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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/319

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1825-2006

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 229 production units.

Name of creator(s): Diocese of Gibraltar | Church of England


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1840-1 Charles Blomfield, Bishop of London, raised the question of the establishment of a new diocese in the Mediterranean. The need for effective episcopal supervision, ministry for congregations and clergy in south east Europe and the desire to promote relations with the Orthodox Churches led to the establishment of the Diocese of Gibraltar by letters patent dated 21st August 1842. The new diocese was to cover the southern part of Europe bordering the Mediterranean with the bishop of London retaining jurisdiction over the rest of Europe. A Foreign Office circular issued 20th October 1842 to Ministers and Consuls in the states bordering on the Mediterranean indicated the limits of the bishop's jurisdiction which extended over the colony of Gibraltar and the Anglican chaplaincies in Spain, southern France, Italy, the Balkan states, Greece, Turkey, the Mediterranean islands, part of North Africa and the Middle East, and the coastal regions of the Black Sea.

An 1869 Foreign Office circular extended the jurisdiction of the bishop to include chaplaincies throughout Spain and Portugal, on the coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands, Italy, the shores of the Black Sea and on the lower Danube. Some minor changes were subsequently made to the south and east of the diocese. The cathedral of the diocese was situated in Gibraltar but the bishop normally resided in England and the registry was in London.

The 1870s were a period of transition for the diocese. In 1873 changes were made to the appointment of colonial bishops. When Bishop Sandford was appointed by a mandate issued by the Sovereign in 1873 he ceased to be "a body corporate" and "a perpetual corporation" capable of holding property, acting in courts and having a corporate seal. This development led to endowments in property and churches being held by local families and trustees. The situation was not resolved until the creation of the Gibraltar Diocesan Trust in 1909 to hold property and funds on the continent on behalf of the diocese.

1873 also saw the discontinuation of the allowance granted under the 1825 Act to Regulate the Payment of Salaries and Allowances to British Consuls at Foreign Ports, and the Disbursements at such Ports for certain public Purposes, (known as the Consular Advances Act) which had provided for the support of churches and chapels abroad where a chaplain was appointed and maintained by subscription. Consuls were authorized to provide a sum equal to the amount subscribed. The grants were discontinued in stages,some in 1874 while others, to Trieste and Marseilles, continued into the twentieth century. This caused great financial strain in the mercantile chaplaincies of the diocese. Their fluctuating seafaring population and often small resident population meant they had few permanent resources to draw on. Bishop Sanford promoted work with seamen and the Gibraltar Mission to Seamen was "... established to provide for the moral and spiritual wants of British and American sailors, visiting the ports of the Mediterranean and neighbouring seas". Although begun by Bishop Sandford early in his episcopate it was not until 1882 that the Mission was formally established. The Mission founded Sailors Clubs and Seamen's Institutes all around the Mediterranean to provide an alternative to the traditional sailors' entertainment. In September 1921 the Mission changed its name to the Mediterranean Mission to Seamen.

The early twentieth century saw many administrative developments, the establishment of the Bishop of Gibraltar's Fund for Aiding Poorer Chaplainies in 1906, the Gibraltar Diocesan Trust in 1909 and the Gibraltar Diocesan Association in 1916. The latter was, in effect, a friends organisation. In 1922 the Bishop of Gibraltar's Fund for Aiding Poorer Chaplaincies, the Gibraltar Diocesan Association and the Mediterranean Mission to Seamen's committee amalgamated to form the Gibraltar Diocesan Council, although the Mediterranean Mission to Seamen remained a separate organisation. The Gibraltar Diocesan Council met several times a year and advised the bishop on matters relating to the diocese.

The 1968 Lambeth Conference called for consideration to be given to parallel jurisdictions, especially in Europe, and in October 1970 the office of the Bishop of Gibraltar was combined with that of the Bishop of Fulham on the appointment of John Satterthwaite. From 1970 to 1980 the jurisdictions of Gibraltar and North and Central Europe remained separate, although administered by the same bishop of "Fulham and Gibraltar". In 1980 the Bishop of London divested himself of all his jurisdiction overseas and a new Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, known as the Diocese in Europe, was established to supersede both former jurisdictions.


Scope and content/abstract:

The records of the Diocese of Gibraltar are concerned with the administration of the Diocese, the oversight of chaplaincies and relations with other organisations working within the Diocese and with other churches on the Continent.

Material relating to the 1970s when John Satterthwaite was Bishop of Fulham and Gibraltar has been catalogued as part of the Diocese in Europe. Also series (such as confirmation registers, G.L. Ms 32690/1-6) which begin before 1970 but continue beyond that date have been catalogued as Diocese in Europe records.

It should be noted that many of the records are general files and contain information on a variety of topics, e.g. administration, finance and chaplaincy. This is especially true of the large series of correspondence between the diocesan administration and the chaplaincies, Ms 32699/1-624. This correspondence relates to the Diocese in Europe and Jurisdiction of North and Central Europe as well as the Diocese of Gibraltar but has been grouped as one series for convenience.

Note, Ms 32568/1-12 are closed for 50 years.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

CLC/319/A: Establishment and extent of the Diocese;
CLC/319/BA: Administration: Bishop's Registers;
CLC/319/BB: Administration: Minutes and organisation;
CLC/319/BC: Administration: Correspondence;
CLC/319/BD: Administration: Staff;
CLC/319/BE: Administration: Finance;
CLC/319/BF: Administration: Conferences;
CLC/319/BG: Administration: Visitation;
CLC/319/BH: Administration: Embassy and Consular Chaplaincies;
CLC/319/C: Ecclesiastical;
CLC/319/D: Chaplaincy;
CLC/319/E: Property; C
LC/319/F: Photographs;
CLC/319/G: Relations with other organisations.

Conditions governing access:

Restricted access: please see staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records of the Diocese of Gibraltar have been deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library at various dates since the 1980s and catalogued by assistant archivists over a number of years. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.


Related material:

See DL for the Diocese of London and CLC/318 for the Diocese in Europe. CLC/320 to CLC/416 relate to individual foreign chaplaincies.

DESCRIPTION NOTES Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: August to October 2010.

Bishops | Clergy | Religious groups
Chaplaincy | Religious offices | Religious institutions
Chaplains | Clergy | Religious groups
Church finance | Finance
Church of England | Anglicanism | Protestantism | Christianity | Ancient religions | Religions
Dioceses | Ecclesiastical districts | Church administration | Administration | Organisation and management
Embassies and consulates | Foreign affairs | Foreign policy | Foreign relations | International relations

Personal names

Corporate names
Diocese of Gibraltar | Church of England