Inventory and Calendar of Puritan Records, 1640–1714
InvenCaP is a new project co-ordinated by the members of the Dissenting Experience research group. Its aim is to provide essential resources for the investigation of Puritan, Nonconformist, and Dissenting church history and literature across the period 1640–1714 and beyond. InvenCaP is supported by Aix-Marseille Foundation.
Research into the gathered churches of the Civil War, Commonwealth, Restoration, and Later Stuart Period has been hampered by the lack of an accurate and comprehensive survey of available resources. The primary purpose of InvenCaP is to create a reliable and detailed inventory and calendar of Baptist, Congregational, and Presbyterian church records for the period 1640–1714. Our definition of ‘church records’ includes church books, financial account books, and church registers, but does not extend to ministerial personal papers, legal documents such as deeds, or parochial records of the 1650s.
The first stage of the project, for which work will be undertaken between July and September 2015, is to prepare an online inventory of relevant church records for the period. The inventory will record the current location and (where relevant) the reference number of the manuscript, together with its title, the dates covered, the church or congregation to which it refers, and the denomination. In preparation for the compilation of this inventory, the catalogues of every county record have been surveyed, and we are now contacting other custodians of early dissenting records, including churches, regional associations, cathedrals, universities, colleges, and national repositories.
The second stage of the project, for which work will be undertaken between 2016 and 2018, involves calendaring the records outlined in the inventory. Our objective is to provide a page-by-page account of each document, including information on minutes of church meetings, disciplinary cases, financial accounts, confessions of faith, covenants, church registers, church correspondence, and church histories. Once complete, the calendar will provide a detailed overview of the experience of dissent within an unprecedented number of congregations, chapels, and conventicles across the period.
The calendar will also feature a list of ministers and historically important officers and members, available transcriptions, printed and digital editions, as well as a select bibliography for each church. It will be supplemented by a full scholarly introduction on the nature, scope and use of early dissenting manuscripts, and a series of full indexes to facilitate research throughout the data.
InvenCaP is co-ordinated by Anne Page, Michael Davies, and Joel Halcomb, in collaboration with Rachel Adcock, and with research assistance from Mark Burden. The members of the steering committee are listed on the ‘steering committee’ page.