Centre for Anglican History and Theology

This page records Research Resources and Centre publications from its foundation in September 2020, for previous publications see individual member webpages for their research work.


  1. Robin Gill, ‘The Archbishops of Canterbury and their Advisors: A Personal Retrospect’, Ecclesiology, from the Reading Group event 1 February 2021.
  2. William Temple 80th Anniversary of Christianity and Social Order, Special Issue, Theology July 2022, from the 12th March 2022 conference.
  3. Stacey Rand, ‘Exploring theological perspectives on adult social care’ Theology May 2022, Volume 125, Issue 3.

Research lectures

1. CAHT Inaugural Lecture: Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch FBA University of Oxford: ‘Right in Front of Our Eyes: The English Reformation Viewed Afresh’ : Diarmaid MacCulloch looked at the church buildings and the history of the Church of England, to make a surprising connection that transformed our understanding of both buildings and history.

2. Inaugural Annual Lecture in Ecclesiastical History: Professor Andrew Foster, Honorary Research Fellow of the School of History, University of Kent. ‘In Praise of Ecclesiastical History’. This talk discussed the evolution of ecclesiastical history from dry administrative matters, through the ‘cultural turn’, to broader concerns.

Overview of the Lecture:

On Wednesday 16th February 2022, as one of several events that have helped to launch this Canterbury Centre for Anglican History and Theology, Dr Andrew Foster gave a talk ‘In praise of Ecclesiastical History’.  It was the first of what will be a series of annual lectures on ecclesiastical history.  These have been funded by Andrew himself and while congratulating Professors Jeremy Carrette and Kenneth Fincham on the founding of the new centre, he also thanked them for allowing him to bribe them into giving him the pleasure of providing this inaugural.

Andrew was open in saying that he was lobbying unashamedly for the inclusion of ecclesiastical history in the work of the new centre.  He felt that while ecclesiastical history was currently strong and popular – as illustrated by the public awareness of ‘glitterati’ like Diarmaid MacCulloch and Eamon Duffy – History and the arts generally were under threat in universities, and many felt that the subject was passe in an increasingly secular age.

After a short history of the subject, noting that it was the dominant form in the age of Bede, became institutionalised in the nineteenth century when chairs were founded at Oxford and Cambridge, and had now broadened its approaches to encompass the ‘cultural turn’, improved gender balance and more ‘history from below’, Andrew turned to give examples of the richness and variety of approaches from his own field of early modern history.

In this section of the talk, Andrew illustrated his own progress from a biography of Archbishop Richard Neile, 1562-1640, to work on cathedrals, churchwardens’ accounts, views from the parish to current work on the Interregnum and the dioceses.  Along the way he paid tribute to mentors like his early Kent tutors (Peter Roberts, Bruce Webster, and Malcolm Jack), Christopher Hill, his research supervisor at Balliol College, Oxford, and John Fines at Chichester.  He also noted the importance to us all of the essential ‘infrastructure’ provided by the work of dedicated cathedral librarians and national and county archivists.

In commenting on the significance of impressive new database projects such as the Clergy of the Church of England Database, Andrew highlighted how – to employ current university jargon – such projects had ‘impact’ and were important for ‘outreach’ and ‘community engagement’.  He drew attention to notable ‘independent scholars’ and volunteers, like John Hawkins and Brett Usher, who had played an important part in the work of this and other projects.

The central theme of the last section of the talk was to illustrate wonderful work currently being undertaken by key centres around the country and by relevant societies.  This included reference to the Warwick Network for Parish Studies, the Centre for Methodist History at Oxford Brookes, the York Centre for the History of Christianity, and societies like the Ecclesiastical History Society and the Ecclesiological Society.  As one kind commentator on Twitter put it, ‘it was a real celebration of the discipline of church history and the sheer vibrancy of the subject today’, noting the ‘wonderful ecosystem’ that supports our work.

In conclusion, Andrew sketched out ideas for the future of the centre, urged the formation of strong links with other bodies noted – and particularly the newly re-opened Lambeth Palace Library in its new building – and called upon everyone to ‘bombard’ Ken and Jeremy with ideas on how to populate the website and ensure the development of digital resources for all.   Andrew emphasised the relevance of many debates today, noting that the Church of England and society were currently struggling with exactly those questions that had troubled people in the 1650s, namely how best to maintain churches, and provide an adequately trained number of clergy, in an appropriate diocesan and parochial structure.

The event was attended by over 75 people, split between those live in Canterbury and others in the ether.  Some photographs from this event may be found on the Centre website, along with details of future conferences, workshops and lectures.



Research resources

Lambeth Palace Library: www.lambethpalacelibrary.org/

Church of England Record Society:  www.coers.org/

Ecclesiological Society: ecclsoc.org/

Ecclesiastical History Society: ecclesiasticalhistorysociety.com/

Canterbury Cathedral Archives & Library: www.canterbury-cathedral.org/heritage/archives-library/

Rochester Cathedral Library: www.rochestercathedral.org/library

Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540-1835: theclergydatabase.org.uk/c

Churchwardens’ Accounts Database c. 1300-1850: warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/research/parishnetwork/projects/cwad/

Warwick Network for Parish Research: warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/research/parishnetwork/

Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History: www.brookes.ac.uk/hpc/research/religion/

The Michael Ramsey Centre for Anglican Studies: www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/michael-ramsey-centre/

The Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, University of York: www.christianityandculture.org.uk/