AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 DS
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1742-2000
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 80.15 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Diocese of Southwark | Church of England


Administrative/Biographical history:

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 the 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 to 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.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Diocese of Southwark, 1742-2000. The collection relates to the area of London covered by the Diocese of Southwark south of the River Thames, dating mainly from 1905. It 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 Regsistry 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).

Also 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).

Please note that some of the collection is uncatalogued. Please ask a member of staff for information regarding the procedure to access uncatalogued records.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

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.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received in multiple accessions between 1963 and 2010.

Allied Materials

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).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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:
July to October 2009

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"