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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
ABBOTT, Very Reverend Eric Symes (1906-1983)
Created 1946-1995
Level of description
Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
3 boxes or 0.03m3


Name of creator(s)

Abbott, Eric Symes, 1906-1983, Very Reverend, Anglican Clergyman, Dean of Westminster

Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1906; educated Nottingham High School and Jesus College, Cambridge University; Curate, St John's Church, Smith Square, Westminster, 1930-1932; Chaplain, King's College London, 1932-1936; Chaplain to Lincoln's Inn, London, 1935-1936; Warden of the Scholae Cancellarii, Lincoln (Lincoln Theological College), 1936-1945; Canon and Reverend Prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral, 1940-1960; Dean of King's College London, 1945-1955; Head of Department and Faculty of Theology, King's College London, 1945-1955; Warden of a hostel for King's College theological students, Vincent Square, London, 1945-1955; founded a postgraduate college at Warminster, Wiltshire, for the immediate pre-ordination spiritual and pastoral training of King's ordinands; Warden of Keble College, Oxford University, 1956-1960; Chaplain to King George VI, 1948-1952, and to Queen Elizabeth II, 1952-1959; Dean of Westminster, 1959-1974; KCVO, 1966; Extra Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, 1974; Fellow of King's College London, 1946; Chaplain and Sub-Prelate, Order of St John of Jerusalem, 1969; Freeman, City of Westminster, 1973; Honorary Fellow of Keble College, 1960, and Jesus College, 1966; retired, 1974; died 1983.

Publications: Education in the spiritual life (Doncaster, 1961); Catholicity: a study in the conflict of Christian traditions in the West (Dacre Press, Westminster, 1947); Escape or freedom? (Heffer and Sons, Cambridge, 1939); Foothold of faith (Dacre Press, Westminster, 1943); The compassion of God and the Passion of Christ (Geoffrey Bles, London, 1963).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The collection was mainly brought together by Lady Laura Eastlaugh, with part of it being deposited during her lifetime. The remainder of the collection was forwarded to the College by agreement with her family and friends via Canon Frank Telfer in 1998, with the exception of the confirmation course notes which were added to the collection by Canon Telfer.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Papers of Abbott, 1946-1995, mainly relating to theological training and including notes for lectures, [1946-1948, 1957, 1964], mainly given by Abbott at King's College London, on moral and pastoral theology; texts of broadcast sermons, 1947-1958, mainly on the BBC Third Programme , including three sermons broadcast from the Chapel of King's College in Lent 1958; texts of sermons, 1959-1974, delivered at Westminster Abbey, including a sermon on the occasion of Abbott's installation as Dean of Westminster, 30 Nov 1959; texts of discussion notes, meditations and lectures, 1960-1976, relating to discussions of the St Faith's Fellowship, Westminster, and other schools of prayer, including notes on forgiveness, Christ and the permissive society, the prayers of reparation and the Holy Spirit, atheists and agnostics; manuscript notes, [1959-1966], relating to discussions held by a group at occasional weekend retreats, on subjects including The life of prayer (J.M.Dent and Sons, London and Toronto, 1927) by Baron Friedrich von Huegel, The four loves (Geoffrey Bles, London, 1960) by Clive Staples Lewis, spiritual direction, pain, temptation and intercession; papers, 1946-1965, relating to a retreat at Pleshey, Essex, mainly comprising manuscript notes; miscellaneous published and unpublished texts of lectures, broadcasts and sermons, [1947-1975], including notes for lectures on the theology of the Eucharist, given at King's College London in [1950], on the meaning of ordination, given to students at Gilmore House in [1955], on the problem of suffering, given to London Women Workers in 1964, and the dilemma of contemporary spirituality, given to Sion College in 1964; schedule of notes for classes, for use by clergy preparing young people for Confirmation, [1960-1969]; text of sermon by Canon Eric Arthur James at the Memorial Eucharist for Abbott at Lincoln Theological College in 1985, and correspondence, 1985-1987, of Dean Sydney Evans, King's College London, in preparation for the writing of an entry about Abbott for the Dictionary of National Biography including a draft entry and a copy of entries concerning Abbott in the Keble College Record ; list of Canon Abbott's papers compiled by Ursula Grundy, 1995.

System of arrangement

The collection was arranged by Miss Ursula Grundy of the Fellowship of St Faith prior to its transfer to the College: this arrangement has been retained. Details of a list by Miss Grundy, covering K/PP44/5-10 and K/PP44/12-13, are given as K/PP44/15.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be provided for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services, King's College London.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

Collection level description.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Related units of description

King's College London Archives also holds the papers of Agatha Mary Bathurst Norman, which mainly relate to Abbott (Ref: K/PP53).

Description control

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

Feb 2000

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  • Ancient religions
  • Anglicanism
  • Anglicans
  • Christianity
  • Christians
  • Protestantism
  • Protestants
  • Religion
  • Religions
  • Religious doctrines
  • Religious education
  • Religious experience
  • Religious groups
  • Religious texts
  • Sermons
  • Social science education
  • Theology

Personal names

  • Abbott, Eric Symes, 1906-1983, Anglican clergyman and Dean of Westminster
  • Evans, Sydney Hall, 1915-1988, Anglican clergyman and Dean of Salisbury

Corporate names

  • BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation
  • King's College London College Archives

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