Find out about our collections, how to search the catalogue, and how to deposit material.
About the Collections
The Archives primarily holds records relating to the Jesuits in Britain. The collection contains papers relating to the administration of the British Province by the Provincial Curia as well as personal papers and correspondence of dead members of the Province. It includes records of Jesuit communities, of Province works, and material relating to the overseas missionary work of the Province including South Africa and Guyana.
It also has a few deposited collections such as The Cause of the English and Welsh Martyrs; records relating to the Jesuit Chaplains at New Hall, Chelmsford donated by the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Plater College (formerly Catholic Workers' College) archives.
The Archive includes a collection of antiquarian books consisting of works by members of the Province and those defined as being important for the post-Reformation history of Catholicism in Britain and/or the history and spirituality of the Society.
Using the Catalogue
Historically the Archives have been catalogued using a card index system and this is still the main finding aid. Currently the Archives is working to catalogue its collection digitally and more fully. If you are unable to find what you're looking for, please contact us.
The Archives is part of the Network of Archives & Libraries of the Catholic Church and as material is catalogued it will be made available online through the Catholic Heritage project.
The best way to search the online catalogue is to click the ‘Advanced Search’ button at the top of the Catholic Heritage CalmView page and then select ‘Jesuits in Britain Archives’ in the drop down repository list. You can either simply click ‘Search’ at this stage or refine your search by using the search fields. Once you have results displayed, you can see the catalogue hierarchy by clicking in the ‘Ref no’ field. If you have any difficulties using the online catalogue or would like assistance accessing uncatalogued material, please get in touch. Further instructions for using the catalogue can be found in the video below.
Antiquarian Book Collection
The Archives holds a collection of c. 3,000 antiquarian books, divided into pre- and post-1700. The collection includes historical series, bibles, works of theology and philosophy, Jesuit annual letters, and works by Jesuits including St Ignatius Loyola, St Francis Xavier, St Edmund Campion, and Robert Persons. There are also works on recusant subjects written by non-Jesuits, which form part of the polemical, religious debates of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The books offer a glimpse of former Jesuit Libraries, and many carry marks of former owners, either individual Jesuits, or from residences, colleges, schools and other Jesuit institutions, as well as non-Jesuit communities. Many of the books are first or very early editions.
Nearly all the books appear in printed or online catalogues, listed below, and some have been reprinted as volumes of the English Recusant Literature (ERL) Series, published by Scolar Press.
Wing, Donald, A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America and of the English Books Printed in Other Countries, 1641-1700 (1945–1951)
Clancy, Thomas, English Catholic Books 1641-1700. (1974)
Clancy, Thomas, A Literary History of the English Jesuits, A Century of Books 1615-1714. (1996)
Allison, A.F., and Rogers, D. M. The contemporary printed literature of the English Counter-Reformation between 1558 and 1640 : an annotated catalogue. 2 vols. (1989-1994)
USTC. Universal Short Title Catalogue for works published in Europe pre 1650 (to be extended soon to 1700).
ESTC. The English Short Title Catalogue of works published between 1473 and 1800. Hosted by the British Library.
JISC Library Hub Discover. A database of UK and Irish academic, national and specialist libraries.
Cataloguing of this collection is ongoing. If you would like to find out more, please contact us.
We are always pleased to discuss and accept new deposits of records which fall within the remit covered by our Acquisition Policy.
Records can come in many formats and can be both analogue and digital. They do not have to be ‘old’ and can relate to the recent past.
Our core collections consist of:
Official and non-official records reflecting the management and government of the Province, and important events in its history.
Personal papers of dead members of the Province.
Records displaying the historical significance of the British Jesuits.
Records relating to communities and ministries of the Jesuits in Britain, past or present.
If you have records which you would like to donate to the Archives we will be happy to discuss this with you.
If you are sending any material to the Archives then please attach a completed Gift Agreement Form.