Our collections are extraordinarily rich and varied, and include manuscripts, photographs, maps, plans and seals.

We collect according to our collecting policy.

For full details of our collections, see our online catalogue.

Please note that the historic records of the Archbishops of Canterbury are held at Lambeth Palace Library.

Our collections:

Dean and Chapter

Lit_Mss_42_Extract GThe records of the Dean and Chapter date back to the late 8th century; there are some 20 Anglo-Saxon charters which date from before the Norman Conquest. Taken together, these are the Cathedral’s oldest possessions, which predate any of the buildings seen standing today.

The Dean and Chapter archive is particularly strong for the medieval period. It tells the story of the Cathedral, its buildings, its estates and its community right up to the present day.

City of Canterbury Chapter

Cant_13dThe Cathedral Archives is the record office for the City of Canterbury. It holds the records of Canterbury City Council and its predecessor bodies, which date from the 12th century right up to the present day.These records made up a rich resource for the study of all areas covered by the current boundaries of Canterbury District, including the coastal towns of Whitstable and Herne Bay.

Parish records

We hold the parish records for eastern Kent. These are made up of records of parishes included in the pre-2011 Archdeaconry of Canterbury. Most of our parish registers are included on fmplogo

Diocese of Canterbury

Cant_14aHeld in the Archives are the central records of the Diocese of Canterbury, dating back to the 14th century. These include tithe records, church court records, visitation records, and many records relevant to family history.For an index to pre-1858 wills for the Diocese of Canterbury please see http://wills.canterbury-cathedral.org/

Parish Council records

The Archives holds the records of the following parish councils: Blean, Chartham, Fordwich, Hackington, Harbledown, Littlebourne and Kingston.

Other collections

The Archives holds the records of numerous local individuals, families, organisations and businesses, mostly for the Canterbury area. These include the records of St Augustine’s Missionary College, records of local hospitals and almshouses, and the archive collections of local churchmen.


HWalter detailThe Cathedral Archives is home to two very significant collections of artefacts. The first of these is the silk vestments in which Archbishop Hubert Walter was buried in 1205. The second is the collection of objects acquired by Dr John Bargrave, a canon of Canterbury Cathedral, during his travels around Europe between 1645 and 1660. The Bargrave collection is still kept in its original cabinets.For more information, and a virtual tour of Bargrave’s cabinets of curiosity and his travels, see the Bargrave webpages.

Please see our guides on researching your family history and house history.