Canterbury Cathedral Archives

Visitor''s address: The Precincts, Canterbury, CT1 2EH

England, United Kingdom

E-mail address:
+44(0)1227 865 330
Opening hours:

Tuesday-Thursday, 9:15-4:45, and the first Saturday of the month, 9:15-12:45. It is sometimes necessary for the archives to close. For more information on opening hours or any upcoming closure periods please see:

Closing dates:

15th December 2017 - 1st January 2018 23rd March - 9th April 2018 For up to date closure information please see the website.


The Archives and Library Reading Room is located within the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral. On arrival at Christ Church Gate please ask a member of staff to direct you.

Access conditions: Accessible to the public
Access information:

Access is subject to preservation requirements and data protection legislation. All readers must register and have a reader's ticket. Please see the website for details.

Disabled access: Facilities for disabled people are available
Facilities for disabled people:

The Reading Room is accessible by a lift. Accessible toilets are located next to the Reading Room and Accessible Parking can be arranged in advance for blue-badge holders.

Reader's ticket:

All readers must register and have a CARN Ticket. If you do not already have a CARN Ticket please get in touch and we will advise you on what documentation you will need to bring.

Searchroom: 22 places
Ordering documents in advance:

Documents can be ordered in advance via email or telephone. Pre-ordering is advised.

Computer places: 4 places
Microfilm/fiche readers: 8 places
Photograph allowance:
Depending on the material
Public internet access: Available

Wi-fi is available in the Reading Room. Please ask a member of staff for details.

Reproduction services:

A photocopying and digitisation service is offered for a fee to both on-site visitors and remote enquirers. Certain restrictions apply.

A photography licence must be purchased for the taking of photographs and certain restrictions apply.

Digitisation service: Available
Photocopying service: Available
Photographic service: Available
Archival and other holdings:

The Archive of the Cathedral The historic records of the Cathedral date back to the 9th century. In the collection, there are some 20 Anglo-Saxon charters, which date from before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Taken together, these are the Cathedral’s oldest possessions, which predate any of the buildings seen standing today. The archive tells the story of the Cathedral, its buildings, its estates and its community from medieval times right up to the present day. A rich collection, ranging from paper or parchment documents, some with seals, to photographs and architectural drawings, it has always been kept within the Precincts. In 2016, the pre-Reformation archive of the Cathedral was added to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register, thus gaining recognition as one of the most important collections of its type. It includes the charters, registers, financial and administrative records, estate records and court records kept by the medieval Cathedral. The Archive of the City of Canterbury The 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 make 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. We also hold the records and music of the Canterbury Catch Club. Founded in 1779 and continuing until 1865, the Catch Club was one of the foremost social clubs in the city. The members met in a local pub to sing catches (a type of round), glees, duets and solo songs. Archives and Libraries of East Kent Parishes The Archives and Library holds the parish records for eastern Kent, more specifically the records of parishes included in the pre-2011 Archdeaconry of Canterbury. Most of our parish registers are included on Findmypast. The Archive of the Diocese of Canterbury Held 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: Parish Council Records The Archives holds the records of the following parish councils: Blean, Chartham, Fordwich, Hackington, Harbledown, Littlebourne and Kingston. Other Archives 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.

Other information
Related resource:
Heavenly Harmony: Music in the Collections of Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library

Archives Hub feature

Pilgrimage and Patronage: The Medieval Collections of Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library

Archives Hub feature

Type of archive:

Church and religious archives

Last update: 20.04.2020
Archival Material