Cumbria Archive Service - catalogues and guides - Roman Catholic Church

For a period of over 250 years after Henry VIII's break with the Church of Rome, information about Catholics is chiefly to be found in the records of the Church of England and of the civil authorities, particularly Quarter Sessions. However, the second half of the 18th century witnessed a slackening of restrictions against Catholics. In 1791 their worship was legalised conditionally upon the registration of their places of worship and of their priests with the clerk of the peace. The Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 removed all major restrictions and enabled Catholics to sit in Parliament, to vote at elections and to hold property unconditionally.

Catholic congregations kept unofficial registers of births, marriages and deaths but most of these do not begin before 1778. With a few exceptions Catholic registers were not surrendered to the Registrar-General after 1837 and are still in the hands of individual congregations.

Microform copies of many registers are available and, for conservation reasons, must be consulted in place of the originals.

Use the links below to browse the catalogue for records for a particular church.  You will also be able to see at which Archive Centre the original records are preserved. Please note these links do NOT provide images of original records and registers.