Consecration & deconsecration

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 193 CD; GB 193 CD.Ret; GB 193 CD.Add; GB 193 CD.ADD.RET; GB 193 CD.Conv; GB 193 CD.UNUSED; GB 193 CO; GB 0193 CD.D; GB 193 CD.IND; GB193 CONS/DEC
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      Latin, and English.
  • Physical Description
      c110 boxes Parchment, paper, bound volumes

Scope and Content

This sub sub sub fonds is divided into 10 series as follows:

  • Consecration Deeds. The series of consecration deeds usually contains the conveyance of the site for the church or churchyard, the petition for consecration and the sentence of consecration and occasionally some correspondence and detailed plans. No separate registers of consecrations were kept at York but from the mid-18th century the conveyance, petition and sentence were registered in the archbishops' registers. Arranged chronologically by parish [CD] 1636-2001
  • Draft petitions and sentences of consecration, 1822-1907 [CD.D]
  • Index to consecrations, 1635-1996 [CD.IND/1&2]
  • List of churches & chapels consecrated in the Diocese of York, 1814-1862 [CD.RET]
  • Declarations of Consecration of Additional Churchyards [CD.Add] The consecration of churchyards Act 1867 dispensed with the necessity and expense of obtaining formal consecration of ground added to an existing churchyard, allowing the diocesan bishop to declare by a written instrument the consecration of such additional land, without the presence of his legal officers. Conveyances, plans, declarations, 1867-2003.
  • Churchyard conveyances. Conveyances of additions to churchyards under the terms of the Consecrations of Churchyards Act 1867 but which for a variety of reasons have not been consecrated. Conveyances, correspondence etc, 1937-1996 [CD.Conv]
  • Returns of additions to churchyards, listing additions to churchyards since 1832 in accordance with house of commons resolutions in 1862, 1868 and 1877. [CD.ADD.RET]
  • Unused sites conveyances. Conveyances of sites that were subsequently not used. UNLISTED [CD.UNUSED]
  • Closure Orders, Orders for the closure of churches, 1945-1967 [CO]
  • Deconsecration of churches & chapels, 1996-2003 [CONS/DEC]

Administrative / Biographical History

A church may be built before the land is consecrated and divine services held there with the bishop's consent, however, a building does not become a church until it has been consecrated for public worship. Consecration of land as a churchyard is not a necessity but is common practice.

It is usual for the freehold of the land to be secured before consecration. Once this is done, a petition for consecration is submitted to the Bishop requesting that the land and/or buildings are set apart from common use, dedicated to God and divine worship and service. The sentence of consecration, signed by the Bishop, is the legal act of consecration however there is usually a ceremony to publicly confirm the consecration. Once consecrated the land and buildings are under the jurisdiction of the bishop or archbishop and nothing can be done to the land, building or its contents without the ordinary's permission (see Faculties [GB193 FAC]).

The act of setting apart the land and/or buildings divine worship and service is for all time. However there are a number of church buildings that become redundant each year and are formally closed by the Church of England. The diocesan Redundant Churches Uses Committee is then responsible for finding new uses for those buildings (see Redundant Churches Uses Committee ([GB193 DO/RCUC]). Once an offer is made to the uses committee it is then put forward to the Church Commissioners who will put together a redundancy scheme with the details of the new use for the church building. This scheme once approved will usually remove the legal effects of consecration.

Other Finding Aids

Hard copy finding aids are available at the Borthwick Institute for the following:

  • Churchyard conveyances [CD.Conv]
  • Consecration deeds [CD] listed chronologically with place name index.
  • Declarations of consecration of additional churchyards [CD.Add] listed chronologically with place name index
  • Closure orders [CO]
  • Index to consecrations, CD.IND
  • Deconsecrations of chapels & churchyards [CONS/DEC]