The records described in this collection are those of the priory of the Holy Trinity, Norwich, and its successor body the Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral. The episcopal records of Norwich diocese are a separate archive.
The main series of pre-Reformation records are: deeds of title - royal, papal, archiepiscopal, episcopal and private grants or confirmations of grants to estates and to churches [DCN 41-45]; cartularies, known in Norwich as registers, with which are included a fourteenth-century letter book [DCN 40]; obedientiary rolls - account rolls of the monastic officials recording income and expenditure on the estates and churches in their care and the expenses which were the responsibilities of their department [DCN 1]: account rolls for the dependent cells and for the hospital of St Paul in Norwich [DCN 2]: bailiffs' accounts and manor court rolls for the sixteen prior's manors and a smaller quantity for other cathedral estates [DCN 60-66]; rentals, surveys, and extents of the estates [DCN 51-52]; accounts for charities [DCN 4]; acta and comperta rolls - visitation records of parishes within the jurisdiction of the priory on which wills are endorsed [DCN 67]; records concerning legal disputes with the city and other institutions about jurisdictional rights [DCN 84-89]. Pre-Reformation records among the collection not related to the cathedral include records to the bishopric and of St Benet's abbey [DCN 40/8, DCN 95], deeds of other religious houses in East Anglia [DCN 46]; title deeds for episcopal and private estates that have become mixed with the cathedral title deeds [DCN 44]; records of ecclesiastical and lay taxation including the ninth of 1297 [DCN 5-8]; an account roll of the steward of the Great Hospital, Norwich, 1515 [DCN 9/4]; and a deposited account roll of the debtors of Alderman Robert Toppes of Norwich, c 1467 [DCN 9/5] (an endorsement records that this was placed in the priory in 1492).
The main series of post-Reformation records are the cathedral statutes [DCN 27]; chapter act books and supporting papers [DCN 24-26]; treasurer's and receiver's accounts, audit books with related financial records and bundles of audit papers [DCN 10-23]; registers of leases of estates, known as ledger books, which also include institutions to benefices in the gift of the cathedral, patents and miscellaneous material [DCN 47]; rentals, surveys and valuations of estates including the Parliamentary Survey of 1649 [DCN 51, 52]; estate leases and papers [DCN 48-59] containing much miscellaneous material including a building account for the house of Sir John Fastolf at Earlham of the fifteenth century [DCN 59/11], the farming account book of a Mr Aldrich of Eaton, 1664-7 [DCN 59/12/13], Wacton vestry minutes and poor rate accounts, 1769-1798 [DCN 59/40], water colours of Fring parsonage [DCN 49/19/6]; maps and plans [DCN 127]; records of appointments of cathedral officials [DCN 30-39]; patent books recording diocesan appointments and leases which were subject to confirmation by the dean and chapter [DCN 93]; documents concerning the cathedral fabric from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries [DCN 102-108]; records of the various deans, including 'Dean Suckling's Book', diaries of Dean Prideaux, correspondence of Dean Pellew, and sermon notes of Dean Beeching [DCN 113-124].
Other series include records of peculiar jurisdiction [DCN 67-78]; records of precinct jurisdiction, including sessions rolls and coroner's inquests [DCN 79-83]; returns of scholars maintained at Trinity College and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, 1586-1683 [DCN 100]; records relating to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Norwich charities [DCN 96-99]; and records of the cathedral school collected by Canon E.A. Parr [DCN 101]. There are a number of antiquarian papers, including two volumes of nineteenth-century drawings of the cathedral and four watercolours of 1830-2 painted by David Hodgson [DCN 125, 127]. Stored with the cathedral archives are a quantity of family and business records of the Thurlow, Kitson, Rackham and Bensly families, who acted as diocesan registrars or chapter clerks [DCN 126] and of the architect John Brown and his two sons, employed as cathedral surveyors [DCN 131].
Some manor court records among the cathedral archives continue into the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries [DCN 60], but most post-Reformation manor court records, together with plans of the chapter estates and many leases, passed into the hands of the Church Commissioners: these records are also in the Norfolk Record Office.
The inhabitants of the precinct were parishioners of the church of St Mary in the Marsh. The church itself was pulled down in 1564 and the parishioners then used the chapel of St Luke in the cathedral. The parish records of St Mary in the Marsh are now on deposit in the Norfolk Record Office. Certain clergy and other persons, by special permission, used the Cathedral proper; their baptisms, marriages and burials were recorded in the sacrist's registers. A transcript of the sacrist's marriage register, 1697-1754 is in the Norfolk Studies Library in Norwich and cathedral marriages between 1754 and 1906 were recorded in the registers of St Mary in the Marsh. There are two lists in the cathedral archives of monumental inscriptions within the cathedral [DCN 112].
Later deposits are listed from DCN 132 onwards.