| Data Online
| What Is
A Parish Register?
A Parish Register is a book
kept by the local church in which are recorded the names
of those people who have passed through the religious
rituals of the church – Baptism, Marriage and
Burial. However, Churches have not always kept registers.
In 1538 Thomas Cromwell on behalf of King Henry VIII,
first ordered Parish Registers to be kept. Every parish
had to keep a register. Each Sunday the Vicar, in the
presence of the wardens, entered all the baptisms, marriage
and burials of the previous week. A few parishes had
been keeping registers before 1538. However, many parishes
ignored the compulsory order.
In 1563 parliament passed an act stating that records
were to be kept in 'great decent books of parchment'.
Copies or 'Bishop's Transcripts' were sent to the diocesan
centre each month. Entries in the old paper registers
were to be copied into the new books.
In 1597 and 1603 ecclesiastical orders enforced the
act throughout the country. However, the events of history
have affected the keeping of registers. For example
during The English Civil War (1643 - 1647), many were
not kept properly, hidden or lost.
However, Parish Registers continue to be kept up to
the present day and are valuable resources for historians.
If you are interested in finding out a bit more
why not visit schooLMAte
Black and Asian Londoners for stories,
a timeline, audio plays, images and more documents relating
to the history of Black and Asian Londoners. The site
is directed at schools but does contain information
all users may find useful.