Catalogue description DIOCESE OF SOUTHWARK

This record is held by London Metropolitan Archives: City of London

Details of DS
Reference: DS

The collection relates to the area of London covered by the Diocese of Southwark, south of the River Thames dating mainly from 1905 and provides a wealth of information on church architecture and fixtures, sources for marriages and clergy (of particular use for family history), and the morals and conduct of clergy and their parishioners. Some records date from when parishes were under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Winchester (before 1877) and the Diocese of Rochester (1877 - 1904).


The records of Southwark Diocesan Registry include the following: grants of faculties relating to church buildings and fittings with a large number of coloured drawings and plans of churches, monuments, stained glass designs and other fittings (1905 - 2000); consecration and dedication papers including petitions and plans relating to new churches and burial grounds (1905 - 1976); ordinations and appointments of clergy (1878 - 1974); records relating to marriages including lists of marriage licences granted to couples intending to marry in churches within the Diocese of Rochester and Southwark (1877 - 1910, 1940 - 1958) and marriage warrants and affidavits recording the declarations made by parties intending to marry by licence (1905 - 1974). The collection includes records relating to visitations, the process by which the bishop maintained faith and discipline, and corrected clerical and lay abuses, including lists of churchwardens (1924 - 1956), visitation returns (1907 - 1956) and presentment reports submitted by churchwardens on the state of church buildings and the conduct of clergy and parishioners in the parish (1905 - 1974).


The collection also contains minutes and property deeds from the Rochester and Southwark Diocesan Church Trust (1817 - 1966) relating to the College of Saint Saviour, Saint Olave, Southwark and All Saints, North Peckham, including correspondence relating to the removal of remains from the Flemish Burial Ground, adjacent to Saint Olave in 1842 (reference DS/CT); and minutes and related papers of Rural Deaneries of Dulwich, and Newington and Southwark (1869 - 1990) (reference DS/DRD).

Date: 1742-2000

The records are arranged as follows:


DS/A Diocesan Associations


DS/AB Assignation Books


DS/CP Consecration and dedication of churches


DS/CT Rochester and Southwark Diocesan Church Trust


DS/DRD Rural Deaneries


DS/F Faculty Papers


DS/FO General Faculties


DS/FR Faculty Registers


DS/K Clergy


DS/L General Correspondence


DS/LR Registry Correspondence


DS/LS Secretarial Correspondence


DS/MB Marriage Licences


DS/MC Calendar of Marriage Licences


DS/MP Marriage Warrants and Affidavits


DS/OB Muniment Books


DS/OC Orders in Council


DS/OP Office Papers


DS/R Registry Documentation


DS/SEQ Sequestrations


DS/VB Visitation Books


DS/VP Visitation Papers


DS/VR Visitation Call Books

Related material:

For records before 1905 relating to parishes in the Diocese of Southwark see the archive collections of the Diocese of Rochester (DR), Diocese of London (DL) and Diocese of Winchester (DW) held at London Metropolitan Archives.


See also Southwark Diocesan Council for Welcare (ACC/2201 and ACC/2538).


For records of Southwark Cathedral before 1905 see Diocese of Rochester collections for the period 1877 - 1904 (DR) held at London Metropolitan Archives, and Diocese of Winchester archives held at Hampshire Record Office for the period before 1877. See also the parish of Saint Saviour, Southwark collection at London Metropolitan Archives (P92/SAV).

Held by: London Metropolitan Archives: City of London, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Diocese of Southwark

Physical description: 240.75 linear feet
Restrictions on use:

Copyright to these records rests with the Diocesan Registry.

Access conditions:

The records in this collection are open to public inspection although some records are subject to closure periods. Please also note that some records in this collection are currently uncatalogued as of August 2003. Please contact the London Metropolitan Archives for further information.

Immediate source of acquisition:

AC/63/027 and 050, AC/64/002, AC/65/006, 011 and 066, AC/66/021, AC/67/025, AC/69/014, 019, 059 and 062, AC/70/011, 062, 066 and 079, AC/71/026, AC/73/006, 011, 037 and 067, AC/74/072, AC/75/096, AC/76/002, 030, 049, 125 and 135, AC/78/052, ACC/1481, ACC/1571, ACC/1725, ACC/1936, ACC/1957, ACC/1967, ACC/1983, ACC/2003, ACC/2009, ACC/2146, ACC/2251, ACC/2302-2304, ACC/2382, ACC/2396, ACC/2491, ACC/2519, ACC/2534, ACC/2676, ACC/2701, ACC/2713, ACC/2836, ACC/2853, ACC/2962, ACC/3008, ACC/3052, ACC/3416, ACC/3626, B97/153, B98/090, B98/156, B01/025, B02/016.


Future additions from the Diocesan Registry are expected.

  • Religious buildings
Administrative / biographical background:

The Diocese of Southwark was formed in 1905 and lies in the Church of England Province of Canterbury. The Diocese has jurisdiction over 317 square miles of London south of the River Thames, formerly in the ancient counties of Kent and Surrey, areas which had been in the Diocese of Rochester and vast Diocese of Winchester. In 2003 the Diocese was serving a population of 2,358,000 in 302 parishes. It includes:


Parishes in the ancient county of Surrey, forming the Parliamentary Divisions of east and mid Surrey, which had been transferred from the Archdeaconry of Surrey in the Diocese of Winchester, to the Diocese of Rochester in 1878;


Parishes in the ancient county of Kent which had been transferred to the Diocese of London in 1846 and returned back to the Diocese of Rochester in 1867, namely Charlton, Lee, Lewisham, Greenwich, Woolwich, Eltham, Plumstead and Deptford;


Parishes in the former Deanery of Croydon which were peculiars of the Archbishop of Canterbury, namely Barnes, Bunstow, Charlwood, Cheam, East Horsley, Merstham, Mortlake, Newington, Putney and Wimbledon. The peculiars were parishes or places which were formerly exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishop in whose diocese they were physically located, and were answerable directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1846, Newington, Barnes, Putney, Mortlake and Wimbledon had ceased to be peculiars and became part of the Diocese of London, and in the same year the remaining peculiars of Addington and Croydon were transferred permanently to the Diocese of Canterbury.


In 1927, the Diocese of Guildford was formed from parishes in the ancient county of Surrey remaining in the Archdeaconry of Surrey in the Diocese of Winchester and a few Hampshire parishes.


In the late nineteenth century, the cathedral church at Winchester could not respond to the needs of the rapidly increasing populations in South London experiencing poor living and working conditions. Although the area had been transferred to the Diocese of Rochester in 1878, Anthony Thorold, Bishop of Rochester was determined that the religious life of South London would have its own firm identity. As a result, a Suffragan Bishop of Southwark was appointed in 1891 and the ancient parish church of Saint Saviours, Southwark was restored to become the pro-Cathedral in 1897. In 1904 an Act of Parliament created the new Diocese of Southwark and in 1905 the church became Southwark Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of Saint Saviour and Saint Mary Overie).


Edward Stuart Talbot, the 100th Bishop of Rochester, was enthroned as the first Bishop of Southwark. The bishop was faced with the challenge of building up the Church over the South London with a population of nearly two million inhabitants and great social disparities from the prosperous villages of Reigate or Kew and Edwardian suburbs to appallingly overcrowded tenements of inner London.


In 2003 the mission of the Diocese was:


to 'pray for the renewing power and love of the Holy Spirit in our worship, work and witness';


to 'seek the rule of God in our lives, our church, our communities, the life of the earth and the whole of creation';


to 'Share the Faith - proclaiming the Good News, teaching and nurturing new believers, making disciples and equipping them for service';


to 'Search for Truth - open to God's Word, exploring God's activity in different contexts and cultures';


to 'Serve our Neighbour - responding to human need by loving service and by confronting the unjust structures of society; and


Follow Jesus - in his suffering love for the salvation of all people.


In 2003, the Diocese of Southwark was divided into three Episcopal Areas each with a Suffragan Bishop and two Archdeacons:


Croydon Episcopal Area:


Bishop of Croydon


Archdeacon of Croydon


Archdeacon of Reigate


Kingston Episcopal Area:


Bishop of Kingston


Archdeacon of Lambeth


Archdeacon of Wandsworth


Woolwich Episcopal Area:


Bishop of Woolwich


Archdeacon of Lewisham


Archdeacon of Southwark


The Diocese of Southwark was twinned with three Anglican Dioceses in Zimbabwe (2003).


Bishops of Southwark (1905 - 2003)


1905 Edward Stuart Talbot


1911 Hubert Murray Burge


1919 Cyril Foster Garbett


1932 Richard Godfrey Parsons


1942 Bertram Fitzgerald Simpson


1959 Arthur Mervyn Stockwood


1980 Ronald Oliver Bowlby


1991 Robert Kerr Williamson


1998 Thomas Frederick Butler

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