About Us


The Society, which was established in 1904, publishes a wide range of Records volumes in which many kinds of registers, chronicles, letters and diaries relating to individuals and ecclesiastical institutions in the British Isles are preserved for posterity and made available to a general readership.

Over ninety volumes have been published so far and they form a unique collection of primary source material indispensable to all those with an interest in the history of Catholic dioceses, parishes, religious communities, schools and colleges. The Society has also published a number of Monographs dealing with particular topics or with Catholic individuals prominent in public life.

The half-yearly journal, British Catholic History, publishes descriptive and interpretative articles on political, scientific, cultural and sociological history to place the clerical and lay British Catholics in their national context during the centuries from the Reformation to the recent past.

For the minutes of our most recent AGM, see 2016 Annual Report.

Older reports: 2015 Annual Report.


The members and history of The Catholic Record Society

Alan McClelland

Alan is a Vice-President of the Catholic Record Society and Chairperson of the Council’s sub-committee for the consideration of awards from the David Rogers and Michael Williams benefactions.
Formerly, Chair of the CRS Council and editor of Recusant History, 1990-2010. Formerly, Chair of the Andrew C. Duncan History Trust and first Anatole von Hugel Fellow at St Edmund’s, Cambridge. Alan was awarded the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by Pope Benedict XVI, 2009 and currently, Emeritus Professor, University of Hull.  He is the author of books and articles mainly on nineteenth century themes.

Francis Young

Francis Young joined the CRS Council in 2015 as Volumes Editor. He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2014 for the book English Catholics and the Supernatural, 1553-1829 (Ashgate, 2013) and is the author of a number of other books, including The Gages of Hengrave and Suffolk Catholicism, 1640-1767 (CRS Monograph 8, 2015). He has published many articles in Recusant History and other journals. His principal research interest is Catholicism in East Anglia, but he is also more broadly interested in English Catholic intellectual culture. He is Head of Sixth Form at a public school in East Anglia.

Geoffrey Scott

Abbot Geoffrey Scott, CRS Vice-President is abbot of Douai Abbey. He is President of the Catholic Archives Society and a member of the Bishop’s Conference Patrimony Committee. He currently teaches Church History at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh and at Blackfriars, Oxford. He is also archivist and librarian at Douai Abbey. His academic interests are in English Catholic eighteenth-century bibliography, the English Benedictines, Jacobitism, and the engraved record of the English Catholics, 1559-1829.

James Hagerty

James Hagerty is the Membership Secretary of the Catholic Record Society. A former headteacher of St Bede’s Grammar School, Bradford, he was co-author, with Tom Johnstone, of The Cross on the Sword, a pioneering study of Catholic military chaplains in the British Armed Forces. He has lectured and written extensively on the history of Catholic military chaplains and has written two major biographies – Cardinal Hinsley: Priest and Patriot (2008) and Cardinal John Carmel Heenan: Priest of the People, Prince of the Church (2012). From 2009 to 2014, Dr Hagerty was an Academic Tutor in Church History on the MA Course in Catholic Apologetics at the Maryvale Ecclesiastical Institute, Birmingham.

James Kelly

James has been a member of the Council since 2011, acting as secretary since 2013. He is St Cuthbert’s Society Research Fellow in Early Modern British and Irish Catholicism at Durham University, as well as Principal Investigator of the AHRC Early Career Research project, ‘Monks in Motion’, which is investigating the experience of the English and Welsh Benedictines in exile, c.1553-1800. His interests are in post-Reformation Catholic history in Europe and Britain, particularly the experience of the English Catholic community at home and in exile. He was a member of the AHRC-funded ‘Who Were the Nuns?’ project and Project Manager of its AHRC-funded follow-on initiative. His publications include acting as editor of Treasures of Ushaw College: Durham’s Hidden Gem and co-editor of the collection The English Convents in Exile, 1600–1800: Communities, Culture and Identity.

Judith Smeaton

Judith Smeaton was County Archivist for North Yorkshire 2001 to 2003 and now undertakes occasional consultancy work in relation to Catholic archives. A founder member and member of the council of the Catholic Archives Society, she chairs the working group on the National Catholic Archive Strategy, working with partners including the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University, Durham University Library, Ushaw College, Douai Abbey, Downside Abbey and Stonyhurst College to promote the preservation, care, management and study of Catholic archives. She has served several terms on CRS Council, is a former conference secretary and organises the York Catholic History Day, which is sponsored by CRS. Her research interests include the role of the laity in the Church in the twentieth and twenty first centuries, particularly local and national councils and congresses.

Liesbeth Corens

Liesbeth Corens joined the CRS council in 2014 as Conference Secretary. Her work focuses on early modern English Catholicism in their relation to the Counterreformation. She wrote a PhD at the University of Cambridge on English Catholics and confessional mobility, and is currently Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, working on the record keeping practices of English Catholics in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. She has published in Recusant History, Trajecta, and an essay collection on Exile and Religious Identities (Pickering & Chatto, 2014). Together with Alex Walsham and Kate Peters, she is preparing essay collections based on an international conference about record keeping in the early modern world.

Peter Doyle

A retired history lecturer, Peter Doyle has researched and written mainly on the history of the Catholic Church in England in the 19th and 20th centuries. His published work includes a history of Westminster Cathedral, a history of the Catholic Diocese of Liverpool 1850-2000, and three volumes of the latest edition of Butler’s Lives of the Saints, as well as a range of contributions to academic journals and other publications. His most recent book has been The Correspondence of Alexander Goss, Bishop of Liverpool 1856-1872, published in 2014 by the CRS as Records Series 85. His current research is into the theological formation of the English parish clergy since the mid-nineteenth century. He served as Volumes Editor of the Society from 2005 to 2013 and became one of its Custodial Trustees in 2014.

Peter Phillips

A priest of the Shrewsbury diocese, for many years Peter was involved in teaching in Higher Education, latterly at Ushaw and Durham. Currently he is diocesan Archivist and lives in a parish in the Wirral. He has written widely on nineteenth century English Catholic History, including a study of the priest and historian John Lingard. Fr Phillips is on the Council of the CRS and is a member of the publications sub-committee.