fonds MMAD - Papers of Morris Maddocks, Bishop of Selby

Identity area

Reference code



Papers of Morris Maddocks, Bishop of Selby


  • 1955-2007 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.18 cubic metres

9 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Morris Henry St John Maddocks was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire on 28 April 1928. He gained an MA at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1956 and trained for ordination at Chichester Theological College in 1952. He was ordained deacon in 1954 and priest in 1955, and spent the first three years serving curacies at Ealing and Uxbridge, before moving back to Yorkshire in 1958 to serve as vicar to the rural parishes of Weaverthorpe with Helperthorpe, Luttons Ambo and Kirby Grindalythe on the Wolds.

He married Anne Sheial, a professional musician and sub-organist of Chichester Cathedral, in 1955, and she became a constant form of support throughout his career, so much so that many priests referred to them both as 'our bishop'. From 1961-1971 he served as vicar of St Martin's on the Hill, Scarborough, before becoming Bishop of Selby in 1972. One of the key achievements of his primacy was his establishing of the industrial mission to the Selby coalfield.

The Christian power of healing was very important to Maddocks, and he strongly believed that the medical profession and the church should work closely to provide a holistic form of healing that took physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing into account. He served as an advisor for health and healing to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and established a home of healing at Spennithorne, Wensleydale, which later moved to Thirsk. He published a book, "The Christian Healing Ministry" in 1981, after which he became known as the church's foremost thinker on healing matters, and he and his wife were inundated with requests for them to visit and preach about Christian healing.

With the support of the church and archbishop he resigned from his bishopric in 1983 to fully focus on Christian healing, and he and his wife established the Acorn Christian Healing Trust, later to become the Acorn Christian Healing Foundation. The Trust organises conferences, retreats and teaching programmes based on the idea of christian healing, and his mission to educate Christians about the benefits of his approach took him all over the world. Acorn also provides group healing sessions and provides support to those in the church suffering from illness and their families. Another key aspect of Maddocks' belief system was the importance of listening; to God, to each other and to ones-self. He set up a Christian listening project, with trained Christian listeners who traveled to churches in Britain, South Africa and Eastern Europe and taught listening skills to church workers.

Maddocks published many books during his lifetime, including 'Journey to Wholeness' in 1986 and 'A Healing House of Prayer' in 1988. After retirement, he spent time as an honorary assistant Bishop of Bath and Wells, and was invited to be an honorary assistant Bishop of Chichester in 1987. His wife died in 2006.

Morris Henry St John Maddocks died on 19 January 2008.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Anne Maddocks was born Nellie Anne Sheail in Heyshott, West Sussex, on 23 October 1911, the daughter of a farm manager and his wife. Both her parents were keen violinists and Anne became a keen organist, playing the organ in two local village churches by the age of 14 as well as competing in national folk dancing competitions.

In 1938 she travelled to Chichester Cathedral to request lessons from the Cathedral Organist. There she was taught by Director of Music Horace Hawkins, a pupil of Charles Widor, and in 1942 she was appointed assistant organist, the first women to hold this post. It was at Chichester Cathedral that she gave the first British performance of Francis Poulenc's Organ Concerto in 1943. A private wax recording was made of the performance.

In 1955 Anne married Morris Maddocks, then curate of St Peter's Church, Ealing. Following time at Ealing and Uxbridge, Morris was appointed vicar of Weaverthorpe with Helperthorpe, Luttons Ambo and Kirby Grindalythe in the Diocese of York and he and Anne moved to Yorkshire in 1958, followed by ten years at the Church of St Martin-on-the-Hill in Scarborough where Anne was able to play the church's Henry Willis organ. In 1972 Morris was appointed Bishop of Selby and Anne often accompanied him on his parish visits.

In 1981 Morris Maddocks published 'The Christian Healing Ministry', the success of which led to he and Anne founding The Acorn Christian Healing Trust in 1983, later to become the Acorn Christian Healing Foundation. The Trust organises conferences, retreats and teaching programmes based on the idea of christian healing, and their mission to educate Christians about the benefits of this approach took the couple all over the world. During this time Morris also served as assistant bishop of Bath and Wells and Anne formed the Acorn Christian Listeners.

In 1994 Anne and her husband retired to Cathedral Close, Chichester. Anne died on 4 October 2006 and was survived by her husband.

Archival history

The archive is made up of two deposits. The first deposit of 6 boxes was received in the 1970s as part of the Clergy Records Project which aimed to document the administrative work of individual members of clergy by preserving the records received and generated in the course of their daily work during 1975. The remaining 3 boxes were received in 2008 and focus on the work of both Bishop Maddocks and his wife, particularly with regards to their Acorn Christian Healing Trust. In 2017 the decision was taken to unite the two deposits as a single archive.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 2008.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Bishop Morris Maddocks, 1955-2008, including unsorted working papers as Bishop of Selby, 1974-1975, including correspondence, appointment diary, newsletters and presscuttings, and other papers; ecclesiastical licenses and commissions, 1979-1992; diary, 1979-1982, 1987; sermon notes, c.1962-1973; correspondence, 1982-1996; papers relating to publications by Bishop Maddocks, 1980s; annotated draft typescript of 'The Vision of Dorothy Kerin,' 1991; reports to the Archbishop of Canterbury in his role as Advisor for Health and Healing, 1986-1988; papers and photographs relating to the silver jubilee of his consecration, 1997; papers concerning his death, 2008.

Papers of Anne Maddocks, including diaries, 1982-1996, papers relating to her 90th birthday celebration, 2001; and papers relating to her death, 2006.

Records of the Acorn Christian Healing Trust, including meeting papers, correspondence, staffing papers, newsletters, papers concerning creation of a Christian Healing Centre in Milton Keynes, and press cuttings, c.1982-2007.


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. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

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

This archive has not yet been catalogued. Please contact the Borthwick Institute for further information.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further records concerning Morris Maddocks in his role as Bishop of Selby are deposited at the Borthwick Institute as part of the York Diocesan Archive: Records of the Bishop Suffragan of Selby (Reference: SUFF.2).

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier


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

Created by S. A. Shearn, 23.08.16.




Accession area