York Diocesan Archive: Records of Provincial Administration

Scope and Content

The records in this section relate to Convocation of the province and to administrative business involving the metropolitan. The records are divided into 9 sub sub fonds as follows:

  • Convocation
  • National Church Assembly
  • General Synod
  • House of Laymen
  • Bishops' Confirmations & Retirements
  • Vacancy Administration (Sede Vacante)
  • Benefice Papers
  • Sharing Agreements
  • Papers relating to individual diocese within the Province of York

Administrative / Biographical History

The Province of York is the administrative area under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of York and consists of 14 dioceses. The medieval province of York included the dioceses of York, Durham and Carlisle within its borders. The archbishop's claim to possess metropolitan jurisdiction over the Scottish sees was acknowledged only the by the bishops of Whithorn (until 1355) and authority over the bishopric of the Isles (Sodor and Man) was similarly disputed in the early middle ages between the York primate and the Norwegian archbishop of Nidaros (Trondheim). In 1542 the diocese of Sodor and Man was included within the boundaries of the northern province by act of parliament. In the previous year, the bishopric of Chester had been established, uniting the archdeaconries of Richmond (see of York) and Chester (see of Coventry and Lichfield). For the space of a few months the new bishopric was assigned to the province of Canterbury. There were to be no further diocesan changes for three centuries.

In 1836 the bishopric of Ripon was formed (Ripon & Leeds from 1999), followed by further foundations: Manchester 1847, Liverpool 1880, Newcastle 1882, Wakefield 1888, Sheffield 1914, Bradford 1919 and Blackburn 1926. The bishopric of Southwell was a special case. In 1837 the archdeaconry of Nottingham, which until then had formed part of the York diocese, was transferred to the diocese of Lincoln and hence to the southern province. In 1884 the counties of Nottingham and Derby were joined to form the new bishopric of Southwell. The diocese of Derby was created in 1927, removing Derbyshire from Southwell's jurisdiction, and eight years later Southwell was transferred, or rather restored, to the northern province.


The system of arrangement is reflected in the scope & 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.


Description compiled by Victoria Stretch, Archives Hub project archivist, January 2004 with reference to 'A Guide to the Archive Collections in the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research', David M Smith 1973, 'A Supplementary Guide to the Archive Collections in the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research', David M Smith 1980, 'A Guide to Archival Accessions at the Borthwick Institute 1981-1996' complied by Alexandrina Buchanan, 1997 and 'Ecclesiastical Law Handbook', Lynne Leeder (London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1997).

Other Finding Aids

Where indicated hard copy finding aids are available at the Borthwick Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

A reprographics service is available to researchers. Copying will not be undertaken if there is a 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 the 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 'Towards a University' by J S Purvis (York, Herald Printers, 1968) for information regarding the history of the York Diocesan Archive and its deposit at the Borthwick Institute.


Accruals are expected.

Related Material

  • York Diocesan Archive


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