Correspondence of Rev. Henry Raikes

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 1121
  • Dates of Creation
      19th century
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      various sizes. 180 items; nos 1-129 are bound into one volume; nos 130-180 are loose within a folder;

Scope and Content

A collection of one hundred and eighty letters from various correspondents to Rev. Henry Raikes (1782-1854), Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester from 1830 to 1854. The letters discuss personal and family matters, church affairs and wider political and social issues. Among the many correspondents are: William Martin Leake (1777-1860), topographer and numismatist; Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850), Prime Minister; W. [William Howley (1766-1848)], Archbishop of Canterbury; and James Milnes Gaskell (1810-1873), politician.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Raikes (1782-1854), Church of England clergyman, was born in London on 24 September 1782. He was educated at Eton College (1793-1800) and entered St John's College, Cambridge in 1800, graduating in 1804. In 1807 he was ordained as a deacon and as a priest in 1808, becoming curate of Betchworth in Surrey. He was subsequently curate of Shillingstone in Dorset, Burnham in Buckinghamshire and Bognor, Sussex.

In 1828 Raikes became examining chaplain to John Bird Sumner, Bishop of Chester, and in 1830 he was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester. His influence rapidly grew, and he became well known in the city and diocese as a preacher, a public speaker, and an active philanthropist. A leading evangelical, he was prominent in the activities of the Church Missionary Society. On 8 August 1844 he was named an honorary canon of the cathedral. He was a president of the Architectural, Archaeological, and Historic Society of Chester and contributed numerous papers to its journal. He was also appointed historian to the society. Raikes's most important published work was Remarks on clerical education (London: J. Hatchard & Son, 1831). His other works were mainly collected sermons. He was a member of the commission for the subdivision of parishes in 1849, a measure of church reform that he had long advocated. He died at Dee Side House, Chester, on 28 November 1854.

Source: G.C. Boase, 'Raikes, Henry (1782-1854)', rev. Simon Harrison, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Access Information

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the John Rylands Library from an unknown source prior to February 1948.


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, with reference to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Henry Raikes.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1937-1951 (English MS 1121).

Related Material

Liverpool University, Special Collections and Archives, holds Henry Raikes's diary of a tour of Greece, 1805-1806.

The British Library, Manuscript Collections, holds a collection of letters from Henry Raikes to W.E. Gladstone and others, 1807-c 1854 (ref.: GB 058 Add MSS 44364, 44384, 44387, 44488).

Geographical Names