Diocesan archives

The Diocesan Archives are housed in the Edmund Rice Building, Plymouth. They are larger than many others of the denomination and are a major resource for the history of Catholicism in the west country.

The artefacts collection contains a large and varied collection of ecclesiastical artefacts including, artworks and images; books and documents; devotional items; ecclesiastical plate and vessels; small furnishings; episcopal jewellery and heraldry; relics; sculpture and Stations of the Cross; and ecclesiastical textiles.

The oldest items in the collection would be individual relics housed within a calendar reliquary which itself is historic, containing relics of saints from the early church including the Roman martyrs, and the medieval orphreys, one referred to as the Marnhull orphrey which dates from the early 14th Century, an another depicting a martyr, possibly St Mattias or St Jude, which dates from the 15th Century.

Though not the oldest item, an object of great historic importance is the inspeximus in which is the warrant from Elizabeth I, granting the execution of the local martyr, St Cuthbert Mayne, in 1577. Alongside this are a number of items associated with the saint including a book which was once his and within which is a sketch of Our Lady, believed to have been drawn by him.

The Diocesan Archivist is Sister Benignus O’Brien. For any enquiries regarding the Archives, Sr. Benignus can be contacted at the address below.
Edmund Rice Building, St Boniface College, 21 Boniface Lane, Manadon Park. Crownhill. Plymouth PL5 3AG
Email: diocesearchives@prcdtr.org.uk