Vicar General (VG)

The records of the Vicar General of the Archbishop of Canterbury relate to the ecclesiastical administration of the province, diocese and peculiars of Canterbury, mainly from 1660.

The collection includes the Archbishops' Act Books, which supersede the Archbishops' Registers as the principal record of archiepiscopal administration from 1663. They provide the link between the two major aspects of his metropolitical and primatial jurisdiction exercised through the Vicar General and the Faculty Office.

The Act Books record the appointments of bishops, the institution of clergy in the diocese of Canterbury, sede vacante appointments of clergy throughout the province of Canterbury, licences to officiate, to practise medicine, surgery, or midwifery, dispensations to clergy to hold in plurality, and appointments of proctors and advocates of the Court of Arches.

With the exception of the subscription books, diocesan surveys, and visitation returns, and a small collection of visitation act books, 1540-1640, most of the purely diocesan records are held by Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

For information on the extent of the diocese of Canterbury and the peculiar jurisdiction of the Archbishops, see the Library research guide on the the diocese.