Overseas Bishoprics Fund

Reference code(s): GB 0105 OBF
Held at: Church of England Record Centre
Domain: archival
Title: Overseas Bishoprics Fund
Date(s) of contents: 1841-1976
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 44 volumes, 129 files


Name of creator(s): Colonial Bishoprics' Fund | 1841-1959 Overseas Bishoprics' Fund | 1959-

Administrative/Biographical history:

The Colonial Bishoprics' Fund was created in 1841 to provide ' for the endowment of bishoprics in such of the foreign possessions of Great Britain as shall be determined upon by the Archbishops and Bishops of the United Church of England and Ireland '. Creation of the Colonial Bishoprics' Fund was a consequence of the legal changes in the British constitution between 1828 and 1832, which caused the demise of the legal monopoly of Anglican representation in parliament. Another factor was growth of the British Empire and increase of emigration from Britain to her colonies. From the start the Fund was an official enterprise of the Church of England backed by Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and Church Mission Society as well as private donors. The Archbishop of Canterbury acted as a chairman and it was the Archbishops' and Bishops' responsibility to determine on new dioceses and to support them.

By 1891 the Fund had endowed or provided for the support of 82 bishoprics and in 1906 a world wide enquiry about the needs of new dioceses was undertaken leading to 1944 review of the Fund's work by the Archbishops' Commission. In 1958 the name of the Fund was changed and it became Overseas Bishoprics' Fund. Also in 1959 the administration of the Fund was transferred to the Overseas Council of the Church Assembly (until 1954 Missionary Council) therefore some of records of the Fund may form part of the Missionary/Overseas Council records.

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Scope and content/abstract:

Records concerning foundation and activities of the Colonial and from 1958 Overseas Bishoprics' Fund.

These records relate to and illustrate particular functions of the central bodies of the Fund as well as overseas dioceses. The archive consists of the following:

- records relating to the Fund's creation and its administration; Council and Standing Committee meeting minutes and correspondence and Fund's reports

- records relating to the financial activities of the Fund; ledgers, cashbooks, financial reports, accounts, investments, payments and related correspondence

- records relating to the legal activities of the Fund; deeds, letters patent and particular case papers

- correspondence relating to particular dioceses; usually illustrating creation and endowment of overseas dioceses

System of arrangement: Largely following arrangement created by a cataloguer in 1990s. The collection is arranged into six main series: Council Meetings Minutes, Fund's Reports, Finance, Legal, Correspondence and Archbishop Commission.


Language: English

Conditions governing access: To view this material, please book a table at the Church of England Record Centre, providing the OrderNo of the documents you wish to see. Further details concerning booking and opening hours can be obtained at http://www.lambethpalacelibrary.org/content/cerc

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: Online catalogue: http://archives.lambethpalacelibrary.org.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=OBF&pos=1 Also incomplete card index with former reference numbers and attached scans of notes created by a cataloguer in 1990s.


Related material: For records of the Missionary Council and its successor bodies (The Missionary and Ecumenical Council of the Church Assembly, The Board of Mission and Unity), see CERC's other collection records on Mundus.


Date(s) of descriptions: June 2013

British Empire
Church of England
Missionary support organisations
Missionary work
Religious education

Personal names

Corporate names
Colonial Bishoprics' Fund | 1841-1959
Overseas Bishoprics' Fund | 1959-

New Zealand
South America
West Indies