Fulham Papers (Papers of the Bishops of London) (FP)

The Library holds the official papers of several Bishops of London, known as the Fulham Papers as they were were transferred from Fulham Palace, the former Bishops' residence.

The majority of the collection dates from the 18th-19th centuries and includes correspondence on the administration of the diocese of London, and on the churches, particularly in America and the West Indies, which came under the bishop's jurisdiction at the time.

It also includes a series of visitation returns, 1763-1900, the earlier volumes being at London Metropolitan Archives alongside other records of the diocese (ref: DL).

A micropublication of the colonial sections of the papers is available in several American libraries and may also be purchased from World Microfilms Limited, who also publish micropublications of the letterbooks of Bishop Blomfield and the London visitation returns 1763-1815.

For the diocese of London see also the Building on History project.

Extent of the Diocese of London

The boundaries of the diocese of London were changed a number of times during the 19th century. Until 1845, the diocese composed most of the parishes in Middesex, the city of London parishes (excluding the thirteen parishes in the peculiar of the Arches), a substantial number of parishes in Hertfordshire, and the four parishes of Aston Abbots, Grandborough, Little Horwood, and Winslow in Buckinghamshire.

The abolition of the exempt jurisdictions in 1845 brought into the diocese of London the parishes in the city of London and some parishes in Middlesex and Surrey which were formerly peculiars of the archbishop. At the same time the diocese gained various Kent parishes just south of the Thames (Charlton, Deptford, Eltham, Greenwich, Lee, Lewisham, Plumstead, and Woolwich) and retained nine Essex parishes just north of the river (Barking, Chingford, East and West Ham, Little Ilford, Low Leyton, Wanthamstow, Wanstead, and Woodford).

The remainder of Essex was temporarily transferred to the see of Rochester. London also lost its parishes in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  Under the London Diocese Act of 1863 and the Diocese of St. Albans Act of 1875, provisions were made for the future removal of the Essex, Kent and Surrey parishes from the diocese of London. In 1877 the diocese of London was confined to the county of Middlesex, including the cities of London and Middlesex.