Notes on the Two Earliest Parish Registers (June 1959)

This extract from The Archives was sent to the Parish Magazine on 10/10/2006 by John Partington. John, now retired from the post, was at that time Chairman of Clent History Society.

Following our successful History Day on Sunday 11/11/12 it is a good time to look at one or two of John’s selected extracts again.

The first is for those visitors who came along keen to search through the many records which the society holds.



written by Mr Stanley Shaw in June 1959

The purpose of these notes is merely to put down a few entries of a quaint or curious character extracted from the first two parish registers. The practice of recording all baptisms, marriages and burials in a book kept specially for that purpose was introduced by Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIIIth’s minister, in the year 1538. After the dissolution of the monasteries he ordered that these registers should be kept in every parish church.

The earliest records now extant in the Clent registers go back to 1551 and it is not known whether earlier records once existed. The first records were paper ones but in course of time it was realised how impermanent records on paper would be, so towards the end of the century about 1593-1600, all parish registers then surviving were copied out in books of vellum or parchment. The earliest records of Clent may therefore have perished due to mutilation of that paper register. The incumbents at that time were Thomas Gaunt,  1549 , a nominee of the Duke of Northumberland and Roger Chaunce, 1556, the latter being probably the same family as that from which Sir Hugh Chance is descended.

Family names from the registers persist right down to our own times. In the current (June 1959) issue of the Parish Magazine four of the thirteen names of advertisers, Waldron, Peplow, Wilkes and Skelding are found in the earliest years of the register, while the names Cox, Sparry, Green, Hill, Underhill, Cordiwen, Nash, Mosely, Chapman,Stringer, Raybold, Heath, Wheeler and Wakeman are still plentiful in the neighbourhood.

The earliest entry still decipherable in the first register is… ‘ William Nash was buried….day of March 1562′



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