Introducing the Diocesan Archives

The Diocesan Archives house material on the history of the Diocese of Brentwood (bishops, parishes, schools, clergy, diocesan organisations), including items from before the foundation of the diocese in 1917.

They are open by appointment to bona fide researchers. For times of opening, rules of access etc. please contact the Archivist.

please note the Archive Office is not open every day, and all queries should be made by email (see right), post, or telephone call.

Archives Staff

Archivist and Historian (Rev) Stewart Foster

Deceased clergy publication

The Deceased Clergy of the Diocese of Brentwood: Biographical Summaries is a publication from Fr Stewart Foster which details the lives of deceased priests and deacons of the diocese. It is produced in support of Brentwood Diocesan Sick & Retired Clergy Fund and the Brentwood Ecclesiastical Education Fund (for the training of students for the priesthood).

Essex Recusant Society

The Essex Recusant Society (Brentwood Diocesan Historical Society) was established in 1958, the first such local Catholic historical group in the country. The founders of the ERS were the late Monsignor Daniel Shanahan and Fr (later Bishop) Brian Foley, ably supported by many lay people and religious sisters, the late Sister Gabriel O’Driscoll of the Brentwood Ursulines (died 2016) being the last surviving member of the founding committee. With its library and meeting place at the Ursuline Convent, Brentwood, the ERS engaged in research into the history of post-Reformation Catholicism in Essex and East London and from 1959 to 1986 published its much-admired journal Essex Recusant. The ERS did not meet from the late 1980s until 2000. In that year a small group of enthusiasts re-formed the group, including Sister Gabriel and Fr Stewart Foster (who had first attended meetings as a sixth-former in the 1970s). In 2009 a new journal was launched: South-Eastern Catholic History.