Fonds DN/DEP - Diocese of Norwich: Consistory Court Deposition books and files

Identity area

Reference code

DN/DEP

Title

Diocese of Norwich: Consistory Court Deposition books and files

Date(s)

  • 1499-1788 (Creation)

Level of description

Fonds

Extent and medium

86 volumes and files

Context area

Name of creator

(1095-)

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

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

Depositions, informations, examinations and interrogatories brought to the bishop's Consistory Court. Typical causes involved such issues as breach of marital promises, the restitution of marital rights, and the examination of disputed marriages either through consanguinity or bigamy, along with the probate of wills, and other testamentary issues such as the authorization of nuncupative wills, the examination of additional will clauses, and disputes over unpaid legacies, or corrupt executors. Other societal issues such as slander (defaming another's good reputation or standing within the community) were tried at the Court. Sexual morality was also regulated by the Church, with causes concerning charges of adultery and fornication (pre-marital sexual activity) frequently being brought before the Court, and accusations of the same were often at the root of defamation causes. In addition, the Court heard causes relating to the defense of church rights and property, particularly issues such as the non-payment of tithes, the misappropriation of church goods, the dilapidation of benefice buildings, church chancels and glebe property and the rights to certain pews in local churches. Matters of heresy and irreverency against the church, its ministers and buildings, along with parishioners' non-attendance at divine service were all within the Court's purview. In addition, faculties and other licences were issued by the Court, including those regulating mid-wives and schoolmasters. Of course, the Consistory Court was also the body in which matters of clerical delinquency might be addressed. Immoral, drunken, schismatical, contentious or otherwise scandalous clergy could all be reported (by their parishioners and other observers) to diocesan officials, and if action was taken, it would be in the Consistory Court that their causes would be heard.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

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Conditions of access and use area

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Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Some early volumes are UFP.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Available on microfilms MF/X 187-188. The first two surviving volumes are calendared in NRS Vol. X, Norwich 1938, Norwich Consistory Court Depositions, 1499-1512, 1518-1530.

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Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier

85ff436b-abe0-49b4-95d2-5cd1852b5fe8

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Catalogued

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 15/10/2018 by Drott. Modified 26/02/2019 by Droip.

Sources

Accession area