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The first series of boxes was created in the early years of the nineteenth century, at the instigation of Cyprian Rondeau Bunce, who had been employed between 1802 and 1805 to sort and catalogue the archive of the Dean and Chapter. As far as can be ascertained, the documents had not been kept in any particular order prior to Bunce's work. Many of the bundles of documents found in the boxes carry parchment labels in Bunce's handwriting.

The intention was that correspondence and deeds relating to each of the Chapter's numerous properties would be kept in separate boxes for ease of reference. There were two series of boxes; one identified by numbers and the other by letters. These sturdy chestnut boxes measured 17 inches in depth and nine inches in height and width. They had rope handles on their front sides and sliding lids.

The boxes were kept in the Treasury of Canterbury cathedral and would have been used by the Dean and Chapter's auditor. This officer (sometimes known as the Chapter Clerk in other cathedrals) had generally been trained as a lawyer. His main task was to deal with the administration of the Chapter's estates and to oversee any legal disputes in which the Chapter was involved. The office of auditor was created in the sixteenth century and suspended in 1877. During the life of these Treasury boxes there were two men who held the post for more than twenty years; Thomas Starr (1803 to 1840) and Daniel Finch (1840 to 1866). There are considerable numbers of letters addressed to these men in the boxes, which indicates that the system devised by Bunce was still functioning when Finch was replaced by T G Faussett in 1866. Relatively few documents in the series (c.300) were created after 1877.

The Dean and Chapter's filing system must have suffered a fair amount of disruption when the Ecclesiastical Commissioners removed the deeds, court rolls, terriers and plans that related to the properties transferred to them. This happened in 1861. It is impossible to know whether those items which now form the Church Commissioners' 1969 deposit (U63) were originally kept in these boxes, although the large quantity of those records makes it seem unlikely.

The list of the boxes made by C E Woodruff in Bunce's Schedule II, pp315 and 320 states that they were removed from the Howley Harrison library to the basement in 1924 and that boxes 62-89 contained items removed from the Treasury cupboards at that date. This would suggest that boxes 1-61 were the original chestnut boxes used by the auditors and that they had been placed in the Howley Harrison library some time between 1877 and 1924. The handwriting on the list indicates that the information for boxes 91-102 was added at a later date.

The earlier group of chestnut boxes was later supplemented by a series of pine boxes which were 20 inches in depth, 13 inches high and 15 inches wide. One or two of these were lined with pages from the Observer newspaper dated 1922. It seems likely that these larger boxes were made in the 1920s to hold non-current deeds and papers which had been held in the Treasury, as suggested by Woodruff in his list.

Eighteen years after its removal from the Howley Harrison library to the new library the series was severely damaged when the building was destroyed by a World War II bomb. Some of the boxes were completely destroyed and much of the original arrangement lost. This is reflected by the interruptions in the numerical and alphabetical sequences of the series and also by the fact that the titles on some of the boxes appear to bear little relation to the contents. These titles appear in quotation marks in the catalogue.

William Urry placed numbered labels on all the boxes in his time as archivist (1948-1969). These are the numbers by which the boxes are catalogued here. Boxing of some loose material was carried out after this time by Anne Oakley (archivist 1970-1989). The series had now been completely reboxed in acid-free containers. Some of the lids of the chestnut boxes have been used as book boards for the Miscellaneous Accounts volumes which have been repaired.


The material held in the boxes reflects the activities of the auditors who created most of them. Each box has its own introduction in the catalogue which gives a brief description of the nature of its contents. The information given below offers an overview of the sort of material to be found in the series as a whole. The index to the boxes should be consulted for specific references.

i) Estate papers Three quarters of the 86 boxes contain leases, terriers, surveys, valuations, plans, legal papers and correspondence relating to the estates of the Dean and Chapter. Approximately one third of these documents concern Canterbury properties; the remainder relate to the Dean and Chapter's large landholdings in Kent and to their other properties in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Sussex, Devon and London.

Although the boxes were compiled in the nineteenth century, the items they contain date from medieval times. There are approximately 200 medieval documents in the series; principally leases. In all there are over 5000 leases; making up a third of the entire series. The terriers, leases, valuations and plans often help to illustrate the history of a certain property from the Reformation to the mid-nineteenth century.

ii) Cathedral administration Twelve of the 86 boxes relate directly to the running of the cathedral and its staff. The appointments of members of staff, from the Dean to the Bedesmen are found here, as are papers relating to the Archbishop's visitations of the cathedral and to Convocation. There are several papers relating to the office of auditor, including accounts for legal fees owed to him. Papers recording disputes between the Chapter and their staff are found in Box L, while Box A contains petitions and letters from members of the staff. Boxes 18 and 21 contain papers that belonged to Canon John Hume Spry.

iii) Other material Ten of the boxes contain material which does not fit comfortably into either of the above categories. Box 2 holds correspondence on the sale of land to railway companies. Box 4 contains letters addressed to the Chapter through Daniel Finch which asked for funds for schools and for church restoration projects. Returns to the Ecclesiastical Commission form the subject of Box 7, while Boxes 8 and T are concerned with the union of parishes in which the Chapter had an interest.

Draft conveyances of properties sold to redeem land tax from 1804 are found in Box 17, while Box 65 contains deeds and correspondence relating to charities. Commonwealth conveyances of Chapter lands form the subject of Box 89 while the material in Box W includes papers relating to the suspension of Archbishop Sancroft in 1689 and to the cholera epidemic in 1832.

Sometimes the material in the boxes appears to have very little to do with the Dean and Chapter. Papers of the secretary of the Canterbury Diocesan Choral Union relating to the festival in 1936 are to be found in Box X. There are deeds concerning properties in Nunney, Somerset, in several of the boxes, namely 13(?), 26, 43, 60 and 83. Deeds of the Allen, Kelly and Croasdill families are to be found in boxes 27 and 37. None of these have any obvious link with the Dean and Chapter.


The surviving boxes have been catalogues individually. The items within each box have been sorted and arranged, usually by type or by property (in the case of estate material) and then by date. Most of the cataloguing has been done at item level, although occasionally bundles of similar material have been grouped together and catalogued in one entry. This is particularly true of correspondence on specific topics.

There is a printed index to places, subjects and names for this catalogue.



Their contents are varied, but most appear to date from the mid nineteenth century and relate to such matters as the Dean and Chapter's dealings with the railway companies (BB 2) and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (BB 7). Boxes 5, 9 and 10 relate to the manor of Seasalter and legal cases affecting it in the late eighteenth century while boxes 3 and 6 contain leases. Box 1 contains citations summoning the Dean and Chapter to attend Convocation.

The construction of new schools and restoration of churches is the subject of box 4, which holds letters from the incumbents of parishes where the Dean and Chapter held patronage, asking for contributions to their causes. Box 8 is also principally correspondence, concerned with the union of benefices in areas of low population, mainly in London.

Some of the material is listed individually by item, but where there were several items of a very similar nature or relating to the same specific topic they have been catalogued by bundle under the covering numbers of the items within the bundle.

The boxes themselves were once kept in the Howley Harrison library, as is indicated by the list in Bunce's Schedule Vol 2, possibly written by C E Woodruff. The list gives a one-word summary of the contents of each box, including some which no longer exist. Other notes state that the boxes were `removed to the basement' in 1924 and that several were destroyed in 1942 by enemy action.



The series of Seasalter legal papers that were found in boxes 5, 9 and 10 are continued in boxes 11 and 12. Box 13 has correspondence and terriers relating to Cranbrook, as well as leases for several of the Dean and Chapter's properties in Chartham. Accounts for many of the Dean and Chapter's Kent properties may be found in box 14, while the contents of box 15 relate to Eastry and Worth.

Box 16 is missing from the series, possibly destroyed in the Second World War. Box 17 has material relating to some of the Chapter's property and also to highway repairs in Canterbury in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Boxes 18, 19 and 20 all originally contained vouchers which have since been transferred to the Treasurers' and Receivers' Vouchers series to be found with the other Treasurers' and Receivers' Accounts in the Dean and Chapter's archive. As a result box 19 is now empty.

For information on the history of the records and the mode of cataloguing, please see the introduction to boxes 1-10.



Box 21 holds papers that were once the property of John Hume Spry, one of the canons of Canterbury Cathedral, while box 22's contents have been transferred to the Treasurers' and Receivers' Vouchers series of the Dean and Chapter's archive.

There is then a large gap, with boxes 23-25 missing from the series, possibly destroyed during the Second World War. Box 26 contains mainly Dean and Chapter leases, while box 27 has leases and other estate documents relating to the Allen, Kelly and Croasdill families.

Box 28 is full of legal papers concerning a dispute over the tithes of Tenterden in the early nineteenth century, while 29 holds a variety of material relating to properties of the Dean and Chapter in Canterbury. The items in box 30 are title deeds etc for properties in Ickham which were bought by the Ecclesiastical Commission in 1865. These last three boxes have lists of their contents which were made by J B Sheppard in 1874-1895

For information on the history of this collection and the mode of cataloguing, please see the introduction to boxes 1-10.



This is the fourth part of the `Boxes in the Basement', which holds material relating to the administration of some of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury's estates in Kent and London.

Box 31 has correspondence and terriers concerning property in Ickham, while boxes 32 to 34 all hold material connected with the London manors of Walworth and Vauxhall, especially the building of new properties in those areas. Boxes 35 and 36 are missing. They are listed by Sheppard as containing `Auditors papers'.

The cathedral precincts form the subject of most of boxes 37 and 38, although the former also has income tax returns and deeds relating to the Kelly, Allen and Quested families.

Box 39 has leases and correspondence concerning lands in East Peckham, Great Mongeham, Ickham and Fairfield. There is no box 40, which Sheppard notes as holding `Income of land, ship money, loans to the Crown'.

For information on the series please see the introduction to boxes 1-10.



Boxes 41 and 42 contain leases for the Dean and Chapter's Canterbury properties, although box 41 also holds terriers and letters for Hollingbourne and leases for lands in Lympne.

The deeds and correspondence in box 43 relate to the Dean and Chapter's property in Chartham, while those in box 44 are concerned with Godmersham.

For further information on the series please see te introduction to Boxes 1-10.



The material in box 45 mainly consists of leases of properties in the precincts of Canterbury cathedral belonging to the Dean and Chapter. There is no box 46, which J B Sheppard lists in Bunce's catalogue as containing material relating to `Chislet, Calcott farm'.

Box 47 holds leases for Dean and Chapter property in Monkton, with some estate accounts, while box 48 has deeds, terriers and correspondence concerning Chartham properties.

Estates in Romney Marsh, particularly Appledore and Fairfield, are the subject of the correspondence in box 49. Box 50 was labelled `Miscellaneous' and contains letters relating to many of the Dean and Chapter's interests, including Great Chart, Monks Eleigh, Deopham, Bramford and Burstall and Preston-next-Faversham. There are also estate accounts for some of the years between 1839-1861.

For further information please see the introduction to boxes 1-10.



The material in these boxes relates to the administration of the estates belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but there are also documents from earlier periods.

Box 51 was labelled `Miscellaneous' and contains correspondence which is mainly concerned with estates of the Dean and Chapter outside Kent. Land owned by the Chapter in Southwark forms the subject of the material in box 52, which charts the history of Tenter Alley and Fleur de Lys Court, which became Dean Street and Canterbury Square in Southwark.

Terriers, leases and correspondence relating to the manor of Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey are to be found in box 53, while the papers in box 54 are concerned with the Faversham parish rate of 1830 and the construction of the Faversham Creek navigation in 1842.

Box 55 holds leases, terriers and correspondence about the Dean and Chapter's lands in Birchington. Boxes 56-59 have not survived, but the list in Bunce's schedule describes 56-58 as containing `Bonds, 16-18 Cent' and 59 as `Leases, 17 and 18 Cent and fragments of account rolls'.

Canterbury leases, apparently of properties sold to redeem land tax, are to be found in box 60. For further information on the series please see the introduction to boxes 1-10.



Box 61 does not survive, but was listed in Bunce's schedule as containing `Leases, 18th and 19th centuries, chiefly relating to tenements in the precincts'.

Boxes 62-64 all contain leases relating to Canterbury properties, mostly within the cathedral precincts. They date mainly from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, although there are some late medieval leases in box 62.

The material in box 65 consists chiefly of title deeds relating to the charities established by John Aucher, Thomas Turner and John Smith. There are also some appointments of commissaries and registrars for sede vacante periods and some presentments of vicars and curates to livings in Kent by other ecclesiastical bodies.

For further information on this series please see the introduction to boxes 1-10.



Box 66 in the `Boxes in the Basement' series contains leases and letters relating to rectories in Sussex owned by the Dean and Chapter. These were Ashburnham, Icklesham and Pagham. Leases relating to Tenterden rectory are also to be found amongst these records.

Documents called patents which appointed the various cathedral officers and servants are to be found in boxes 67 and 68, while 69 contains leases for properties in Hadleigh (Suffolk) and Fordwich and for some meadows in Canterbury.

The last box, number 70, holds leases for lands in Eythorne and Mongeham and also for Brooksend manor and Birchington rectory.



Box 71 mainly holds warrants for the appointment of bedesmen to the cathedral and accounts for the money claimed back by the cathedral from the Exchequer for fines etc arising in the liberty of the Dean and Chapter. There are also leases for a tenement and lands in Vauxhall, Surrey.

The other two boxes contained leases alone. Those in Box 73 are for the manors of Loose and Monkton, lands in Brooksend manor, the Anniversary lands in Great Mongeham and Monken Court in Eythorne. All the leases in Box 74 are for properties in Burgate.

For more information on the series please see the introduction to Boxes 1-10.



The contents are principally leases, with some other title deeds for various of the Dean and Chapter's properties in Canterbury and Kent. Several of the deeds carry Church Commissioner's numbers. These relate to properties which were transferred back to the cathedral towards the end of the nineteenth century.

There are also some deeds for Throwley and Charing rectories which originally belonged to St Paul's Cathedral (BB76/135-140 and BB 79/159-181). The tithes from these rectories were given to Canterbury in 1894.

There is a person, place and subject index to the contents of this catalogue at the back of this folder.



The boxes in this folder contain leases and other deeds for properties owned by the Dean and Chapter in Canterbury, Chartham, Loose, Benenden, Eastry and Great Chart in Kent and for several properties in Vauxhall, Streatham, Southwark and Newington in Surrey (BB 81). There are also documents relating to Exning rectory in Suffolk and Mundham rectory in Sussex (BB 82). Deeds for properties in Nunney, Somerset are to be found in box 83. See the introductions to each box for more detailed descriptions of the contents.



Boxes 84 and 85 contain leases of properties in the Archbishop's Palace. The Dean and Chapter purchased some of them in the 1850s in order to improve the cathedral precincts. The older deeds were probably handed to the Dean and Chapter by the Ecclesiastical Commission at this time.



Boxes 99-101 form a separate series within the Boxes in the Basement. They all contain counterpart leases for the 17th and early 18th centuries. The majority of the leases have no seals but have holes where the seal of the Dean and Chapter would have been attached. The leases were probably surrendered by the lessees before they could renew their possession of their leasehold property. The Chapter's copy of the lease is frequently to be found in earlier boxes in this series or in the Church Commissioner's deposit (U63).

In earlier boxes of this series leases from the latter half of the eighteenth century are often found with their counterparts, suggesting that either the lessee did not remove his copy from the cathedral or that it was carefully filed with its counterpart on its return for renewal. Samuel Norris was the auditor at this time and it is possible that he introduced a change in the Chapter's administrative practices.

All the leases in these boxes had been sorted and numbered at the beginning of the twentieth century. The leases were divided into Canterbury and Estate sections. The Canterbury leases were then divided into parishes (and placed into Box 99) while the Estates were sorted alphabetically by property. The alphabetical sortings have been retained, although a single property may appear in more than one section; eg tenements in Tenter Alley, Southwark are to be found under S and T. Box 200 contained properties from A to L while box 101 held M to Y.

Please see the index to these boxes for a detailed listing of the properties concerned.



This is the last section of the Boxes in the Basement catalogue. These boxes carry letters rather than the numbers of the earlier boxes, and appear to have been created at a later date than the original squence. Entries in Bunce's Catalogue, Volume 2, would suggest that these boxes were in a series or a physical location called ZA in the early part of this century, when many annotations to the catalogue were made (possibly by C E Woodruff).

The material in the boxes is varied. Boxes A to Q show various aspects of the administration of the cathedral, including visitation papers and appointments of officers. Boxes S to X have more in the way of estate information, including terriers, correspondence, plans and some deeds. There are no leases in these boxes.

Each box has its own brief introduction to its contents which give further information. For details on the series as a whole, please see the introduction in the first folder of the series catalogue.

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