Ordination details

This guide was last updated in 2009

While Crockford’s does not give the date and place of birth, it does give the dates of ordination and identifies the bishop presiding.

Before your ancestor could become a clergyman, they had to be ordained, first as a deacon and then as a priest. The bishop had to be shown that they had qualified and they had to provide proof that they were over 21 and had been baptised in the Church of England. This was usually proved by a baptism certificate, which gives the date, place and parentage.

Your forebear also had to provide evidence of their “good life and behaviour” normally in the form of testimonials from their vicar and/or university tutor. These records were kept by the bishop and, if they survive, should be in his diocesan ordination papers.

When a clergyman was instituted to a parish living, the bishop should record the details in his institution register and name the person or body (the patron) who presented him to the living. The diocesan archives are usually now held in the county record office. You may also find correspondence leading up to the presentation in the patron’s own archives.


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