The Shropshire Parish Register Society.


Diocese of Lichfield.




Note for the Reader.

The present volume, which contains the first portion of the very important Register of St. Chad's, Shrewsbury, from its commencement in the year 1616, is the second of the Registers of the old parish churches of Shrewsbury that has been printed by the Shropshire Parish Register Society, and it forms the fifteenth volume of the Registers of the Diocese of Lichfield.

The Parish Register Abstract of 1831 has this information about this Register :— "St. Chad V. Nos. I.—V., Bap. Bur. 1616-1769, Marr. 1616-1753. Nos. VI.—VII., Bap. Bur. 1770-1812. Nos. VIII.—XII., Marr. 1754-1812."

A more detailed and accurate account is given in Shropshire Parish Documents, issued in 1903 :—

"St. Chad (Shrewsbury).
General Register, 1616-1638, endorsed 'St. Ceaddas Parysh.'
" " 1639-1721.
" " 1721-1754, then of Baptisms and Burials to 1769.
Register of Baptisms and Burials, 1769-1799.
" " " " 1800-1812.
" Marriages, 1754-1764.
" " 1765-1777.
" " 1777-1791.
" " 1791-1807.
" " 1807-1812."

The present volume contains Vol. I., and part of Vol. II., of St. Chad's Register.

A few words about the history of Parish Registers generally may be of interest to the Members of the Society. [For these notes I am largely indebted to Buckland's " Parish Registers and Records in the Diocese of Rochester,"— the latest and one of the very best books issued on the subject of Parish Registers.]

Parish Registers were instituted by the Injunctions of Thomas Cromwell, Vicar-General, dated 5 September 1538. The entries of all weddings, christenings, and burials, were to be made every Sunday by the parson, in the presence of the wardens, and the register book was to be laid up in a coffer provided with two locks and keys, one of which was to be kept by the parson and the other by the wardens. These Injunctions were repeated in 1547 and in 1559.

Convocation decreed in 1597, and again by the Canons of 1603, that parchment registers were to be provided, and the old paper- books copied into them, especially from the first year of Elizabeth, and that duplicates should be sent to the Bishop's Registries.

During the Civil War and Commonwealth, registers were often badly kept, and even entirely neglected. In 1644, baptisms and burials were ordered to be registered. In 1653, a "Parish Register" was to be elected triennially, and he was directed to enter marriages, births, and burials in the Register book. All marriages were to take place before a Justice of the Peace, after banns published thrice in the Church or Market-place. In 1660, the custody of the registers reverted to the Clergy.

In 1666, an Act was passed ordering burial in woollen, in order to encourage the wool trade. In 1678, an affidavit signed by a magistrate was required, but in 1680, it might be signed by a minister of some other parish.

In 1681, parents were ordered to register the birth of every child, and to pay a fee of 6d.; but the Act was greatly neglected.

In 1694, taxes on entries of marriages, births, and burials, were imposed by Act of Parliament for five years, in order to raise money for carrying on the war against France. The general tax was 4s. for burial, 2s. for birth, and 2s. 6d. for marriage.

In 1753, Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act was passed. This required (1) all marriages to be by banns or licence, (2) in the parish where one of the parties resided, and (3) to be entered in a special printed book. Prior to 1754, parties could be married practically anywhere, without banns or licence; this led to "Fleet" and other clandestine and scandalous marriages being celebrated.

The Stamp Act, in 1783, imposed a duty of 3d. on each entry in a Register, but this Act was repealed in 1794.

In 1812, George Rose's Act was passed, ordering Registers in a new and prescribed printed form to be kept in every parish, in the custody of the Incumbent, in an iron chest. Copies of the entries were to be made annually, and sent to the Registrars of each diocese.

In 1836, the General Registration Act was passed, which instituted civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. Special Marriage Registers were sent to each parish; but baptisms and burials continued to be entered in the old books prescribed by Rose's Act.

In the present volume, as has been the rule adopted by the Council throughout, the Register is not printed in full, but in an abbreviated form which can readily be understood, though every salient fact has been recorded, and all occurrences, remarkable events, etc., have been given in full.

The following abbreviations have been adopted:—

afft. — affidavit lic. — licence.
b. — bachelor (or born). mar. — married.
bap. — baptized. nup. — nupti.
bur. — buried. p. (or par.) — parish.
chr. — christened. pl. — plague.
ch. w. — churchwardens. s. — son.
cler. — clericus. sep. — sepultus.
elk. — clerk. sp. — spinster.
co. — county. ux. — uxor.
d. — daughter. vid. — vidua.
dioc. — diocese. w. — wife.
esq. — esquire. wid. — widow.
f. — filius (or filia). widr. — widower.
gen. (or gent). — gentleman. wit. (or W.) — witnesses.
inft. — infant.

It has been only possible to print this Register through the generous aid of the late Mrs. Seymour, sister to Mr. Stanley Leighton, M.P., the founder of the Society. Thanks are due to Miss E. C. Hope-Edwardes and to Miss H. M. Auden for transcribing and collating the Register, and seeing it through the press.

October, 1913.

Contents.   PAGES.
Introductioni - xxvi
Register, 1616 to 17171 - 704
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