Bishop Moorman Franciscan Collection

History and Provenance

Along with a collection of books, the archive collection consists of the personal research papers of Bishop John Richard Humpidge Moorman (1905-1989). After his ordination in 1929, Moorman was first curate of Holbeck, Leeds before being appointed Rector of Fallowfield, Manchester. During the Second World War he laboured as a farmhand in Wharfedale, and re-opened Chichester Theological College in 1946, serving at the same time as chancellor of Chichester Cathedral. He was appointed Bishop of Ripon in 1959. Throughout his life Moorman wrote and researched Franciscan history and culture.

The history of the Franciscan Order and the vision of its founder's life and work have continued since medieval times to fascinate both academic scholars and ordinary Christians. Prominent among the former was the late Anglican Bishop John R. H. Moorman, who by the time of his death in 1989 had amassed a collection of over 2,000 manuscripts and books on St Francis and the Franciscan movement.

In his will, Bishop Moorman bequeathed his Bibliotheca Franciscana to Gladstone's Library, and endowed a scholarship program to enable students, scholars and authors to utilise this collection for reading and research.  His collections were deposited at Gladstone’s Library in the late 20th Century.

Access and Finding Aid

Records for all items in the Bishop Moorman Franciscan Collection can be found in our online catalogue together with records for Franciscan material added to the main collection since 1989. The Moorman Franciscan Collection of printed items can be found by searching ‘MFC’ on MainCat.

All archives and special collections can only be accessed via a Request to Read Restricted Items form, which must be submitted at least 14 days in advance of your visit.

Arrangement and Description

The archive collection chiefly consists of manuscript papers. The collection's strength is its concentration on the history of the Franciscan movement to 1517. It includes books about St Francis and the history of the Friars Minor, Poor Clares and Secular Franciscans together with works of more important Franciscan authors and sets of periodicals dealing with Franciscan history. Among incunabula are an early edition of a confessors' handbook by Nicholas of Osimo printed in 1476 and a copy of Ubertino of Casale's Arbor VitaeCrucifixae Jesu printed in Venice in 1485. In addition, there are various editions of the early biographies of St Francis and eighteenth and twentieth-century editions of Luke Wadding's Annales Minorum.

Additional Information

Papers relating to Moorman and his correspondence are held at Lambeth Palace Library.

Food for Thought

Food for thought

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