Diocese of Chester

The diocese of Chester was founded in 1541 out of the dioceses of York and Lichfield and Coventry. Geographically, it was vast, comprising the whole of Lancashire and Cheshire, parts of Yorkshire, Cumberland and Westmorland, Flintshire and Denbighshire. It was divided into two archdeaconries: the archdeaconry of Richmond, north of the river Ribble in Lancashire and the archdeaconry of Chester to the south, the latter including all of south Lancashire and Cheshire.  The diocese was eventually substantially reduced in size by the creation of the Diocese of Manchester (1847), the subsequent transfer of certain parishes to the Diocese of St Asaph (1849) and Carlisle (1856) and the creation of the Diocese of Liverpool (1880).

The records are extensive and include records relating to the ordination and appointment of clergy, new church buildings and alterations, visitation articles of enquiry, the consistory court and marriage bonds and allegations.

Whilst most of the diocesan collection is held by Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, those records that relate to the eastern deaneries of the archdeaconry of Richmond are at the West Yorkshire Archive Service. Some records relating to the western deaneries are at Lancashire Record Office.  Some series of records, such as tithe maps and wills, have been split on a geographical basis between these offices, Cumbria Archive Service and the National Library of Wales.