Formal records relating to all the stages of the careers of clergy within the Church of England diocese of Durham are held within the Durham Diocesan Records. These include ordinations, nominations to curacies, appointments to livings (rectories and vicarages), resignations of livings and related records.
The Anglican clergy records within the Durham Diocesan Records relate to the whole diocese of Durham (County Durham and Northumberland until 1882, County Durham only thereafter). More information about the diocese of Durham is available under Church of England Records. But to summarise, records are available for Anglican clergy serving parishes and churches within the following areas:
*For later clergy records for appointments in Crayke, or earlier records for Hexhamshire, consult the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York. Later records for appointments to all the Northumberland parishes and to Alston or Garrigill are at Northumberland Archives, Woodhorn.
Note that (unlike some other series featured within this guide), records for appointments to churches in Northallerton and Allertonshire (North Yorkshire) are not held in Durham, but by the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York.
Most series of clergy records survive from about 1730 until the present, though the most recent records are usually closed to access.
For a general introduction to researching clergy, see Peter Towey, My ancestor was an Anglican clergyman (Society of Genealogists, 2006). Background information for the procedures recorded within all the clergy records, together with additional sources for tracing Church of England clergy, are available within our Administrative Histories for the Durham Diocesan Records.
Further information for Church of England clergy careers can be found within the following sources:
Most clergy records relate solely to their formal appointments within the diocese of Durham and so do not include additional family history information, though some records will include signatures of the clergy concerned which may be of interest.
Ordination papers (under reference DDR/EA/CLO/3 within the list) usually include additional information for those being ordained deacon (the first degree to which clergy are ordained within the Church of England). This additional information relates to their age and baptism, education or theological training and current/former parish. For the family historian, the survival of baptism (and sometimes birth) certificates within the ordination papers for deacons is of particular value.
There is a separate list of clergy records within the Durham Diocesan Records. Some series have been listed in detail and include names, other series are only summarily described.
These collections have not been digitised, so that only the catalogues are currently available online.
If you would like to purchase digital copies of specific items from any of our collections, please get in touch.
If you are a member of teaching staff at Durham University and would like to use material from Archives and Special Collections within your lectures or seminars, we may be able to scan or photograph items for this purpose. Please contact us as early as possible with any teaching digitisation requests.
See also our guide to Digitised Collections Online for further information on our digital resources.
The collections mentioned above are located at Palace Green Library. Our current opening hours are below.
For further information on visiting to use the collections, please use our enquiry form.
See separate Libraries and Site Information guide for further information on Palace Green Library.