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Ecclesiastical Authority in England: Church Court Records, c.1400-c.1660: Series 2: Parts 1 and 2: Chichester


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Introduction: Ecclesiastical Authority in England; Church Court Records,c

Introduction:Ecclesiastical Authority in England; Church Court Records, c.1400-c.1660:Series II: The Church Court Records of Chichester: Parts 1 and 2

 

This second series offers the Records of the Church Courtsof Chichester, 1506-1696. Linked with Ely (Series I), it provides theopportunity to compare and contrast the operation of Church Courts and the workcarried out by them in two very different dioceses.

 

The arrangement of Church Courts in the diocese ofChichester differed in some respects from that in other dioceses, largelybecause of the division of the bishops court into archdeaconries. Until 1912the diocese was divided into two archdeaconries: Lewes (incorporating the wholeof East Sussex and the eastern part of West Sussex) and Chichester (includingthe remaining part of West Sussex). Each archdeaconry was further subdividedinto four rural deaneries.

 

The two archdiaconal courts were in effect the Episcopalcourts. However, the archdeacons had little power; they did not sit on thecourts, nor did they appoint deputies to do so. This power had been assumed bythe Bishop whose representatives the Vicar-general in Chichester and theOfficial Principal in Lewes sat as judges.

 

The programme includes all the main series of material forthe two archedeconries and also for the exempt jurisdiction the Dean ofChichesters Peculiar and the Archbishops Peculiars of Pagham and Tarring andSouth Malling. Included are the Instance Books, the Deposition Books, theChurchwardens Presentments and Court Papers. Also covered are the ChurchInspection Books, where they survive.

 

Part One provides three main sequences of material for theArchdeaconry of Chichester: Instance Act Books, 1506-1696; Deposition Books,1557-1694; and Taxation Books, 1606-1607.

 

Part Two provides the following sequence of material for theArchdeaconry of Chichester: Detection Books, 1538-1700; Register ofChurchwardens Presentments, 1571-1682; Church Inspection Books, 1602-1636;Ex-communication Papers 1612-1665 and Churchwardens Presentments, 1573-1698.

 

The records have been elected by Dr. Dorothy Owen, Keeper ofthe University Archives, University of Cambridge, and joint editor of thisprogramme, with Dr. William Shiels, Senior Archivist, the Borthwick Instituteof Historical Research, University of York and Dr. David Smith, Director of theBorthwick Institute of Historical Research, University of York.

 

A brief description of the working consistory courts can befound in Dorothy M. Owen: The Records of the Established Church in England,British Records Association, 1970.

 

For a detailed catalogue of these records, see Francis W.Steer and Isabel M. Kirby (eds.), The Records of the Bishop, Archdeacons andformer Exempt Jurisdictions, West Sussex County Council, 1966. The relevantsections of this listing are reproduced on the first reel on the film. Thecomplete contents of reels are reproduced at the beginning of each reel.

 

Publishers Note

 

Ep 1/10/6 Notincluded. This manuscript is in very poor condition and we were not permittedto film it.

 

Ep 1/17/27 Thefinal section of this manuscript is not included. It is in very poor conditionand we were not permitted to film it.

 

Ep 1/17/6 Notincluded. This manuscript is in very poor condition and we were not permittedto film it.