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Unlocking a hidden heritage

The Archives of the Venerable English College in Rome record more than 650 years of history, stretching back to the original foundation in 1362 of the English Hospice, a place for pilgrims from England and Wales, on the site of the present College. The documents in the Archives constitute the oldest British archival collection outside Britain.

The Archives today are at a turning-point: conservation efforts are required to preserve many of the collection’s fragile records, and presentation and cataloguing methods need to be brought into the twenty-first century to do justice to the Archives’ significance.


“Archives, as part of the cultural heritage, should be offered primarily at the service of the community that has produced them. But in time they assume a universal destination because they become the heritage of all of humanity.”

— Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, The Pastoral Function of Church Archives (1997)