Parish Register Abstract

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THE Second object of the Population Act of 1801, was to arrive at an Estimate of the Increase or Diminution of the Population during the preceding Century, by means of the PARISH REGISTERS; to effect which object certain Questions were appointed to be answered by the officiating Minister of every Church and Chapel in England and Wales; and the Population Acts of 1811, 1821, and 1831 repeat the same Questions, for the preceding Ten Years respectively; and Two additional Questions in 1831 aimed at ulterior objects.

QUESTIONS addressed to all OFFICIATING MINISTERS of Churches and Chapels in England and Wales.

1st. What was the Number of Baptisms and Burials in your Parish or Chapelry in the several Years 1821, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30; distinguishing Males from Females ?

2d. What has been the Number of Marriages in your Parish or Chapelry in the several Years 1821, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30?

3rd. Be pleased to specify, on the Schedule annexed for that Purpose, the Ages of Individuals registered in your Burial Register in the several Years from 1813 to 1830, both inclusive?

4th. What Number of illegitimate Children may have been born in your Parish or Chapelry during the Year 1830, according to the best Information you possessor can obtain; and distinguishing Male and Female Children ?

5th. Are there any Matters which you think it necessary to remark, in explanation of your Answers to either of the preceding Questions? Especially, whether any and what annual average Number of Births, Deaths, and Marriages may, in your opinion, have taken place in your Parish, without being noticed in the Parish Register ?

The Third Question appeared to require a particular Formula for Entry of the Ages of Individuals buried in the several years 1813-1830, with explanations and a specimen, as follows:


It is found by Experience that the best mode of entering and noting the Ages of Individuals (especially in populous Parishes) is by causing an Assistant to read the Christian name rather than to specify the Sex of each Individual, adding always the Age; and the Sex also, in case any such Name be doubtful in pronunciation, such as Francis or Frances,

Whenever the Burial Register does not specify the Name or Age of an Individual (as may occur in case of Strangers found dead, or other rare circumstance) the Clergyman is requested to enter the Burial at the foot of Column 2. and if the Sex is unknown, to enter the said Burial as of a Male. So in case of a Surname used as a Christian name, let the Individual be deemed a Male, if not remembered to be Female,

All Burials since the Year 1812 being numbered in the Register, Subtraction of the Number of the first Burial of the Year from the Number next after the last Burial of the Year, will give the same result as the Summary of the Schedule of entered Burials; so that every Entry inserted in the Register between two others to preserve order of Date, or (on the contrary) every Entry purposely obliterated, or otherwise irregular, should be noted, and allowance made accordingly, otherwise the number of Burials may appear to be erroneous,

The Ages of Individuals known to have been buried, but not entered in the Parish Register, are not to be specified', 'but the numbers of such Individuals, Male and Female, are to be shewn next under the Defective Registry of Ages,

A Specimen of the manner of marking the Ages, and scoring them by Tens, is annexed, being a Schedule page representing the Burials of a Parish containing 50,000 Persons. The Burials of Individuals upwards of 84 Years of Age being rare, no inconvenience will result from entry of 'them as they occur, without regard to priority of Entry according to Age.

[Page xxvi is given over to a single figure.]

The Clergy of England and Waits were enabled to answer the two first Questions [p. xxv] by having recourse to the PARISH REGISTERS, which have been established in England ever since the Reformation; and the Third Question, by consulting the new form of Registry, as regulated by Law in the year 1812.

When, in the reign of Henry VIII., it was enacted, that the Church of England should no longer be subject to the Pope, Thomas Cromwell was appointed the King's Vicegerent for Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction; and in that capacity issued certain Injunctions to the Clergy in the year 1538.22

One of these Injunctions ordains, That every officiating Minister shall, for every Church, keep a Book, wherein he shall register every Marriage, Christening, and Burial; and the Injunction goes on to direct the manner and time of making the Entries in the Register-Book weekly; any neglect therein "being made penal:- and in the first year of Edw. VI., (Anno 1547) all Episcopal authority was suspended for a time, while the ecclesiastical Visitors then appointed, went through the several Dioceses to enforce divers Injunctions, and among others that respecting Parish Registers. This Injunction was again repeated in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, who also appointed a Protestation to be made by the Clergy, in which, among other things, they promised to keep the Register-Book in a proper manner.

The Canons of the Church of England, which are now in force, date their authority from the beginning of the reign of James I., (Anno 1603). One of these prescribes very minutely in what manner Entries¿are to be made in the Parish Registers; herein reciting the Injunction of 1538, and ordering an attested Copy of the Register of each successive year to be annually transmitted to the Bishop of the Diocese or his Chancellor, and to be preserved in the said Bishop's Registry.

This Canon also contains a retrospective Clause, appointing that the ancient Registers, so far as they could be procured, but especially since the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, should be copied into a Parchment Book, to be provided by every Parish. This wise regulation appears to have been carried into full effect at the time; so that the ancient Parish Registers now extant, usually commence with that Queen's Reign, and some of them earlier, quite as far back as the Date of the original Injunction. That part of the Canon which directs the Register-Book to be kept in a Coffer in the Church, has not been enforced, as it was found by experience that the Book was liable to be damaged by the moisture prevalent in uninhabited Buildings, and also to be purloined with the other contents of the Church Coffer. The Register-Book was heretofore usually kept in custody of the Officiating Minister, at his own House, if resident on the Benefice, otherwise in that of the Parish Clerk; but the Act 52 Geo. III. c, 146, has made some alteration in this and other particulars.

This Law is intituled, "An Act for the better regulating and preserving Parish and other Registers of Births, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials in England," but does not appear to fulfil its intention as to Births . It received the Royal Assent on the 28th July 1812, and enacts that the Registers of Parishes, and of Chapelries (where the ceremonies of Baptism, Marriage and Burial are performed) shall be kept in Books of Parchment, or of good and durable paper, whereon shall be printed the Heads of Information required to be entered, also a printed number to be prefixed to each future entry, such entries to be divided by a printed line.

The King's Printer was charged to provide and transmit such Register Books as soon as conveniently might be after the passing of the Act, which was to take effect on the 1st January 1813: and with no small exertion on his part, the entire number of Register Books, upwards of 33,000, (three to each Parish and Chapelry) were printed, bound and transmitted before that time, although no preparation could be hazarded before the Act received the Royal Assent, as it was very likely to have been deferred to a future Session.

The provisions of this Act are not such (generally speaking) as were likely to affect the Returns of Registers under the Population Act of 1821, excepting only that a very distinct mention of the Registry of Baptisms, "whether Private or Public", has evidently added to the number of Registered Baptisms, (to an uncertain amount indeed) and in so far has been useful: but it thereby precludes any inference which otherwise might be drawn from a comparison of the respective numbers of Registered Baptisms which took place before and since the end of the year 1812.

The Act proceeds to direct, that the Register Books shall be kept in a dry well-painted iron chest, to be kept at the residence of the officiating Minister, or in the Parish Church or Chapel; also that Copies on Parchment of all Registers shall be sent annually to the Registrar of, each Diocese; enforcing in this respect the before mentioned Canon, with particular directions as to the form and manner of transmissal, and subsequent arrangement p> of these Copies by the Registrar; but this last intention cannot be accomplished until proper Buildings or Receptacles in each Diocese, and a fund for payment of the persons employed in such arrangement, shall have been provided.

The Act extends to Cathedrals, and to Churches and Chapels of all sorts, though not Parochial- and this has somewhat augmented the number of Returns received under the Population Act, although it has added very little to the total of Burials or of Marriages brought to account.

An important part of the new Parish Register Act, was to enquire the Dates of all extant Parish-Register Books; but experience has shown that the Act was incompetent to the attainment of this desirable purpose. For remedy of such defect, the same Question was inserted in the Schedule circulated under the Population Act of 1831, as follows:

"Referring to Section XIX of the Parish Register Act of 1812 (inserted in the Register Book of Baptisms), Be pleased hereunder to insert, or to affix, a List of all the Register Books of Baptisms, Burials and Marriages (whether bound or otherwise) remaining in your Parish or Chapelry containing Entries anterior to the Year 1813; stating the periods at which the several Registers respectively commence and terminate', and the periods (if any) during which they are deficient??If you retain Copy of such List transmitted to the Registrar of the Diocese in June 1813, a Transcript thereof would be satisfactory on the present occasion.

The Clergy (as might be expected) have readily availed themselves of this opportunity to comply with the directions of the Act, which therefore have now been fulfilled; and with this advantage, that the substance of their Answers is rendered accessible to the public as printed in a compressed form in the Parish-Register Abstract, and that a full Copy of their Answers is deposited in the British Museum with their Names severally inserted in the Margin; and where explanations were asked and obtained after perusal of such Answers, all such explanations to the number of 3,850 are annexed (in original) to the pages of the Manuscript Volumes in the British Museum [intituled, PARISH-REGISTERS EXTANT, 1831.] It may be thought that so many explanations indicate too severe a scrutiny, but the nature of the investigation involving obscure dates and ancient writing, is to be considered; and it is satisfactory to announce that in many instances Register Books have been found and, restored to their proper depository in consequence of these enquiries; which (it is not presumptuous, to believe) will have a prospective influence favourable to the safe custody of Parish-Registers in future. The preservation of Parish-Registers retrospectively is a question of degree; no person will be surprized that one-half of the Registers anterior to A.D. 1600 should have disappeared. If any other nation possesses similar Registers of that date, (a valuable proof of uninterrupted civilization), a comparison might be instituted, and the preservation of such Records through Three Hundred Years would not prove to have been of frequent occurrence; but in point of fact, examination shews that 812 English Parish-Registers commence in the year 1538, about 40 of which contain Entries (copied probably from family bibles and tomb-stones) anterior to the date of Cromwell's injunction; 1,822 Parish-Registers commence from A, D. 1538 to 1558, when Queen Elizabeth required a Protestation from the Clergy;-- 2,448 Parish-Registers commence from A. D. 1558 to 1603, when the Canons authorized by King James, directed a Copy of all extant Parish-Registers to be made and preserved; and nearly one half of them (5,082) have been preserved accordingly, and are now extant. Parish-Registers, to the number of 969, commence between that time to the year 1650;-- 2,757 from A. D. 1650 to 1700;-- 1,476 Parish-Registers from A, D. 1700 to the year, 1750; the rest (Six or Seven Hundred) since that time., Absolute exemption from defective or erroneous entry in these Registers must not be expected, but, it may fairly be doubted, whether such avowal of imperfection is not preferable to the official appearance of perfection which is offered to the enquirer in those nations where, by positive Law and severe Penalties, the acknowledgement of imperfection in civil Registers (as they ate called) is effectually prohibited, and where no allowance can be made by the calculator for negligence, which yet may sometimes have existed. In the first case (as in England) the degree of omission and defect is open to investigation and discussion, and reasonable approximation is attainable, as will be seen in the following pages under the respective descriptions of Marriage, Burial, and Baptismal Registers.

On the whole this national record of Baptisms, Burials and Marriages is highly respectable, and well worthy of the labour which has been bestowed in affording particular information of its extent in every Parish; whereby the investigation of family kindred and connections, and all the purposes of such Registry, cannot but be considerably and usefully promoted.

THE Number of Returns of Parish Registers and Chapelry Registers received from, England and "Wales in the year 1801, (including a Supplementary Return) was supposed to be 11,065, which was not far from the number really due; but from the circumstances of a new enquiry, some of these were redundant, some were duplicate, and in many instances (on the contrary) no Return was made.

The discovery of a considerable degree of inaccuracy in the Supplement pf 1801, arising from these causes, and a certain knowledge that the Parish Register Abstract of that year had necessarily been formed with a degree of expedition not permitting sufficient investigation was a cogent reason for proceeding more cautiously on the next occasion; and this was the more necessary, as the Return of 1811 was to be compared with that of 1801, which standing alone and being intended to indicate the Increase or Diminution of the Population during the last Century, was not much less effectual for its own particular purpose, although a considerable proportion of the Parish-Register Returns were not brought to account; the result of a comparison of the several years with each other, not being much affected by it. This consideration, though a sufficient excuse for attending to expedition rather than to the completion of the Returns of 1801, was no longer valid in 1811; and particular care was then taken accordingly, both by marking the name of every supposed Benefice and Chapelry on a set of County Maps, and checking the Returns by that criterion, as well as by all other authorities which could be obtained; this was a laborious task, and gave rise to above Two Thousand Applications to officiating Clergymen and others, and, to a large correspondence, which however produced 857 additional Returns, and left ho room to doubt but that sufficient knowledge was thus procured to insure a complete Return on any future occasion.

It is obviously needless at this time, to detail the process by which the Returns of 1801 and 1811 were connected for the purpose of comparison; on a balance of the redundant and the deficient, the number of Baptisms was deemed to be deficient as One in Thirty-two; of Burials as One in Twenty-nine; of Marriages as One. in Fifty; and additions were made accordingly, to which it is sufficient to refer without repeating a page of figures and calculations, which was necessary in the Preliminary Observations of 1811. The corrected number of Baptisms, Burials, and Marriages, in the last Thirty years (1801-1830) is here subjoined, as not liable to suspicion of inaccuracy, such as was justly imputable to the original Return of 1801.

Males Females Total Males Females Total
1801 120,521 116,508 237,029 1801 101,352 103,082 204,434 67,288
1802 139,889 133,948 273,837 1802 99,504 100,385 199,889 90,396
1803 150,220 143,888 294,108 1803 102,459 101,269 203,728 94,379
1804 150,583 144,009 294,592 1804 91,538 89,639 181,177 85,738
1805 149,333 142,868 292,201 1805 91,086 90,154 181,240 79,586
1806 147,376 144,553 291,929 1806 92,289 91,163 183,452 80,754
1807 153,787 146,507 300,294 1807 97,996 97,855 195,851 83,923
1808 151,565 144,509 296,074 1808 102,614 98,149 200,763 82,248
1809 152,812 147,177 299,989 1809 97,894 93,577 191,471 83,369
1810 152,591 146,262 298,853 1810 104,907 103,277 208,184 84,470
1811 155,671 149,186 304,857 1811 94,971 93,572 188,543 86,389
1812 153,949 148,005 301,954 1812 95,957 94,445 190,402 82,066
1813 160,685 153,747 314,432 1813 93,726 92,751 186,477 83,860
1814 163,282 155,524 318,806 1814 103,525 102,878 206,403 92,804
1815 176,233 168,698 344,931 1815 99,442 97,966 197,408 99,944
1816 168,801 161,398 330,199 1816 103,954 102,005 205,959 91,946
1817 169,337 162,246 331,583 1817 101,040 98,229 199,269 88,234
1818 169,181 162,203 331,384 1818 107,724 105,900 213,624 92,779
1819 171,107 162,154 333,261 1819 106,749 106,815 213,564 95,571
1820 176,311 167,349 343,660 1820 104,329 104,020 208,349 96,833
1821 181,811 173,496 355,307 1821 107,482 104,870 212,352 100,868
1822 190,508 182,063 372,571 1822 111,299 109,116 220,415 98,878
1823 189,144 180,616 369,760 1823 119,649 117,737 237,386 101,918
1824 189,401 182,043 371,444 1824 124,027 120,047 244,074 104,703
1825 192,003 183,050 375,053 1825 129,727 125,291 255,018 110,428
1826 194,527 185,886 380,413 1826 136,100 132,061 268,161 104,941
1827 191,428 182,758 374,186 1827 128,991 122,880 251,871 107,130
1828 200,333 192,121 392,454 1828 130,015 125,318 255,333 111,174
1829 194,089 186,156 380,245 1829 134,525 129,705 264,230 104,316
1830 194,200 187,860 382,060 1830 129,290 124,777 254,067 107,719

The Number of Returns of Parish Registers and Chapelry Registers collected under the Population Act of 1811 was 11,159, under the Act of 1821, the Number was increased to 11,342, from a cause which has been already stated, but which does not materially affect the comparison of the two Abstracts, and in the present the number is reduced to 11,301 by omission of Chapelry and other Registers, in which no Entries appear to have been made, or the Entries to have been copied into the Register of the Mother Church, and thence duly returned.

Further it may be proper to remark {and indeed has already been shown) that the Number of Benefices in England and Wales is by no means equal to the Number of Parishes; because in many instances Two or more Parishes are permanently united, as one Benefice; and in the Diocese of Norwich, which includes Norfolk and Suffolk, the Diocesan has the privilege of granting a personal Union of Parishes, on account of the small extent and value of many Benefices in those Counties.

The PARISH-REGISTER ABSTRACT has now as heretofore been framed with special Reference to the SUMMARY of each County and of each distinct part of every County, in the ENUMERATION ABSTRACT; so that every Total of Persons which there appears, may be compared with a corresponding Annual Total of Baptisms, Burials, and Marriages; and an Annual Average of these for each entire County, may be obtained by the easy process of dividing the Total (which appears under each County Summary ) by Ten; and to facilitate comparisons of the duration of human life, and of the proportion of Marriages in various Counties and at different periods, the Table inserted in the next page has been prepared; in consulting which it must not be forgotten that the comparative not the absolute Mortality, can only be relied on, unless the inquirer knows with what degree of accuracy the deaths which take place in any County or other limited district, are recorded in the Parish Registers

For in some few places Dissenters from the Established Church and persons inattentive to religious rites are so numerous, that the Marriage Register only is worthy of reliance. In Wentloog Hundred, Monmouthshire, where a mixed confluence of workmen drawn together by the prosperity of the Iron-works has increased the Population from 8,700 to 29,000 since the; year 1801,? the Baptisms and Burials respectively do not always out-number the Marriages, although Four Births to a Marriage is a very moderate calculation, and the mortality cannot be very different from that of the adjoining English Counties.23 The Registers of the adjoining County of Glamorgan are defective from the same cause; and it must be remembered, that the Counties of Wales were not well defined nor regularly united to England till about the time of the first Injunction for keeping Parish Registers [See p. 834 of the Enumeration Abstract], and the difference of language has not been without its effect of estrangement in ecclesiastical affairs, especially in the Parish Registers, which are, generally speaking, defective, and therefore are not noticed in the following Table; which differs from the similar statement printed in the Observations preliminary to the Comparative Abstract of 1831, and from that which appears in the Maps now inserted in the Parish- Register Abstract, -inasmuch as the number of unregistered Baptisms and Burials (supplied by the Clergy in pursuance of the Fourth Question of the Schedule) has since that time been ascertained and included in the calculation.

But suppose the Parish Registers of England were nearly as accurate and complete as the Civil Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages are presumed to be in some other nations, the indication of comparative Mortality thus obtained would be greatly over-rated, were it deemed exact in all cases.

It has been heretofore suggested, "That the Increase of Population by increasing the proportion of youth, may lessen the per Centage of Mortality on the entire Population; and to what extent this effect may be so produced is not yet known by experience, observation and enquiry concerning such facts being of recent date. If the Population of England should become stationary, the former Ratio of mortality might possibly recur."24 This suggestion may be generalized by observing, that human society is composed of individuals of every grade of age, which grades are liable to mortality, to a greater or less chance of death in the several years of progress from Infancy to old age. Now the number of existing individuals in each grade must depend on the Population existing at the time they were born. Suppose (for example) the Population of Lancashire to have doubled itself (as the fact is) within the last Thirty Years, it follows that infants, two to one, were born there in the Year 1831 as compared to the Year 1801; in other words, that such infants now compose a double proportion of the Population in comparison with the class Years old, than if the said Population-had been stationary since 1801.

The same sort of irregular proportion must prevail throughout all the grades of life, the comparative number in each grade relying on the rate of increase of Population since each came into existence, from the infant to the most aged individual: and as infancy and old age are much more liable to death than youth and middle-age, the result on such a Table as here follows, cannot be predicated without more knowledge of facts and more accuracy of inference than have hitherto been attainable.

Corrected Table of the Annual Proportion of Baptisms, Burials and Marriages, to the Population of England ; calculated upon an Average of the Totals of such Baptisms, Burials and Marriages, in the Five Years preceding the several Enumerations of 1801, 1811, 1821, and 1831; and distinguishing the several Counties.
COUNTY OF 1796-1800 1806-1810 1816-1820 1826-1830
Baptisms Burials Marriages Baptisms Burials Marriages Baptisms Burials Marriages Baptisms Burials Marriages
BEDFORD 35 51 114 32 48 131 33 57 123 35 54 129
BERKS 34 51 148 33 53 144 33 54 140 32 52 149
BUCKS 37 50 129 32 49 129 33 53 139 34 52 140
CAMBRIDGE 33 45 118 30 30 131 30 55 117 31 45 123
CHESTER 39 51 130 32 49 132 34 52 127 37 52 139
CORNWALL 33 58 120 31 62 142 32 69 146 33 64 147
CUMBERLAND 38 54 145 34 52 132 32 54 151 32 54 163
DERBY 35 52 138 32 58 138 34 59 146 35 54 135
DEVON 36 49 109 32 50 113 32 59 132 35 58 132
DORSET 41 62 142 34 56 139 34 63 144 35 58 140
DURHAM 38 43 116 32 49 131 32 53 134 32 52 138
ESSEX 35 44 126 32 45 130 34 58 146 35 52 154
GLOUCESTER 37 55 127 35 61 120 35 60 111 35 61 117
HEREFORD 40 65 183 35 60 144 36 60 70 37 57 152
HERTFORD 38 54 161 33 57 68 33 53 171 36 56 175
HUNTINGDON 33 46 104 32 49 134 33 61 127 34 46 131
KENT 30 41 116 28 38 115 30 50 130 33 49 143
LANCASTER 34 47 114 28 49 115 31 51 116 34 46 115
LEICESTER 35 49 130 36 58 134 34 56 126 36 53 127
LINCOLN 32 50 117 30 49 125 31 59 134 32 51 134
MIDDLESEX 39 37 95 39 36 94 36 45 101 31 41 103
MONMOUTH 56 72 169 45 64 146 46 66 148 45 69 131
NORFOLK 32 47 126 31 50 135 31 59 129 32 52 139
NORTHAMPTON 42 51 130 35 53 132 34 55 129 35 50 135
NORTHUMBERLAND 47 57 139 35 54 160 37 57 139 36 52 134
NOTTINGHAM 32 51 116 32 52 119 32 54 124 31 51 122
OXFORD 35 53 139 33 56 141 33 57 148 32 53 141
RUTLAND 33 50 131 33 54 161 34 2 43 33 52 137
SALOP 34 54 142 34 59 142 34 54 148 5 53 140
SOMERSET 39 55 139 34 53 128 35 61 140 35 58 147
SOUTHAMPTON 34 46 104 30 46 102 31 61 128 4 56 131
STAFFORD 34 49 124 31 2 18 1 51 123 32 51 126
SUFFOLK 34 56 129 31 54 132 33 65 134 35 59 137
SURREY 37 42 134 35 44 129 38 49 139 38 49 129
SUSSEX 31 55 126 28 52 128 2 68 42 33 58 142
WARWICK 35 52 116 34 43 119 35 48 118 34 58 120
WESTMORLAND 35 50 142 31 53 137 33 52 149 32 56 152
WILTS 41 60 142 34 57 138 35 63 134 35 57 148
WORCESTER 34 46 137 31 51 129 33 53 140 31 51 127
YORK, EAST RIDING 39 55 129 29 48 108 33 54 122 35 51 118
YORK, NORTH RIDING 36 53 142 30 51 124 34 61 147 33 55 144
YORK, WEST RIDING 35 49 124 31 51 123 33 57 124 35 51 131
SUMMARY of ENGLAND, not including Wales 36 48 123 32 49 121 33 55 127 34 51 128

This Table also differs from preceding Calculations, in adverting to the Burials of the last Five Years of each period, viz. 1796-1800; 1806-1810; 1826-1830; not only for the sake of comparing the number of Burials more nearly with the Population ascertained at the end of such quinquennial periods, but because variation is more strikingly exhibited by such intervening omissions.

The Comparative duration of average life in each County at these periods is exhibited in the foregoing Table; and as regarding parts of each County, a further enquiry has been instituted, Parish Register Limits of convenient dimensions having been formed for this purpose by the junction of Hundreds or similar Divisions. But the Results would be too vast, indeed would present to the enquirer but a Labyrinth of numbers and proportions, if printed on consecutive pages of the Parish-Register Abstract, wherefore Maps which speak to the eye have been chosen as the vehicle of this kind of information in detail; and perhaps it will be thought that the art of Lithography has seldom been more successfully employed. These Maps undertake to show, what was the Population of each County and of each Parish Register Limit in 1801, 1611, 1821, and 1831; and the proportion of Registered Baptisms, Burials, and Marriages to that Population in every instance. A further description of these Maps in words would not tend to elucidation; the facility of comparison afforded by them- cannot be misunderstood. The Scale is uniform, (about nine Miles to all Inch,) and such that more Counties than one are contained in each Map, the number of Maps being Sixteen, besides a General Map of England and Wales, also inserted in the Parish-Register Abstract, [pp. 491-2.].

Every place which has made Return of a Register, is distinguished in the Parish-Register Abstract, as Rectory (R.) Vicarage (V.) Parochial Chapelry (P.C.) Chapelry or Curacy;(C.).

As the" Marriage Register may be deemed nearly correct; next to it, the Register of Burials; and lastly, the Register of Baptisms, it will be found most convenient to treat of each distinctly, and in that order.


MANY Inconveniences having arisen from the undue Solemnization and Registry of Marriages, an Act was passed [26o Geo. II.], which came into operation 25th March 1754, for the better preventing of Clandestine Marriages, directing a certain Formula for the Registry of Marriages, to be attested and signed by the Minister officiating, the individuals married, and two or more Witnesses, and declaring any Erasure or Mutilation of the Marriage. Register, or any False Entry therein, to be Felony without Benefit of Clergy ; nor can a Marriage be legally solemnized in any Chapel consecrated since this Law was made, A retrospective Relaxation of the Act25 in this particular took place in 1781, under an Act by which Marriages already solemnized in such Chapels, were declared to be valid; but the Registers of such Marriages were ordered to be forthwith removed to the Parish Church.

Some Persons are known to evade the provisions of the Marriage Act, by a Marriage in Scotland; and, this practice perceptibly lessens the number of Registered Marriages in the Border Counties;26 but the Registry of Marriages in other parts of England is not much affected thereby, because the Parents or friends of the Females who have been thus iregularly married at Graitney (Gretna) Green (about 63 annually) usually cause such Marriages to be afterwards solemnized according to the Law of England.

The Marriages of Dissenters of every denomination take place in the Established Church excepting those of the Society of Friends, usually called Quakers, who are permitted to intermarry in their own Congregation; and to this exception may be added the Jews, who marry according to their own peculiar Ceremonial; and the number of the first of these religious Sects rather exceeds 20,000 persons, the number of Jews is about 25,000; both these sects producing a defect of about 350 Registered Marriages annually; but this does not affect the comparative number of Marriages in a series of years.

A great variation in the annual Number of Marriages is caused by the circumstances of the times, and especially by the price of provisions; the difference arising from this cause is such, that no safe inference concerning the Increase or Diminution of Population can be drawn from the comparison of any single Years with each other; But the average Amount of the Marriages for five years together, or for a longer period is the best evidence on the subject, because the Register of Marriages may be deemed perfectly correct.

As it is intended, throughout the present Observations, to give the most important Results of all the Decennial Population Acts, the following TABLE not only shows the Number of Marriages in each Year since the 1754, but also the average Amount of Marriages for every Five, and for every Ten Years since the Marriages Act has been fully in force. It will appear in the sequel of these Remarks, that Results drawn from this Table would be very similar to the Results drawn from the Registered Baptisms

Number of Registered Marriages in each Year, from 1755 to 1800 PERIOD Medium Average of Five Years. Medium Average of Ten Years.
A.D. Marriages A.D. Marriages A.D. Marriages -
1755 49,379 1771 60,612 1786 68,992 1755-1760 52,666 56,275
1756 50,972 1772 60,337 1787 76,448 1761-1765 59,883
1757 48,300 1773 59,769 1788 70,032 1766-1770 59,043 59,892
1758 50,672 1774 60,512 1789 70,696 1771-1775 60,741
1759 55,537 1775 62,473 1790 70,648 1776-1780 64,238 64,479
1760 57,848 1776 65,462 1791 72,590 1781-1785 66,722
1761 58,101 1777 65,020 1792 74,919 1786-1790 71,363 71,784
1762 56,543 1778 62,727 1793 72,880 1791-1795 72,205
1763 62,233 1779 63,671 1794 71,797 1796-1800 74,998 79,231
1764 63,310 1780 64,309 1795 68,839 1801-1805 83,465
1765 59,227 1781 63,768 1796 73,107 1806-1810 82,953 85,985
1766 57,043 1782 63,071 1797 74,997 1811-1815 89,012
1767 55,324 1783 66,287 1798 79,477 1816-1820 93,073 100,064
1768 58,331 1784 68,935 1799 77,557 1821-1826 103,363
1769 61,825 1785 71,509 1800 69,851 1821-1827 107,056 -
1770 62,693
For the Marriages in each Year 1801-1830, see p. xxx.

The Annual proportion of Marriages to the Population during the last Five Years pre ceding 1831, was as one to 128 in England, the several Counties ranging from one in 103 to one in 175; [See p. xxxii.] the extremes take place in Middlesex and in Hertfordshire, the custom of surreptitiously marrying in the Metropolis increasing the number of Marriages therein, at the expense of the adjacent Counties.


THE Registry of Burials maybe supposed to be deficient, on the following considerations

  1. Many Congregations of Dissenters, inhabiting Towns, have their own peculiar Burying-grounds; as have the Jews, and the Roman Catholics, who reside in London, and in some other places.
  2. Some Persons, from motives of poverty or convenience, inter their Dead without any religious ceremony. But in estimating the deficiency from this cause, it should be considered that a place must be very populous before the establishment of cheap Burial-grounds can become a profitable speculation. Such there are in the Metropolis, at Manchester, and in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Number of these Interments within the London Bills of Mortality has been estimated at 7,000 annually; at the other places here mentioned a Register or Account is kept, of which a Return was received, and entered; as indeed of some of the, Burial-grounds in and near the Metropolis.
  3. Children who die before Baptism are interred without any religious ceremony, and consequently are not registered.
  4. Negligence may be supposed to cause some omissions in the Registers, especially in those of small Benefices, where the Officiating Minister is not resident.
  5. Many Persons employed in the Army, and in Navigation, die Abroad; and consequently their Burials remain unregistered.

The Annual Number of Burials, as collected in pursuance of the Population Acts, authorizes a satisfactory inference of diminished Mortality in England,- the average Number of Burials not differing materially from the Year 1780 to the Year 1815 the first Five Years of that period, the last Five Years, and the whole period of Thirty-six years, giving the same average result of 193,000 Registered Burials, the Population having increased 3,300,000 in the mean time; not but that the effect of the Deaths by which England was afflicted in 1795 and 1800, is very perceptible in the increased Mortality of those years, Many other, and no doubt very various considerations would occur to every Investigator of such a subject; especially the doubt as to how many years of the Burial Register ought to be applied as a: Divisor to existing Population. The Mortality of the Inhabitants of England appears to have sunk to its Minimum in the decade preceding the Population Abstract of 1821; and since that time it seems to have risen as fast as it descended after the year 1800.

The causes of increase in the duration of human life up to the Year 1821, remain to be investigated by those who are able to elucidate the subject; houses less crowded, better food, better clothing, and more cleanliness among the numerous classes of Society, cannot have been without some effect j and to these may be added the increased extent of surface drainage, and of underground drainage, both which may have acted beneficially on the health of the Agricultural Population. The improved treatment of Diseases was stated in some of the Returns, as a cause of increasing Population, and especially the substitution of Vaccination, for the Small Pox; infectious Fevers have almost disappeared, even in the Metropolis; and Intermittents, which heretofore under the name of Ague, infested the Country very extensively (especially the Fen Districts) are no longer spoken of. So in former times, the Plague (as it was called) disappeared as soon as the City of London had been rebuilt after the great Fire of 1666; so the Land-Scurvy, and before that the Leprosy, became gradually extinct when the Reformation of Religion, and improvements in Agriculture, had removed the necessity of eating Salt-fish and Salted Meat during the greater portion of the year.

The Registered Mortality in the several Counties of England (1826-1830) ranges between one in 41, and one in 64; Middlesex and Cornwall being the extremes. The Registry of Monmouthshire cannot be relied on in this comparison of Counties. Including unregistered Deaths, the Mortality of England and Wales is estimated at one in Forty-nine since the year 1820. [See p. xlv.] But supposing, for the sake of argument, that One-sixth may be justly added to the Average of the Registered Burials (1820-1830), and assuming the Medium Population at 12,938,030, then [246,290 + 41,048 = 287,338) 12,938,030 (45] the proportion of deaths has been One in Forty-five of the Population. Add (in like manner) One-sixth to the Registered Burials of 1780, or rather (as above explained) to 193,000, then [193,000, 32,166 = 225,166) 7,814,827 (34] the proportion of deaths was in 1780 as one in Thirty-four or Thirty-five of the Population. A proportion was unlikely in amount beyond the Mortality of other European nations in the same climate, as one in Forty-nine during the last ten years falls short of that mortality. The question is thus laid open for discussion; for it must be confessed, that the defective Registry of Burials in Monmouthshire and in Wales, and in very large towns, cannot be subjected to satisfactory estimate, so that resort must be had to argumentative inference.

The present Return of the Number of Registered Burials produces no unusual information; but the Third Question, requiring the Ages of Individuals entered in the Burial Registers during the Eighteen years preceding 1831, has produced a Total of nearly Four Millions of persons deceased, not unequally divided between the two sexes, and forming one of the elements requisite in calculating the expectancy of human life.

It was impossible to arrange the following Table without remarking the excess of Mortality which falls upon the Decennary years, especially, on 60 and 70, where the Burials are recorded to nearly double in amount, as compared to the preceding year and to the succeeding year. Hence the tendency to speak in round, numbers may be estimated with considerable exactness, one person in Four or Five who dies at 59 and 61, at 69 and 71 years of age, being thereby transferred to 60 and 70; so that in computation it is necessary to combine the years which exhibit palpable irregularity from this cause.

(Of whom 1,996,195 Males, 1,942,301 Females), during Eighteen Years, 1813-1830.
Age Males Females Both Sexes Age Males Females Both Sexes Age Males Females Both Sexes
436,946 341,137 778,083 40 16,209 17,304 33,513 80 20,666 24,951 45,617
1 139,426 127,017 266,443 41 10,083 10,906 20,989 81 13,146 14,279 27,425
2 78,114 75,900 154,014 42 13,493 14,073 27,566 82 15,523 17,582 33,105
3 47,860 46,773 94,633 43 10,828 11,489 22,317 83 12,072 13,721 25,793
4 33,693 32,076 65,769 44 12,292 12,666 24,958 84 15,920 18,477 34,397
5 24,854 23,340 48,194 45 15,532 14,548 30,080 85 12,245 14,187 26,432
6 19,376 18,091 37,467 46 12,601 12,334 24,935 86 8,854 10,437 19,291
7 16,467 14,668 31,135 47 12,633 12,103 24,736 87 7,070 8,489 15,559
8 13,895 12,363 26,258 48 13,801 13,230 27,031 88 6,762 8,325 15,087
9 12,671 11,270 23,941 49 12,203 11,486 23,689 89 4,468 5,637 10,105
10 11,610 10,527 22,137 50 17,468 16,059 33,527 90 4,549 6,624 11,173
11 10,441 9,777 20,218 51 10,792 10,119 20,911 91 2,293 3,057 5,350
12 9,996 9,800 19,796 52 14,544 13,875 28,419 92 2,038 2,867 4,905
13 9,688 10,261 19,949 53 13,050 12,009 25,059 93 1,598 2,258 3,856
14 10,589 11,790 22,379 54 13,148 12,346 25,494 94 1,129 1,685 2,814
15 10,096 12,527 22,623 55 16,303 15,209 31,512 95 977 1,582 2,559
16 11,385 13,737 25,122 56 15,705 14,589 30,294 96 715 1,182 1,897
17 12,568 14,212 26,780 57 14,067 12,995 27,062 97 494 846 1,340
18 14,212 14,998 29,210 58 14,287 13,414 27,701 98 426 708 1,134
19 15,144 16,061 31,205 59 13,479 12,303 25,782 99 267 495 762
20 15,245 16,041 31,286 60 21,835 21,438 43,273 100 239 468 707
21 15,834 16,237 32,071 61 13,533 12,551 26,084 101 133 225 358
22 16,188 17,597 33,785 62 16,693 16,253 32,946 102 70 174 244
23 14,850 16,803 31,653 63 18,631 18,282 36,913 103 63 134 197
24 14,515 16,722 31,237 64 17,761 17,629 35,390 104 41 90 131
25 14,569 16,586 31,155 65 18,911 18,723 37,634 105 29 72 101
26 13,785 16,318 30,103 66 20,160 20,332 40,492 106 17 29 46
27 13,623 16,133 29,756 67 19,352 19,523 38,875 107 13 21 34
28 13,778 16,272 30,050 68 18,315 18,298 36,613 108 10 18 28
29 12,199 14,431 26,630 69 16,816 16,222 33,038 109 6 12 18
30 14,513 16,514 31,027 70 26,187 27,766 53,953 110 7 11 18
31 10,338 11,963 22,301 71 16,008 16,154 32,162 111 2 3 5
32 12,597 14,427 27,024 72 21,085 21,868 42,953 112 1 1 2
33 12,409 14,227 26,636 73 20,562 21,363 41,925 113 1 1 2
34 11,605 13,279 24,884 74 20,652 21,163 41,815 114 2 2
35 13,741 15,200 28,941 75 21,936 22,884 44,820 117 1 1
36 13,234 14,950 28,184 76 19,595 20,522 40,117 118 1 1
37 11,873 13,409 25,282 77 21,012 21,845 42,857 119 1 1
38 12,519 14,268 26,787 78 19,595 21,030 40,625 120 2 1 3
39 11,167 12,611 23,778 79 15,576 16,433 32,009 124 1 1

Another element requisite for calculating the expectancy of life, is a knowledge of the Ages of those living concurrently with the deceased; an extensive inquiry which cannot be repeated.

Eighteen years consecutively, and in this instance is supplied by an approximation arising from the Enumeration of 1821, when the Ages of Ten Millions and a half of persons in England and Wales were ascertained with a view to the present occasion, and are here inserted,

AGES of PERSONS enumerated in England and Wales, 28th May 1821; with proportions annexed, supposing each Sex and the Total to have been 10,000,000 in number.
Under Five Years. 791,579 1,536,732 774,689 1,440,044 1,566,268 1,487,339
5-9 693,858 1,347,022 682,457 1,268,597 1,376,315 1,306,958
10-14 603,613 1,171,824 569,366 1,058,376 1,172,979 1,113,869
15-19 509,586 989,285 535,569 995,552 1,045,155 992,487
20-29 755,780 1,467,234 901,338 1,675,468 1,657,118 1,573,611
30-39 593,662 1,152,506 649,507 1,207,348 1,243,169 1,180,522
40-49 482,329 936,370 500,977 931,250 983,306 933,755
50-59 342,204 664,338 352,160 654,619 694,364 659,373
60-69 231,509 449,440 249,184 463,200 480,693 456,470
70-79 115,032 223,317 124,648 231,704 239,680 227,602
80-89 29,587 57,438 36,315 67,505 65,902 62,581
90-99 2,253 4,378 3,280 6,097 5,533 5,254
100 and upwards 60 116 129 240 189 179
TOTALS 5,151,052 10,000,000 5,379,619 10,000,000 10,530,671 10,000,000

The question addressed to the several Overseers in the year 1821, regarding the Ages of persons, was as follows: "If you are of opinion that in making the preceding Enquiries (as to the number of Families and of persons) the Ages of the several individuals can be obtained in a manner satisfactory to yourself, and not inconvenient to the parties, Be pleased to state,-- The Number of those who are under Five Years of Age, of those between 5 and 10 Years of Age, &c. &c." It will be perceived that an option, was thus left to' the Overseer, whether or not to inquire and make Return of the Ages of persons; and to every individual person, whether or not to be included in the Return: For a Statement of Ages is not much less valuable as extending to 10,530,671 persons, than if it extended one Ninth part further, to 11,978,875 persons (the entire Population of England and Wales); and it is much more valuable, as being voluntary in all the parties concerned, thereby excluding defects and inaccuracy to which such a Statement would otherwise be liable from carelessness or repugnance.

The 28th day of May is so nearly in the middle of the year, that no over-scrupulous objection is likely to occur as to any combination of the Ages of the Living and the Ages of the Buried in the Year 1821; still less to the Three, Five, or Seven Years respectively, of which 1821 is the middle year. A period of Seven Years was therefore chosen, as affording scope enough for insuring a fair average of Mortality, and not departing too far from the time when the Ages of the Living were ascertained.

[Table: "AGES of 1,497,511 PERSONS BURIED in ENGLAND and WALES, (of whom 756,163 MALES, 741,348 FEMALES), during SEVEN YEARS (1818-1824), of which the AVERAGE only appears elsewhere." appears here.]

Afterwards it was suggested, that other and valuable sources of knowledge might be expected to accrue from a distinct Statement of Mortality in every other year of the series, as exhibiting the comparative decrement of the two sexes, and at various ages throughout life; wherefore a laborious operation to that effect has been undertaken and accomplished, in honour also (so to speak) of the ample materials collected in detail by the willing labour of the Clergy, and afterwards classed and methodized at the public expense. The following extensive Table therefore shows the average of Seven Years I818-l824, the particulars of Eleven Years (1813-1817, and 1825-1830), and the Average of all the Eighteen Years; which Average, except for the sake of comparison in every column and every year, will never be used in preference to the foregoing general Table [p. xxxvi] of the Ages of 3,938,496 Persons buried during Eighteen Years. If any calculator should prefer the mortality of Seventeen Years instead of Eighteen Years, as placing the enumerated Ages of the Living more accurately in the middle of the period, he will have to deduct the Burials of 1830 as a preliminary to his further labour.

[Series of tables, "AGES of MALES and FEMALES BURIED and REGISTERED in England and Wales , 1813-1830.", occupying five pages, appears here.]

The only remaining element requisite for accurate calculation of the expectancy of life, is the Amount of Population retrospectively during the life of Man; which will appear under its proper head. The details of the Burial Register -will best be concluded, by remarking, that among 8,988,496 persons, 1,900 nave attained to the age of One Hundred Years, of whom no more than one-third (637) were Males, two-thirds (1,263) Females. Eighteen Individuals, have attained to the age of One Hundred and Eleven and upwards, Nine of each Sex; and it may gratify local curiosity to add, That those of 111 years of age, died at Maker (North-Riding of Yorkshire), at Cloford (Somersetshire), at Dent (in the West-Riding of Yorkshire), at Tanworth (Warwickshire), and at Houghton-le-Spring (Durham), in the years; 1814, 1815, 1817, 1822 and 1826 respectively. Those who were 112 years of age died at Llangattock (Brecon), and at Tytherington (Gloucestershire), in the years 1817 and 1825 respectively. Those of 113 years of age died at Shadwell (Middlesex) and at Standon (Herts), in the years 1814 and 1819 respectively. 'Those of 114 years of age died at Langford (Bedfordshire), and in St. Martin's Parish (Birmingham), in the year 1823. A Female, 117 years of age, died at Sutton-Courteney (Berks), in 1822. A Male, 118 years of age, died at Irthington (Cumberland), in 1823. A Male, 119 years of age, died at Allensmore (Herefordshire), in 1822. Two Males, of 120 years of age, died at St. John's (Swansea), and at Topsham (Devon), in the years 1822 and 1824 respectively; one Female, of 120, at Camrose (Pembrokeshire), in 1830. One Male, 124 years of age, died at Boughton-under-Blean (Kent), in the year 1824.

Nineteen Hundred Centenarians (persons who have attained to One hundred years and upwards) appearing to have died in Eighteen years [1813-1830], produces an annual average of 105 such deaths, and is in the proportion of one death in 2,073 other deaths. The Centenarians existing in the year 1821 in England and Wales were 189, or one in 55,717; and supposing the defect in the Burial Register of Ages, and in the Enumeration of Ages in 1821 to have been equal (which is not far from the fact), 105 Centenarians in 189 (or 55 per cent.) thus appear to have died annually;

Further; as the Population of England doubled itself between the years 1730 and 1821, and for all practical purposes may be taken as stationary from 1700 to 1730, the Centenarians now in existence are no more than Half, as compared to those who would have now been in existence had the Population of 1730 been the same as it is now; in other words, they would have been as one in 28,000, instead of one in 56,000 [55,717], the proportion ascertained, by the Enumeration of 1821. Apart from such considerations, the proportion of existing Centenarians is no valid indication of national health or longevity.


THE Registry of Baptisms is deficient from the same causes as that of Burials, and from most of those causes in a greater degree.

  1. Many Dissenters of every denomination (those especially who reside at a distance from any other Burial-place) from motives of decency or convenience bury their dead in the Ceme- teries of the Established Church, though they baptize after their own manner, or not at all.
  2. Some irreligious Persons, especially in large Towns, neglect the Rite of Baptism altogether.
  3. Some Children die immediately after Birth, unbaptized; these however not being registered among the Burials, the Comparison is not affected from this cause. A great defect in Baptismal Registers heretofore arose from Private Baptism, which is carried to an extent not at all in the contemplation of the Founders of the Church of England; for the Canon ordaining Registers applies to Christenings, without further explanation; and this word is usually understood to mean Public Baptism only. The practice of the Clergy has not been uniform on this point; and it appears from the Remarks subjoined to some of the Parish-Register Returns of 1811, that the Registry of Private Baptisms was refused in many places, from a conscientious desire thereby to induce persons to cause their Children to be publicly received into the Congregation: but the Parish Register Act of 1812 no longer leaves this optional, and the effect of it has; been such, that Registered Baptisms, which heretofore were 147 to 100 as compared to the Burials, are increased since the year 1811, so as to exceed the Burials in the proportion of 157 to 100.
  4. Negligence may be supposed to cause the same proportion of omissions in the Registry of Baptisms as in that of Burials.

The joint effect of all these causes will hereinafter be estimated in discussing the Increase of Population.

The whole Number of Baptisms collected for the purposes of the Four Population Acts, appears, to be 16,323,576: of these, 8,335,866 Males 7,987,710 Females: So that the Baptisms of Males are 10,435 to 10,000 Females. The whole Number of Burials appears to be 11,588,938; of these, 5,819,923 Males, 5,769,015 Females; a very small disparity in so large a number; whence it may be inferred, that the larger proportion of Males born (4¿ per cent.) is also the proportion dying Abroad in the employments of War and Commerce: not forgetting, that of unregistered infants a larger portion are Males than Females. Previously to the year 1821, the Burials of the two Sexes were in equal number, and the effect of settled peace is now shown by the increased proportion of Males who die and are buried at home.

The proportion of Registered Baptisms to the Population is as one to 34 in England; the several Counties ranging between one in 31, and one in 38; Cambridgeshire, with Middlesex, Notts, and Worcester being equally of the first class; Surrey the other extreme, Monmouthshire always excepted. Including unregistered Births, the proportion of Births to the Population of England and Wales has been one in 28, since the Year 1820. [See p. xlv]: but this is liable to the same sort of question as the proportion of Deaths relying indeed upon the same argument, [See p. XXXV.]

The Number and Sex of illegitimate children born in the Year 1830 formed part of the enquiry of 1831, and the Laws regarding the maintenance of the Poor, added to the facility of collecting facts which occurred in the preceding Twelvemonth, tend very much to establish the accuracy of the Return. The total number in England and Wales was 20,039; of whom, Males 10,147, Females 9,892; the proportion as one in Nineteen Baptisms [Par, Reg. Abstract, p. 490] the Males not exceeding the Females much more than 2¿ per cent. In Middlesex (the Metropolis County) the proportion of Illegitimates is no more than one in Thirty-eight Baptisms. This may be deemed remarkable, considering the opposite result in other European nations, in more than one of which the Capital City is said to produce Illegitimates as one Birth in Three or Four, although elsewhere in the same nations such Births do not exceed one-tenth. But the cause of this seeming disparity exists in applying the word Illegitimate to all who are deposited in Hospitals for the reception of deserted Children; that is, to all infants whose parents are too poor to maintain them. This grievous necessity is obviated in England by the Poor Relief Law, and the general opulence as well as the density of population in the Metropolis, facilitates the concealment of illegitimate birth. The so-called Foundling Hospital in London has long since [A. D. 1760) ceased to be such in reality.


22 . The alarm produced by this novelty, in a reign of innovation and, severity, is curiously developed in a contemporary Letter from the Ancestor of the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe:

"Sir Piers Eggecomb to Crumwell.

"Plesse it, ywr goode Lordeshyp to be advertyssyd, that the Kynggs Majesty hath commandyd me, at my beynge in hys gracius presens, that in casse I parceyvyd any grugge, Or myscontentacyon a mongge hys sojectes, I shulde tber off advertysse ywr Lordeshyp by my wrytynge. Hyt ys now comme to ray knolegge, this 20 daye of Apryll, by a ryght trew honest man, a servant off myn; that ther ys moche secrett, and severall communycacyons amongges the Kyngge's sqjettes; and that off them, in sundry places within the scberesoff Cornwall and Devonsher, be in greate feer and mystrust, what the Kyngges Hyghnes and hys Couseyll schulde meane, to geve in commaundement to the parsons and vycars off every parisse, that they schulde make a booke, and surely to be kept, wher in to be specyffyyd the namys off as many as be weddyd, and the namys off them that be buryyd, and of "all those that be crystynyd. Now ye maye perceyve the myndes off many, what ys to be don, to avoyde ther unserteyri cpnjecturys, and to contynue and stablysse therhartes in trew naturell loff, accordynge ther dewties, I refferre to ywr wyssdom. Ther mystrust ys, that somme charges, more than hath byn in tymys past, schall growe to theym by this occacyon off regesstrynge of thes thyngges; wher in, yff hyt schall please the Kyngges Majeste to put them yowte off dowte, in my poar myiide schall encresse moche harty loff. And I besseche our towie preserve yow ever, to Hys pleasser, 20th daye off Apryll. Scrybelyd in hast.

(superscribed) (signed) "P. EGGECOMB."

To my Lorde Privy Scale ys goode Lordesshyp, be this gevyn."/

From Cromwell's Correspondence in the Chapter House (Bundle E.) The letter is wholly in Sir Pier's handwriting.

Cromwell's first Instructions to the Clergy after he became Vice-gerent, which were issued in 1536, did not require Parish Registers to be kept. They were first enjoined y the 12th Article of his Instructions of 1538, (printed at length by Burnet, in the Collection appended to the first volume of his History of the Reformation, p. 178), and as they were not issued, according to Strype, till the months of September and October, the date of this letter must have been in 1539, Mr. Burn's History of Parish Registers , published 1829, contains what is promised in its title; and much curious matter is contained in his History of Fleet Marriages , published 1833.

23 . Par. Reg. Abstract p.200.

24 . Evidence before the Committee on the Population Bill, 18 May 1830.

25 . 1 G.III.c.53.

26 . 200 Marriages from Cumberland (chiefly from the neighbourhood of Carlisle) take place at and near Graitney Green annually; 23 from Northumberland; 6 or 7 from Westmorland.

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