Contents of this article
The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540-1835 (CCEd) makes available and searchable the principal records of clerical careers from over 50 archives in England and Wales with the aim of providing coverage of as many clerical lives as possible from the Reformation to the mid 19th century. The database fills major gaps in our knowledge of one of the most important professions in early modern England and Wales. It provides an invaluable research tool for both national and local, academic and amateur historians, and genealogists who often need to discover biographical information about individual clergymen or more about the succession of clergy in a particular place. It contains the key career events for over 130,000 individual clerics or schoolteachers between 1540 and 1835.
Data collection was carried out locally by research assistants. A process of record linkage was applied to the records to link by person, by place, and by ordinary (or bishop). Linking records to individual clergy involves a process called 'personification' in which 'people' are created, each being given an individual identifier, to which the individual evidence records are then linked.
Strengths and weaknesses
The CCEd aims to create a comprehensive resource reflecting the recorded professional events in the lives of all clergymen working within the Church of England between the Reformation and 1835. It uses a wide range of records of career events from local diocesan archives. Its national coverage across three centuries means that it can be used to model professional careers in detail across diocesan boundaries, but also to undertake more structural investigations of the Church, its clergy, its livings and patrons. However, some important sources of information are not included. Evidence from parish registers, wills or monumental inscriptions has not been routinely incorporated, so in most cases precise dates of birth and death are not given. See 'What is CCEd?' for more information.
About the project
The CCEd, established in October 1999, is a collaboration between historians at King's College London, the University of Kent and the University of Reading. The project directors are Professor Arthur Burns (King's College London), Professor Kenneth Fincham (University of Kent) and Professor Stephen Taylor (University of Reading). Technical development and support is provided by the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London. Funding was provided by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The CCEd is a developing resource; new material is continually being added and corrections are being made.