York Diocesan Archive: Records of the Archdeaconry of Sheffield

Scope and Content

The records in this section are divided into two sub sub fonds as follows:

  • Records of Administration
  • Records of Visitation

Administrative / Biographical History

The structure of diocesan organisation in the English Church, including the growth and development of territorial archdeaconries, developed in the period after the Norman Conquest and persisted throughout the middle ages and beyond. The structure was never uniform: some small dioceses (e.g., Canterbury, Rochester, Ely and Carlisle) had only one archdeaconry, whereas Lincoln had eight archdeaconries from the twelfth century and York had five in the middle ages.

Whereas on the Continent there was regular rivalry between a bishop and his archdeacon, the characteristic function of the archdeacon in England was that of assistance in the administration of the bishop's see. Often referred to as the 'oculus episcopi' (the bishop's eye), the archdeacon executed the day-to-day orders of the bishop in such tasks as the induction of new incumbents and the general oversight of churches, clergy and laity. In course of time, most acquired rights of visitation and correction, and some even held a probate court, although the extent to which the powers of the archdeacon were brought to bear varied considerably with the personality of the individual who held the office and the changing nature of the Church.

The archdeaconry of Sheffield was carved out of the old York archdeaconry in 1884. With the creation of the bishopric of Sheffield in 1914, the archdeaconry was removed from the diocese of York, but Mr H.A. Hudson, the York diocesan registrar, retained his office as registrar of the Sheffield archdeaconry.


The system of arrangement is reflected in the scope and content.

Access Information

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation and the wishes of the donors/owners.

Acquisition Information

The Diocesan Registrar has deposited records relating to the Diocese of York at the Borthwick Institute since 1953.

Other Finding Aids

Where indicated, hard-copy finding aids are available at the Borthwick Institute, and an online guide (to 1980) may be found at http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/bihr/Guidesandfindingaids.htm.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Bound volumes, loose papers.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Martyn Lawrence, Archives Hub project archivist, May 2005, with reference to the following:

  • David M. Smith, A Guide to the Archive Collections in the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research (York, 1973)
  • David M. Smith, A Supplementary Guide to the Archive Collections in the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research (York, 1980)
  • Alexandrina Buchanan, A Guide to Archival Accessions at the Borthwick Institute 1981-1996 (York, 1997)

Conditions Governing Use

A reprographics service is available to researchers. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute, University of York terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Appraisal Information

These records have been appraised in accordance with Borthwick Institute policy.

Custodial History

See J. S. Purvis, Towards a University (York, 1968), for information regarding the history of the York Diocesan Archive and its deposit at the Borthwick Institute.


Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

York Diocesan Archive.


Where indicated, publications based on or about the records have been produced.