Early Modern Archbishops’ Papers Project 3

Dr Richard Palmer reports on further work to re-catalogue the early modern Archbishops’ papers. Cataloguing of the Secker papers has been brought to completion.  Secker volumes 8-11 illustrate the artificial nature of the Archbishops’ Papers series, since they are not in fact papers of Secker or of any other Archbishop. Rather they are papers of George Lavington, Bishop of Exeter, and of Henry Rimius, who worked closely together in their polemical campaign against the Moravians. A further three volumes of these papers are found in MS 1172*. A note in the papers of Andrew Coltee Ducarel reveals that when Rimius died in 1756 his papers were purchased by Lavington. After the latter’s death in 1762 the combined Lavington/Rimius archive was given to Secker by Nutcombe Quick, Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter, and placed in Lambeth Palace Library. The discovery of Ducarel’s note led on to the identification of a catalogue of the collection, compiled for Lavington by Andrew Planta of the British Museum Library (LR/F/20).

Secker 8 comprises Lavington’s anti-Methodist papers. The new item by item description brings to light detailed information on Methodism in Devon and Cornwall, including the results of Lavington’s investigations of alleged immorality by Wesley and his followers. The description also highlights letters of leading figures such as John Wesley, George Whitefield and Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, and of many of the evangelical clergy of the Diocese of Exeter. Secker 9-11 comprise anti-Moravian papers, including testimonies and other documentation on the Moravian Church, correspondence of Rimius with Lavington, Archbishop Thomas Herring and others, and drafts of works by both Rimius and Lavington.

Secker 12 comprises a printed text, General Orders and Rules for the Management of the British Museum, interleaved with manuscript observations, or rather, objections, by Gowin Knight, the Museum’s cantankerous first principal Librarian. These were dated successfully to April 1759. They were doubtless sent to Secker as a Principal Trustee of the Museum and they include annotations in Secker’s hand. The original appointment of Knight as Principal Librarian was catalogued earlier in the Project amongst the Herring papers.

Cataloguing of the papers of Archbishop Cornwallis was also completed. Cornwallis 1 and 2 comprise papers in the suit Canterbury v. Suter in 1776 which established the extra-parochial status of Lambeth Palace in the diocese of Canterbury. Together with related papers (MSS 1161-2, 1361) these volumes provide a wealth of information on Lambeth Palace and its environs, including the Archbishop’s servants, the burial of Archbishops, the barge house, the Lambeth dole, and services in Lambeth Palace Chapel.

Plan of the Palace and grounds adjacent in 1783, surveyed before alterations were made by Archbishop Moore following the death of his predecessor Archbishop Cornwallis.
Plan of the Palace and grounds adjacent in 1783, surveyed before alterations were made by Archbishop Moore following the death of his predecessor Archbishop Cornwallis.

Amongst the miscellaneous papers in Cornwallis 3, the new item by item description brought to light a fascinating letter from Jacob Duché, afterwards Rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, on the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War and the dilemmas faced by loyalist clergy. Also found were papers relating to the fabric of St. Paul’s Cathedral, including documentation on ‘the fraudulent and insolent behaviour’ of Robert Mylne, the Surveyor. Cornwallis 4 was identified as an account book recording subscriptions to a fund for the relief of loyalist clergy in America during the American Revolutionary War. The funds were held by three separate bankers. This volume records the funds banked with Robert and Henry Drummond. The volume recording funds banked with Messrs Gosling was identified as SPG VI, ff. 379-88. The volumes record both subscriptions received and sums dispersed for the relief of the American clergy.

Cataloguing of the papers of Archbishop Moore is now in progress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s