Fonds DN/SUB - Diocese of Norwich: Subscription Books

Identity area

Reference code



Diocese of Norwich: Subscription Books


  • 1637-1969 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

89 files

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Diocese of Norwich was established when Bishop Herbert de Losinga transferred the see from Thetford to Norwich in 1095 or 1096. At that time the diocese contained Norfolk (except Emneth, which was in the diocese of Ely), Suffolk (except for parishes in the peculiar deanery of Bocking) and part of south-east Cambridgeshire. This remained the case until 1837 when the Cambridgeshire portion along with the Archdeaconry of Sudbury (comprising West Suffolk) and the Liberty of Bury St Edmunds passed to the Diocese of Ely. In 1914 the Archdeaconry of Suffolk (except the deanery of Lothingland, i.e., the area around Lowestoft in north-east Suffolk), became part of the newly-created Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich whilst at the same time the Fincham and Lynn Marshland deaneries were transferred to the Diocese of Ely.

Archival history

Consecration papers transferred to the Suffolk Record Office.The original deeds only from the following bundles of consecration papers have been transferred. DN/CSP 1/7, 1/8, 1/12, 1/17, 2/7, 2/15, 3/5, 3/10, 6/3, 6/12, 6/16, 7/11, 7/12, 7/23, 8/9, 8/26, 9/17, 13/14, 14/16, 18/12, 18/21.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The subscription books are numbered as far as possible in accordance with the numbering used in E.H. Carter, 'The Norwich Subscription Books'. Usually the subscriptions are intermingled but where they can be distinguished a note has been made.
From 1558 all clerks were required to swear an oath of allegiance to the crown and in 1571 (formalised in 1604) all clerks before their ordination or institution to a new benefice were to declare their assent to the three Articles of Religion: recognition of royal supremacy; use of the Book of Common Prayer and adhesion to the 39 Articles of 1562. To these requirements was added an oath against simony and other oaths before institution. Schoolmasters, physicians, surgeons, and midwives were required to subscribe to the 39 Articles and royal supremacy before being granted a licence.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

DN/SUB 13/11 Book 51 and DN/SUB 14/3 Book 63 are missing.

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Many of the books in this series have been rebound. The old covers have been retained.

Finding aids

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Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Some are calendared in the Hammond of Westacre collection, see HMN 7/330.

Related descriptions

Publication note

E.H. Carter, 'The Norwich Subscription books. A study of the subscription books of the diocese of Norwich 1637-1800' (1937).

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