This section of the Religious Archives Group website gives information on the location of principal archives of religious traditions and denominations originating in and relating to the United Kingdom. It is restricted to repositories in the UK and Ireland, unless an overseas repository is a principal custodian of the archives. It focuses on higher level material, together with particularly significant collections of individuals’ papers and major collections of regional and local materials. For information on the location of the records of individual places of worship or local religious bodies, or of registers of births, marriages and deaths, you are advised to consult the National Register of Archives (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra), maintained by The National Archives, or for Scotland the National Register of Archives for Scotland (http://www.nas.gov.uk/nras/)
For some faiths there is no known accessible higher level material, and in some cases the nature of the tradition means that there is no overarching body, though local records may survive. Again, researchers are advised to consult the National Register of Archives or its counterpart in Scotland. However, for some major faith traditions with little representation in the archival record, it has been felt appropriate to list any significant accumulations of archives.
Information on missionary activities is not included here. The Mundus database at http://www.mundus.ac.uk/ is the best source of archival information. The archive of the School of Oriental and African Studies can be consulted online at http://www.soas.ac.uk/library/archives/.
The list is divided into sections relating to major faith traditions. The largest section gives the location of records of the various Christian denominations in the UK. Where possible, there are hypertext links to the website of the relevant repository or the institutional website.
The listing also gives the ARCHON Directory number. This is the permanent code number assigned to the repository in The National Archives’ online source ARCHON (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archon). The ARCHON entry will give further information about the repository and some of the archives held there. This will be a fixed reference point should the repository or institutional website address change or cease to exist.
This directory is necessarily work in progress. Websites are changing, new archival material is being added or discovered, occasionally locations of archives change and sometimes transfers are made. There is scope to expand its scope as time permits.
Finally, it should be noted that many of the archives listed here are private. While most repositories will try to assist researchers, it should be borne in mind that there may well be no right to access.
The directory is arranged as follows: