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Archive Overview

Salisbury Cathedral's Archive is a unique collection dating from the 12th to the 21st century.

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Archive Overview

Salisbury Cathedral's Archive is a unique collection dating from the 12th to the 21st century.  The archive contains documents and other records created by the Cathedral (specifically the Dean and Chapter) during the whole course of its history from its earliest beginnings in the medieval period right up to the present day, thus spanning 900 years of history.  Documents include: minute books, correspondence, photographs and illustrations, financial records, property deeds, audio recordings and, more recently, electronic records.

Foremost among the archives are the documents relating to the foundation and governance of the Cathedral including two 13th century cartularies: Liber C and The Register of St Osmund .  Both the cartularies contain details of the earliest history of the Cathedral together with copies of deeds and statutes.   The Chapter Act books date from 1329 and continue in analmost unbroken series to the present day.  There are also a considerable quantity of financial records which record the receipt of rents and other sources of revenue as well as the distribution of the common fund among the Cathedral clergy.  There are accounts of the Clerk of the Fabric relating to the maintenance of the Cathedral, dating from 1464 to the nineteenth century and accounts of the choristers.

The Archive is particularly rich in medieval deeds and associated records relating to Chapter property in Wiltshire, Dorset, Berkshire and Devon.  Together with these are records relating to property owned by the Cathedral in the Close.  Other estate records include a series of contracts registers dating from 1608 and parliamentary surveys made in 1649.  The Major Repair Programme of the 20th and 21st centuries has created a huge amount of detailed information on the condition of the fabric of the Cathedral and its repair - in due course this will be catalogued and appropriately preserved.  The Archive also holds the baptism, marriage and burial registers of the Cathedral in its capacity as parish church of the Close as well as a collection of photographs and illustrations of the Cathedral.

The Cathedral archive does not contain records of Salisbury diocese or records created by the Bishop's office - these are held by the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. View our video below:


Online Catalogue Database

You can access our new online catalogue database for the library and archive collections here:

Access catalogue