Canterbury Cathedral Archives

Canterbury Cathedral, 1880: From 'The Earth and Its Inhabitants'Canterbury Cathedral, 1880: From 'The Earth and Its Inhabitants'

Canterbury Cathedral Archives holds a vast number of resources dating from the 8th century.

These resources include historic records, manuscripts, maps, photographs, printed books and other records. 

They are a wonderful resource, making it possible to to discover more details regarding the Cathedral, its history, its buildings and its community at the Archive.

The Library has approximately 300000 books and pamphlets printed prior to 1900.

Nearly 20000 books and serials published in the 20th and 21st centuries are also available at the Archives.  

Many books relating to church history, theology, travel, natural science and medicine are available in the Archive.

Whatever your research interest, whether you are researching your family history in East Kent, conducting research for a school, college or university assignment, tracing the history of a house, or wish to learn more about your local area, you will find the documents held of use.  

The knowledgeable and helpful staff are always on hand to help should you have any questions or require assistance.

Information about Canterbury Cathedral Archives


Canterbury Cathedral Archives 
The Precincts 
CT1 2EH 

Telephone Number:

01227 865330



For information regarding their collections, please visit their collections page and peruse their online catalogue.  

Collections include Dean and Chapter Records, City of Canterbury Chapter Records, Parish Registers, Diocese of Canterbury Records, Parish Council Records and Artefacts.

Artefacts held by the Archive include paintings, sculptures, altar frontals, stained glass and church silver.

The Archive also have an image database, which includes images related to the Cathedral and its collections and treasures.

Opening Hours

Opening Hours can be found by perusing the appropriate section of their Visiting the Library page.

Location and Directions

The library is located in the Cathedral Precincts.  If you need directions, please enter Christ Church Gate, the Cathedral's main gate.

Making an Appointment

You have to make an appointment before visiting, and can also tell them at the time of booking whether you wish to use a reading desk, computer or microfilm/fiche reader.  

Although they are open on some Saturdays, documents and books must be ordered in advance if visiting on that day.


Wi-Fi is available in the building, along with computers that can be used by researchers.


You may use your own camera in the Archive, but a charge is made to people taking advantage of this service and you have to ask permission of Office staff before taking any photographs.  

You are not allowed to take photographs of some documents because they are fragile and easily damaged.


Lift access is available, but because the building is very old, wheelchair users may need to ask for the help of staff to access the Reading Room. 

Help with Research

If you require advice on researching your family history, a member of Kent Family History Society (Canterbury Branch) will be on hand on Saturday mornings to answer any questions you may have.

Research Service

If you cannot visit the Archive, and wish someone else to undertake genealogical research on your behalf, the Office holds a list of independent researchers, who, for a fee, are able to conduct this research.

Readers' Tickets

Researchers have to register for a reader's ticket when visiting the Archive.  You have to bring a document proving your address along with photo ID.

Acceptable forms of Photo ID include:

  • Driving Licence
  • Passport
  • International Student Identity Card
  • Older Person's Bus Pass

Acceptable documents proving your address include:

  • Driving Licence
  • Utility Bill
  • Council Tax Bill
  • Bank Statement

For further information regarding Record Offices in Kent, please visit my pages regarding Kent Library and History Centre and Medway Archives Centre.

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  3. Canterbury Cathedral Archives