Archbishops' Papers

The Archbishops' Papers are the official papers of the Archbishop of Canterbury. They are wide-ranging, covering political and social issues as well as ecclesiastical history in Great Britain and more generally throughout the Anglican Communion. Apart from correspondence they may include diaries, sermons, newspaper cuttings, and reports on ordinands.

Although there are small collections for some earlier Archbishops, the papers mainly date from the mid 19th century onwards. They are often very extensive; for example those of Archbishop Davidson run to over 800 volumes.


The Archbishops' Papers are subject to a thirty-year closure rule.

Information about much of this material is available through our online catalogue, but there are also several published finding aids (see attachment, right). 


For further information about the Archbishops, please see our research guides


Note that papers of some Archbishops may be held elsewhere; for guidance, see the National Archives catalogue. The Dictionary of National Biography (available online by subscription and in many public libraries) also contains useful information.