THE online edition of Crockford's Clerical Directory,
the 156-year-old list of Anglican clergy, has been given an
overhaul. The new website includes a revamped interface, an
improved search feature, and is updated every working day.
Since lists of the clergy began to be published in the 19th
century, Crockford has undergone numerous changes.
Competitors have been incorporated, and the publishers and format
But, since 1917, it has been the only place where every rector,
vicar, priest-in-charge, assistant curate, chaplain, deacon,
prebendary, canon, archdeacon, dean, provost, bishop, and
archbishop can be found, together with every benefice.
Of special interest to existing users of the online edition of
Crockford will be the new search feature. Instead of
having to search by typing in the desired cleric's surname and then
first initial, they can type in any combination of first name and
surname to produce a result, which can also be filtered by diocese
or type of appointment.
The printed edition, which runs to more than 1300 pages, appears
every two years, but new information is being added to the website
every day. The thicket of abbreviations in each clerical biography,
which were originally devised to conserve space in the printed
book, is also a thing of the past online.
Crockford was previously published independently by
Oxford University Press, with an opinionated anonymous editor's
preface. Owing to rising production costs, Church House took it
over in the mid-1980s. In 1987, an anonymous preface criticising
the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, led to an outcry, and
a hunt by the media for the identity of the author, Canon Gareth
Bennett, who took his own life. The preface was discontinued.