Fonds GB 0210 SANKEY - Viscount Sankey (Welsh Church Disestablishment) Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Viscount Sankey (Welsh Church Disestablishment) Papers,


  • 1853-1972 (accumulated [c. 1914]-1972) / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.238 cubic metres (9 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Viscount Sankey was a judge, Chancellor of the Diocese of Llandaff, a Lord Justice of Appeal, and Lord Chancellor. He was born in Moreton-in-Marsh on 26 October 1866 the eldest of four children. After his father died his mother moved the family to Cardiff. After attending the local Church of England School, Sankey was sent to Lancing College in West Sussex before matriculating at Jesus College, Oxford. He was called to the bar by the Middle Temple in 1892, was appointed to the King's Bench in 1914, was made Lord Justice of Appeal in 1928 and was Lord Chancellor from 1929 to 1935.

Regarding the Church, Viscount Sankey was Chancellor of Llandaff between 1909 and 1914. He was appointed to draft the new Constitution for the Church in Wales with the assistance of Lord Atkin and Sir John Eldon Bankes, and to draft the Schemes for the Governing Body and the Representative Body. He also had to present these drafts before the Governing Body and win its approval at the Convention of the Church in Wales in 1917. He was also involved with the Commutation Calculations and with drafting a scheme for Ecclesiastical Courts.

The Welsh Church Act, which made the disestablishment of the Church in Wales possible, was passed in 1914 and came into force in March 1920. Previous to the passing of the Act there had been much debate, both in writing and in speeches, about the prospect of disestablishment and disendowment. After the Act was passed the process of disestablishment could take place but the enforcement of the Act was delayed by the Great War.

The work of amending the constitution and the schemes for the Representative Body and the Governing Body (of which he was made a life member) continued after 1920 and Viscount Sankey was also involved in various disputes, in the organization of livings, benefactions and stipends, and in answering questions arising from the disestablishment. He died in February 1948 and the Church in Wales was one of the beneficiaries of his will.

Archival history

After Viscount Sankey's death his sister Miss Edith Sankey, after going through his papers, gave those which related to the Church in Wales, per L. S. Whitehead, to the Representative Body. These were then sent to Llandaff House, Penarth, in 1957. They were mostly deposited in the National Library of Wales in May 1994, except for some which were deposited in the early 1970s. The papers of Frank Morgan and Derrick Greenslade Childs are part of the 1994 Church in Wales deposit.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by the Church in Wales in the early 1970s and in 1994; C1994/41.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers relating to the disestablishment of the Church in Wales including pamphlets and speeches debating the cases for and against disestablishment and discussing the drafting of schemes and amendments; papers used as research for the drawing of the Constitution; drafts and printed copies including amendments of the Constitution of the Church in Wales, and schemes for the Governing Body, the Representative Body, and the establishment of Ecclesiastical Courts; schedules of revised statutes; papers relating to the Convention of the Church in Wales held in 1917; papers relating to questions and disputes arising from the disestablishment; papers relating to the work of the Governing Body and the Representative Body; papers relating to the Joint Committee of the Church in Wales; papers relating to stipends, livings and benefactions; correspondence between Viscount Sankey and various dignitaries of the Church in Wales and other individuals; and other papers relating to the disestablishment and the Church in Wales, 1853-1948, 1972. -- Also included within this archive are the papers of Frank Morgan relating to the Constitution of the Church in Wales, mainly comprising correspondence with C. A. H. Green, 1910-1934, but also including a manuscript draft of the Constitution in the hand of C. A. H. Green; and papers of Derrick Greenslade Childs on Viscount Sankey and the disestablishment, [1948]-[c. 1965].

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: The fonds has been appraised: some duplicates have been destroyed as authorised in Departmental Appraisal Form HW/2005-06/6..


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW into three groups: pre-disestablishment, the process of disestablishment, and post-disestablishment.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their readers' tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further papers relating to the disestablishment can be found at NLW in the papers of the Church in Wales, especially those of the Governing Body and the Representative Body, and the papers of the Welsh Church Commission. Further papers of Lord Sankey, including correspondence, speeches and diaries, some relating to his work as Lord Chancellor and his part in the Indian Round Table Conference, are held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds. The dates of creation extend both before and after Viscount Sankey's life. The pamphlets written before his birth were collected due to their relevance to the arguments for disestablishment. These papers were used and added to after Viscount Sankey's death by his sister, Edith Sankey, and by Derrick Greenslade Childs.

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Rules and/or conventions used

This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

February 2005; upgraded May 2008.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Hywel Gwynn Williams.

Archivist's note

The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Brian Lodwick, John Sankey Layman in the Church in Wales, St David's Papers 8 (Penarth, 1992); Who's Who on CD-ROM, 1897-1996;

Accession area

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Physical storage

  • Text: Viscount Sankey Papers.