- source: Family History Library Catalog
- the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia
The Liberty of the Clink was an area in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames, opposite the City of London. Although situated in Surrey the liberty was exempt from the jurisdiction of the county's high sheriff and was under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Winchester who was usually either the Chancellor or Treasurer of the King.
The liberty was originally the north-eastern part of the 'hide of Southwark' granted by Henry I to the Priory of Bermondsey (later Bermondsey Abbey) in 1104-09. That house then sold it in around 1149 to the Bishop of Winchester, who wanted a house for his London governmental duties. The Bishopric's administration referred to it as the Manor of Southwark, i.e. the Manor of the Bishop in Southwark. It was also known as the 'Liberty of Winchester'. The liberty (i.e. a manorial jurisdiction) was confirmed when King Stephen sanctioned the transaction for his brother Henry Blois, then Bishop of Winchester.
The Clink is most famous for its prison. The first recorded use of the term Liberty of the Clink was in 1530; the nickname was used informally to avoid confusion with the other manors in Southwark. 'Clink' seems to be derived from the name of the Bishop's prison, which he held as a civil authority deriving from his role as Chancellor or Treasurer. It was also the manorial gaol maintained by the bishop as part of the administration of the liberty. The bishop's London residence, Winchester House, was built in the liberty, originally surrounded by parkland.
The Clink prison was destroyed in 1780, and the bishop's palace in 1814. In 1863 the rights of the Bishop of Winchester in the liberty were vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
As a civic area it was united in the St. Saviour's District with the parishes of Southwark St. Saviour's and Southwark Christchurch under the Metropolitan Board of Works from 1855. The liberty was finally abolished in 1889, when the Local Government Act 1888 merged all remaining liberties into their surrounding counties. The Liberty of the Clink was surrounded by the County of Surrey, but the 1888 act created a new County of London in the metropolitan area and thus it became part of the new county.
Greater London Research Tips
- See wiki.familysearch.org under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
- The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London.
- GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (This list is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
- GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
- The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
- London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
- London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
- The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
- Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.
- The Victoria County History Series only has as yet one volume dealing with London. This outlines the history of the religious houses of the borough of Southwark and the cities of London and Westminster. Most of the material will predate most genealogical searches.
- Old Maps of Southwark provided by the London Borough of Southwark.