Catalogue description Archdeaconry of Rochester

This record is held by Kent History and Library Centre

Details of DRa
Reference: DRa
Title: Archdeaconry of Rochester

This collection comprises administrative records, judicial records, probate records, registration records, visitation records and miscellaneous papers from the Archdeaconry of Rochester


The records of the diocese of Rochester are deficient in many classes. The bishops' registers are, with a few exceptions, very slender compared with those of other dioceses, the court and visitation records are lamentably thin, and the records of faculty jurisdiction virtually non-existent.

Date: 1504 - 1858

This collection forms part of the ROCHESTER DIOCESAN ARCHIVES.


The Archives of the Diocese of Rochester are catalogued according to the following classification scheme:


DRa : Archdeaconry of Rochester,


DRb : Bishopric of Rochester,


DRc : Dean and Chapter of Rochester,


DRd : Rochester Rural Deaneries,


DR/Cp : Records of Cliffe Peculiar.


The records of the Dean and Chapter of Rochester have been separately catalogued, and both a summary catalogue and a detailed catalogue of these records are available. This catalogue includes records in all other categories.


The collection has been classified as follows:


DRa/A : Administrative Records


DRa/A/i : Induction Mandates,


DRa/A/m : Muniment Books,


DRa/J : Judicial Records,


DRa/J/l : Papers in Causes,


DRa/P : Probate Records,


DRa/P/a : Act Books,


DRa/P/b : Administration Bonds,


DRa/P/i : Inventories,


DRa/P/wr : Will Registers,


DRa/P/w : Original Wills,


DRa/P/Ri : Probate Indices,


DRa/R : Registration Records,


DRa/R/m : Meeting House Certificates,


DRa/V : Visitation Records,


DRa/V/b : Visitation Books,


DRa/V/c : Citations,


DRa/V/e : Articles of Enquiry,


DRa/V/i : Inhibitions,


DRa/V/p : Presentments,


DRa/V/s : Process Papers,


DRa/V/z : Miscellaneous

Related material:

Of the four probate jurisdictions within the diocese of Rochester, the original records of three are held in the Kent Archives Office.


The original records of the Shoreham peculiar are held at Lambeth Palace Library but microfilm copies of the act books, wills and inventories are held in the Kent Archives Office.

Held by: Kent History and Library Centre, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Archdeaconry of Rochester

Physical description: Circ. 1560 files
Access conditions:


Immediate source of acquisition:

The records have been received from several different sources and in a number of separate deposits, the main groups being those from the President of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division in 1946 (catalogued by D.M.M. Shorrocks in 1957) and the Diocesan Registrar in 1958 (catalogued by R.A. Keen in 1958-9). The original catalogue which was re-ordered. And given a new introduction in 1987.

Custodial history:

The various re-organisations of the diocesan boundaries have resulted in a very poor survival of records from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and it is clear that much has been either lost or deliberately destroyed. Some material for the latter section of this period, which fills some of the gaps in the records listed here, remains in the custody of the Registrar of the Diocese of Rochester.

Administrative / biographical background:

The medieval diocese of Rochester consisted of Kent west of the Medway, and was divided into the rural deaneries of Rochester, Dartford and Mailing, which together formed the archdeaconry of Rochester, and the rural deanery of Shoreham which was a peculiar jurisdiction of the archbishop of Canterbury. In 1845 the boundaries of the diocese were drastically altered, the rural deaneries of Dartford, Malling and Shoreham, except for a few parishes, being absorbed into the diocese of Canterbury, and the rural deanery of Rochester with a few neighbouring parishes being linked with the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire to form a new diocese of Rochester. These boundaries were further altered in 1877, when Essex and Hertfordshire were formed into the new diocese of St. Albans, and the north-western part of Kent together with London south of the Thames now constituting the diocese of Rochester. In 1905 the London section of the diocese was detached to form the new diocese of Southwark, and the boundaries between the diocese of Canterbury and Rochester adjusted so that since that date the diocese has covered roughly the same area as that which it covered before 1845.


There was considerable overlap between the archdeaconry and consistory probate jurisdictions, with frequently the same person acting as archdeacon's official and bishop's vicar general and official principal. The records of the consistory jurisdictions include references to two parishes outside Kent, Isleham (Cambs) and Freckenham (Suff), which were peculiars of the bishop of Rochester. One parish in the diocese of Rochester, Cliffe-at-Hoo, possessed its own peculiar jurisdiction until 1845, the rector acting as ordinary in respect of both faculty and probate matters.

Link to NRA Record:

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research