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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/180
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1462-1945
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 280 production units.
Name of creator(s): Dutch Church | Austin Friars, London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Dutch Church in London has its origin in a charter of 24 July 4 Edward VI (1550) by which the former monastic church of the Austin Friars was assigned to the use of foreign protestants. For some months the church was used by both Dutch and French (Walloon) communities, but in the latter part of the year the French moved to a chapel in Threadneedle Street, and thereafter the Austin Friars church was used exclusively by the Dutch. In 1560 the foreign churches in London were obliged to accept the "superintendence" of the Bishop of London, but this relationship was always less formal than that between the Bishop and his Anglican parishes, and for the most part the Dutch were permitted to maintain their own traditions and forms of worship. The Bishop's superintendence notionally continued as late as the nineteenth century, but in practice the Bishop rarely interfered in the affairs of the Dutch Church after the Restoration. Apart from that the Dutch Church has always been independent.

The church building was damaged by fire in 1862, and was virtually destroyed by an air raid in 1940, but has since been rebuilt.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Dutch Church at Austin Friars, City of London, including registers of baptisms, marriages and burials; financial accounts; letter books; lists of members; council and committee minute books; memoranda books; legal papers; property records including title deeds; rules and regulations relating to the governance of the church.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records have been sorted into an order which reflects divisions between the different functions and operations of the organisation and its administration.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The Dutch Church "Library" of printed and manuscript books, together with two collections of documents, was deposited in Guildhall Library in the 1860s. The two collections of documents were (a) the "Ortelius-Colius collection", comprising correspondence of Abraham Ortelius (1528-98) and of his nephew Jacobus Colius (1563-1628), with other documents of literary or antiquarian interest collected by Ortelius or Colius; and (b) a collection of letters and papers concerning the affairs of the Dutch Church and its members, 1544-1622, which later formed the nucleus of the so-called "Archivum" of the Dutch Church (see Ms 7428). A printed catalogue of all the material from the Dutch Church housed at Guildhall Library in 1879 was published in that year, under the title A Catalogue of Books, Manuscripts, Letters, etc. belonging to the Dutch Church... deposited at the Library of the Corporation of the City of London.

The two collections of documents were withdrawn from Guildhall Library in 1884, and shortly afterwards were transcribed for publication by J.H. Hessels in Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum, vols.1-2 (1887-9). After publishing these two volumes, Hessels re-arranged the letters and papers concerning the affairs of the Dutch Church and its members, added further documents to the new sequence, and then published another volume of Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae, vol.3, in two parts (1897). The greater part of the Dutch Church "Library" of printed and manuscript books was withdrawn from Guildhall Library in the 1930s, and the remainder was withdrawn in 1958.

In 1952 the re-arranged "Archivum" of the Dutch Church, together with the "Ortelius-Colius" collection, was re-deposited at Guildhall Library. At about the same time Guildhall Library accepted custody of the rest of the archives of the Dutch Chutch, including minute and "acta" books, accounts and membership records, deeds and registers. The "Ortelius-Colius" collection was again withdrawn in 1954 , but all the other documents received in 1952 are still held in Guildhall Library and are catalogued below. The "Ortelius-Colius" collection was sold at Sotheby's in February 1955 (the decision to sell the collection having been made by the Dutch Church as owners of the documents). It was purchased by a private collector in the United States, and was subsequently dispersed by further sales to American universities, libraries and other buyers. Guildhall Library has no information about the current location of any of the items from this collection. Three of the manuscript books from the Dutch Church "Library" were re-deposited at Guildhall in 1956 (Mss 9621, 9622/1-2); they were followed by a further 59 manuscript books transferred to Guildhall Library in 1982 (Ms 20185). The charter of Edward VI (Ms 35158) was deposited in 2001. The records were catalogued at various dates by members of Guildhall Library staff. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For the history of the Dutch Church see J. Lindeboom, Austin Friars: History of the Dutch Reformed Church in London 1550-1950, (The Hague, 1950).

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:
August to October 2010.

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