Diocese of York: Records of the Bishop Suffragan of Selby

Scope and Content

The records consist of the working papers (files, correspondence and addresses given) of Bishop Maddocks as Bishop Suffragan of Selby [SUFF 2]. 1972-83.

Administrative / Biographical History

Medieval and early modern suffragan bishops were principally concerned with administration. Their appointment arose in cases when the diocese was too large for the available bureaucracy, or when the bishop was too overworked, too troubled by illness or infirmity, or regularly absent on royal and papal duties. Since 1870, the Church of England has appointed full-time assistant or suffragan bishops for primarily pastoral purposes. In most dioceses, the diocesan bishop has the assistance of one or more suffragan bishops who reside in the diocese. In the Diocese of York, these take their titles from an appropriate historic town (such as Hull or Selby), or towns redolent with the pre-Conquest roots of Christianity (Beverley and Whitby).

The term 'suffragan' derives from those bishops who had a 'suffrage' (that is, a vote in the House of Lords). A suffragan bishop has a seat in the House of Bishops of the Diocesan Synod and is an ex officio member of the Diocesan Pastoral Committee.


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

A hard-copy finding aid is available at the Borthwick Institute.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Files, loose papers, booklets, correspondence.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Martyn Lawrence, Archives Hub project archivist, June 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.

Clergy Record Project [GB 193 CRP].


General works on suffragan bishops are as follows:

  • R. Foskett, 'Suffragan bishops in England', Theology 66 (1963), 104-11.
  • W.H. Saumarez Smith, 'The growth of suffragan sees', Theology 83 (1980), 424-30.
  • L. Leeder, Ecclesiastical Law Handbook (London, 1997), 50-52.

Work on earlier suffragan bishops in the Diocese of York may be found in the following:

  • R. Brentano, 'Late Medieval Changes in the Administration of Vacant Suffragan Dioceses: Province of York', in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 38 (1955), 496-503.
  • L.A.S. Butler, 'Suffragan Bishops in the Medieval Diocese of York', in Northern History, 37 (2000), 49-60.