inside the act books themselves, references 21M65/A2/8-14). There are personal name indexes to the two registers of William of Wykeham, 1367-1404 (19M54/9) and inside the bishops’ act books for the years 1876-1963 (21M65/A2/8-14).

Note that all original bishops registers and act books before 1733 and some of the published editions are in Latin. In addition the typed indexes (19M54/1-6,9) refer to places and persons in Latin form.

Other records relating to the appointment of clergy from the Winchester Diocesan records include ordination papers, curates’ nomination and licensing papers, presentation deeds, institution and collation papers and resignations (21M65/E1-6). In addition, the records of the Archdeacon of Winchester include induction mandates (35M48/6). These papers date for the most part from the early eighteenth century (some classes do include earlier papers). Many are listed and indexed. The chief indexes are at present as follows:

Ordination papers, 1715-1827 (21M65/E1/4), listed and indexed with other records referring to ordinations, in A. J. Willis Winchester Ordinations 1660-1829 from records in the Diocesan Registry (on catalogue shelf 20).

Presentation deeds, c. 1706-1873 (21M65/E2), listed by parish in Winchester Diocese binder 21M65 E2, and indexed by personal name in the clergy card index in the search room (index drawers 58-60).

Curates’ nomination papers, c. 1715-1872 (21M65/E3), listed by parish in Winchester Diocese ‘11-12’ (on catalogue shelf 20), and indexed by person in the clergy card index.

Archdeacons’ induction mandates (35M48/6) listed by parish in incumbents’ files A-Y (library shelf 1), and indexed by person in the clergy card index.

Detailed listing and indexing of other clergy appointment papers is in progress.

The records relating to clergy appointments described above can, in general, supply names of parishes served, dates of appointment, and names of patrons and previous incumbents. Some, in particular the various appointment and ordination papers, may also be accompanied by testimonials and correspondence.

Other Winchester Diocesan records
The Winchester diocesan visitation books (21M65/B1) contain annotated lists of parishes, parish clergy and churchwardens, arranged by rural deanery. Those in Hampshire Record Office, with one or two exceptions, relate to the archdeaconry of Winchester (Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) only, but they do date from 1517 in broken sequence, continuing from the late seventeenth century in an almost unbroken run. Where other records fail, for example in the first half of the eighteenth century when there are no bishops’ registers, they can be very useful in filling in names of incumbents and curates. The small sub-series of visitation books known as exhibition of orders books (and some of the sixteenth-century visitation books) are especially helpful in that they can also give ordination and appointment details for clergy (see diocesan guide and list in Winchester Diocese binder 21M65 A-D for details). Exhibition of orders books for 1677-1829 have also been indexed in A. J. Willis Winchester Ordinations 1660-1829 (catalogue shelf 20).

Other records which can help supply names of incumbents and dates of appointment include the two registers of benefices and incumbents 1789-1827 and 1828-69 (21M65/B5/1-2), and the subscription books, 1665-1865 (21M65/F1/2-23).

In the 16th and 17th centuries, if a clergyman was charged with failing to conform to the established church, or to perform his duties adequately there may be references to this is in:

  • churchwardens’ presentments, usually in English and listed by place, c.1666-1700 (202M85/3)
  • summaries of presentments, usually in English and arranged by place (21M65/B1/28, 37, 41; 21M65/C1/13/2)
  • office act books, in a mixture of Latin and English (21M65/C1/1- 45)

If a clergyman was involved in a dispute with his parishioners or with an individual over some church matter - for example, the payment of tithes or the morals of members of his congregation - there may be some record of this in the instance act books and cause papers. These date from the early sixteenth century to 1858, and from 1733 they are entirely in English. Before that date they are in Latin or a mixture of Latin and English. Many of the Winchester Diocese instance records have been listed in detail and indexed. Further information about these lists and indexes, and about visitation and consistory court records in general, is given in the diocesan guide.

Clergy replies to visitation inquiries (21M65/B4). These survive for the years 1725, 1764-5, 1788, 1899, 1915, 1931 and 1936. They are generally factual returns about parishes, parishioners etc. but can shed light on the character and career of clergy who completed them. As mentioned above those for 1725, 1764-5 and 1788 have been edited for Hampshire and Surrey by W. R. Ward (Hampshire Record Series 13, 1995 and Surrey Record Society 34, 1994).

Parish records, such as parish registers, confirmation and service registers, vestry and parochial church council minutes, correspondence relating to the benefice or church building and parish magazines, all may help shed light on the career of a particular clergyman. See the parish records lists for details (catalogue shelves 17-18).

Probate records (wills, inventories etc) . Hampshire Record Office has probate records dating from the fifteenth century, including records relating to clergy. The Getting Started leaflet on wills and inventories gives details of the various lists and indexes.

Other sources. Hampshire Record Office personal name index may include references to clergymen contained in other records, for example, title deeds, letters, or photographs from estate and family collections.


Clergymen of Eastleigh Vicarage, 1905
Clergymen of Eastleigh Vicarage, 1905
Finding No HPP8/P017