The Official Catholic Directory of England & Wales

The Catholic Directory of England & Wales has a history going back almost 200 years, giving us a fascinating insight into the early re-emergence of the Catholic Church in these islands after centuries of suppression and isolation.

The earliest Catholic Directory in our collection dates from 1848, and shows that just a few decades after the Catholic Relief act of 1829, the Church was already working tireless to re-establish itself across England & Wales. 

Much of this was down to the efforts of The Rt Rev Thomas Griffiths, SDD, Vicar Apostolic of the London District, who helped establish numerous new churches and chapels, and schools ‘for the instruction of the children of the poor’, both in London and further afield. By this time there were 912 working Catholic priests in England and Wales, but governance was through vicars apostolic, with no bishops and there was no diocesan or parish organisation.

On 29 September, 1850, by the Bull Universalis Ecclesiae, Pius IX restored the Catholic hierarchy in England, partly to better administer to the large number of Catholic Irish flocking into England after the Irish Famine. For the first time since the reign of Mary Tudor (1555-1558), Catholics now had a a full hierarchy consistent with that of Catholic countries.  


Thirteen sees and the archdiocese of Westminster were established, and the Catholic Church in England & Wales had finally taken on the form and structure we recognise today.

Every year since, The official Catholic Directory of England & Wales has faithfully reflected the changes in personnel, structure and organisation of our local Church. It remains the ONLY comprehensive reference guide to the structures of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. 

“The Catholic Directory is not just a vitally important reference work, but a fascinating volume to read in its own right,” said Joseph Kelly, who has edited the publication since 2016.

“The extent and work of the Catholic Church across England and Wales is immense, and the directory lays out just how much we Catholics continue to contribute to the wellbeing of the communities we live and work in,” said Mr Kelly.

The Edit Partnership Ltd is privileged to be publishing the Catholic Directory of England & Wales on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales