RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
Alt Ref NoMS 960-965
Extent6 vols (containing 1,610 items)
DescriptionParochial returns to a national survey of English benefices initiated in 1705, particularly with regard to their value, income and augmentation. The earliest dated return is dated 30 April 1705 (item 1570). The latest are dated 2 May 1707 (item 728) and May 1708 (item 1556).

The survey was initiated only months after the foundation of Queen Anne's Bounty, which received its charter in November 1704. The governors of the Bounty began to collect information on benefices in need of augmentation early in 1705. The Notitia Parochialis survey appears to have been an independent parallel initiative, although its advertisement via a church brief implies some level of official sanction. The survey was intended to provide data for publication. However no such publication appeared, possibly because the data was incomplete or too variable in quality, or because it was overtaken by the work directly associated with Queen Anne's Bounty. The Notitia Parochialis venture has been described as a telling piece of evidence of contemporary enthusiasm for church reform with regard to the issue of clerical poverty. See G.F.A. Best, 'Temporal pillars...' (Cambridge, 1964), pp. 81-2.

The survey was carried out by means of a series of questions printed in an Advertisement at the foot of a church brief dated 28 February 1705 [the date is preserved in item 415] in aid of the church of All Saints, Oxford: 'For All-Saints Church in Oxford. The sum upwards of 4800l. Anne, by the grace of God, Queen of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the faith, &c. to all and singular archbishops, bishops, ... : Advertisement. To the Reverend the Minister of every parochial church or chappel in England ...' (London : printed by Benj. Motte, for the Patentees, 1705).
The advertisement states: 'To the Reverend the Minister of every Parochial Church or Chapel in England. There being a Design formed of publishing the present state of Parish Churches, giving an Account of all Pious Persons who have been Benefactors to the Church since the Reformation; together with several other Things that are worthy to be known: you are therefore humbly desired to contribute your kind Assistance to this so useful an Undertaking, by returning a particular Answer (at the Bottom or on the Back of this Advertisement) to such of the following Queries, as the Care of your Parish, and any Neighbour vacant Parish (if such there be) shall require.
1. Are the Tythes, or any part of them impropriated, and for whom?
2. What part of the Tythes is your Church or Chapel endowed with?
3. What Augmentation or other Benefaction has your Benefice, had when and by whom?
4. If your Church or Chapel was founded since the Reformation when and by whom?
5. What Union or Dismemb'ring (if any) has been made of your Church, and by whom?
6. What Library is settled or sett'ling in your Parish and by whom?
7. If the Yearly Value of your Rectory, Vicarage or Chapelry be under 30 li. how much?
8. To whom does the Advowson, Collation or Donation of your Benefice belong?
9. If it be conominal with any other Place, what is the Note of Distinction?
10. If it be a Benefice that is not taken notice of in the Valor Beneficiorum, pray express in what Archdeaconry or Deaconry it is.
The Account you'll be pleased to give of these or the like Particulars, shall be faithfully apply'd to the Service of the Publick. Pray take Care that what you write be at the Foot or on the Back of the Advertisement, and not upon the Brief; and if that Paper be too little, you may affix more and write upon't.
Any Notices relating to this Advertisement, upon Return of the Briefs, will be taken Care of and lodged with William Hawes, Bookseller, at the Golden Buck, over against St Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street for the Author a Divine of the Church of England.'

The 1,610 returns to the survey (numbered 1-1606, but including items 33b, 775b, 779b and 1057b) are written on single sheets of various sizes, almost all being sections cut from the printed brief. Many are annotated with the name of the parish or the deanery and archdeaconry in which it is located and at least some of the annotations must have been made by the collectors of the brief. It may be assumed that the returns were intended to be arranged by diocese and deanery on publication, and some residual grouping of material by locality is evident throughout the collection.
ArrangementThe 1,610 returns are bound in a single numerical sequence in six volumes. MS. 960: nos. 1-256 (including item 33b); MS. 961: nos. 257-513; MS. 962: nos 514-764; MS. 963: nos. 765-1032 (270 including 775b and 779b); MS. 964: nos. 1033-1296 (including 1057b); MS. 965: nos. 1297-1606.
FindingAidsNew description by Richard Palmer, 2013, including lists of parishes in the returns.

Earlier indexes (generally with non-standard spellings, archaic versions of place names, and no references to counties), as follows:

LR/F/59. An index to the Notitia Parochialis by Andrew Coltee Ducarel, Lambeth Librarian, dated 1762.

MS. 4264. Ducarel's personal copy of the same index, containing corrections and some additional information.

MS. 1147 and LR/F/60. A printed work: 'The Clergyman's intelligencer: or, a compleat alphabetical list of all the patrons in England and Wales, ... with the dignities, livings and benefices in their gift ...' (London, 1745). The index to this work (bound separately as LR/F/60) is annotated to serve as as a supplementary place name index to the Notitia Parochialis.

LR/F/60 also contains an index to names of clergy in the Notitia Parochialis, compiled by Samuel Wayland Kershaw, Lambeth Librarian, in 1892.

Individual volumes also contain 19th century indexes to their contents. That in MS. 961 is initialled: 'SAB 1877'.

Original indexes do not include nos. 1580-1606 (all relating to places in Kent), which appear to have been added to the final volume (MS. 965) after Ducarel's index was made.

Also noted in H.J. Todd, 'A catalogue of the archiepiscopal manuscripts in the library at Lambeth Palace' (1812), p. 269.
PhysicalDescriptionCloth bindings, 19th century.
Paper leaves.
AdminHistoryDucarel's index (LR/F/59) states: 'Notitia Parochialis in six Volumes, containing 1579 Returns to the Queries (see the following Advertisement) of a, now unknown, Divine. These Returns were at the Bottom of a Brief for the rebuilding the Church of All Saints in Oxford. (Dat. 28 Feb. anno 3 Annae Reg. [1705] ). They are very curious, & extremely valuable, & give an exact account of the state of 1606 [1579 struck out] Parish Churches in 1705. Most of them are written, or signed, by the then Incumbents.'
Ducarel's personal copy of the same index (MS. 4264) has a further note: 'It is now unknown by what Divine these queries were drawn up; but it is supposed that they were drawn up by the directions of Lord Treasurer Oxford in 1705.'

A note in another hand (? late 18th century), pasted into MS. 960, states:
'Notitia Parochialis. Six folio MSS. deposited in the Lambeth Library. These answers were given to a printed Advertisement and marked No. 964 etc, which was published at the end of a Brief in the year 1705, by order of Mr. Harly (afterwards Lord Treasurer Oxford) who at that time was endeavouring to relieve the distress of the inferior clergy. They contain only a collection of private papers and can only be considered as designed for useful and certain information (and not as legal evidence) of the state of the small parishes in the year 1705 and many of these papers are signed by the then incumbents'.
CustodialHistoryDucarel's index (LR/F/59) states: 'April 2d 1760 I purchased these papers of the Revd. Mr John Entick of Stepney who, in 1743, bought them at Osborne's sale of the late Earl of Oxford's printed books - soon after which they were bound in the manner in which they now appear & were deposited in the Manuscript Library at Lambeth, by order of his Grace Archbishop Secker.' Ducarel's personal copy of the same index (MS. 4264) has an additional note on John Entick: 'Editor of many good books, this Mr. Entick was born of English parents at Lisbon, educated a papist, became a priest there, afterwards conformed to the Church of England, was Curate of St. Ethelburga, Bishopsgate Street, and removed for some irregularities by Bp. Gibson'.
Ducarel also recorded a payment to Entick of one guinea for these papers, with the date 1 April 1760 (MS 2214, f. 19r).
RelatedMaterialAs well as indexing the Notitia Parochialis, Andrew Coltee Ducarel had copies made of the original returns in 1766, as he states in his own copy of his index (MS. 4264). These copies appear to have been subsequently dispersed. E. Clive Rouse, 'Notitia Parochialis' (see Publication Note field) describes Ducarel's copies of returns for 43 benefices in Buckinghamshire. He also states that the Bodleian Library holds copies of the returns for Cambridge and Essex, and Birmingham Reference Library those for Warwickshire.
In 1937 Southport Public Libraries purchased copies of returns for 13 Lancashire parishes (plus two strays for other counties), each numbered according to the series of the original Notitia Parochialis at Lambeth (letter from the Southport Librarian on file at Lambeth).
PublnNoteA. R. Bax, 'On the state of certain parish churches in Surrey in 1705, from MSS. in Lambeth Palace Library', in 'Surrey Archaeological Collections', vol 12, 1895, pp. 163-171.

R. W. Dunning, 'Some Somerset parishes in 1705', in 'Somerset Archaeology and Natural History: the Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society', vol 112, 1968, pp. 71-92.

E. Clive Rouse, 'The Notitia Parochialis', in Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society, 'Records of Buckinghamshire', vol 17, 1973, pp. 403-405.

Peter Tomalin, 'The state of some Rutland churches in 1705: the Rutland returns in the Notitia Parochialis', in 'Rutland Record. Journal of the Rutland Local History and Record Society', vol 23, 2003, pp. 119-127.

Show related Persons records.

Related name records
NA1475Queen Anne's Bounty; 1704-19481704-1948
NA2381Ducarel; Andrew Coltée (1713-1785); Lambeth Librarian1713-1785
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