Parish records are maintained by parishes and held within the parish until they are transferred to the relevant County Records Office.
To search for a parish please visit A Church Near You
For County Records for East Sussex contact The Keep
01273 482 349
For County Records for West Sussex contact the West Sussex Records Office
3 Orchard Street,
01243 753 602
Please note that there are statutory fees for searches of parish records; searches at Records Offices are usually free to personal callers.
Care of Parish Records
There are a number of reasons why parishes need to manage their records properly. Without proper organisation the sheer volume of records (whether stored in paper or electronic format) can easily become overwhelming. Many areas of parish activity are subject to external regulation, for example in areas of safeguarding, finance, and the preservation and maintenance of our historic buildings, which makes it essential to maintain proper records. Good record keeping, particularly in these areas, demonstrates the Church’s wider accountability to society in relation to its activities and reflect the true complexity and diversity of the Church’s activities.
The Church also has theological reasons for managing its records as a testimony of its various activities as part of its continuing witness to Christians, those of other faiths and those of none. The main purpose of managing your records is to ensure that: “the right information is with the right people at the right time.” If you have too many records then the important information can get buried; if you can’t find the information when you need it there is little point in keeping it in the first place. On the other hand, if records are destroyed before they need to be, then the parish may not have the information which is required to deal with issues that arise.
Managing the records detailed in the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978 is straightforward. These guidelines are designed to help parish officers to distinguish between the different kinds of records and decide how long and where they need to be kept.
Keep or Bin – The Care of Your Parish Records
For further information and advice about the care of records please visit the Church of England record management guide.