MS Diaries Found

I have located the manuscripts of diaries written by sixteen Puritan Ministers within my research period (1640-1715) and chosen area (England and Wales):

Archer, Isaac of Mildenhall, Suffolk, 1659-1700

Bilby, William of Nottingham, 1714-1717

Chandler, Francis of Theydon Garnon, Essex, 1661-1666

Henry, Philip of Worthenbury, Clwyd, 1673, 1674-1687

Heywood, Oliver of Halifax, Yorks, 1665-1673, 1678-1682

Hussey, Joseph of Cambridge, 1681-1726

Josselin, Ralph of East Colne, Essex, 1640-1683

Larkham, Thomas of Tavistock, Devon, 1650-1669

More, John of Earls Croom, Worcs, 1694-96, 1698-1700

Newcome, Henry of Manchester, 1661-1663

Rogers, Samuel of Bishops Stortford, Herts, 1634-1638

Sampson, Henry of Framlingham, Suffolk, 1693-1698

Saunders, Julius, of Bedworth, Warwickshire, 1686-1695

Stockton, Owen of Ipswich, Suffolk, 1665-1680

Syms, John of Sheepstor, Devon, 1642-1649

Taylor, Timothy of Stockport, 1673-1676


The geographical areas include several English counties and one Welsh. I am surprised, though, to have found nothing suitable for my research from London, which generally provided the most diaries for the 17th century (McKay, p 207). The periods covered in the diaries are quite well distributed over my period of research (1640-1715), but I lack a diary covering the first decade of the 18th century.

Most of these manuscripts are held in the British Library or Dr Williams’s Library, and then others can be found in various county record offices or university archives. For the full bibliography, please see below.

Although I had some suggestions from my director of studies, these diaries have not been easy to find. In most of the works I have read, the non-conformist diaries referenced are either pre-1640 (e.g. Samuel Ward, Samuel Rodgers) or turn out not to belong to ministers (e.g. Ralph Thoresby, Elias Pledger). The only helpful sources have been William Matthews’ British Diaries and Samuel Palmer’s The Nonconformist’s memorial. While Matthews’ 1950 text references diaries which are pretty sure to be available, Palmer’s work is a re-edition of Edmund Calamy’s An Account of the Ministers … Ejected or Silenced of the early 18th century and this has mostly provided a list of Puritan ministers’ diaries which I have not been able to find … yet.

The National Archives search engine has been particularly useful since it references documents available in many different archives; through this, I discovered those kept at the British Library. The manuscript collection held at Dr Williams’s Library is described in a pdf file, Ancient Manuscripts and Rolls, available on their web page, “Archive lists / Cataloguing progress” (

If you happen to know the whereabouts of any other diaries written by Puritan or non-conformist ministers, please let me know.

In my next post, I will detail the various editions I have found of Puritan Ministers’ diaries for this same period (1640-1715).

Bibliography of Primary Sources

Archer, Isaac. Isaac Archer: Diary. 1659-1700. MS. CamUL. MS Add. 8499

Archer, Isaac. Typescript transcript of the diary of Isaac Archer, 1641-1700. 1659-1700. TS. ERO. D/DU 1642/9

Bilby, William. Autobiographical volume by William Bilby (1664-1738), nonconformist preacher, 1714-1717. 1714-1717. MS. NottsUL. GB 159 MS 140

Chandler, Francis. BIOGPAPHY of Nonconformists, by Joseph Hunter. 1661-1666. MS. BL. Add MS 24485

Henry, Philip. Diary. 1673. MS. Shrewsbury School.

Henry, Philip. Diary, cashbook and sermon notes. 1674-1687. MS. DWL. HENRY MSS 91 (10)

Heywood, Oliver. Diary of the Reverend Oliver Heywood. 1665-1673. MS. BL. Add MS 45965

Heywood, Oliver. Diary of the Reverend Oliver Heywood. 1678-1682. MS. BL. Add MS 45967

Hussey, Joseph. Hussey’s Church Book. 1681-1726. MS. CALS. R107/109

Josselin, Ralph. Microfilm of diary of Ralph Josselin, vicar of Earls Colne, 1640-1683. 1640-1683. MS. ERO. T/B 9/2

Larkham, Thomas. MS Diary of Thomas Larkham. 1650-1669. MS. BL. Loan MS 9

More, John. Extracts from diaries. 1694-96, 1698-1700. MS. BL. Add MS 25463 (15)

Newcome, Henry. Diary of Henry Newcome (1627-1695) of Cross Street Chapel. 1661-1663. MS. Chetham’s Library. Manuscripts/1/152

Newcome, Henry. Transcripts from the diary of Henry Newcome (1627-1695), made by J Sudlow, 1847 for Chetham Society. 1661-1663. MS. Chetham’s Library. Manuscripts/1/423

Rogers, Samuel. The Diary of Samuel Rogers (1634-1638). 1634-1638. MS. QUB. Percy MS 7

Sampson, Henry. Extracts of Day Books. 1693-1698. MS. BL. Add MS 4460 (6)

Saunders, Julius. Julius Saunders Diary, being the diary or minute book of the Bedworth Congregational Church. 1687-1695. MS. WCRO. CR0802.

Stockton, Owen. Microfilm of diary of Owen Stockton, 1665-1680, and ‘occasional reflections’ of wife Elianor, 1695. 1665-1680. Microfilm of MS. ERO. T/A 526/1

Stockton, Owen. Observations and experiences of Gods dealing with my soul. 1665-1680. MS. DWL. Modern Folios 24.7

Syms, John. A DAY-BOOKE of some speciall passages and mercyes both personall and nationall. 1642-1649. MS. BL. Add MS 35297

Taylor, Timothy. Timothy Taylor (1612-1681) Presbyterian Clergyman. 1673-1676. MS. Yale (Beinecke Library). Osborn Shelves b 161


BL = British Library

CALS = Cambridgeshire Archives

CamUL = Cambridge University Library

DWL = Dr Williams’s Library

ERO = Essex Records Office

NottsUL = Nottingham University Library

QUB = Queens University Library, Belfast

WCRO = Warwickshire County Record Office


Bibliography of Secondary Sources

Calamy, Edmund. The Nonconformist’s Memorial: being an account of the ministers, who were ejected or silenced after the Restoration. Edited by Samuel Palmer. Vol. 1, London: Harris, 1775.

The Nonconformist’s Memorial: being an account of the ministers, who were ejected or silenced after the Restoration. Edited by Samuel Palmer. Vol. 2, Harris, 1775.

The Nonconformist’s Memorial: being an account of the lives, sufferings, and printed works of the two thousand ministers ejected from the Church of England, chiefly by the Act of Uniformity, Aug 24, 1662. Edited by Samuel Palmer. 2nd ed., vol. 3, J. Cundee, 1803.

Matthews, William. British Diaries: an Annotated Bibliography of British Diaries Written between 1442 and 1942. University of California Press, 1950.

McKay, Elaine. “English Diarists: Gender, Geography and Occupation, 1500-1700”. History, Volume 90, Issue 298, 2005, pp 191-212.


Colin Harris

PhD student at LERMA, Aix-en-Provence. Ministerial Puritan Diaries of the 17th Century. MA ACMA (Recherche) Aix Marseille Université. BA Cantab.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search