• Reference
  • Title
    Archdeaconry of Bedford
  • Archival history
    The Archdeaconry of Bedford was originally in the Diocese of Lincoln; transferred to Ely 1837; to St. Albans (formed 1877) in 1914. Accessions: 1922: This was the first and main accession. It appears that the documents were originally kept in a room over the south porch of St. Paul’s church (it is alleged that many were used to light the fire). In the late 19th century they were removed to the office of the Registrar, Mark Whyley. In 1921 it was proposed to transfer them to the Diocesan Registry at St. Albans; but protests by the Ruridecanal Conference and by private individuals resulted in their being deposited in the Record Office (C. R. Minutes, 25 Nov. 1921), and they were received 28 Feb. 1922. Dr. Fowler described them as “being in an indescribable state of filth and disorder…especially the transcripts…which had be exposed to dirt, damp and vermin, apparently with no effort for their protection since the day that each file had been deposited with the Archdeacon’s Registrar” 1933: Some documents came to light among those of the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon (see list published by W. M. Noble and S. Inskip Ladds, 1921). These were transferred to Dr. Fowler in 1933 and brought to the office after his death in 1940. 1938: Some transcripts of parish registers were transferred from Lincoln, (and a few subsequently in 1952). 1950: When the probate records were received it was found that some Archdeaconry court books had been removed with the probate registers under the Testamentary Jurisdiction Act of 1857, first to Northampton and then to Birmingham, and these volumes were then restored to their original series. 1964: Some marriage allegations, 1862-85, and a Henlow terrier, 1869, were received from Ely (per Cambridge University Library), with the tithe redemption certificates. Their presence at Ely was due to the fact that in 1880 Mr W. J. Evans of Ely succeeded Mr Samuel Bailey as Registrar of the Commissary of the Archdeaconry. Jurisdiction: [section based on letter from C. E. Welch, Chichester 30.9.1957] About the end of the 13th century many bishops began to appoint sequestrators general, who took charge of vacant benefices. Other functions were added till by 1500 in Lincoln diocese they had 14 different duties (reg. XXIV, f.213 r). At first there was one for Lincoln diocese; in 1295 tow (N. & S.); by the time of Bishop Buckingham (1362-98) one for each Archdeaconry except Stow. They became known as commissaries-general. In the early years of the 16th century they were also given instance jurisdiction within the archdeaconry. The earliest probate register shows the offices of commissary-general and archdeacon’s official being held by the same man. There was probably an agreement between the bishop and the archdeacon dividing probate fees. The offices did not necessarily remain united. The commissary-general’s commission was limited to the archdeaconry, and he had no control over the peculiar jurisdictions.
  • Level of description