“It is almost impossible to believe that when a fortnight ago I was dictating here, we were not only vehemently at war, but almost everybody believed that we should be vehemently at war for at least six months or more to come.” (Davidson 13, f.354)

Archbishop Davidson (ref: LC 104 f 1)

In the run up to the Armistice it is clear that although the war was expected to continue for some time, plans were being made for the eventual end of hostilities.  Despite fears expressed to Archbishop Davidson that Germany would resolve to fight on rather than accept humiliating terms, he noted in his diary that “If fighting ceases a few weeks hence, we ought to be ready for immediate handling of the demonstrations, speeches, and religious services which will forthwith be necessary”. (Davidson 13, f.348)

At this time there was much discussion involving Foreign Secretary Balfour, Viscount Bryce and Arthur Bigge (Baron Stamfordham) regarding the King’s speech, announcements to the Houses of Parliament, thanksgiving and memorial services, and demobilisation plans which would be required.  The writing of the King’s public speech was trusted to Bryce, with Davidson providing assistance, but the question remained of when the speech should be delivered: on announcement of the Armistice? When peace was formally signed?  Davidson noted that waiting for the peace treaty would mean a long delay and “the whole thing will fall a little flat”. (Davidson 13, f.350)

Regarding this activity Davidson noted on 3rd November that “All this is very private at present, and I can well imagine that it may have to be changed when it is worked out, but I think it is worth recording what is being practically planned to-day”. (Davidson 13, f.352)

From this point it seems clear that events moved at pace.  On the 9th November Lloyd George announced the abdication of the Kaiser at a Guildhall Banquet, and Davidson describes a sense of elation and enthusiasm, and some shouts of joy. (Davidson 13, f.356)

Within half an hour of the Armistice being signed fireworks were going off and London was in ‘hubbub’.  Sir Lewis Dibdin, Dean of the Arches, describes visiting London at the time the Armistice was announced and the wild celebrations which ensued: “in a moment as if the people had been waiting in the side streets – the place was crowded …  Hundreds of flags suddenly appeared in the people’s hands, on the buildings, on the buses, everywhere.  The people cheered and shouted and sang and laughed.  Motor horns, hand bells, trumpets were set going as if by magic.  Every moment the crowd increased”. (MS 1586, ff.256-257)  Dibdin also records the ‘erratic’ tolling of Big Ben, which had been silenced since the beginning of the war, and states that the Archbishop had suggested to the King on Sunday 10th that he should instruct this to happen as soon as the Armistice was signed. (MS 1586, f.258)

Services were held throughout the day at St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey, and in some places late into the night, while St Martin-in-the-Fields held services on and off for 12 hours and was still crowded at 11:30pm.  Davidson reports that attendance was ‘remarkable’ at a service he preached in the parish church, and that the congregation was ‘not merely attentive, but visibly moved’. (Davidson 13, f.357)

The King attended a Thanksgiving Service at St Paul’s on the 12th November where Davidson had to take the place of the Bishop of London and Dean of St Paul’s, as both were absent on other business.  Davidson notes in his diary how speeches made by himself and others at this time were either unprepared or made in haste but turned out impressive in their simplicity, since the subject matter spoke for itself.

A further Thanksgiving Service was held on 17th November, followed by a meeting at Buckingham Palace to finalise the King’s speech.  The records show discussion over the surrender of the German fleet, terms of peace, and prospects for the impending election.

Following the period immediately after the Armistice, in December the main issue for Davidson was whether or not he should go to France in January 1919 to see chaplains and higher officers; he obviously ended up going as he records on 16th February that it has been more than three weeks since he returned, but he does not offer information on the trip itself. (Davidson 13, f.381)

Further down the line a memorial service for chaplains who fell in the war was held at Westminster Abbey on 27th June 1919, while the formal peace celebrations took place on 19th July 1919, perhaps, in typical British fashion, somewhat hampered by the weather: “Late afternoon we drove in the car round the route of the procession to see the adornments and the crowd, and at night we looked from the top of Lollards Tower at what ought to have been a great display of fireworks.  There was much to commend in the plucky fire-working in spite of the rain”. (Davidson 13, ff.408, 417-418)

This post concludes a series published on the Library blog to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. For more information on Library sources on the war, please also see our source guide.


The papers of Archbishop Davidson (volume 346) document how planning was already in progress by 1918 on training of candidates from the armed forces for holy orders after the end of hostilities, including consideration of cases of disability.

In 1919 the Knutsford Ordination Test School opened. As recounted in R V H Burne’s Knutsford; the story of the Ordination Test School, 1914-40 (published in 1960), the institution was initially housed in the gaol at Knutsford, previously occupied by German prisoners and before that by conscientious objectors, but only until 1922, when it moved to other premises in Knutsford and from 1927 in Hawarden. It eventually closed during World War Two. Its aim was to provide education for demobilised servicemen so that they could obtain the qualifications required to study for ordination.

The Knutsford records are held at Cheshire Archives, including accounts, correspondence, teaching, examination, personnel, membership and other records, but the Library holds some relevant material. A single edition of its publication Le Touquet Times in the Library’s printed book collection represents its origins in France.

Le Touquet
Ref: G4140.G7K6


Thereafter its magazine was named Ducdame.

Ref: G4140.G7K6


‘Tubby’ Clayton, founder of Toc H, was also a prime mover in this initiative. His entry in the Dictionary of National Biography records that in total some 435 men were eventually ordained. The Library holds his mark book (MS 3099) dating from 1919.


The gatekeepers of Lambeth Palace occupy a historic role, admitting visitors to the Archbishops. Unfortunately not all of the gatekeepers are named in the records held in the Library, although one is glimpsed in the picture of the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace during the trial of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, under Archbishop Benson in 1889. He is unfortunately unnamed in the key to the picture, but appears in profile in the centre of this section, with a moustache.

Detail from watercolour of the Lincoln Trial (MS 4285/1).

However, some details of the gatekeepers’ work emerge from the archives. Records documenting the role of the gatekeepers include recollections by a former gatekeeper of life at the Palace sent to Archbishop Tait in the 1880s (Tait 104 ff. 108-13). The role included not only admitting visitors at the gate house, but also extended to showing the buildings to more general visitors, reflecting the role of the Palace as a public space which continues today. Papers of Archbishop Davidson dating from 1903 (when he was newly in office as Archbishop) describe how the porter “should be responsible … for showing the Palace to sight-seers or tourists“, including the principal rooms and collection of portraits, when it is possible to do so “without dirtying the room – as, for example, when pedestrians come on a muddy day” (Davidson 86 ff. 1-3). The Library holds a slightly later scrapbook of Francis Neate Woodward (MS 2614), who worked as gatekeeper in the interwar period, containing notes and newspaper cuttings about Lambeth Palace, presumably used for this purpose. In 1906 two brothers of the Society of St John the Evangelist visited the Palace, where they were shown the mediaeval manuscripts in the Library by the porter – a “kind gentleman” who lived in Morton’s Tower and, a letter recounting the visit says, has the “history of England and especially of Lambeth at his fingers’ ends” (SSJE/6/5/2/2/7).

Davidson 22-30
View from Morton’s Tower, where the gatekeepers admit visitors to Lambeth Palace (Davidson 22/30). This photograph album dates from the primacy of Archbishop Davidson, but this view looks much the same today.

Further information on arrangements for visitors are found in the Library records and some of the most eminent visitors who came specifically to the Library are also recorded. There are visitors’ books too among records relating to Lambeth Palace.

More generally, records naming individual members of staff at Lambeth Palace are limited, but the household accounts of the Archbishops dating from the early 17th century onwards (TG) include payments to household servants. Earlier still, two account rolls acquired by the Library in 2006 reveal details of the household of the 16th-century Archbishops (MSS 4722-4723). In the modern period we find accounts of life at Lambeth Palace, for instance by the Archbishops’ chaplain Ian White-Thomson (MS 3120 ff. 310-24) and cook Audrey Heaton (Burnt the peas whilst washing the cherubs : the Lambeth Palace years of Audrey Heaton 1959-1974).


This blog post continues the series commemorating the centenary of the Great War. The Library’s holdings on the war include this poignant typescript list asking for prayers in Lambeth Palace chapel for relatives and friends of members of the Archbishop’s household.

Davidson 22-22
Davidson 22/22


Some names are annotated as ‘wounded’ or ‘missing’. The list includes those serving in the army and navy; prisoners of war; chaplains; nurses; the fallen. This item forms part of the papers of Randall Davidson. The names include his nephew Craufurd Ellison, who had been married in the chapel at Lambeth in the summer of 1914. This image of Lambeth Palace chapel comes from an album made for Craufurd Ellison by his nurse, Susannah Soan, c.1895.

MS4502 52
MS 4502/52


Other names on the list include Oliver Chase Quick, who served as chaplain to the Archbishop (1915-17) and subsequently as army chaplain; John Victor Macmillan, also Archbishop’s chaplain (1904-15) and later Bishop of Guildford; and Oswin Creighton, who was killed in action in 1918. He was the son of Mandell Creighton, the former Bishop of London, and his wife Louise, who published an edition of his letters after his death. Louise Creighton had published various papers for the wartime National Mission of Hope and Repentance in 1916. The Library also holds family letters of Mrs Creighton.

The First World War and the Lambeth Librarian

This blog post continues the series documenting items in the Library’s collections relating to the First World War. Library holdings includes miscellaneous personal papers of Claude Jenkins (1877-1959), who became Librarian in 1910. He remained in post until 1952, being (according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) ‘constitutionally disinclined to surrender preferment’: he held various other posts alongside the Librarianship, eventually becoming Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. He was also chaplain to Archbishop Davidson and assisted in the revision of the coronation service.

His papers include his ration book from the First World War (MS 1641 ff. 130-139v), recording his address at St Martin’s Place just off Trafalgar Square.


The book includes coupons for lard and sugar, and documents purchases at various provision shops including Fortnum and Mason.


Jenkins’ papers as Librarian (LR/J) form part of the current project to catalogue the Library Records for the period 1785-1953.