This page features:
- Archival and written resources in digital format
- Audio resources
- Visual and material resources
Archival and written resources
(in digital format; for printed materials see ‘Printed Primary Sources‘)
- Archbishops’ Registers of the Diocese of York 1225-1646: pilot project providing digitized versions of a sample of eight registers, together with technical reports (full data capture planned)
- Borromeo, Charles, Instructions fabricae et suppellectilis ecclesiasticae (2 books, 1577), transcribed and translated by Evelyn Voelker: the Archbishop of Milan’s guide to the arrangement and liturgical furnishings of churches for visitations of his diocese
- Cause Papers Database: a searchable catalogue of more than 14,000 cause papers relating to cases heard between 1300 and 1858 in the Church Courts of the diocese of York. The original records – the most extensive records of their type in the United Kingdom – are held in the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York. The catalogue contains basic information (people, places, type, keywords) about each case, allowing searches for e.g. “parish”, “churchwarden” in specific places and periods etc.
- Church Records: compilation of medieval ecclesiastical sources from ‘Medieval English Genealogy’
- Churchwardens’ Accounts: a guide leaflet compiled by the Borthwick Institute for Archives, York.
- Churchwardens’ Accounts of St Mary’s, Gries, a rural parish near Bozen/Bolzano (South Tyrol, Northern Italy):Start of Parish Income 1422
Start of Parish Expenses 1436
Transcript of the two passagesExcerpts kindly submitted and transcribed by Hannes Obermair of the Stadtarchiv Bozen / Archivio Storico Cittá di Bolzano. The original documents – previously in the possession of the Drechsel-Mayr family – are now held in theSüdtiroler Landesarchiv / Archivio Provinciale di Bolzano.
Manuscripts of the Bibliothek des Geistlichen Ministeriums, an early modern parish library, in the Dom of St Nikolai at Greifswald / Germany. Photo: BK.
- Churchwardens’ Accounts of St Peter’s, Ipswich, 1563-1664: database compiled by R. D. Wolfe and held by the “History Data Service”
- Churchwardens’ Accounts of Loughborough 1585-1658: compiled by David Postles, Leicester University
- Churchwardens’ Accounts of North Elmham (Norfolk): extracts from the time of Kett’s Rebellion 1549 (transcription and commentary by Andrew Hopper and Andy Wood for ‘Virtual Norfolk’)
- Churchwardens’ Accounts of St Mary at Hill, 1477-79, in: Henry Littlehales (ed.), The Medieval Records of aLondon City Church (St. Mary at Hill) A.D. 1420-1559, Early English Text Society, original series 125 (1904), 76-92 [excerpts featured on ‘Florilegium Urbanum’; full transcription together with copious other records from the parish on British History Online]
- Churchwardens Accounts of St Michael Spurriergate, York, extract for the year 1546, transcribed and introducedby Christopher Webb, Borthwick Institute for Archives, York. For the printed edition of this set of accounts for the period 1518-48 see the ‘Parish Bibliography’.
- ‘Clergy of the Church of England Database‘: a collaborative project funded by the AHRC and bringing together scholars from King’s College London, the University of Kent at Canterbury and the University of Reading. Its objective is to create a relational database documenting the careers of all Church of England clergymen between 1540 and 1835
- Consistory Database: featuring testimony offered in the main church court of the diocese of London, an ecclesiastical jurisdiction that included the medieval city of London itself and its rural hinterland of Essex, Middlesex, and parts of Hertfordshire; projected over the next several years to present all the surviving medieval (pre-1500) records of litigation in this court (about 1100 depositions and examinations altogether), both in transcription of the original Latin of the documents and in modern English translation..
- Cornwall Online Parish Clerks: geneaological society with information on parish records from Cornwall
- Crabbe, George: ‘The Parish Register’ (poem, 1807, scanned by the Project Gutenberg eBook)
- CURSUS – An Online Resource of Medieval Liturgical Texts (project based at the University of East Anglia)
- Demographic Database of Swedish Parish Records (this project based at Umeå University provides access to 18th and 19thC Swedish parish records)
- Demographic History of a Group of Nine Parishes in the Tendrig Hundred, Essex, 16-19thC
- Deutsche Inschriften Online: web database of Latin and German inscriptions in German German-speaking Europe up to 1650 (with illustrations, transcriptions and commentary). To retrieve hundreds of inscriptions from churches enter “kirche” under “Suchworte” on the search page. The findings of this large-scale research project are also available in a series of volumes dedicated to specific regions and towns.
- The Devon and Exeter Oath Rolls of 1723: compiled in the aftermath of the Jacobite Atterbury plot and containing some 25,000 names (with a parish index and general introduction to the document; prepared by the Friends of Devon’s Archives)
- Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (portal to worldwide collections of medieval polyphonic music manuscripts from c. 800 to 1500, with selected colour images. Project directed by Margaret Bent, Julia Craig-McFeeley and Andrew Wathay)
- William Dowsing: The Journal (iconoclasm in 1640s Cambs and Suffolk) : website / online edition; book version
- Earls Colne, Essex: Records of an English Village 1375-1854
- Enforcement of the Statutes of 1529: following legislation to reform the English parish clery (esp. to restrict absenteeism and economic activities like holding leases), anyone who chose to inform on/prosecute offending clerics could gain the penalties imposed on them by the royal courts. Collection of photographs of relevant cases compiled by Robert C. Palmer at the University of Houston (for context and explanation see his Selling the Church).
- English Monastic Archives: databases of religious houses, properties and archives compiled by a research team led by Maureen Jurkowski and Nigel Ramsay at UCL. This guide to one of the largest sets of medieval documents includes extensive evidence on parishes appropriated by religious houses.
- FamilySearch.org: free database of genealogical information, drawn from parish registers and other local sources, provided by ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’
- Hartland Digital Archive (Devon): compiled inventories and digital versions of documents relating to the borough and St Nectan’s church of Hartland (North Devon) from 1400 to the present day, including parish registers (from 1558), churchwardens’ accounts (from 1597), lay subsidy / hearth tax evidence, the Protestation Roll of 1643, tithe / poor relieve materials, manorial and family archives etc. This introduction by Stephen Hobbs describes the holdings, their historical context and the various bodies supporting the project [information updated August 2011]
- Herbert George, A priest to the temple: or the country parson’s character, and rule of holy life, (4th edn, London, 1701) [online at ECCO]
- Historic Parishes of England and Wales – An Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata: produced by R.J.P. Kain and held by the “UK Data Service” (cf. also the related GIS of the Ancient Parishes of England and Wales)
- Inventories of parish archives in the Diocese of Como (Italy): with information on holdings, parish history and relevant secondary sources.
- Leicester Archdeaconry Court Proceedings: adultery case Winter vs Petcher 1597-8 transcribed by Alan Roberts
- Leichenpredigten (Germany): the “Gesamtkatalog deutscher Leichenpredigten GESA” provides a searchable catalogue of nearly 200,000 German funeral sermons compiled at the University of Marburg.
- Leichenpredigten (Wolfenbüttel): catalogue of nearly 10,000 funeral sermons preserved at the Herzog August Bibliothek at Wolfenbüttel.
- Loughborough Materials 1540-160: transcriptions and extracts of sources like churchwardens’ accounts, court rolls, bridgemasters’ accounts and parish registers (compiled by David Postles, Leicester University)
- Parish Register Aggregate Analyses, 1662-1811
- Penance c. 1250-1600: ecclesiastical court cases compiled by David Postles
- Post-Reformation Digital Library: vast collection of primary resources/e-books relating to the development of theology (ca. 16th-18th c.), compiled by the Henry C. Meeter Center for Calvin Studies, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. Features e-versions of works by theologians of all major denominations and additional resources (Bibles, correspondence, secondary materials).
- Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills 1384-1858
- Probate material from the diocese of Lichfield before and including 1546 (searchable database compiled by David Postles, Leicester University)
- Probate Records: links to online resources compiled by ‘Medieval English Genealogy’
- Researching Historic Buildings in the British Isles: includes information on sources for churches (compiled by Jean Manco)
- 'Stillstandsprotokolle' (1631-): searchable edition of 17thC proceedings of the principal parish authorities (known as Stillstand) in the Canton of Zurich, consisting of pastors, wardens/elders plus secular village officials and dealing with a broad range of matters relating to church, schools, morals and poor relief.
- Stoke-upon-Trent Parish Listing, 1701
- Strype’s Survey of London (1720): online edition by Julia Merritt and the Stuart London Team for Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute, including ‘The State of Parish Priests and Parishioners of London’ in Book 5
- Taxatio Database: contains the valuation, plus related details, of the English and Welsh parish churches and prebends listed in the ecclesiastical taxation assessment of 1291-2 (J. H. Denton, Humanities Research Centre, University of Sheffield)
- Thame (Oxfordshire) in the 17thC
- Tithe Apportionments Database: contains information taken from the tithe apportionments covering Warwickshire created in the mid 19th century following the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836
- Trans-national Database and Atlas of Saints’ Cults, c.700-2000
- Village Records of Chelsworth, Suffolk, 1441-1904
- ‘Villanelle’: Medieval and early modern sources on French villages
- Visitation articles / acts from the Archdeaconry of Nottingham 1585- (e-resource provided by Nottinghamshire History)
- Vistitation articles and returns from the Diocese of Exeter 1744 and 1779: compiled – with a parish index – by the Friends of Devon’s Archives
- Visitations of parishes in the Diocese of Pavia (Italy) in 1460, 1561-67 and 1592
- Wills proved in the archdeaconry of Leicester between 1522 and 1546 inclusive (searchable database compiled by David Postles, Leicester University)
- Wills - Medieval and Tudor Kent P.C.C. and C.C.C. Wills, transcribed L. L. Duncan (list of testators with name/place index and selected transcriptions, provided by the Kent Archaeological Society)
- Danish church music from the fragmentary 15thC Missale Danicum 1, as featured on ‘Liturgical Fragments from Denmark’ [online audio samples]
- English pre-Reformation parish music: John Taverner (English composer c. 1490-1545; active e.g. as lay clerk at the collegiate parish church of Tattershall , Lincs., in the 1520s and as a singer at St Botolph, Boston, in the late 1530s), Missa ‘Western Wynde’, performed by Choir of New College, Oxford; Edward Higginbottom [online audio sample of ‘Gloria’]
- English post-Reformation parish music: examples of psalm-singing and organ accompaniments recreated by the Dufay Collective for Christopher Marsh’s Music and Society in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2010), audio CD, tracks nos 43-46, and of bell-ringing performed by the ringers of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, nos 47-48.
- German church music:
- Greek church music performed by the Byzantine choir at Athens [online audio samples]
Musicians and choirs specializing in late medieval and Renaissance church music:
Table of benefactions for the poor of Thame (Oxon.) [Photo: BK]
Visual and material resources:
- Buckinghamshire Stained Glass: covering some 1600 windows and compiled by Cliff and Monica Robinson.
- ‘Church Gallery’: images of English parish churches and cathedrals compiled by BBC History.
- ‘Church Heritage Record’: publicly accessible database due to be launched in spring 2015. Compiled by ChurchCare with the assistance of English Heritage, it will feature over 16,000 entries on church buildings in England (integrated with a Geographic Information System GIS), covering a wide variety of topics from architectural history and archaeology, to worship and the surrounding natural environment.
- ‘Church Plans Online‘: this searchable database provides digital copies of over 12,000 church plans (and further details) submitted to the ‘Incorporated Church Building Society’ over the last 200 years (and kept at Lambeth Palace Library)
- Cornish Parish Churches: offers photographs of all parish churches (as well as many fonts and stained glass windows) in Cornwall. An interactive DVD is also available.
- ‘Denmark’s Medieval Altarpieces‘: documents all surviving and known altarpieces within the present-day boundaries of the country; compiled by Sissel F. Plathe and Jens Bruun
- The Digital Atlas of England: co-ordinated by C. B. Newham, this project aims to obtain photographs of all rural churches (and some associated buildings) in England. By late 2011, the archive included 330,000 pictures, representing 70 per cent of the envisaged total. This presentation provides an impression of the range of buildings, furnishings and motives.
- English Local History Images: compiled by David Postles (includes many pictures of parish churches and their interiors)
- ‘Ex voto’ pictures database from Sammarei nr Passau (Lower Bavaria, Germany), supplied by the historical demographer A.E. Imhof (Berlin).
- Heritage Technology: website of Heritage technology specialists developing virtual reconstructions for the interactive “Parish Church” DVD published by the Christianity and Culture initiative. Sample materials include York's Micklegate Priory Revealed and Stratford-upon-Avon guild chapel.
- Hesselager Kirke (Denmark): Video presentation by Axel Bolvig - the same page contains films on various aspects of Danish wall paintings and a paper on the relationship between words/images delivered at the Courthauld in 2009
- Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata
- Imaging the Bible in Wales Database: online collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Biblical artwork (from churches as well as other sources) compiled at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
- The Medieval Mass: A Video Reconstruction, introduced by Knud Ottosen and containing segments on the ‘Introitus’, ‘Graduale-Alleluia’, ‘Offertory’ and ‘Communio’ (as featured on ‘Liturgical Fragments from Denmark’)
- ‘Mobilier‘: searchable database of French material culture (incl. objects, furnishings, religious images and other heritage items associated with parish churches) provided by the Ministry of Culture and Communicatrion (click on link “mobilier” and then “recherche experte” in the left-hand menu to start searches)
- Monumental Brasses: online images compiled by ‘Medieval English Genealogy’
- ‘Parish Church and the Landscape Wiki’: online collection of church images from the dioceses of Cambrai, Le Mans and Schleswig produced in the course of a research project based at Oxford Brookes (searchable by parish and subject).
- Photo collection started at the Medieval Research Centre at Leicester University, featuring parish churches (e.g. Beverley, Fotheringay, Lavenham, Warwick etc), cathedrals, vernacular architecture etc dating from medieval and early modern times (compiled by David Postles and freely downloadable for academic purposes)
- ‘Pilgrims and Pilgrimage’: illustrations and commentary, e.g. on the late Middle Ages and Reformation period, provided by the 'Christianity and Culture' project at the University of York. CD-version of the project includes a 3D-reconstruction of the parish church of St Mary, Thirsk, on the eve of the Reformation.
- Pitts Theology Library: Digital Image Archive
- Poor relief and charitable benefactions in Münster (Germany): materials from an exhibition
- Post-Reformation Wall Painting Project: launched in 2014 by C.B Newham and Dr Ellie Pridgeon to tackle the lack of comprehensive catalogues or academic literature on the painting corpus, which is extremely extensive. Focusing on murals in English churches between 1559 and 1836, the project aims to document, research and publish on these visual sources.
- Rare Reformation Relics: virtual exhibition (under the auspices of ArtRefo) presenting images and objects from the collections of museums across Europe that testify to the richness and variety of post-Reformation visual and material culture. Here portraits and visual satires from both Lutheran and Reformed contexts are juxtaposed with objects as diverse as enamel plates, liturgical textiles and communion vessels.
- Religion in late medieval Scotland: 450 images illustrating religion and society in late medieval Scotland, taken from manuscripts, incunabula and early printed books in Edinburgh University Library
- ‘The Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Corporal Works of Mercy‘: searchable church wall paintings database compiled by Miriam Gill
- Stained Glass in Wales: searchable online catalogue/database of work from the fourteenth century to the present day, compiled under the auspices of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies by Martin Crampin.
- Stratford-upon-Avon, Guild Chapel: digital reconstruction of late medieval wall paintings (Doom, Dance of Death, Holy Cross legend) in a collaborative project of historians, archaeologists and Heritage Technology Limited.
- Swedish Medieval Art (Medeltidens bildvärld): provides access to some 19,000 pictures of artworks (sculptures, paintings, fonts etc) from Swedish churches, searchable by region/place, material, topic and museum (in Swedish).
- Teregua (Valtellina, Italy): 16th century wall paintings (by Vincenzo de Barberis) and wood sculptures of the Chiesa della Santissima Trinità [Holy Trinity Chapel] in the parish of S. Nicolò, Valfurva.
- Wallpaintings in Danish churches are featured in these two extensive online resources: Kalkmalerier.dk (where reproductions can be obtained for commercial and other purposes) and Kalkmalerier i danske kirker (under the auspices of the Danish National Museum), both with search functions
- Wall paintings in medieval English parish churches
Somewhat against the spirit of the Laudian reforms (aiming to re-enhance the ‘beauty of holiness’ through moving altars to the east wall of chancels and demarcating them by means of a rail), the parishioners of St Andrew, Lyddington (Rutland), railed their communion table on all four sides (left). The work was carried out in 1635 under the supervision of the vicar, Richard Rudd, and the churchwardens, Kenolm Fowler and Nicholas Jordan (initials on the right). Photos: BK.