The Diocese of Carlisle, 1814-1855: Chancellor Walter Fletcher's 'Diocesan Book', with Additional Material from Bishop Percy's Parish Notebooks. (Cumbria Archive Centre, Carlisle, MSS DCHA 11/14/1 and 11/151-2)

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The volume presents three nineteenth-century manuscripts originally created for the use of bishops of Carlisle: Walter Fletcher's Diocesan Book , written between 1814 and 1845, and Bishop Hugh Percy's two parish notebooks, compiled between 1828 and 1855. Based on visitations, and on articles of enquiry now lost, they add to a growing body of knowledge relating to the condition of the Church in the first half of the nineteenth century, providing a unique record of livings in the Carlisle diocese prior to its expansion in 1856. In particular, they illuminate the concerns of two significant clerical figures. In 1814 the newly installed chancellor, Walter Fletcher, set about recording his primary visitation, updating his notes frequently until the year before his death in 1846. In 1828 the newly consecrated bishop, Hugh Percy, created his own diocesan record, utilising Fletcher's material while adding matter of his own. The popularity of Anglican ritualism since the advent of Tractarianism has made it commonplace for the Georgian Church to be viewed with a certain amount of disdain. The notebooks allow us a more objective view of the period. Fletcher's notes on the 130 churches he visited are particularly valuable in presenting a diligent, hard-working clergyman, loyal to the Tory high-church traditions into which he had been born, with a vision for the diocese which, above all, was one of orderliness and obedience to canon law. The documents are presented here with introduction and notes. Dr Jane Platt is an honorary researcher in history at Lancaster University.