Fonds DN/MIN - Diocese of Norwich: Consistory Court Minute and Act Books

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Diocese of Norwich: Consistory Court Minute and Act Books


  • 1720-1956 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

31 volumes

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(11th century-)

Administrative history

The Consistory Court dealt with cases arising from the bishop’s and archdeacons’ visitations and other matters, such as dilapidations of church property and the misappropriation of church goods. The Bishop attended the court at first but over time his place was taken by his legal representative, the Chancellor of the Diocese.

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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.

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Scope and content

Initially, concerned overwhelmingly with 'office' causes (the third volume listed here is labelled, 'Ex Officio Book') of a sexual nature, adultery, fornication, antemarital fornication and the like, but also dealing with the licensing of surgeons, schoolmasters, etc. The first few volumes are the most informative, and actually provide details of the types of offence involved. Later (post 1750) volumes appear to be summaries of Consistory Court act books, and are very formal and technical in what they record. Occasional references to tithes and clerical non-residency appear, but in general, entries merely record the passage of court procedure. Those dating from the late 19th century onwards appear to be almost exclusively relating to the granting of faculties.

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  • Latin
  • English

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 12/11/2018 by Drott. Modified 26/02/2019 by Droip.


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