Correspondence, papers, and publications of Professor Adrian Hastings

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 MS 1710
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English French German Italian Latin Portuguese Spanish
  • Physical Description
      23 boxes, manuscript, typescript, photographs, press-cuttings, and printed material. Includes 6 maps.

Scope and Content

Comprises: (1) Boxes 1-4: his published writings; (2) Boxes 5-8: writings, press-cuttings, papers, and correspondence relating to his involvement in Bosnian affairs; (3) Boxes 9-18: miscellaneous archives, including personal correspondence dated from 1945 onwards from family, friends, academic and ecclesiastical contacts, papers relating to his publications, lectures, and sermons on various topics, reviews of some of his books, early articles and sermons, school essays on historical subjects, material relating to celibacy and the priesthood, and papers relating to his engagements and writing commitments during the later years of his life; (4) Boxes 19-22: Additional material relating to his work in retirement up to his death, including publications, examining, lectures, correspondence, book reviews, and reviews of his books; (5) Box 23: Additional material relating to the history of the Church in various African countries, including 6 maps of parts of Southern Africa, some press-cuttings, and two printed guides to Norwich Cathedral.

Administrative / Biographical History

Adrian Christopher Hastings (1929-2001) was a theologian, church historian, and priest. Born on 29 June 1929 in Kuala Lumpur, where his father practised law, he was brought up in Great Malvern, Worcestershire, as a Roman Catholic and educated at Douai Abbey, from where, in 1946, he went up to Worcester College, Oxford. There he read history, but felt a growing call to go to Africa as a missionary. He was trained for the priesthood in Rome, where he was ordained in 1955, before going to Africa to work for the church in Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia. In 1972 he returned to Britain to take academic posts in Selly Oak College, Birmingham, then (1973-1976) the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and later (1976-1982) Aberdeen University. Between 1982 and 1985 he was professor of religious studies at the University of Zimbabwe, before taking up the professorship of theology at the University of Leeds, which he held until his retirement in 1994. His best-known writings include The Church in Africa 1450-1950 and A History of English Christianity 1920-1985, and he edited The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought and the respected Journal of Religion in Africa. Throughout his life he was a forthright commentator on the contemporary church and its leaders and also involved himself with political causes both in Africa, such as the Wiriyamu massacre in Mozambique, and in Europe, most recently Bosnia and Kosovo. Rejecting the church dogma of compulsory celibacy for the priesthood, he married Ann Spence in 1979. He died on 30 May 2001.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

The gift of Mrs Ann Hastings, his widow, March 2003.


In English, but with a little French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Related Material

Material relating to Wiriyamu, Mozambique, was given to the University of York, Centre for Southern African Studies, in 1982.

Personal Names