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Oxfordshire History Centre - Archive Explorer

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Current collection: Oxford Archdeaconry Papers

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Date 1520-2005
Level Collection
Reference ARCH
Access Access Conditions
These records are open to public inspection, although many series of records are currently uncatalogued. Please contact Oxfordshire Record Office for further information regarding the use of these records.
Description The collection contains the following records for the Archdeaconry of Oxford, and peculiar jurisdictions (those ecclesiastical areas within the Diocese of Oxford, but outside the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Oxford and being directly under the control of the Archbishop of Canterbury) - namely Aylesbury, Banbury, Bierton, Buckingham, Cropredy, Dorchester, Horley, Hornton, King's Sutton, Langford, Leighton Buzzard, Monks Risborough and Newington, and Thame:

The court records (ARCH/1) deal with cases concerning the behaviour of the clergy, marriages, morals and religious beliefs of the laity, tithes (one-tenth of agricultural production made as a payment to the church from parishioners), wills, church fabric and parish customs.

The visitation records (ARCH/2) created from the visits made by the bishop and archdeacon, or their officials, to every parish on a regular basis, are useful sources of information on education, charities, church fabric and the moral and religious life of the parish.

The financial records (ARCH/3) include: fees and account books (1558 - 1790); and procuration books and register accounts (1676 - 1822) relating to procurators - persons who manage the affairs of another by virtue of a charge received from him.

The records of clergy (ARCH/4) include: mandates for induction (1660 - 1840), the orders given by the bishop to the archdeacon to induct named clerks into livings; sequestration bonds (1690 - 1837) made for the taking over of a benefice (endowed church office), after the resignation or inability of the incumbent clerk in performing their duties; subscription books including ordination lists and institutions to livings (1692 - 1737) recording basic information on the names of clerks, their qualifications and careers; and surrogates' bonds and accounts (1754 - 1837) relating to officers who stood in office for another, often as deputies to grant licences or hold courts.

The parochial records (ARCH/5) contain parish register transcripts for both the Oxford Archdeaconry and peculiar jurisdictions (1605 - 1821), which were sent on a regular basis by parishes to the Registry. They provide a valuable source for family history giving baptisms, marriages and burials, and should be consulted together with the original parish registers which they compliment.

The benefice papers (ARCH/6) include: terriers (1601 - 1811), surveys describing glebe land and often adjacent owners, details of church fixtures, the churchyard, fees, rates and tithes, and other buildings on church land; presentments of clerks by patrons of church livings, property leases and accounts for City and parishes of Oxford (1580 - 1824); papers relating to University and Colleges of Oxford (1606 - 1789), papers relating to Oxfordshire parishes (1596 - 1867) and papers relating to peculiar jurisdictions (1606 - 1831).
The non-Archdeaconry papers (ARCH/7) includes: papers of Percival Walsh's office (solicitor?) (1600 - 1839), register of precepts for a sheriff's court (1604 - 1615), papers from other dioceses in England and Wales such as inventories and excommunications (1601 - 1827), register of the Peculiar Court of Bibury, Gloucestershire (1638 - 1639), and Stamp Office papers (1780 - 1827).

Some of the records dating from before 1733 are in Latin.

Further accessions, 4308, 5417, and 5757, were received in December 1997, May 2005 and July 2008 and were incorporated into the catalogue in September 2009 by Hannah Jones.
Context Administrative History
The Archdeaconry of Oxford forms part of the Diocese of Oxford which was founded in 1542. The diocese had been carved out of the vast area covered by Archdeaconry of Oxford then under the Diocese of Lincoln. The Archdeaconries of Berkshire (formerly in the diocese of Salisbury) and Buckingham (formerly in the diocese of Lincoln) were added to the Diocese of Oxford in 1836 and 1845 respectively.
The current Archdeaconry of Oxford is in the Episcopal Areas of the Bishops of Dorchester and Oxford, and has the following Deaneries (groups of parishes):
Aston and Cuddesdon
Bicester and Islip
Chipping Norton
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