New Archive Acquisition: Pamphlets of Richard Minter

Collected Pamphlets of the Reverend Richard Minter

The Reverend Richard Arthur Minter, who died aged 91 in 1997 after half a century as Vicar of the Cambridgeshire parish of Stow-cum-Quy, was a well-known figure in Anglican circles in the Cambridge area.  After so long a clerical innings that is hardly surprising.  Less known is his life-long interest in the church in Jamaica where he served as rector of Claremont, St Ann’s Parish, between 1938 and 1945.

Following his death his research collections were presented to the Centre by his daughters.  They include his thesis, ‘The Comparative Importance of Influences Hostile to the Slave Trade within and without the Established Church in the West Indies before 1783’ that he wrote for his B.D.(1955). A long-held interest in the downtrodden, from the moral dilemma slavery presented to the 17th-18th century clergy to and refugee issues in modern times is also demonstrated by a small group of papers from the 1930s that include the pamphlet by Professor G.C. Baravelli, The Last Stronghold of Slavery – What Abyssinia is.  The title may suggest something written out of humanitarian concern but conceals something rather different, as its real purpose is as an apology for the Italian military intervention by Mussolini’s regime in Abyssinia then taking place and which so exposed the impotence of the League of Nations.

Minter’s interest evidently broadened in later life to the history of the Jamaican church generally, as the collection includes correspondence, replies to enquiries, and other notes and articles on Jamaican churches and clergy 1969-83 as well as drafts of the book eventually privately-published in 1990 as Episcopacy without Episcopate: The Church of England in Jamaica before 1824.

Particularly useful for researchers without an airline season ticket to Montego Bay are the collection of local church histories, often written in response to commemorative events, such as the 75th Anniversary of St Cyprian’s, Highgate St Mary, known as “The Banana Church”.  This incorporates an earlier detailed history from 1921 by Canon Samuel Swaby, so it takes us back more than the average church history would be expected to do, and it includes an acknowledgement to Minter for his assistance. The collection also has some formal documents of the Jamaican church, enough to understand its organisation in modern times.  But the collection confined to the Anglicanism, as it contains a substantial account of the Congregational Church in Jamaica, Mission to Jamaica [1947] that valuably includes a directory of Congregational churches and ministers with details of their pastorates since 1834.

For a full list of the Minter Papers email the Archivist.