Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/ACC81
TitleAccession 81: Venn MSS
Extent18 boxes
Date1619-c 1955
DescriptionThis collection comprises personal and family papers of five generations of the Venn family, a family of Anglican clergy and a number of whom graduated from the University of Cambridge. The collection principally relates to Henry Venn (1725-1797) and to his direct descendants including his son John Venn (1759-1813), grandson Henry Venn (1796-1873) and his great grandson John Venn (1834-1923) and their families. Two members of this family were directly involved with the Church Missionary Society: John Venn (1759-1813) as a founder of the CMS and Henry Venn (1796-1873) as honorary secretary of the Church Missionary Society, 1841-1873. The collection also contains papers of related families including the King family of Hull (related by the marriage of Katherine to John Venn, 1759-1813).

The collection includes substantial family and personal correspondence; personal diaries including numerous travel journals both of journeys in the British Isles and abroad; household and personal accounts; genealogical notes and biographical and autobiographical reminiscences and materials; papers relating to clerical and other appointments; religious papers and printed materials. Both male and female members of the family are well represented in the collection and some of the documents are extremely detailed. The collection owes much to John Venn's work who published the Annals of the Venn family in 1904 and he in turn acknowledged the work of his grandfather, John Venn, who encouraged the collection of family reminiscences and memoirs.

Items include travel diaries relating to tours of France, Belgium and Switzerland and a domestic diary of Emelia Venn, 1815-32; correspondence and papers of John Venn, (1802-1890), including a journal of voyage to India, autobiographical notes and personal accounts, 1820-67; correspondence, diaries and papers of Henry Venn (1796-1873), 1810-73 which include two diaries relating to Church Missionary Society matters. Miscellaneous items include two log books of the East India Company's ship 'Hindostan' relating to its voyage to Bombay and China, 1796-1800
ArrangementThis collection forms part of the Church Mission Society Unofficial Papers. It is arranged into five series:
C: Correspondence;
T: Title Deeds;
F: Family Papers (divided into sub-series by document type and further sub-divided by family member); Q: Charity and Ecclesiastical, Correspondence (divided into sub-series by family member);
Z: Miscellaneous Papers.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered readers. This collection is made available on microfilm or online.
Finding AidsCatalogued by R. A. Keen, September-November 1959. Calendar of C35 & C36 by D. White, January 1960. A paper copy of the catalogue of this collection is available for consultation in the Cadbury Research Library.
Access StatusOpen, but subject to some access restrictions
Administrative HistoryThe collection relates to the following generations of the Venn family:

First generation
Henry Venn (1725-1797):
Son of Richard Venn (1691-1740); M.A. Jesus College, Cambridge, 1749; fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, 1749-1757; curate of Clapham, 1754; vicar of Huddersfield, 1759; rector of Yelling; published sermons and devotional works. He married Eling Bishop (d c 1767, daughter of Rev Thomas Bishop, minister of St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich); his children included a son, John (1759-1813) and daughters, Catherine and Jane.

Second generation
John Venn (1759-1813):
Only son of Henry Venn (1725-1797); B.A. Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, 1786, M.A. 1786; ordained deacon 1782 and priest, 1783; curate to his father at Yelling, later rector of Little Dunham, Norfolk, 1783-1792, then rector of Clapham, Surrey 1792-1813 and of Great Tey, Essex, 1804-1813. He was one of the founders of Church Missionary Society in 1797, the central figure of the Clapham 'Sect' and a friend of Charles Simeon (1759-1836), another founding member of the CMS. He married twice: Katherine King (daughter of William King, merchant of Hull) and Frances Turton (daughter of John Turton of Sugnal near Eccleshall, Staffs). Children from his first marriage included Emelia (1794-1881), Henry (1796-1873), John (1802-1890), Caroline (who married Rev S. E. Batten) and Jane.

Third generation
Henry Venn (1796-1873):
Eldest son of John Venn (1759-1813); B.A. Queens' College Cambridge, 1818, M.A. 1821, B.D. 1828; Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, 1819-1829; ordained deacon, 1819 and priest, 1821; curate of St Dunstan-in-the-West; returned to Cambridge, 1824 as dean and college lecturer; vicar of Drypool, Hull, 1827 and rector of St John's Holloway, London, 1834-1847; prebendary of St Paul's, 1846; honorary secretary of the Church Missionary Society, 1841-1873. He published sermons, pamphlets and memoirs including Life and Letters of Henry Venn (his grandfather) and Missionary Life of Xavier. He was a leader of the Evangelical body of the Church of England and a member of the Royal Commissions on Clerical Subscriptions and Ritual Reform. He married Martha Sykes (d 1840, daughter of Nicholas Sykes of Swanland near Hull); his children included Henrietta (1832-1902), John (1834-1923) and Henry (1838-1923).

John Venn (1802-1890):
Second son of John Venn (1759-1813); East India College, Haileybury, 1818-1820 and went to India as a Cadet but invalided home; B.A. Queens' College, Cambridge 1827, M.A. 1830; Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, 1829-1834; ordained deacon, 1828 and priest, 1829; curate of St Mary-le -Strand, London, 1828-1829 and of Pinner, Middlesex, 1830-1833; vicar of St Peter's with St Owen's, Hereford, 1833-1870; prebendary of Hereford, 1843-1868. He provided a steam corn mill for the benefit of the poor and started an Industrious Aid Society. He was author of a number of theological works including 'St Paul's Three Chapters on Holiness' and 'Commentary on St Paul's Epistle to the Galatians'. He was unmarried.

Fourth generation
John Venn (1834-1923):
Son of Henry Venn (1796-1873); B.A. Caius College, Cambridge, 1857, M.A. 1860, DSc., 1884; Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge, 1857-1923; President, 1912-1923; ordained deacon in 1858 and priest in1859; curate of Cheshunt, Herts, 1858-1859 and of Mortlake, Surrey, 1860-1862; lecturer in Moral Science at the University of Cambridge from 1862, Hulsean Lecturer in 1869 and one of those involved in the development of the Moral Sciences Tripos. His publications included Logic of Chance, 1866, 3rd edn 1888; Hulsean Lectures, 1869; Symbolic Logic, 1881, 2nd edn 1894; and Empirical Logic, 1889, 2nd edn 1907. In his later life he devoted himself to the publication of University and College records which included Biographical History of Gonville and Caius College, 3 vols 1901. He also collaborated with his son on the preparation of Part 1 of 'Alumni Cantabrigienses' and 'Matriculations and Degrees 1544-1659'. He was also interested in the history and genealogy of the Venn family and published the Venn Family Annals, 1904. He married Susanna Carnegie Edmondstone (daughter of Rev Charles Welland Edmondstone) and had one son, John Archibald Venn (1881-1958)

Fifth generation
John Archibald Venn (1881-1958):
Son of John Venn (1834-1923); B.A. Trinity College, Cambridge, 1902; Fellow of Queens' College Cambridge, 1927; Lecturer in the History and Economics of Agriculture, University of Cambridge, 1921-1949; President of Queens' College, Cambridge, since 1932 and Vice-Chancellor, 1941-1943; publications included 'The Book of Matriculations and Degrees, 1544-1659; 'Alumni Cantabrigienses'; 'Foundations of Agricultural Economics' (2nd edn 1933);and numerous contributions to the Economic Journal and other periodicals; married Lucy Marion Ridgeway (daughter of Professor Sir William Ridgeway).
Sources: Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part II (Cambridge University Press, 1954); editions of Who Was Who
Custodial HistoryPresented to the CMS by a member of the Venn family in 1958 and transferred on permanent loan to the Special Collections Department by the CMS in the 1980s.

In 1950, when the Venn MSS were in private hands, the papers were arranged and listed by staff of the Historical Manuscripts Commission and allocated National Register of Archives reference numbers. The NRA list was revised by the CMS in 1958 and allocated different reference numbers. Some items on the NRA list were not found and others could not be identified with certainty.

The following list gives the NRA reference first and then, where possible, the corresponding CMS reference (the CMS references should all prefixed by CMSACC81):
NRA 1 = T1
NRA 2 = T5
NRA 3 = T2
NRA 4 = T6
NRA 5 = T3
NRA 6 = T7
NRA 7 = T8
NRA 8 = T9
NRA 9 = T4
NRA 10 = T10
NRA 11 = F46
NRA 11A = F47, F45
NRA 11B = F45
NRA 11C =
NRA 11D = F42
NRA 12 = F37
NRA 13 = F43
NRA 14 = F44
NRA 14A = C75
NRA 15 = F2, F6
NRA 15A = F63
NRA 15B = F6
NRA 16 = F6
NRA 16A = F6
NRA 17 = F6
NRA17A =
NRA 17B = F5
NRA 17C = F48
NRA 17D= F22
NRA 18 = F17
NRA 18A= F18
NRA 19 =
NRA 20 = F60
NRA 20A = F1
NRA 21 = F30
NRA 21A =
NRA 21B = F50
NRA 22 =
NRA 23 = F60
NRA 23A =
NRA 23B =
NRA 23C =
NRA23D =
NRA 23E =
NRA 23F = F60
NRA 24 = F62
NRA 24A = F35
NRA 24B = F40
NRA 24C = F36
NRA 24D = F38
NRA 24E = F41
NRA 24F= Q1
NRA 25 = Q2
NRA 26 = C17, C18
NRA 27 =
NRA 27A = C16A
NRA 27B = C16
NRA 28 = C16A
NRA 28A = C16A
NRA 29 = C1-C16A
NRA 30 = C65-C67
NRA 31 = C49-C64
NRA 32 =
NRA 33 = C1
NRA 34 = C1-C16A
NRA 35 = C19
NRA 36 = C23
NRA 37 = C49
NRA 38 = C22
NRA 39 =
NRA 40 = C21
NRA 41= C68
NRA 42 =
NRA 43 = C19
NRA 44 = C48
NRA 45 =
NRA 46 = C31-C34
NRA 47 = C69
NRA 48 = C30
NRA 49 =
NRA 50 = C20
NRA 51 = C24
NRA 52 = C32
NRA 53 = C38
NRA 54 = C35
NRA 55 = C39
NRA 56 = C35
NRA 57 = C28
NRA 58 =
NRA 59 = C74
NRA 60 = C33
NRA 60A = C35
NRA 61 =
NRA 61A = C37
NRA 62 = C40
NRA 62A = C36
NRA 63 =
NRA 64 = C42
NRA 65 = C45
NRA 66 = F75
NRA 67 = F33
NRA 68 = F3
NRA 68A = F4
NRA 69 = F10
NRA 70 = F8
NRA 70A= F11
NRA 71 = F12
NRA 72 = F24
NRA 73 = F13
NRA 74 = F14
NRA 74A = F15
NRA 74B = F39
NRA 75 = F16
NRA 76 = F23
NRA 76A = Z23
NRA 76B = F19
NRA 76C = F20
NRA 76D = F29
NRA 77 = F21
NRA 77A = F28
NRA 77B = F31
NRA 78 = F9
NRA 79 = Q12
NRA 80 = Q3
NRA 81 = Q6
NRA 82 = Q8
NRA 83 = Q9
NRA 84 = Q4
NRA 85 = Q5
NRA 86 = Q10
NRA 87 = Q11
NRA 88 = Z5
NRA 89 = Z6
NRA 90 = F55
NRA 91 =
NRA 92 =
NRA 92A = F56
NRA 92B = F54
NRA 93 = F73
NRA 94 =
NRA 95 = C64
NRA 96 = F49
CopiesThe collection is available on microfilm and online.

Microfilm copies (Adam Matthew Publications):

In 1996, two of the diaries were micropublished under the title, 'Women's Language and Experience, 1500-1940: Women's Diaries and related Sources' (CMS/ACC81 F7 and F23). In 2008, all of the papers (including the two diaries) were micropublished as part of the publication of the records of the Church Missionary Society archive: Church Missionary Society Archive, Section III, Central Records, Parts 19-20, Reels 280-318, 'Papers of Henry Venn (Secretary of CMS, 1841-1873) and Family'. A copy of the microfilm and accompanying printed guides (1996 and 2008) are available for consultation in Cadbury Research Library and elsewhere.

Location in Cadbury Research Library of the microfilm published in 2008: microfilm drawers E5-E6.

Online access (Adam Matthew Digital Ltd):

The microfilm has been digitally published under the title: ‘Research Source - Church Missionary Society Archive': Central Records. Online access is open to members of, and visitors to, institutions that subscribe to Adam Matthew Digital products. All visitors who have registered for a Cadbury Research Library Reader ticket can access the online copies on the public access computers in the Cadbury Research Library Reading Room by following the URL links in the catalogue. Staff and students of the University of Birmingham may also access the products when off campus through the University’s eResources. Log in through FindIt@Bham, select Database Search and enter ‘Church Missionary Society Archive’. Free four-week trials of Adam Matthew Digital products are open to teachers, faculty and librarians of universities, colleges, and academic institutions. For institutions that do not currently subscribe to the Adam Matthew Digital product, further information about trial access is available at:
Related MaterialCadbury Research Library holds the Church Missionary Society Archive, the official archive of the society (GB 0150 CMS) and this includes papers relating to John Venn (1759-1813) as a founder of the CMS and Henry Venn (1796-1873) as honorary secretary of the Church Missionary Society, 1841-1873. The CMS Unofficial Papers includes records of the Eclectic Society of London of which John Venn was a member and which was instrumental in the founding of the CMS (GB 0150 CMS/ACC11)
Associated MaterialsFurther records relating to John Venn are held at Gonville and Caius College Library, University of Cambridge (GB 0467).
Correspondence of Henry Venn (1725-1797) with Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, 1763-70 is held by Westminster and Cheshunt College, University of Cambridge (GB 0278).
There are miscellaneous records relating to the Venn family in the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (MS Eng. Lett.b.5; MSS. Wilbeforce d.13-14.; MS Wilbeforce c.7.)
Publication NoteAnnals of a clerical family being some account of the family and descendants of William Venn, Vicar of Otterton, Devon, 1600-1621 by John Venn (London, Macmillan, 1904) makes use of materials in this collection. A copy is available in the collection at CMS/ACC81/Z/27/1


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