Guide to the Papers of Archbishop John Moore (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Moore, John, Archbishop, 1730-1805
Papers of Archbishop John Moore (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1793 - 6 August 1794
Collection Number
7 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Collection contains the memoirs and related documents of Reverend Richard Johnson and correspondence between Johnson, Archbishop Moore, William Wilberforce and Reverend Samuel Marsden.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, from Lambeth Palace Library, London.

For more information contact Lambeth Palace Library, London. []

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to Lambeth Palace Library, London and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to Lambeth Palace Library and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: Memoirs of Rev. Richard Johnson (29 pp), 16 April 1794, Papers of Archibishop John Moore, Lambeth Palace Library, London (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed at Lambeth Palace Library, London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project,(AJCP Reel: M677). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Lambeth Palace Library, Lambeth Palace Road, London.

Collection reference: Moore 1 (ff.7-95). For more information see Lambeth Palace Library.

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding Aid Note

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Anglican Church: Australia; Canterbury, Archbishops of; Church buildings: Australia; Collins, David; Dundas, Henry, 1st Viscount Melville; Farms and farming: New South Wales; Grose, Francis, Major; Johnson, Richard, Rev.; King, Philip Gidley, Capt.; Maps, plans and charts: New South Wales; Marsden, Samuel, Rev.; Moore, John, Archbishop; New South Wales: economic conditions; New South Wales: missions; Sydney, New South Wales ; Sydney, New South Wales: immigration to; Wilberforce, William


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 330, p. 124.

Biographical / Historical

John Moore (1730-1805) was educated at a grammar school at Gloucester and Oxford University. After his ordination, he worked as a tutor in the household of the Duke of Marlborough. In 1763 he was made a canon at Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1771 he was made Dean of Canterbury. In 1775 he was ordained Bishop of Bangor and in 1883 he was unexpectedly translated to the archbishopric of Canterbury. He held the office until his death and his primacy was marked by 'administrative competence, astute patronage and impeccable orthodoxy'.

Richard Johnson (1753?-1827) was educated at a grammar school at Kingston-upon-Hull and Cambridge University. He was ordained as a priest in 1784. In 1786 he was appointed chaplain to the new settlement at New South Wales. In 1787 he and his wife sailed to Australia on the Golden Grove. He conducted the first church service in Sydney on February 1788. For six years, until the arrival of Samuel Marsden, Johnson carried out virtually all the clerical duties in the colony. In 1793, exasperated by the lack of support from Francis Grose, the lieutenant-governor, he erected the first church at his own expense. It was burnt down by convicts in 1798 and only in 1810 was it replaced by St Philip's Church. Johnson's fortunes improved when Governor Hunter arrived in 1795. Johnson was reinstated as a magistrate and he achieved success as a farmer on his grant at Canterbury Vale. He returned to England in 1800, on account of poor health, although for some years it was thought that he might return to the colony.

Item Descriptions

Memoirs of Rev. Richard Johnson (29 pp), 16 April 1794 (File 1)

Booklet containing a narrative by Johnson of his life since 1786, when it was first suggested that he go as the chaplain to the proposed colony at New South Wales or New Zealand and dealing in particular with his difficulties following the departure of Governor Phillip in 1792. It refers to the approval given to his appointment by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Johnson's belief in the reformation of the convicts, the small number of convicts attending church services in recent times, the changing venues for services, a meeting with the Lieutenant-Governor, Major Francis Grose, about the erection of a church, the failure of the colonial government to support Johnson by providing labour or materials, his correspondence with Henry Dundas, the Secretary of State, Grose's description of Johnson as 'a Methodist and a discontented troublesome character', criticisms of Johnson's estimate of the cost of building a church, his need for a clerk and a sexton, other differences between Johnson and Grose, Johnson's requests for assistance in clearing the land granted to the Church, and his responsibilities to his family.

Documents referred to in the memoirs of Rev. Richard Johnson (60pp), September 1793 - 25 November 1793 (File 2)

Booklet containing copies of letters to and from Johnson, September – November 1793. They consist of a letter from Johnson to Henry Dundas (3 Sept. 1793), correspondence between Johnson and Major Grose, and correspondence between Johnson and David Collins, the Judge-Advocate of New South Wales. The final document is a vindication by Johnson of his conduct in the dispute with Grose (25 Nov. 1793).

Further memoirs of Rev. Richard Johnson (44pp), 6 August 1794 (File 3)

Booklet containing a further narrative by Johnson of events since the arrival of Rev. Samuel Marsden in the colony in May 1794. It refers to the arrival of Marsden from England and Rev. James Bain from Norfolk Island, Johnson's poor health, correspondence with Major Grose about the observance of the Sabbath, a robbery at Johnson's home, his letters to Grose about the robbery, the trial of three convicts for house-breaking, a letter (15 July 1794) to David Collins about Grose's refusal to allow Johnson or Marsden to see the prisoners under sentence of death, a letter (18 July 1794) from Johnson to one of the condemned prisoners, alleged instructions to constables and their wives, and also convicts, not to attend services at Johnson's church, and Johnson's claim that much of his time was spent labouring like a convict rather than appearing as a gentleman or attending to his studies.

Rev. Samuel Marsden (Sydney) to William Wilberforce (?) (4pp), 4 May 1794 (File 4)

The letter deals with his voyage from England, the obstructive behaviour of the ship's captain, the need for directions on accommodation provided to clergymen on ships, Marsden's inability to proceed to Norfolk Island and his move to Parramatta, differences between Richard Johnson and Major Grose, and the development of crops and stock in the colony.

[Rev. Richard Johnson] to William Wilberforce (1p, incomplete), n.d. (File 5)

The letter refers to the erection of the first church in Sydney and Johnson's difficulties.

Rev. Richard Johnson (Port Jackson) to Archbishop John Moore (12pp), 8 May 1793 (File 6)

The letter laments that after five years no church had been erected in the colony, poor attendances at services, the approval of paid labour on Sundays, the imposition of a limit of one service a day, widespread adultery and drunkenness in the colony, the reformation of convicts, and the lack of concern for the moral welfare of the convicts.

Plan and elevation of the first church in Sydney built by Rev. Richard Johnson in 1793 (ink and grey wash) (File 7)