RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
Alt Ref NoFP
Extent19 sub-fonds
TitleFulham Papers: papers of the Bishops of London
DescriptionThe Fulham Papers comprise the archive of the bishops of London transferred from Fulham Palace, the former residence of the bishops of London. The majority of the collection dates from the 18th - 19th centuries. It includes correspondence on the administration of the diocese of London and on the churches (particularly in America and the West Indies) which came under the bishop's jurisdiction before the founding of separate episcopates in those countries.

The collection also includes visitation returns for the diocese of London, 1763-1900. The practice of episcopal visitation developed in the medieval church as a means of correcting clerical and lay abuses. It became customary for a bishop to carry out a visitation of his own diocese during his first year of office and at intervals of every three to four years thereafter. In the post-Reformation church the practice of triennial visitation was not consistently carried out. Although the bishop's right to vist was established, the procedure of circulating printed articles of enquiry to be answered by the beneficed clergy did not become general until after the Restoration.
The visitation returns record the answers of the clergy to a set of articles of enquiry circulated before the bishop's visitation. The visitation articles were printed and each question or series of questions was followed by a space for the reply. They were designed to furnish the bishop with an account of the state of every parish within his diocese. Since the scope and number of questions varied from bishop to bishop, they can be seen to reflect the preoccupations of the diocesan. Those for Bishop Osbaldeston consisted of seven questions relating mainly to the performance of services and the duties of the curate. The questions of his successor, Bishop Terrick, were more wide-ranging, and included queries about the extent of popery and dissent within the parish. These formed the basis of the articles of both Bishops Lowth and Porteus. The most searching articles were however those drawn up by Bishop Tait in 1858: these ran to some thirty seven articles many with subsidiary questions, and covered almost every aspect of parochial affairs and administration. These were adapted by Jackson, but Mandell Creighton circulated a new set which betrayed yet another shift in the concerns of the diocesan.
The returns comprise a variety of records relating to parishes in the diocese of London from 1763-1900. The majority relates to visitations by the bishop, 1763-1900, by the archdeacon of Essex, 1815-18, and by the rural deans, 1834. Other records include two series of returns of papists, the first undertaken in 1765 on Bishop Terrick's initiative and the second part of an enquiry undertaken by the archbishops and bishops of England and Wales in 1767, and abstracted and forwarded by them to the House of Lords. Two returns in 1810 and 1815 were similarly part of the responses to the government's request to the episcopate for information on the capacity of places of worship and numbers of non-beneficed clergy. They also includes parochial lists of confirmation candidates, 1771, 1774, returns of numbers of marriages for seven years either side of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act in answer to Bishop Terrick's enquiry in 1772, and parochial returns of collections for French Catholic clergy refugees in answer to an appeal for funds in 1793. Terrick's diocesan book, listing the London benefices in the gift of the bishop, also complement the information from the returns.
The returns show the growth in the numbers of churches in the 19th century, with more than one church built within the historic parishes. During the second half of the 19th century, the articles of enquiry were also circulated to Anglican chaplains officiating in a variety of institutions in the diocese. These ranged from hospitals, workhouses, and prisons to schools, colleges, and sisterhoods:
Aske's Hospital, Hoxton;
Bancroft's Hospital, Mile End;
Bethnal Green Workhouse;
Brentford Union Workhouse;
Bridewell Hospital, London;
Brompton (Cancer) Hospital;
Brompton (Consumption) Hospital;
Central London Sick Asylum, St. Pancras;
Charing Cross Hospital;
Chelsea Workhouse and Infirmary;
City of London Maternity Hospital, City Road;
City of London Union, Bow;
City of London Union, Homerton;
Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum;
Dalston Refuge;
Drapers' Almshouses, Tottenham;
Eastern (Fever) Hospital, Homerton;
Edmonton Union Workhouse;
Emanuel Hospital, Westminster;
Fulham Workhouse and Infirmary;
Hampstead Workhouse;
Hendon Union Workhouse;
Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, Holborn;
Hospital for Women, Soho Square;
Islington Workhouse;
Jeffrey's Hospital, Hoxton;
Kensington Workhouse and Infirmary;
King's College Hospital, Westminster;
Lock Hospital, Enfield;
London Chest Hospital, Bethnal Green;
London Hospital (The), Whitechapel;
Metropolitan Hospital, Hackney;
Middlesex Hospital;
National Hospital, Queen Square;
Normansfield Asylum, Hampton Wick;
North-Eastern Hospital, Tottenham;
Paddington Workhouse and Infirmary;
Poplar and Stepney Sick Asylum;
Poplar Hospital;
Poplar Workhouse;
Royal Free Hospital, Gray's Inn Road;
Royal Hospital, Chelsea;
Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea;
St. George Hanover Square Workhouse;
St. George-in-the-East Workhouse;
St. George's Hospital, Hyde Park Corner;
St. George's Infirmary, Westminster;
St. James' Diocesan Home for Female Penitents, Fulham;
St. Luke's Hospital, Finsbury;
St. Luke's Workhouse, City Road;
St. Mark's Hospital, City Road;
St. Martin's Almshouses, Camden Town;
St. Marylebone Infirmary, Notting Hill;
St. Marylebone Workhouse;
St. Mary's Hospital, Great Ilford;
St. Mary Magdalene's Hospital, Colchester;
St. Pancras Hospital;
St. Pancras Workhouse;
St. Peter's Hospital, Westminster;
St. Saviour's Homes, Hendon;
St. Saviour's Hospital, St. Pancras;
Shoreditch Workhouse and Infirmary;
Staines Workhouse;
Stepney, Dr. Barnado's Home;
Stepney Union;
Stepney Union Supplementary Workhouse, Ratcliff;
Strand Union Workhouse;
Wanstead Orphan Asylum;
Western Fever Hospital, Fulham;
Westminster Hospital;
Westminster Union Workhouse;
Whitechapel Workhouse

Church Army;
Convent of St. Mary and St. John, Chiswick;
House of Charity, Soho Square;
House of Mercy, Highgate;
Missions to Seamen;
St. Katherine's Sisterhood, Fulham;
South West London Protestant Institution, Kensington

Central London District School, Hanwell;
Charterhouse (The), London;
Christ's College, Finchley;
Christ's Hospital, London;
Church Missionary College, Islington;
Grocers' Company Middle Class School, Hackney;
Hackney Grammar School;
Highgate School;
Home and Colonial Training College, Gray's Inn Road;
Industrial Schools, Plashet;
Islington Guardians' School;
King's College, The Strand;
Merchant Taylors' School, West Hackney;
Middlesex Industrial School, Feltham;
Morden College, Blackheath;
North London Collegiate School, Brondesbury;
Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall;
Royal Naval School, Deptford;
Royal School for Daughters of Naval Officers, Twickenham;
St. John's School, Primrose Hill;
St. Pancras, Boys School, Regent's Park;
St. Mark's College, Chelsea;
Welsh Girls' School, Ashford;
West Ham, National School, Barking Road;
West London District School, Ashford;
Whitelands College, Chelsea;
Whittington College, Holloway

Clerkenwell Prison;
Cold Bath Fields Prison, Clerkenwell;
Fulham Prison;
Holloway Prison;
Newgate Gaol;
Pentonville Prison;
Westminster, H.M. Prison

East India Company;
Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield;
Queen's Printing Office, Holborn;
Tailors Benevolent Institution, St. Pancras;
Wellington Barracks
AccrualsNo further accruals.
ArrangementWith the exception of the colonial material (FP 1-42) and the general diocesan material (building accounts for St Paul's, 1639-40 (FP 43), papers 1598-1678 (FP 44), all the papers are now sorted and arranged by the Bishops of London (Compton to Fisher). Formerly, however, they were numbered in a single numerical sequence pre-fixed FP and running from 1 to over 560. For some volumes there is a direct correlation between an old reference and the current volume reference, but other material was re-bound. Where known, previous references are noted in the relevant catalogue records.
AccessConditionsFor preservation reasons, the visitation returns for London, 1766-1810, may only be consulted on microfilm.
FindingAidsSeries of typescript finding aids, including:

individual Bishops [M. Barber, The Fulham Papers in Lambeth Palace Library (London diocesan papers), typescript: this covers collections not separately catalogued or indexed and includes papers of the following bishops: Henry Compton (1676-1713), John Robinson (1714-23), Edmund Gibson (1723-48), Thomas Sherlock (1748-61), Thomas Hayter (1761-2), Richard Osbaldeston (1762-4), Richard Terrick (1764-77), Robert Lowth (1778-87), Mandell Creighton (1897-1901), Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram (1901-39), Geoffrey Fisher (1939-45)];

diocesan returns 1763-1900 and returns of Papists 1767 ['An index to the London Diocesan Returns in Lambeth Palace Library 1763-1900', by Melanie Barber, 1991];
As those familiar with George Hennessy, Novum Repertorium Ecclesiasticum Parochiale Londinense (1898), will know, arrangements of London churches can be complex since the modern topography of London does not adequately mirror the historic parishes. In cataloguing the diocesan returns, no attempt was made to place the parishes within the metropolitan boroughs. The proprietary chapels are generally catalogued within the parish in which they were situated: e.g. WESTMINSTER, Middlesex, St. George, Hanover Square; Eaton Chapel, Eaton Square. Use of 'London' in cataloguing has been confined to the city of London, and not to the metropolis. As regards Westminster, the churches are catalogued within the parishes which existed in the late 18th century. For the most part, the institutions have been entered under their title and not within the parish in which they were physically situated.

card index to London clergy, 18th century.

These finding aids now form part of the electronic archives catalogue.
PhysicalDescriptionThe papers were bound by LPL mainly during the 1970s and 1980s.
AdminHistoryAccumulated 17th - 20th centuries at Fulham Palace.

The boundaries of the diocese of London changed a number of times during the 18th and 19th centuries. Until 1845, the diocese comprised most of the parishes in Middlesex (including the city of London) and Essex, a substantial number of parishes in Hertfordshire, and four parishes (Aston-Abbots, Grandborough, Little Horwood, and Winslow) in Buckinghamshire. The abolition of the peculiar jurisdictions brought into the diocese the parishes in the city of London formerly comprising the archbishop of Canterbury's peculiar of the Arches, and some of the parishes in Middlesex and Surrey which formed the archbishop's peculiar of Croydon. Simultaneously with the abolition of the exempt jurisdictions, the London diocesan boundaries were altered. The aim was to make the diocese coterminous with the metropolis thereby covering Middlesex, Essex, Kent and Surrey. Apart from the archbishop's peculiars, the diocese gained the Kent parishes of Charlton, Deptford, Eltnam, Greenwich, Lee, Lewisham, Plumstead, and Woolwich just south of the Thames; it retained nine Essex parishes just north of the Thames, namely Barking, Chingford, East and West Ham, Little Ilford, Low Leyton, Walthamstow, Wanstead, and Woodford, the remainder of Essex being temporarily transferred to Rochester. The see of London also lost its parishes in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Under the London Diocese Act of 1863 and the Diocese of St Albans Act of 1875, provisions were made for the future removal of the Essex, Kent and Surrey parishes from the diocese of London, and by order in council 1877 the diocese of London was confined to the county of Middlesex, including the cities of London and Westminster.

For the Bishop of London's overseas jurisdiction, see Geoffrey Yeo, "A Case Without Parallel: The Bishops of London and the Anglican Church Overseas, 1660-1748", in 'The Journal of Ecclesiastical History' Volume 44, Issue 03, July 1993, pp 450-475.

For visitation returns within these papers, see also online guide:
CustodialHistoryThe Fulham Papers were originally stored at Fulham Palace (the residence of the Bishops of London). In 1944 the Church Commissioners removed the bulk of the collection from Fulham, and eventually transferred the records to LPL, beginning with the colonial series, during the 1950s, and the remainder in the early 1960s. [For provenance, see Library Records: LR/L/14/13. Also Church of England Record Centre file: B/H/23/Z relating to history of Fulham Papers (titled London: Records of the See of London) for the years 1945-1960.]

Other records found at the Palace were subsequently transferred to Lambeth during the 1970s.

In 1981 the division of some series of the London diocesan records were rationalized between LPL and the Guildhall Library. LPL deposited ordination papers, 1749-1812, 1898-1903, statistics of churchwork, 1898-1903, and some estate records (LPL ref: LR L 14/13).

Records transferred to the Guildhall Library:

Ordination Papers Ms 10326
Applications and testimonials

1749, 1759-1764 (FP 20)
1765-1767 (FP 21)
1768-1770 (FP 22)
1771-1773 (FP 34)
1774-1776 (FP 23)
1777-1779 (FP 24)
1780-1782 (FP 25)
1783-1785 (FP 26)
1786-1787 (FP 27)
1788-1792 (FP 28)
1793-1796 (FP 29)
1797-1801 (FP 30)
1802-1805 (FP 31)
1806-1810 (FP 32)
1811-1812 (FP 33)

Ms 19578 1898-1903 (FP 484) (mainly unsucessful)
Ms 19588 1790-1806 (FP 427) Lists of (ordination candidates), noting their colleges
Ms 19577 1869-1884 (FP 489) Summary lists of qualifications of clergy licensed and instituted in the diocese of London
Ms 19577 1887-1896 (FP 207) Summary lists of qualifications of clergy licensed and instituted in the diocese of London

Estate Records Ms 19579
Audited accounts for the Temporalities of the bishopric

1750-1751 (FP 217)
1751-1752 (FP 218)
1761-1762 (FP 219)
1762-1763 (FP 220)
1763-1764 (FP 221)
1764-1765 (FP 222)
1770-1771 (FP 223)
1771-1772 (FP 224)
1772-1773 (FP 225)
1776-1777 (FP 226) (Michaelmas 1777)
1777 (FP 227) (Lady Day-Michaelmas)
1777-1778 (FP 228)
1778-1779 (FP 229)
1779-1780 (FP 230)
1780-1781 (FP 231)
1781-1782 (FP 232)
1782-1783 (FP 233)
1783-1784 (FP 234)
1784-1785 (FP 235)
1785-1786 (FP 236)
1786-1787 (FP 237)
1787-1789 (FP 238)
1788-1789 (FP 239)
1789-1790 (FP 240)
1790-1791 (FP 241)
1791-1792 (FP 242)
1792-1793 (FP 243)
1793-1794 (FP 244)
1794-1795 (FP 245)
1795-1796 (FP 245a)
1796-1797 (FP 246)
1797-1798 (FP 247)
1798-1799 (FP 248)
1799-1800 (FP 249)
1800-1801 (FP 250)
1801-1802 (FP 251)
1802-1803 (FP 252)
1803-1804 (FP 253)
1804-1805 (FP 254)
1805-1806 (FP 255)
1806-1807 (FP 256)
1808-1809 (FP 257)
1809-1810 (FP 258)
1810-1811 (FP 259)
[FP 260 not received]
1812-1813 (FP 261)
1813-1814 (FP 262)
1814-1815 (FP 263)
1815-1816 (FP 264)
1816-1817 (FP 265)
1817-1818 (FP 266)
1818-1819 (FP 267)
1819-1820 (FP 268)
1820-1821 (FP 269)

1682-1770 (FP 544) Ms 19584 Abstract of the audited accounts with regard to corn rents
1766-1783 (FP 547) Ms 19585 Quietus Rolls (green wax)
c. 1773 (FP 539) Ms 19581 Survey of the Estates

Lease Books Ms 19580
1761 (FP 540)
1788 (FP 541)
1794 (FP 542)

1748 (FP 216) Ms 19582
c. 1773 (FP 543) Ms 19553

Ms 19587 1856 Plans and views of the city of London cemetery at Little Ilford (printed)

Statistics of church work, finance and property in the diocese of London, 1890-1910: Ms 19589/1-17
FP 270 1890-91
FP 271 1892-93
FP 172 1895-96
FP 273 1896-97
FP 274 1897-98
FP 275 1898-99
FP 276 1899-1900
FP 277 1900-01
FP 278 1901-02
FP 279 1902-03
FP 280 1903-04
FP 281 1904-05
FP 478 1905-06
FP 479 1906-07
FP 480 1907-08
FP 481 1908-09
FP 482 1909-10

The Guildhall transferred to LPL papers of Randolph and Howley on licensing for non-residence.

In 1984 4 volumes were transferred from the Fulham material to the manuscript sequence (now MSS. 3360-3363). These were a commonplace book of Nathan Prince of Harvard; household book of Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex; copies of the statutes of St Paul's Cathedral, London.

In 2010 4 boxes of deeds etc were transferred to the Guildhall collection (ref: FP 45).
CopiesMicropublication of the London visitation returns, 1763-1810, 1815 (Essex only), is available from World Microfilms Publications. This publication (The Visitation Returns from the dioceses of Canterbury and London, 17th-19th centuries) uses obsolete FP box numbers, which are noted in the affected catalogue records.
RelatedMaterialLambeth Palace Library:
Archbishops' papers - especially Tait papers, which include material from his episcopate of London.
Manuscripts - especially MSS. 929-42 (Gibson); 2098-2106 (Porteous [Porteus]); 2184-2213 (Howley); 3421-7 (Stopford); 4400-4431 (Gibson).
SPG papers.

See also London Metropolitan Archives, one of the recognised record offices for the diocese of London, including earlier visitation returns (of which Lambeth Palace Library holds microfilms). Copies of Guildhall Library finding aids in Lambeth Palace Library reading room: ref. JD1065.L6 [oversize]. The Guildhall diocesan holdings contain some modern bishops' papers: Stopford and Leonard. It is said that records of some post-war bishops were destroyed when Fulham Palace was relinquished in the 1970s (see for instance the Library's annual review, 1987, p. 3). Lambeth Palace Library holds Ellison papers.

Further diocesan records at London Metropolitan Archives.

Loose deeds 1423-1798 (FP 45) transferred to LMA.

Some records relating to the diocese of London at Church of England Record Centre.
PublnNote'Clergé et pastorale en Angleterre au XVIIIe siecle: le diocese de Londres', by Vivienne Barrie, Paris, 1992. This study was based on the late 18th century London visitation returns.
Viviane Barrie, "Two Capitals, London and Dublin" (offprint from Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. 107, 2001) cites FP 157 [Lambeth Palace Library Z664.L2 7.38]
Viviane Barrie, "The Church of England in the eighteenth century", 'Historical Research', vol 75 no 187 (Feb 2002) [Lambeth Palace Library PF419.5I6 [R] ]
Christian E. Hauer Jr. and William A. Young, 'A comprehensive history of the London church and parish of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury ...' (1993) [Lambeth Palace Library H5195.L8M2]. Includes references to the Fulham Papers.

Show related Persons records.

Related name records
DS/UK/4879Diocese of London; Bishop
137Diocese of London
GB/109/21499Royal Hospital, Chelsea; 1681-; Hospital1681-
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