The nature and origin of authigenic clay minerals and silicate cements in the Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments of England and the North Sea are discussed in relation to penecontemporaneous volcanism in and around the North Sea Basin. Evidence, including new REE data, suggests that the authigenic clay minerals represent the argillization of volcanic ash under varying diagenetic conditions, and that volcanic ash is a likely source for at least the early silicate cements in many sandstones. The nature and origin of smectite-rich, glauconite-rich, berthierine-rich and kaolin-rich volcanogenic clay mineral deposits are discussed. Two patterns of volcanogenic clay minerals facies are described. Pattern A is related to ash argillization in the non-marine and marine environments. Pattern B is developed by the argillization of ash concentrated in the sand and silt facies belts in the seas bordering ash-covered islands and massifs. It is associated with regression/transgression cycles which may be related to thermal doming and associated volcanism, including the submarine release of hydrothermal fluids rich in Fe. The apparent paucity of volcanogenic clay deposits in the Jurasssic and Early Cretaceous sediments of the North Sea is discussed.