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Abbey Archives

BATH ABBEY HERITAGE BLOG

Find out what’s happening in the busy world of archives, heritage, and interpretation on our blog: https://bathabbeyheritage.wordpress.com/

ABBEY ARCHIVES

Bath Abbey’s archive is kept at the South West Heritage Trust (https://www.swheritage.org.uk/).    The archive will be returned to the Abbey at the end of the Footprint project in 2020.  It will be housed in a new, purpose-built store.

WHAT IS IN THE ABBEY ARCHIVES?

1) Bath Abbey's original parish registers (1569-present). You can also view microfiches of the registers at Bath Record Office. The Abbey archives hold printed transcripts of the registers up to 1840. Digitised copies of our parish registers are available on www.ancestry.co.uk

2) Parish registers for St James Church (1569-1942)

3) Parish records for Bath Abbey from before the mid-19th century

4) Records created by the Parish of Bath Abbey with St James from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day: 

  • Fabric records A large part of the collection is formed by records relating to work done to the fabric of the Abbey Church; covering the major restorations of the 19th and 20th centuries, and works to the organ, stained glass and lighting.
     
  • Examples of other records in the collection are minutes, registers, burial records, title deeds, service sheets, choir records, newsletters and photographs.  Records relating to properties held by the Abbey, such as the Abbey cemetery in Widcombe and Abbey Church House in central Bath.
     
  • A small number of records from St James’ Church, Bath which was destroyed by bombing in 1942.

The oldest records in the archives are our parish registers, which begin in 1569. Very few documents survive before this date.

ARCHIVE CATALOGUES

Catalogues of many of the archive collections belonging to the Abbey have been uploaded to the South West Heritage Trust online database (http://somerset-cat.swheritage.org.uk/)

Detailed catalogues of our archives are available for download:

BA/1 Committee minutes, Governance, Rectors' papers

BA/2 Baptism, Marriage, Burials, and Memorials

BA/3 Administration, Finance, and Operations

BA/4 Property and Restorations

BA/5 Publicity, Events, and Visitors

BA/6 Music

BA-G Groups and organisations

BA-PER Personal papers

Please note that not everything is catalogued yet, although we are working on it and we are very grateful for your interest and patience.

HOW CAN I SEE THE BATH ABBEY ARCHIVES?

If you would like to see documents from the Bath Abbey archives, you will need to visit the South West Heritage Trust in Taunton. The Trust is open from Tuesday to Friday 9.00 am–5.00 pm and on the 2nd Saturday of each month, 9.00 am-1.30 pm.   You will need to have a reader’s ticket and make an appointment. (https://www.swheritage.org.uk/visiting)

For advice about using the collection, please contact Anna Riggs, the Abbey Archivist (archives@bathabbey.org) or 01225 422462.

CONTACT DETAILS

Anna Riggs, Archivist, Bath Abbey
Tel 01225 422462 (voicemail out of hours)
Email archives@bathabbey.org

The Abbey's Archive office is located at 9, Kingston Buildings, around the South side of the Abbey.  If you have an appointment, please see the receptionist first at the Abbey Office at 12, Kingston Buildings.

South West Heritage Trust

Information about planning a visit to the South West Heritage Trust, which is in Taunton, is available on their web site: (https://www.swheritage.org.uk/visiting)