Records of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral

Scope and Content

The collection of records of Canterbury Cathedral includes material dating from the early Middle Ages right up to the present day. A significant proportion of this material relates to the Cathedral's estates. The Cathedral priory accumulated property during the Middle Ages, and most of this was passed to the newly founded Dean and Chapter after the Reformation. The Dean and Chapter passed on almost all of its estates to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the late 19th century, retaining today some property in Canterbury itself. The 19th and 20th century material in the collection reflects the full range of the activities of the Dean and Chapter and its staff. For example, there are good records relating to the fabric of the Cathedral, as well as to the Cathedral's liturgy, services and personnel. A number of significant churchmen, architects, musicians and other individuals have been involved with the Cathedral during these centuries. For this period, central to the collection are the series of Chapter Act Books (which record the business of the meetings of the Dean and Chapter) and the various series of accounts, deeds and correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral came into being in 1541, with the new foundation of the cathedral after the Reformation. It succeeded the Prior and Chapter of the pre-Reformation Cathedral priory.


Many of the series into which the collection is arranged originate from cataloguing work in the 19th century. A number of these series are subject-based, eg the series called 'Fabric', 'Domestic Economy'. Some material remains uncatalogued.

Access Information

Open. Some restrictions on modern records.

Other Finding Aids

Mostly word-processed catalogues, produced by MODES cataloguing database. Some typed and manuscript catalogues, especially for earlier material.


Regular deposits.

Related Material

Estate and court material which was formerly part of the Dean and Chapter archive, but which was passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the late 19th century, and returned to Canterbury in the 20th century (U15 and U63); parish records of the Cathedral, including registers (U3/100); various collections of private papers of individuals connected with the Cathedral.