fonds CAC - Records of the Catholic Apostolic Church

Identity area

Reference code



Records of the Catholic Apostolic Church


  • 1872-1959 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.12 cubic metres

6 boxes

Context area

Name of creator

(c 1831-)

Administrative history

The Catholic Apostolic Church was established in England in the early 1830s, with the aim of restoring the office of the twelve apostles in anticipation of the imminent second coming of Christ, and preaching the gifts of the Spirit. From Scottish Presbyterian origins, an elaborate liturgy was developed based largely on Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic models, with an increasing trend towards the ceremonial.

Its early founders and leaders included a wealthy London banker and politician, Henry Drummond (1786–1860), the first apostle, John Bate Cardale (1802–1877), and the preacher Edward Irving (1792-1834) after whom members of the church are often but unjustifiably called Irvingites. Members were instituted by "sealing" or laying on of hands, by an apostle, the highest order in a fourfold ministry of apostles, prophets (to expound and exhort), evangelists (to declare the truths of the gospel) and pastors (to minister to the flock.) Each congregation was presided over by an "angel in charge".

The peak of the Church's popularity in Yorkshire was around the 1880s-1890s, with meetings also held in Skipton, Shipley, Hebden Bridge, Heckmondwike and Sowerby Bridge. In 1896 nearly £600 was spent on extensions and improvements to the church in Bradford and in 1907 a new vestry was also built there. In 1898, a congregation of 300 took communion at the annual apostolic visitation, and even in 1930-1931 lay attendance topped 100.

However, ordinations to the priesthood ceased with the death of the last apostle in 1901 and thereafter congregations disintegrated and membership slowly dwindled. The formerly independent congregations became dependencies once more, firstly of Bradford, in 1914, before Bradford itself was placed under the care of the Angel in Charge of Manchester in 1927. The Bradford diary of services shows monthly meetings with an average of 35 attendees continuing until November 1959.

By 2014 only one congregation remained active in the British Isles.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was gifted to the Borthwick Institute in 1987.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records of Bradford congregation, including rules and regulations, 1878, minutes of the council, 1899-1938, register of events, 1872-1931, baptism registers, 1872-1945, marriage register, 1883-1947, register of communicants, 1872-c.1930, register and lists of deceased at Bradford, Halifax, Keighley and Cleckheaton, 1873-1936, and service books, 1880-1959; records of Cleckheaton congregation, comprising a general register containing a record of events and list of named persons, 1879-1928, and a baptism register, 1879-1921; records of Keighley congregation, comprising a general register containing a record of events and list of named persons, 1883-1925, baptism register, 1884-1923, and marriage register, 1899-1911; records of Huddersfield congregation, comprising minutes of the council, 1888-1924, record of events with lists of ministers and table of church attendance, 1873-1934, trustees report, 1885, baptism register, 1874-1945, marriage register, 1897-1944, letter and correspondence, 1905, 1936-1937; records of Halifax congregation, comprising minutes of the council, 1890-1900, record of events, with names of ministers and average attendances, 1875-1922, baptism register, 1882-1908, communicants’ register, 1874-1926, named persons register, 1875-1927; records of Brighouse congregation, comprising record of events, including lists of ministers and average attendences, 1877-1922, and baptism register, 1879-1918.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further records of the Bradford Congregation, 1861-1927, are held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Bradford (GB 202 53D95). Miscellaneous items relating to the church at Wakefield are also held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service (GB 202 C634 and WYL2050).

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Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Name access points

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion



  • English



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