What is in the Abbey Archives?
The archives of Bath Abbey are divided between the Abbey and Somerset Archives and Local Studies.
The papers kept at the Abbey cover, in summary:
- Records of works to the Abbey Church, organ, stained glass and lighting;
- Records of the major restorations of the Abbey in the 19th and 20th centuries
- Minutes, registers, burial records, title deeds, service sheets, choir records, newsletters and photographs.
- Deeds, photographs, and correspondence relating to properties owned 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, including press cuttings and photographs
- Papers of historians who have studied the Abbey
- Papers of Abbey clubs and societies
- The Abbey archives has copies and transcripts of baptism, marriage, and burial records. The originals are kept at Somerset Archives and Local Studies.
For detailed catalogues, download printouts from the links below. Or search the catalogues on the Somerset Archives and Local Studies online database.
Photos of our parish registers are available on the Ancestry website.
Please ask the Abbey Archivist for help with enquiries.
Catalogues of many of the archive collections belonging to the Abbey have been uploaded to the South West Heritage Trust online database.
Please note that not everything is catalogued yet, although we are working on it and we are very grateful for your interest and patience.
Download printouts of our catalogues here:
The Archivist and volunteer team are happy to answer enquiries. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Abbey office on 01225 422462 and ask for the Archivist. We do not charge for enquiries, although we welcome donations.
Resources for Family History
- Lists of the memorials on the walls and floor of the Abbey are available from the Abbey stewards, or from the Abbey Archives.
- Transcripts of the Abbey's baptism, marriage, and burial registers (1569 onwards) can be consulted for researchers by the Abbey Archivist. Transcripts are also available at Bath Record Office in the Guildhall.
- Searchable online indexes of our registers, with digital images, are available on the Ancestry web site. You can search Ancestry for free at most record offices, including the Bath Record Office.
- The Bath Burial Index is a database of information from records relating to over 50 cemeteries in Bath, including the Abbey Cemetery at Widcombe.
- Lists of the Abbey clergy, churchwardens, and other officers can be consulted by the Abbey archivist or by our heritage volunteers.
Names of members of the Gentlemens’ and Boys’ choirs are listed in the Abbey Yearbooks which run from 1896 to 1939, and an index of members of the Gentlemens’ and Boys’ choirs 1921-1996 is also available through the Abbey archives. As a result, it may be possible to check whether someone was a member of one of the Abbey choirs. However this would depend on the date, as the archives, unfortunately, do not hold continuous records of membership for the Abbey choirs, nor do they hold biographical information of former choir members.
The inscriptions on memorial stones are a great source for family historians, as they will sometimes contain information not found in the burial registers. They are particularly useful for tracing relationships between different family members.
- Wall Memorials At present there is a paper index arranged alphabetically by name which can be used to find an individual memorial stone. To look up a name, please ask one of the stewards in the Abbey or contact the Archives.
- Ledgerstones Many of the floor memorials are covered by the pews, or are too worn to be legible. The Archives hold a book recording the inscriptions of all the nave floor stones which was made in 1874 when the pews were installed. We are also have an electronic list of all the ledgerstone inscriptions which the stewards in the Abbey have a copy of. Do contact the Archives if you want us to look up the inscription of a ledgerstone in the original 19th century record.
The Book of Remembrance
The Book of Remembrance records the names, ages and addresses of all civilians and military personnel from Bath who were killed during World War II (1939-1945).
It is currently on display in the Gethsemane Chapel in the Abbey, and can be examined on request to a Verger.
An index of the names inscribed in the book is available by request through the Abbey archives.