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Title: How to write the history of a parish

Author: J. Charles Cox

Release date: July 26, 2022 [eBook #68613]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Bemrose & Sons, 1879

Credits: David E. Brown and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)




The History of a Parish.

Author of “Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire,” etc.

“Every man’s concern with the place where he lives, has something
more in it than the mere amount of rates and taxes that he
has to pay.”—Toulmin Smith.













Some of the Clergy of the Diocese of Lincoln are responsible for the issue of this booklet. A much-needed county history of Lincolnshire is now being projected, upon the basis of separate parochial histories. A circular put forth in one of the rural deaneries was good enough to refer in laudatory terms to the introduction to the first volume of my Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire. This led to my being asked to re-publish that introduction; but it applied so peculiarly to Derbyshire that I felt it would be of small avail to those outside the county. Hence I decided to put together some hints that might prove a help to those who may be desirous of[viii] undertaking parochial history in any part of the kingdom, whether manorial, ecclesiastical, or both. In the first part of these pages I am indebted to Thomas’s “Handbook to the Public Records,” and more especially to Sims’s invaluable “Manual for the Topographer and Genealogist;” but I have not referred to any class of documents with which I am not in some measure personally conversant.

Those who have been engaged in any literary work are well aware how large a portion of time is often spent in merely learning the titles and somewhat of the contents of those books that treat of the different branches of the subject selected. Various books connected with parochial history, especially those that have been proved by experience to be the best hand-books, are therefore mentioned in these pages to facilitate reference. Space only has prevented me from considerably adding both to their number and description, but any further[ix] knowledge that I may have gleaned on topographical literature is heartily at the disposal of any worker who may privately apply to me.

I shall be grateful for any correction of errors, or for any suggestion as to deficiencies.




P.R.O.—For the Public Record Office. Almost the whole of our national records, which were until recently in upwards of half-a-dozen different buildings, are now under one roof in Fetter Lane, Fleet Street. All documents mentioned in the following pages must be understood to be at the Public Record Office, unless it is otherwise stated. Several of the earlier folio publications of the Record Commissioners, to which reference is herein made, are out of print, but they are to be found in most of our public libraries.

B. M.—For the Library of the British Museum.

B.—For the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

C.—For the University Library, Cambridge.





Not only should the etymology of the name of the parish be carefully considered, and its various forms of spelling be collected, from Domesday Book downwards, but a list should be made of the whole of the names of the physical features, such as hills, streams, and lanes, and especially of the field-names. Field-names—which will often establish the sites of disused chapels or manor-houses, of Celtic burials or Roman roads, as well as help to decide the nationality of the colonists that predominated in the district—can be[14] sometimes gleaned from old private estate maps, or other exceptional sources, but the “Award” maps of Inclosure Commissioners from 1710 downwards, or the Tithe Commutation maps of 1836, are the chief and most reliable sources. These maps should be in most parish chests, but they have often illegally strayed into the private hands of solicitors, churchwardens, etc. When lost or difficult of access, the original maps can usually be seen at the offices of the Copyhold Inclosure and Tithe Commission, 3, St. James’s Square, on payment of 2s. 6d.; but under certain Acts the originals will be found, or rather ought to be found and to be accessible, at the Clerk of the Peace’s office for the county.

The best hand-books on local etymology are—Taylor’s “Words and Places,” and Edmund’s “Names of Places.” Leo on “The Local Nomenclature of the Anglo-Saxons,” Charnock’s “Local Etymology and Derivative Dictionary,” and Ferguson’s[15] “River Names,” and “Teutonic Name System” may also be consulted with advantage.

“Prehistoric” Remains.

If there are any so-called “Druidical” (almost invariably a complete misnomer) or other “prehistoric” remains of that class, not a word should be written respecting them until Fergusson’s “Rude Stone Monuments” has been thoroughly digested. Though published in 1872, not one of the old-fashioned antiquaries has made any serious attempt to refute its conclusions.

The best work on tumuli, or barrows, is Canon Greenwell’s “British Barrows.” See also Bateman’s “Ten Years’ Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave Hills.” The two last essays of Sir John Lubbock’s “Scientific Lectures” give a popular account of[16] that branch of prehistoric archæology which deals with the palæolithic and neolithic periods, i.e., with the races who respectively used the chipped and ground weapons of stone.

History of the Manor.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and other Old English chronicles, should be consulted for possible early mention of the parish. Most of these have been cheaply printed in an English dress in Bohn’s Antiquarian Series. In Kemble’s “Saxons in England” will be found a good list of the old tribal divisions into “marks.” Thorpe’s Diplomatarium Anglicum Ævi Saxonici is an admirable collection of early charters (with translations); some of the wills contain many place-names; the volume is indifferently indexed.

The Domesday Book, compiled in 1085-6, is[17] preserved at the Chapter House, Westminster. It gives particulars of all the different manors throughout England, excepting those of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham. It was printed in two large volumes in 1783, and a third volume of indexes and introductory matter added in 1811. A most valuable “General Introduction” was published in 1833, by Sir Henry Ellis. The Ordnance Survey have recently brought out a fac-simile edition of the Domesday Book, produced by Photo-zincography, which can be obtained in separate counties. The extended text and translation of most counties can also be procured.

The Book of Exeter and the Book of Ely are of the same date, and no doubt copied from the same returns as Domesday Book itself, but they contain many more details. The former, preserved at Exeter Cathedral, comprises the counties of Wilts, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall; the latter, now in[18] the British Museum, relates to Cambridge, Hertford, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Huntingdon. The Book of Winchester (Society of Antiquaries) relates to that borough; it was made in 1148. The Boldon Book is a survey of the county palatinate of Durham, taken in 1183; there are three copies, two at Durham, and one at the Bodleian. These four minor Surveys were published by the Record Commissioners in one volume in 1816.

Knight’s Fees. When England was subdivided by the Conqueror among his vassals, the feudal custom of supplying the crown with a certain number of knights was imposed upon them. The number of knights that had to be furnished was specified in the infeoffment. These knights, in their turn, held lands from the immediate tenants of the crown, which were owned by homage, fealty, and a great variety of tenures, as well as by direct payments in money. Some tenures were merely nominal,[19] such as a grain of cummin, or a red rose; others were of more or less value, such as a pair of white gloves, a tun of wine, a gold spur, or a silver salver; and others by such service as holding the lord’s stirrup, keeping a pack of hounds, etc., etc. See Blount’s “Ancient Tenures.” The lands of these knights were termed “Fees,” and composed the barony of a crown vassal. A knight’s fee was supposed to be so much land as would suffice to maintain him, and to enable him to present himself and his retainers ready equipped for the field in times of emergency. Hence a “Knight’s Fee,” as applied to land, represents no definite quantity, but a variable amount, generally between one and five hundred acres of cultivable land. The term is also sometimes used for the rent paid to the lord for the fee.

It is easy, then, to see that it became essential to the Crown, both for monetary and judicial purposes, as well national as local, to know from time to time[20] the exact position of their vassals and sub-vassals. Hence, Inquisitions were held up and down the country before local sworn juries, and the barons made returns of that which they held, and which was held under them. These returns are among the earliest of our national records; and though brief, are invaluable, from their absolute authenticity, to the genealogist and local historian. The chief documents of this class are the Black Book of the Exchequer, temp. Henry II., the original of which is in the P. R. O., but three manuscript copies are in the B. M., C., and B. respectively, and it was published (but imperfectly, and not from the original) by Hearn, in two vols., 8vo., last century; the Scutage and the Marshall Rolls, temp., Edw. I. & II., P. R. O.; various lists of Tenants in Capite in our different public libraries; and, most important, the Testa de Neville. The last-mentioned of these documents consists of two ancient volumes compiled[21] temp. Edw. II., now in the P. R. O. They consist of Inquisitions, taken temp. Henry III. and Edw. I., respecting the Fees held immediately or otherwise of the King, throughout the whole of England, excepting the counties of Cambridge, Cheshire, Durham, Lancashire, and Monmouthshire. These records were officially printed in one vol., folio, in 1807; there are many errors in the spelling of place-names, but these can for the most part be readily detected by any one having local knowledge. Another folio volume, printed in 1802, is the Nonarum Inquisitiones; it is of some value, and may, perhaps, be fairly included under the head of “Knight’s Fees.” It consists, in the main, of the finding upon oath by the parishioners, of the value of the ninth lamb, fleece, and sheep, and in cities and boroughs of the ninth of goods and chattels, which by an Act 14 Edw. III. were to be levied as a tax for two years towards the expenditure in the Scotch and French[22] wars. The rolls abound in the names of jurymen, commissioners, and landowners. The published volume only contains the returns from twenty-seven counties, but the Nona Rolls for most of the missing ones, e.g., Derby, Hertford, Northumberland, and Warwick, have since been found. MS. indexes of these will be found in the small books lettered “Exchequer Subsidies” in the search room of the P. R. O.

Rotuli. Under the general head of “Rolls,” some of the most important of our national documents have to be briefly considered.

The Great Rolls of the Exchequer, otherwise called the Pipe Rolls, are all but perfect from 2 Henry II. to the present time; and there is one roll of 31 Henry I., the oldest national document now extant after the Domesday Book. They relate to the revenues of the Crown, digested under the heads of the several counties. They are of much interest[23] and utility in early pedigrees, and relate to a far wider range of subjects than Crown lands, as the Crown revenues come from so great a diversity of sources. The originals are in the P. R. O., but most of the rolls are in duplicate at the B. M. Several volumes of transcripts are in the B. M. and B. The Rolls for the 31 Henry I.; 3 John; 2, 3, and 4, Henry II.; and 1 Richard I., have been published by the Record Commissioners.

The Patent Rolls commence with 3 John, and are fairly perfect up to the present time. On them are entered all grants of lands, offices, honours, pensions, and particulars of individual or corporate privileges, etc., etc. These invaluable Rolls are unfortunately not indexed. A folio calendar of those from John to 23 Edward IV., was printed in 1802, but it is only a capriciously made selection. Those from the 3rd to 18th John have since been printed in full, with an admirable introduction. In the B. M. are many[24] volumes of selections and extracts for particular periods. Manorial grants of “free warren” in these rolls will often supply a missing link in the history of a manor.

The difference between the documents entered on the Close Rolls, and the Patent Rolls, is that royal letters patent were delivered open, with the Great Seal appended, and were supposed to be of a public nature and addressed to all the king’s subjects; whilst the Close Rolls contain entries of such instruments as were despatched closed or sealed up, and were of a more private nature. These rolls begin in 1204. From that time to 11 Henry III., they have been printed in full in two folio volumes. There are various copies and transcripts of particular parts in the B.M., B., and C., and in the libraries of Lincoln’s Inn and Inner Temple. The rolls are of infinite variety and importance. Among the subjects treated of are—Royal Prerogatives, Homage, Fealty, Knight’s Service,[25] Treasure Trove, Gold and Silver Mining, Bail and Pardons, Livery of Lands, Assignment of Dowers, Wardship of Minors, Repairs of Bridges, etc., etc. They often, therefore, contain unexpected fragments of local history connected with apparently insignificant parishes, and are even more fruitful than the better known Patent Rolls.

The Charter Rolls contain a good deal of duplicate matter to that on the Patent Rolls. They chiefly consist of grants of privileges to religious houses, cities, and towns, and grants of markets, fairs, and free warren to individuals. Charters, like Letters Patent, passed under the Great Seal; but a charter differed from a patent inasmuch as the former was witnessed by the council or by such persons as were present at its execution, and the latter was solely executed by the king. The Charter Rolls extend from 1199 to 1483. A complete calendar of these rolls, well indexed, was published in 1803, and the[26] rolls themselves of the reign of John, were also published by the Record Commissioners in 1837.

The Fine Rolls contain accounts of fines paid to the Crown for licenses to alienate lands, for freedom from knight service, or being knighted, for renewals of various charters, etc., etc. They begin in the time of Richard I. The Fine Rolls of John, and extracts from those of Henry III., have been published by the Commissioners in three 8vo. volumes. They are to be distinguished from the important Pedes Finium, subsequently explained.

The Originalia are described in the Public Records Report as “the Estreats transmitted from the Court of Chancery into this (Exchequer) office, of all grants of the Crown inrolled on the Patent and other Rolls, whereon any rent is reserved, any salary payable, or any service performed.” These rolls commence early in the reign of Henry III. An abstract, in two folio volumes, of the Originalia from 20 Henry III.[27] to the end of Edward III., was published by the Commissioners in 1805. Similar abstracts from 1 Richard II., to end of James II., were prepared for printing, but never published; the MS. of this work is in the B. M. An index to the Originalia was published in 1793, by Mr. Edward Jones, in two folio volumes. Those who have had occasion to use Mr. Jones’s index know that the judgment “very useful, but very imperfect,” is true in each particular.

The Hundred Rolls will often prove to be of the greatest interest for one period of manorial history. During the turbulent reign of Henry III., the Crown revenues had been much diminished by the Tenants in Capite alienating lands without license, and by powerful ecclesiastics and laymen usurping the rights of holding courts, and committing other encroachments. The people, too, had been greatly oppressed by exactions and oppressions at the hands of sheriffs and other officers, and by false claims to free warren[28] and illegal tolls. One of the first acts of Edward I., on his return from the Holy Land, at his father’s death, was to remedy these abuses. The circuit of the itinerant justices was only usually made once in seven years, therefore the king appointed Special Commissioners for inquiring into these grievances throughout the realm. These rolls are the result of the inquisitions taken in pursuance of this commission. They afford evidence, upon the oath of a jury of each hundred and town of—all demesne lands and manors then or formerly in the hands of the Crown—all tenants in capite and tenants in ancient demesne—alienations to the Church—rights of free warren, fisheries, etc.—oppressions of nobility and clergy—exactions of excessive toll—unlawful trading—encroachments on highways, etc., etc. The whole of these rolls were published by the Record Commissioners in 1812-18, in two large folio volumes, but are not now to be purchased. “The genealogist[29] may estimate the assistance these volumes are capable of affording, when it is mentioned that the Indices of Names contain references to about 70,000 persons.” The mis-spelling of place-names is sometimes a little misleading, but ordinary care will rectify this, as the returns are arranged in counties. The rolls, as printed, may be fairly relied on for historical purposes, without the trouble of collating the originals.

Placita. The pleadings of our several courts, with the judgments thereon, have been for many centuries entered on rolls. The greater part of these are termed Placita, or pleading Rolls. Their important bearing on manorial history is obvious. There is scarcely a manor in the kingdom that had not occasion, on an average of at least once a century, to put in an appearance in one or other of the courts on some matter involving litigation.

Under our Norman kings, all pleadings were originally[30] heard Aula sive Curia Regis, in the hall or court of the king’s palace. In aid of the King’s Court, itinerant justices were first appointed temp. Henry I., and were finally established 22 Henry II. Towards the end of the reign of Richard I., the Curia Regis was subdivided into courts of Exchequer and Chancery, whilst the king’s court still retained pleas immediately touching the Crown, and also common pleas, both civil and criminal. The Magna Charta, 17 John, separated the Common Pleas from the royal court, after which the Curia Regis continued to be the superior court of law for criminal matters, and early in the reign of Edward I. lost its more ancient title and became known as the Court of King’s Bench.

The Rotuli Curia Regis have been printed in full, from 6 Richard I. to 1 John, by the Record Commissioners, in two 8vo. volumes. The same rolls, in addition to those of the King’s Bench, down to the[31] end of the reign of Edward II., were, in 1811, elaborately calendared and indexed by the Commissioners in a valuable folio volume, under the title—Placitorum in Domo Capitulari Westmonasteriensi asservatorum Abbreviatio, but the rolls are now in the P. R. O. The abstract has been made after a fickle fashion, some pleadings are given in full, whilst many others of more importance are condensed into a couple of lines; and there is nothing in the volume to tell the student whether they are abbreviated or not.

The earliest provincial courts were those of the Itinerant Justices, or Justices in Eyre (from the Norman-French word erre, a journey); they held criminal and common pleas, and also pleas of the forest. These justices afterwards gave way to Circuit Judges, and the Justices in Eyre then became only another name for the Justices of the Forest. If there is or has been any royal Forest or Chace within the[32] parish under consideration, special search should be made for its records. Most of the early proceedings relative to forests are entered on the Patent Rolls; a considerable number of the ancient perambulations and inquisitions have been printed in various reports made at different dates. Copies of these reports, bound in two large volumes, can be consulted at the P. R. O. Extracts from the rolls, relative to the forests, for special periods may be found both at the P. R. O. and the B. M. The forest perambulations for the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I. have been completely indexed.

Those rolls that may properly be termed Records of Assize commence 6 Richard I., and end with the reign of Edward IV. In the B. M. are many MS. volumes of Placita Itinerum pertaining to different reigns and different counties.

In 1818 the Record Commissioners published an important folio volume, entitled Placita de Quo Warranto[33] temporibus Edw. I., II., III., which forms an interesting sequel to the Hundred Rolls. The Hundred Rolls, as already mentioned, gave a great mass of sworn information as to abuses. Those persons thus charged were summoned to answer “Quo Warranto” such and such things were done or left undone? or by what right such and such manors, etc., were held? This volume contains a full transcript of the roll of the pleadings in answer to these summonses, and the judgments thereon. Its utility in manorial history cannot be exaggerated, as the descent of the manor is often traced back in these pleadings to the time of John or even earlier. The rolls are arranged under counties, and include the whole of England, with the exception of the palatinate of Durham.

The earliest records of the Court of Chancery are of the 17th year of Richard II., the previous documents having been destroyed in the Wat Tyler[34] rebellion. There are no petitions extant to the Chancellor of the reign of Henry IV., and but few of Henry V., but from the beginning of the reign of Henry VI. they seem to have been kept with much regularity. Calendars of the Chancery proceedings of the reign of Elizabeth were published in three volumes folio, 1827-32. In the introduction to this work are many examples of the earlier proceedings of that court from Richard II. downwards. It is hardly necessary to add that the bills of complaint, and their answers, filed in this court, often contain abundant information as to manorial descent. Numerous MS. volumes of indexes to Chancery proceedings are at the service of the searcher in the P. R. O.

The volumes known as the Year Books contain reports in Norman-French of cases argued and decided in the Courts of Common Law. They form the basis of the “lex non scripta” of English jurisprudence,[35] and are worthy of attention on account of the historical information and the notices of public and private persons which they contain. The frequent disputes about heirship cause them often to be of value in manorial history. These Reports begin in 1220, and an account of the different books, their dates, etc., may be found in Worrall’s “Bibliotheca Legum Angliæ,” 1788. Serjeant Maynard published an edition of early Year Books, in eleven volumes, in 1679. Several of those of the reign of Edward I. have been edited by the Record Commissioners. Lincoln’s Inn Library, and the University Library, Cambridge, have a great number of MS. Year Books. A work of much research, by Mr. Bigelow, has just been published, entitled “Placita Anglo-Normannica,” it is a history of the litigation and legal procedure of the temporal courts during the period from the Norman Conquest to the middle of the reign of Richard I. If there has been any early dispute[36] about the manor or manorial rights, this volume should certainly be consulted.

Inquisitiones. Inquisitiones post mortem, are not unfrequently termed “Escheats,” from the writs being directed to the county official called the Escheator; but the term is incorrect, and should never be used, for there is a class of documents correctly called Escheat Rolls, which differ altogether from these inquisitions, and refer to the escheator’s accounts of lands and property escheated to the crown from various causes, and the profits and value of the same at different periods. The Inquisitio post mortem, on the contrary, was an inquiry held on oath by a jury of the district, summoned by virtue of a writ directed to the county Escheator, on the death of every tenant in capite. The jury had to inquire (1) of what lands the person died seized, (2) by what rents or services the same were held, and (3) who was his next heir and of what[37] age; they had also to ascertain whether the tenant was attainted of treason, or an alien, in which case the lands reverted to the crown. The return of the jury, together with the writ authorising the inquiry, were returned to the King’s Chancery, whence a transcript was sent to the Exchequer, so that the proper officers might be able to levy the duties and services thereupon due; for on the death of each tenant in capite, a tax termed a “relief” was due to the crown, and the heir could not take possession until the relief was paid and homage done. Moreover, if the heir was a minor, the crown administered the estates until he could make proof of his legal age and perform homage. The Exchequer transcripts of these Inquisitions, together in most cases with the writ, are still extant from the time of Henry III. down to the end of the reign of Charles I., that is, until the feudal land system was finally overthrown. Calendars, or short abstracts of[38] these Inquisitions, carefully indexed, have been printed in four folio volumes by the Record Commissioners, 1806-1828, up to the end of the reign of Richard III. These calendars, which are invaluable for reference, must be used with caution, and should never be quoted as proving the death of any person by a particular date, for unfortunately not a few inquisitions that are not post mortem, but ad quod damnum, are included amongst them. There are also many errors in nomenclature, and in assigning manors to special counties; it is therefore wisest to make the rule of never quoting these inquisitions, unless the original has been seen, or a full transcript obtained. The inquisitions subsequent to the time of Richard III. have not been calendared. Private enterprise has more than once announced that such a work would be taken in hand, and subscribers names obtained, but up to the present time (1879) there seems no immediate prospect of publication.

[39]The Record Commissioners have also published a Calendar to the Inquisitions of this class, pertaining to the Duchy of Lancaster, from the time of Edward I. to Charles I.

Extracts and abstracts from these Inquisitions, covering particular periods, or for particular counties, are numerous in our public libraries; for lists of such MSS., see Sims’ Manual, pp. 125-8.

Another form of inquisition was the Inquisitio ad quod damnum, which was a judicial inquiry, held by virtue of a writ directed to the Escheator of the county, when any license of alienation of lands, or grant of a market, fair, or other privilege was solicited. A local jury was sworn to inquire whether if the claim was granted it would interfere with any vested right, or be to the detriment of the crown or some of its subjects—hence the name ad quod damnum. These inquisitions, especially with relation to alienating lands to religious houses, are often very[40] valuable to the local historian, for the jury in such cases had to state the amount, value, and nature of the remainder of the lands of the intended donor. A calendar of these records from 1 Edward II. to 38 Henry VI., was officially published in 1803, and is bound up with the previously mentioned calendar of the Charter Rolls. It should be remembered, as already stated, that many inquisitions ad quod damnum, particularly the earlier ones, are wrongly catalogued and arranged among the post mortem inquests.

Pedes Finium. The Pedes Finium, or “Feet of Fines,” must be clearly distinguished from the previously mentioned Fine Rolls, which are quite a different class of record. The Fine here signified is no mulct of money, but is so called because it is the final agreement between persons concerning any lands or rents or other matters whereof there is any suit between them. The fine, or solemn[41] contract recorded before a competent judge, is described as having five parts—(1) the original writ taken out against the cognisor, (2) the license of the crown giving the parties liberty to accord, (3) the concord itself, (4) the note of the fine, which is an abstract of the original concord, and (5) the foot of the fine, which always began thus—“Hæc est finalis concordia facta in curia Dom. Regis apud Westm” etc. This foot of the fine, which was the official summary of the concord, was cut off in an indented line (hence the word indenture), so as to tally with the part delivered to the suitor and prove its authenticity, and retained by the court. There is no class of documents that has been so continuously preserved in uninterrupted succession as these Feet of Fines. No manorial history can be considered satisfactory until these records have been carefully consulted, for they contain the proceedings which have been adopted to convey estates, as well as to free them[42] from their entailment to issue, or from the dower of wives. The earliest of these documents, viz., from 7 Richard I. to 16 John, have been officially published in two 8vo. volumes, under the title—“Fines, sive Pedes Finium; sive Finales Concordiæ, in Curia Domini Regis.”

Having thus run through the chief classes of documents bearing, with more or less directness, on manorial history, it may be added that further information should be sought in Mr. Thomas’ “Handbook to the Public Records.” It may also be well to mention, that those who require accurate transcripts of any of the records in Fetter Lane, need not apply for officially certified copies; for reliable transcribers can readily be met with who will do the work for less than half the sum required for certified copies. If the amateur searcher does not know any transcribers, the courteous gentlemen[43] in charge of the Search Room will probably make no difficulty about giving their address.

Those who may be desirous of gaining some knowledge of the character or handwriting of ancient records, which can only be efficiently learnt by practice, are recommended to consult Wright’s “Court-Hand Restored.” It not only gives numerous alphabets and plates, illustrative of the different styles in vogue at different periods, but has valuable lists of abbreviations, of ancient place-names, and of debased Latin words that are only to be found in legal or monastic documents. Each of the earlier reigns appears to have had a set or uniform character of its own; but in the reign of Elizabeth and subsequently, this clerical mode seems to have been to a great extent abandoned, and each scribe to have written after his own fancy. It is hence very noticeable that, as was remarked by a late keeper of the Records, “the English records of the 16th and 17th[44] centuries are in general more difficult to be read than the Latin records of preceding ages.”

Civil or Domestic Architecture.

Any British, Roman, Danish, or Anglo-Saxon remains that there may be in the parish, had, perhaps, better be described before the manorial history is given. Every earthwork, mound, or ancient roadway should be carefully noted. It is not possible to refer to any one, or even three or four, satisfactory books on such subjects. Fosbrooke’s “Encyclopædia of Antiquities” is out of date, but we know of no better compendious work of reference. The two volumes of Wright’s “Essays on Archæological Subjects,” will be found of much general use. Worsae’s “Primeval Antiquities of Denmark,” translated and applied to the illustration of similar remains in[45] England, by W. J. Thoms, may be read with advantage, but with the recollection that the hard and fast “ages” of Danish antiquaries are, with greater knowledge, becoming exploded.

But all description of civil or domestic architecture, of the Norman or subsequent periods, should be deferred until after the history of the manor has been written, because that history will very likely throw light on any such architectural remains.

If there is a castle, or its relics, within the parish, the probability is considerable that it has already been well described by a county historian, or in one or other of the numerous journals of our Archæological societies. But it is equally probable that its history has not been thoroughly written, and special search should be made with that object at the P. R. O., beginning with the indexes to the printed calendars already enumerated. There is no one efficient volume treating of our mediæval castles that[46] corresponds with Viollet-le-Duc’s “Military Architecture of the Middle Ages,” but a translation of this French work has been published by Parker, and it would be well to read either that or the original.

Every effort should be made to identify the old manor-house, or its site (often marked by a grass grown moat), and this should of course be done with each manor, where, as is usually the case, the parish has contained more than one. Oral tradition, in this as in other particulars, will often be found a useful handmaid. Should the exterior of the reputed manor-house be altogether unpromising, that should not check further investigation. Several instances are known to us in which modern brick casing or sash windows are but a screen to some of the oldest domestic architecture extant, which may be found in the back premises or outbuildings, or contain fine old chimney-pieces, carved oak panelling, or ceilings of elaborate pargetting. Nor should attention be[47] only directed to manor-houses. All old domestic work is worth chronicling, so rapidly is it disappearing both in town and country; and the annalist of a parish should not be above transcribing all the initials and dates so frequently seen on lintel stones. As a rule, every house or cottage, not obviously modern, that has stone buttresses, a moulded wall-plate or string-course, or bevelled stone mullions to the windows, is worthy of careful examination. Many interesting details, such as the site of chantry-houses, may be thus brought to light, and the history in stone, and the history on parchment, be found to tally in unexpected ways.

Domestic architecture should always be described by the century, and not by the “periods” into which ecclesiastical architecture is usually divided. The only book worth purchasing on the subject, is the somewhat costly but admirable four volume edition of Parker’s “Mediæval Domestic Architecture.” For[48] the general “History of Architecture,” both civil and religious, of all ages and countries, nothing can surpass Fergusson’s last edition in four volumes, published by Murray in 1874.

Personal History.

The pedigrees and brief particulars of the Nobility can be readily found. The most useful standard works are Dugdale’s “Baronage,” Collins’ “Peerage and Baronetage,” Banks’ “Dormant and Extinct Baronage,” and the “Baronagium Genealogicum,” or pedigrees of English Peers, in five folio volumes, by Joseph Edmondson. Burke’s “Landed Gentry” gives much information with respect to the principal families of commoners, but the earlier genealogical statements that he prints are often purely mythical. Several indexes to the many thousands of printed[49] pedigrees that are scattered up and down in topographical and other works have been published, of a more or less faulty and incomplete description, but a work of this class, now (1879) in the press, entitled “The Genealogist’s Guide,” by Mr. George W. Marshall, promises to be all that can be desired.

But a large portion of family history and pedigree, which will often be essential to the elucidation of the monumental history of a parish, to completing the links in lists of the lords of the manor, or furnishing particulars with regard to smaller landholders, yet remains in MS. The most accurate of such MSS. are at the College of Arms, and are not ordinarily accessible except on payment of fees; but there is a fine collection of heraldic visitations at the B. M., the chief of which are among the Harleian MSS.

Heralds’ Visitations are said to have commenced in the reign of Henry IV., but it was not until 20 Henry VIII. that a commission proceeding from[50] royal authority was issued. From then until the latter half of the seventeenth century, visitations were made every twenty-five or thirty years. The register books, kept by the heralds and their assistants, contain the pedigrees and arms of the gentry of the respective counties, and are often also illustrated by copies and excerpts from charters and private documents. Many of these books are lost, and the rest scattered throughout public and private libraries. The archives of the College of Arms have the most important collection, and next comes the B. M. There are a large number at the B., fifty-four volumes in the library of Caius College, Cambridge, and forty in that of the Queen’s College, Oxford. The earliest heralds’ registers for the counties of Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucester, Hampshire, Kent, Notts, Oxford, Surrey, Sussex, Wilts, Worcester, and Yorks, are of the year 1530; for Berks, Devon, and Somerset, 1531; for Cheshire and Lancashire,[51] 1533; for Essex and Herts, 1552; for Suffolk, 1561; for Lincoln, 1562; for Leicester, Norfolk, Stafford, and Warwick, 1563; for Hunts, and Northampton, 1564; for Beds, and Bucks, 1566; for Derby, Hereford, and Salop, 1569; for Middlesex, 1572; for Cambridge, Durham, and Northumberland, 1575; for Cumberland and Westmoreland, 1615; and for Rutland, 1618. The last visitation of several counties was taken in 1634, but the majority were visited in 1662-4; and the last of all was that of the county of Southampton, made by Sir Henry St. George, in 1686. The general genealogist and antiquary cannot but long for the issue of another royal commission, whereby the heralds might be empowered, as of old, to destroy all false and self-assumed arms, whether on carriages, plate, or monuments.

Sims’ “Index to the Pedigrees and Arms” contained in the Heralds’ Visitations in the B. M., is[52] an accurate and useful book of reference. The “Manual for the Topographer and Genealogist,” by the same gentleman, is quite indispensable. Careful lists of family histories, of all the principal topographical works, and of all MSS. of worth in public libraries, are therein classified under the different counties.

Wills are too obvious a source of information to need a word of comment. At Somerset House is the most important and largest collection, viz., those of the province of Canterbury. The original wills in this office begin in 1404, and the transcripts in 1383. They are complete only from December, 1660. In the office at York, for that province, the wills begin in 1590, and the transcripts in 1389. Owing to the probate privileges enjoyed by the various ecclesiastical courts, there were not only registries for wills in every diocese, but numerous peculiar and exempt jurisdictions in each diocese. The dates at which[53] wills begin in the different minor registries are so very varied, and their condition and facilities, or even possibilities, of search so multifarious, that it is impossible to give any useful abstract. The Report on Public Records for 1837, and Sir Harris Nicolas’ “Notitia Historica,” should be consulted. The power of probate was taken away from the ecclesiastical courts by the Act of 1857.

The little-known Recusant Rolls of the time of Elizabeth, give information as to the humblest as well as the wealthiest parishioner who refused to attend the services of the Established Church. These, and many other similar class of documents, relative to the fining and other grievous penalties attached to profession of the Roman Catholic faith, extending up to a recent date, are to be found at the P. R. O.

Records of Attainders, Forfeitures, Sequestrations, and Pardons, some from the time of Edward[54] II., will also be found at the same office, and may be consulted with advantage by those tracing personal history, if there is any cause to suspect their complicity in any of the multitude of baronial feuds, rebellions, or religious persecutions that led to the existence of so large a class of offenders. Sims’ “Manual” should be consulted for exhaustive lists of this class of documents, as well as for numerous lists of Gentry and Freeholders of different dates, pertaining to their respective counties.

Muster Rolls, which give the names, rank, dwelling, and often other particulars, of those able to bear arms in each county, may be of interest to the local historian. The earliest of these returns, now at the P. R. O., are of the reign of Henry III.; there are great deficiencies up to the time of Henry VIII., but from that reign to the time of Charles II, they are very voluminous. Lists of Sheriffs, Members of Parliament, and Mayors of Boroughs, have[55] been printed for almost every county from an early date, and can readily be found at public libraries. The names of lords of the manor, or other individuals connected with the special parish treated of, should always be collated with such lists, in order to see if they held any of these important offices.

County Records. The various documents that are or ought to be in charge of the Clerk of the Peace, relative to all the multifarious business transacted at Quarter Sessions, contain much that is of value relative to personal or local history. But it would only be tantalising to enumerate the different class of records that should be in the custody of the county officials, for in the great majority of cases they are in so much confusion as to be practically useless for any literary purpose. Among the exceptions may be mentioned Leicestershire and Derbyshire, in the latter of which counties they have been recently admirably arranged; and also, to a certain[56] extent, Devonshire, the salient points of whose records have lately been published—see “Quarter Sessions from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Anne,” by A. H. Hamilton, a volume that aptly illustrates local government, and which is useful as showing the class of information that may be gleaned from such documents. They do not, as a rule, extend further back than the time of Elizabeth.

Borough Records. These are in many instances of great antiquity; some charters going back to the time of John. But their condition and value are much varied, and there is no trustworthy general report. It is hoped that a “Borough Records Society” will soon be formed for the publication of our Municipal Archives.

In the six Reports already issued by the Historical Manuscripts Commission the Archives of the following English boroughs have been reported on:—Abingdon, Axbridge, Berwick-on-Tweed, Bridgewater,[57] Bridport, Cambridge, Coventry, Dartmouth, Faversham, Folkestone, Fordwich, High Wycombe, Hythe, Kingston-on-Thames, Launceston, Lydd, Morpeth, New Romney, Norwich, Nottingham, Rye, St. Albans, Sandwich, Tenterden, Totnes, Wallingford, Wells, Weymouth, Winchester, and York.

The Report of the Municipal Corporation Commissioners, 1835, gives certain information, more or less meagre, of all boroughs. See also Merewether and Stephen’s “History of the Boroughs and Municipal Corporations of the United Kingdom.”

Under the head of Worthies it may be worth while to consider whether the parish has ever had amongst its residents, or on its baptismal registers, the names of men of marked celebrity in any walk of life. Nuttall’s edition of Fuller’s “Worthies of England,” published in 1840, in three vols. 8vo., Wood’s “Athenæ,” and any good Biographical Dictionaries (e.g. Chalmers’), should be consulted.


Parochial Records.

Foremost under this head come Parish Registers. Burn’s “History of Parish Registers in England” is the standard work on this subject. The first mandate for keeping registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials, in each parish was issued in 1538, but it is quite the exception to find registers of this early date. This mandate was repeated in more rigorous terms on the accession of Elizabeth, 1558, but not being regularly observed, it was ordained in 1597 that parchment register books should be purchased at the expense of each parish, and that all the names from the older books (mostly of paper) should be therein transcribed from 1558; hence it happens that so many parish registers begin with that year. It was at the same time ordered that copies of the registers should be annually forwarded to the episcopal registrar, to be preserved in the episcopal[59] archives. This injunction, however, was so imperfectly carried out, and the duplicates when forwarded were so carelessly kept, that the diocesan copies of registers are mere fragments of what they should be, and are in several cases still in such confusion as to be practically inaccessible. The earliest transcripts at Lincoln begin in 1587, and at Gloucester in 1571, but there are few dioceses that have any earlier than 1660.

Many parishes have lost their early registers, and they are usually deficient or wanting during the Commonwealth. Official inquiries were made of all the clergy in 1831, as to the exact date, condition, and number of the parish registers in their custody, and abstracts of their replies were published in a Blue Book in 1833. But it is not generally known that the returns themselves, often containing more information than was printed, are at the British Museum (Add. MSS. 9,335, etc.). The dates there[60] given are not, however, to be implicitly relied upon, as unfortunately some registers have been lost or stolen since that date, whilst others of an earlier date have happily, in some cases, been restored or discovered in the like period.

Registers should be carefully looked through, not only for the purpose of extracting the names of prominent or interesting families, but also for the purpose of gleaning the innumerable little scraps of local information that were not unfrequently interpolated in the earlier pages, such as notes pertaining to excommunication, licenses for eating flesh in Lent, penance, remarkable or eccentric characters, storms, and weather observations, inventories of church goods, visitations of the plague or sweating sickness, national events, etc., etc.

Many of the clergy and others find a difficulty in reading the earlier registers. Reference has already been made to Wright’s “Court-Hand Restored,” but[61] the greatest help in deciphering them will be the recollection that most of the letters of the ordinary hand of Elizabeth and the Stuarts, which differ from those now in use, are the same as those of the present German written characters, e.g., the letters “h” and “r.” A few days’ steady practice in transcribing old writing, beginning with the letters and words that can easily be read, ought to be sufficient to master the stiffest hands in parochial records.

In case there are any old Meeting Houses, or congregations of Independents, Presbyterians, Quakers, or other nonconformists in the parish, it will be well, with regard to these registers, to consult a Blue Book issued in 1841, called “Lists of Non-parochial Registers and Records in the custody of the Registrar-General,” wherein a county classification is observed; also a “Report on Non-parochial Registers,” issued in 1857, wherein are enumerated those registers of the sects that were still in private custody.

[62]Churchwardens’ Accounts, giving particulars of rates, receipts, and payments for church purposes, are often highly interesting, and should be carefully preserved. Sometimes they are found entered in bound volumes, but more often tied up in bundles or tumbled in confusion in the parish chest. Still more often they are altogether missing. They can occasionally be recovered from the private dwellings of present or past churchwardens. The earliest with which we are acquainted, are those of All Saints’, Derby, which begin in 1465, but they rarely are found prior to the Restoration.

The Constables Accounts, and the Accounts of the Overseers of the Poor, will also sometimes be met with, beginning from a comparatively remote date, and will amply repay close attention. They throw a similar light on the secular history of a parish to that thrown on the religious history by the Churchwardens’ Accounts. The thorough overhauling[63] of the parish chest, or other receptacles of parish papers, and the classification of their contents is strongly recommended, even where it seems to be most unpromising of results. There is no reason why even such apparently trivial things as the indentures of parish apprentices (which have the seals and signatures of Justices of the Peace), should not be preserved, neatly arranged, and docketted. Every scrap of paper of past generations, showing the inner working of parochial life, possesses some interest of its own; and future generations will thank us for their preservation. Moreover, a careful arrangement of parish papers often meets with more immediate reward. We have ourselves found missing portions of 16th century registers, highly interesting deeds as early as the 14th century, royal proclamations and special forms of prayer, temp. Elizabeth and James I., in parochial litter put aside as valueless.

[64]Of what can be gleaned from these parish annals when tolerably perfect, we may be permitted to quote that which we have elsewhere written respecting the records of Youlgreave, a Derbyshire village, that have recently been classified with some care:—

“The future historian of this parish will find a vast stock of material ready to hand; and if such a work was ever accomplished it would once more be seen how the history of even a remote village is but the history of the nation in little; how national victories were announced on the church bells, and national disasters by the proclamation of a form of prayer; how local self-government became gradually developed in the office of justice, constable, and overseer of the poor; how the press-gang worked its cruel way to man the ships and fill the regiments of the Georges; how the good folk of Youlgreave sent forth a spy to watch the movements of Charles Edward in 1745; and how they prepared to defend themselves[65] by giving their constable a new bill-head, and repairing his old one; how unmerciful was the treatment of lunatics: and how free was the consumption of ale, on the smallest possible provocation, at the parish’s expense; these, and a thousand other minutiæ, all of them possessing some point of interest, can be gleaned from these annals of a parish, to say nothing of the perfect genealogy of nearly every family, together with an account of their varying circumstances, that might be constructed by their aid.”

The fullest and best information respecting the parish as a unit of the national life, with much that pertains to the history of its various officers from the earliest times, will be found in Toulmin Smith’s “The Parish; its powers and obligations.” The second and best edition was published in 1857 by H. Sweet, Chancery Lane.

The history of the village and village officers have[66] not hitherto received the attention they deserve, for all our municipalities have developed out of village communities, and their various officials are but those of the petty rural parish adapted to the needs of an urban population. It will be well on this point to refer to the useful “Index of Municipal Offices,” with an historical introduction, recently published by G. Laurence Gomme.

Lists of parochial Charities are sometimes found in the parish chest, and more frequently on bequest boards in the church; but the local annotator should not consider that he has got a perfect or correct list until the elaborate reports of the Charity Commissioners, compiled some fifty years ago, have been consulted. In 1843, a most useful Blue Book was published for each county, being an analytical digest of the voluminous reports arranged under parishes. Topographical booksellers can generally procure copies of these, by which a great saving of time will[67] be effected. There are later Reports with regard to Endowed Schools.

History of the Church.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, or pre-Norman charters, occasionally give definite information of a church in a particular parish or district, but as a rule the earliest mention of the parish church will be found in the previously described Domesday Book. But the Commissioners, not being specially instructed to make returns of churches, acted on their own judgment, and in some counties omitted them partially, and in others altogether.

Taxatio Ecclesiastica P. Nicholai IV.—Pope Nicholas IV. (to whose predecessors in the See of Rome the first-fruits and tenths of all ecclesiastical benefices had for a long time been paid) granted the[68] tenths, in 1288, to Edward I. for six years, towards defraying the expenses of a Crusade; and that they might be collected to their full value, the King caused a valuation roll to be drawn up, which was completed in 1291, under the direction of John, Bishop of Winchester, and Oliver, Bishop of Lincoln. There are two copies of this Roll at the P. R. O., both of which appear to have been written in the reign of Henry IV., and there is a third, which is by far the oldest, among the Cottonian MSS. of the B. M. These three copies were collated and printed in a folio volume by the Record Commission in 1802. There are one or two other old copies of this Roll in private libraries; one in the Chapter Library, Lichfield; and another, in excellent condition, in the muniment room of Lincoln Cathedral.

Valor Ecclesiasticus. The taxation of 1291 held good, and all the taxes from the benefices, as well to our Kings as to the Popes, were regulated by it until[69] 27 Henry VIII., when a new survey was completed. Henceforth the first-fruits and tenths ceased to be forwarded to Rome, and were transferred to the Crown. In 1703 the receipts were appropriated, under the title of Queen Anne’s Bounty, to the augmentation of the smaller livings. The original returns of the King’s Valor are at the P. R. O. They were officially published in six folio volumes between the years 1811 and 1834. In the latter year an “Introduction” of no little value, was also published in an 8vo. volume, written by the Rev. Joseph Hunter.

Certificates of Colleges and Chantries. About ten years after the completion of his ecclesiastical survey, Henry VIII. decided on appropriating the revenues belonging to Collegiate Churches and Chantries. As a preliminary measure to their sale, he appointed a commission, in the 37th year of his reign, to re-value this property, and to take an inventory[70] of the chattels. The whole subject of the suppression of the Chantries, as conceived by Henry VIII. and finally carried out by Edward VI., is ably and exhaustively treated in the introduction to the volumes of the Cheetham Society, which treat of the Lancashire Chantries. The reports, or “Certificates,” furnished by Henry’s Commission with respect to the different chantries, are preserved at the P. R. O., and are entered on rolls arranged in eight parallel columns, in answer to a like number of queries. There are also abridged rolls on paper of some counties. Further information about chantries may be sometimes gleaned from certain MS. volumes at the P. R. O., entitled “Particulars for the Sale of Colleges and Chantries.” In the B. M. (Add. MSS. 8,102) is a valuable roll of Fees, Corrodies, and Pensions, paid to members of the suppressed chantries and religious houses, out of the Exchequer, 2 and 3 Philip and Mary. The pensions for the[71] different counties are on separate skins, so that it is easy of reference.

Inventories of Church Goods. There are various Inventories of Church Goods in the P. R. O., taken by Commission at the beginning of the reign of Edward VI., some on detached slips of parchment, others in paper books. The inventories are not absolutely perfect for all parishes in any one county; in several counties the churches of one or more Hundreds are missing; for others, such as Somerset, Sussex, and the North Riding of Yorkshire, there are none extant. Nor are there any for Lincolnshire; but there is a MS. return of Church Furniture and Ornaments of 150 churches of that county, taken in 1566, in the Episcopal Registry at Lincoln. This was published in 1866, by Edward Peacock, F.S.A. There are also some special Inventories connected with other dioceses, which space forbids us to mention.

[72]Guilds and Fraternities. Guilds and Fraternities of a more or less religious character, and usually directly connected with a special altar at the parish church, will naturally come under the history of the Church, provided any can be detected in connection with the particular parish. It used to be supposed that these guilds were only found in cities or boroughs, but later researches show that they also occasionally existed in quite small villages. The Parliament of 1381 directed writs to be sent to the sheriffs of each county, calling upon them to see that the Master and Wardens of all Guilds and Brotherhoods made returns to the King’s Council in Chancery of all details pertaining to the foundation, statutes, and property of their guilds. A large number of the original returns (549) still remain in the P. R. O., where they are known as “Miscellaneous Rolls, Tower Records, Bundles cccviii. ix. x.” For some counties there are none[73] extant, and for others only those from a single Hundred. More than one hundred of these returns have recently been printed or analysed, by Toulmin Smith, in a volume of the Early English Text Society, entitled “English Gilds.”

Heraldic Church Notes. In the different heraldic visitation books, especially those temp. Elizabeth, which have been previously described, there often occur interesting church notes, which not only detail heraldic glass in the windows and arms on the monuments, but also occasionally give inscriptions that have long since disappeared. These can only be found by a careful inspection of the heralds’ register books of the county in which the parish is situated.

Commonwealth Survey. In pursuance of various ordinances of the Parliament, a complete survey of the possessions of Bishops, Deans, and Chapters, and of all benefices, was made in 1650, by specially[74] appointed Commissioners. These interesting returns, filling twenty-one large folio volumes, are in the library of Lambeth Palace, and numbered in the catalogue of MSS. from 902 to 922. These surveys have hitherto been singularly overlooked by county historians and ecclesiologists, though occasional extracts have been published from a much-abbreviated and inaccurate summary, based on these documents, which forms No. 459 of the Lansdowne MSS. in the B. M.

The Record Books of the Commonwealth Commissioners for augmenting Rectories and Vicarages (MSS. 966-1,021); the original Presentations to various benefices from 1652 to 1659 (MSS. 944-7); and Counterparts of leases of Church Lands, made by authority of Parliament from 1652 to 1658 (MSS. 948-50), are also in Lambeth Library.

Briefs. Royal Letters Patent, authorising collections for charitable purposes within churches, were[75] termed “Briefs.” Lists of them, from the time of Elizabeth downwards, are often to be found on the fly-leaves of old register books, or in churchwardens’ accounts. The repair or rebuilding of churches in post-Reformation days, until nearly the beginning of the Catholic Revival, was almost invariably effected by this method. About the middle of last century, owing to the growing frequency of Briefs, it was ordered that they should only be granted on the formal application of Quarter Sessions. Much information as to the condition of the fabrics and other particulars relative to churches can be gathered from the petitions to Quarter Sessions, in those counties where the documents are accessible. The Briefs themselves were issued from the Court of Chancery, so we suppose they would be attainable at the P. R. O. At the B. M. is a large collection of original Briefs, from 1754 down to their abolition in 1828.[76] They were presented to the Museum in 1829, by Mr. J. Stevenson Salt.

Advowson. The history of the advowson, if the living remained a rectory, was almost invariably intermixed with that of the manor or the moieties of the manor. Consequently it will be found, that, in the case of rectories, various particulars as to the owners of the advowson, and its value, at different periods, can be gleaned from the Inquisitions, and from the Patent and Close Rolls to which references have already been made; or, in the case of litigation, from the Plea Rolls and Year Books. If the living became at any time a Vicarage, care should be taken to look through the particulars given by Dugdale and Tanner, of the religious house to which the big tithes were appropriated, and more especially to carefully search the chartularies of that establishment, if any are extant. There is an excellent list of the various monastic Chartularies, i.e., ancient parchment books,[77] containing transcripts or abstracts of the charters of the different houses, in the first two volumes of Nichols’ “Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica,” and a shorter one in Sims’ “Manual.”

The Ordination of a Vicarage, i.e., the official appropriation of certain parts of the endowment for the sustentation of a vicar, required episcopal confirmation; and these ordinations will usually be found in the Episcopal Registers, if they are extant for the date when the rectory was formally appropriated. These ordinations often contain information of great interest, and have hitherto been very rarely searched for, and still more rarely printed.

The terms used in these documents for different sorts of tithes, for the various produce of the soil, etc., etc., will be sought for in vain in any ordinary Latin Dictionary; for their explanation it will be necessary to consult a Glossary of mediæval or monastic terms. The most handy and accurate is the[78] abridged edition of the Glossaries of Du Cange, Du Fresne, etc., in six vols. 8vo., published at Halle, between 1722-1784. Some such work will also be found indispensable in consulting the monastic Chartularies and many of the Records and Rolls. The majority of the terms will be found in the last two editions of Cowel’s “Interpreter,” 1708, and 1737, which can much more readily be met with than the larger glossaries; but there is great need for a one volume compendious glossary, and it is hoped that such a work may shortly be published.

Lists of Incumbents. Lists of rectors and vicars, giving the date of their institution, and the names of their respective patrons, are indispensable to a complete parochial history. They are, for the most part, to be obtained from the diocesan registers. This work, in several dioceses, will be found to involve no small labour, for Bishop’s registrars were not always particular to separate institutions from other Episcopal[79] acts, and occasionally placed them in precise chronological order for the whole diocese, without any regard to archdeaconries and other minor divisions. But the trouble will be amply repaid by the numerous quaint and interesting little details that the searcher will be almost sure to discover. Many of our episcopal registers, or act books, are of supreme interest, and yet they are perhaps less known than any class of original documents. The dates at which these registers begin average about the year 1300. We give, for the first time in any manual, their respective initial years:—Canterbury, 1279; London, 1306; Winchester, 1282; Ely 1336; Lincoln, 1217; Lichfield, 1296; Wells, 1309; Salisbury, 1296; Exeter, 1257; Norwich, 1299; Worcester, 1268; Hereford, 1275; Chichester, 1397; Rochester, 1319; York, 1214; and Carlisle, 1292. The old registers of Durham are mostly lost, that of Bishop Kellaw, 1311-18, being the oldest. None of the[80] Welsh Cathedrals have any registers older than the 16th century.

Gaps are not unusual in the episcopal registers for some time subsequent to the Reformation, when the books were often kept in a slovenly fashion. These deficiencies can be generally supplied from the lists of institutions in the Augmentation Books at the P. R. O.

It is scarcely necessary to say that no list of incumbents should be considered complete, until it has been carefully collated with the parish registers.

Catalogues of all the English Bishops are to be found in Canon Stubbs’s “Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum;” and similar lists of Deans, Prebendaries, and minor dignitaries, in Hardy’s edition of Le Neve’s “Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ.” Both of these works may probably be useful when drawing up the list of parish priests.

Lists of priests appointed to the more important[81] chantries can usually also be extracted from the diocesan registers, for, except in peculiar circumstances, they required episcopal institution.

Any facts of interest or importance that can be ascertained respecting the successive incumbents should be chronicled. For the time of the Commonwealth, Walker’s “Sufferings of the Clergy” on the one hand, and Calamy’s “Ejected Ministers” on the other, should be consulted. They both make mention of a very great number of the clergy.

Dedication. The dedication of the church should never be taken for granted from county gazetteers or directories. Dedications to All Saints, and to the Blessed Virgin, should be viewed with some suspicion until firmly established, for in the time of Henry VIII. the dedication festivals, or “wakes,” were often transferred to All Saints’ Day, or Lady Day, in order to avoid a multiplicity of holidays, and hence by degrees the real dedication became forgotten. Ecton’s[82]Thesaurus Rerum Ecclesiasticarum” (1742), and Bacon’s “Liber Regis” (1786), should be consulted for dedications. Occasionally the patron saints of the different churches are mentioned in the institutions in the episcopal registers, and more often in monastic chartularies; but the surest of all references, in the case of a doubtful dedication, is to look up the pre-Reformation wills of the lords of the manor or other chief people of the parish. These wills almost invariably contain an early clause to this effect:—“I leave my body to be buried within the church of St. ——.” The time of the wakes or village feast is a good guide to the dedication, but one which, from the reason stated above, as well as from other causes, must not be implicitly relied upon.

Another point worth remembering with regard to dedications, is that re-consecration was not of unfrequent occurrence. Murder and some other crimes[83] within the church, as well as special violations of the altar, rendered re-consecration imperative; and it was also often resorted to when the fabric was altogether or considerably rebuilt, or even when a new chancel was added. At the time of these re-consecrations, it occasionally happened that the name of the patron saint was changed, not from mere caprice or love of novelty, but because relics of that particular saint were obtained for inclosure in the chief or high altar. This should be borne in mind when a discrepancy is found in the name of the patron saint of the same church at different epochs.

The chapter of Parker’s “Calendar of the Anglican Church,” entitled “A few remarks on the dedication of English Churches,” is worth reading. This book is also valuable for the brief account of the saints most frequently met with in England, both in dedications and otherwise. The first half of the book has been re-published once or twice, under the title[84] of “Calendar of the Prayer Book,” but it leaves out the chapters here mentioned, and is comparatively valueless as compared with the edition of 1851. Harington “On the Consecration of Churches,” published by Rivington in 1844, should also be read.

Description of the Church.

Having finished the history of the Church, it will be best to follow it up by a description of the fabric of the Church, and of all its details.

Styles of Architecture. In deciding as to the different “periods” under which to classify the various styles into which almost every parish church is more or less divided, it is perhaps wisest to confine oneself to the simple and generally accepted divisions of English architecture, originally adopted by Mr. Rickman, viz. (1) the Saxon, from 800 to 1066; (2)[85] the Norman, from 1066 to 1145; (3) the Early English, from 1145 to 1272; (4) the Decorated, from 1272 to 1377; and (5) the Perpendicular, from 1377 to 1509. Some competent writers always speak of three periods of Transition, covering the reigns of Henry II., Edward I., and Richard II.; whilst others, and this may be well adopted, speak of only one regular “Transition,” meaning by that term the period between the Early English and Decorated, or the reign of Edward I. (1272-1307).

These divisions are generally accepted as sufficing for popular purposes; but of the more detailed and technical divisions of later writers, there are none so correct in nomenclature, and so accurate in separation of style, as the seven periods of Mr. Edmund Sharpe. The first and second of his periods are the same as given above, but the third is styled the Transitional, from 1145 to 1190; the fourth, the Lancet, from 1190 to 1245; the fifth, the Geometrical,[86] from 1245 to 1315; the sixth, the Curvilinear, from 1315 to 1360; and the seventh, the Rectilinear, from 1360 to 1550. See Sharpe’s “Seven Periods of English Architecture,” with its excellent series of plates.

There are numerous architectural manuals, but Parker’s “Glossary of Gothic Architecture” has not been surpassed, and is very comprehensive. The best edition is the fourth, with the two additional volumes of plates.

Before classifying the different parts of the building according to the various periods, a most careful inspection should be made of both inner and outer walls, when fragments of mouldings, pertaining possibly to an earlier church than any now standing, may not unfrequently be detected.

Monuments. Inscriptions on monuments now missing, or partly obliterated, may sometimes be recovered from the Church Notes of Heraldic Visitations, or other MS. note books of ecclesiologists of[87] past generations, in which some counties are peculiarly fortunate. For a list of MSS. of this description, that may be found in our public libraries, arranged under counties, see Sims’ “Manual.” It may also be useful to refer to two printed works—Le Neve’s “Monumenta Anglicana,” 5 vols. 8vo. (1717-1719), and Weever’s “Ancient Funerall Monuments,” the latest edition of which, with additions, is a 4to. vol. of 1767. The former gives inscriptions on monuments of eminent persons who deceased between 1600 and 1718, the latter treats generally of all monuments in the dioceses of Canterbury, Rochester, London, and Norwich. Bloxam, on “Monumental Architecture” (1834), is a useful handbook on the general subject of monuments.

Cutts’ “Manual of Sepulchral Slabs and Crosses” is the only book dealing with the interesting subject of early INCISED SLABS. It is well done, but much more has come to light on the subject since it was written[88] (1849), and a new manual is much wanted. In some counties, where stone abounds, remains of this description are found in most churches. If any part of the church is being rebuilt, the debris should be most carefully looked over; and a minute inspection of the existing masonry will often detect more or less perfect specimens of incised crosses that have been utilised in the masonry by the church restorers of past generations. The lintels of the windows (especially of the clerestory and of the tower), the inner side of the parapets or battlements, the stone seats of the porch, and of course the whole of the flooring, should be critically scanned for these relics. See also Boutell’s “Christian Monuments.”

Haines’ “Manual of Monumental Brasses” (2 vols. 8vo., 1861) is the best book on that class of memorials. The second volume consists of a fairly exhaustive list of brasses throughout the kingdom.

There is no good handbook dealing exclusively with[89] STONE EFFIGIES, a great desideratum; the big illustrated folios of Gough’s “Sepulchral Monuments,” and Stothard’s “Monumental Effigies,” may be consulted with advantage. For the details of ARMOUR, Hewitt’s “Ancient Armour and Weapons in Europe” (3 vols) is the most exhaustive work; for the details of COSTUME there are several expensive works, but the best handbook is Fairholt’s “Costume in England,” to which is appended an illustrated glossary of terms.

In connection with stained or painted Glass, Winston’s “Hints on Glass Painting” (2nd edition, 1867) should be read, wherein the different styles of successive periods are critically distinguished and illustrated.

For the important item of Heraldry, both in glass and on monuments, the best of the numerous manuals (and there are several very trashy) is Cussan’s “Handbook of Heraldry.” Burke’s “General[90] Armoury,” of which a new and extended edition was published in 1878, is a dictionary of arms classified under families. Papworth’s “Dictionary of British Armorials” is arranged on the opposite principle, viz., the blazonry or description of the arms is given first, and the name of the family or families to which it pertains follows. It is an expensive work, but indispensable in the identification of arms. It will also be found to be far more accurate than Burke, and gives references to the various rolls and other MSS. from which the arms are cited.

Fonts are almost a speciality in themselves. Simpson’s “Series of Ancient Baptismal Fonts,” 1825, has a large number of beautifully finished plates of the more remarkable examples. Paley’s “Baptismal Font,” 1844, has illustrations and critical descriptions of a great number, arranged alphabetically. See also the “Archæologia,” vols. x. and xi.

[91]Bells have now a literature of their own. Ellacombe’s “Bells of the Church,” and Fowler’s “Bells and Bell-ringing” are admirable works. The inscriptions, etc., on the church bells of the majority of English counties have already been published, and most of the remainder are now in progress. North’s “Bells of Leicestershire,” and “Bells of Northamptonshire,” are the best books of their class, but the “Bells of Derbyshire,” now in course of publication in the “Reliquary,” and chiefly contributed by St. John Hope, are being yet more thoroughly treated, both in description and illustration.

Church Plate should always be inspected, and the date, character, inscription, or arms on each piece carefully recorded. Chaffers’ “Hall Marks on Plate” gives the fullest description of the different marks, and how the precise date can be thereby ascertained. The fifth edition, published in 1875, is a considerable improvement on its predecessors.

[92]Inventories of Church Goods often need explanation, or remains of various ancient church furniture may make some description necessary. There is no one book that can be thoroughly recommended on this subject; but, perhaps, the most satisfactory in some respects is Walcott’s “Sacred Archæology,” a popular dictionary of ecclesiastical art and institutions. Jules Corblet’s “Manuel Elémentaire d’Archéologie Nationale” may be consulted with advantage; it is a better done work than anything of the size and scope in English, and is well illustrated. For the various details of Church worship and ceremonies, reference should be made to Rock’s “Church of our Fathers,” and to Chambers’ valuable work, “Divine Worship in England in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, contrasted with and adapted to that in the Nineteenth.”

Before beginning the description of the Church, it will be well, in the first place, in order to ensure[93] clearness and accuracy, that some general PLAN OF PROCEDURE should be adopted. We give the following skeleton of a suggested outline, that has been proved to be useful and orderly, but it can, of course, be altered or expanded or re-arranged in any direction.

1. Enumeration of component parts of structure, remarks as to its general or special characteristics.

2 Ground plan, i.e., dimensions of area of chancel, nave, etc., different levels, and number of chancel and altar steps.

3. Description of parts of the permanent structure that are (a) Saxon, (b) Norman, (c) Early English, (d) Transition, (e) Decorated, (f) Perpendicular, (g) Debased, (h) Churchwarden, and (i) Restored. Some definite order should be observed under each head, otherwise it is likely that some details may escape, e.g. doorways, windows, piers, arches, etc., of chancel, nave, aisles, porches, transepts, tower, and chapels.

[94]4. External details—parapets, gurgoyles, niches, stoup, arms, inscriptions, “low side windows.”

5. Internal details—[Stone] altar or altar stone, piscina, almery, hagioscope, Easter or sepulchral recess, niches, brackets, roof-corbels, and sedilia of (a) chancel, (b) south aisle, (c) north aisle, and (d) chapels or transepts; also groined roofs, doorway or steps to roodloft, and stone screens—[Wood] altar table, altar rails, reading desk, lectern, pulpit, pews, benches, poppy-heads, panelling, roofs, doors, galleries, rood or chancel screen, other screens or parcloses, parish or vestment chests, alms boxes—[Iron or other metal]—any old details.

6. Font—(a) position, (b) description, (c) measurements, (d) cover.

7. Monuments—beginning with early incised stones, and carefully following them down in chronological order, an order which should not be broken except for the purpose of keeping a family group[95] together. Arms should be correctly blazoned, and inscriptions faithfully copied.

8. Stained glass, according to age.

9. Encaustic tiles—pavement generally.

10. Fresco paintings, black-letter texts, patterns on roof or elsewhere, royal arms, charity bequest boards.

11. Bells—(a) number, (b) inscription and marks, (c) frame, (d) remarkable peals, or bell-ringers rhymes, (e) legends; also sanctus bell, or bell cote on nave gable.

12. Parish registers and other documents; church books, or library.

13. Church plate.

14. Church yard, (a) cross, (b) remarkable monuments or epitaphs, (c) yew tree, (d) lychgate, (e) sundial.

15. More recent fittings or ornaments, such as altar appurtenances, organ, etc.; the previous headings[96] being supposed to be confined to older details possessing some historic value. But if the date, or probable date, is given of each particular, it might perhaps be as well to describe everything (if a complete account up to date is desired) under its proper head; thus a modern altar cross and candlesticks might be mentioned under the 5th head.

A few words on church “Restoration” may be here introduced; for it cannot surely be inappropriate to include a sentence or two in these pages (whose object it is to further the preservation of local records), that may possibly have some small influence in preventing the needless destruction of any part of those noble buildings round which the history of each English parish so closely clusters. From the standpoint of a local annalist nothing has been more painful in the “restorations” of the past forty years than the wanton way in which monuments,[97] and more especially flat tombstones, of all ages, have been often treated.

It is necessary to enter a warm protest against the notion that any honour can be paid to God, or respect to the memory of those that He created in His own image, by burying inscribed gravestones beneath many inches of concrete in order to stick therein the glossy tiles of recent manufacture. The effacing or removal (wherever it can be avoided) of the memorials of the dead should in all cases be strongly resisted, no matter what be the eminence of the architect that recommends it. There are not many unrestored churches left in the country, but there are some of much value and interest for whose fate we tremble. When a “restoration” (the term is a necessity for the lack of a better) is contemplated, let it be recollected that all work—beyond the removal of galleries, and modern fittings, the opening out of flat plaster ceilings, above which good timber roofs[98] often lie concealed, the scraping off the accumulated layers of whitewash and paint, the letting in of light through blocked-up windows, the allowing of feet to pass through doorways closed in recent days by the mason or bricklayer, and the making strong of really perishing parts—all work beyond this is in great danger of destroying the traces of the historic continuity of our Church, and of doing a damage that can never be repaired. And in preserving this historic continuity, let it not be thought that any service is being rendered to history or religion by sweeping clean out of the church all fittings of a post-Reformation date. The sturdy Elizabethan benches, the well-carved Jacobean pulpit, or the altar rails of beaten iron of last century, should all be preserved as memorials of their respective periods; in short, everything that our forefathers gave to God’s service that was costly and good, should be by us preserved, provided that it does not mar the devout ritual[99] ordered by the Common Prayer, or in other respects interfere with the Church’s due proclaiming of her Divine mission to the nineteenth century. The reaction against over-restoration is now happily setting in, but a word of caution is also necessary lest that cry should be adopted as the cloak of a lazy indifferentism, or be used as an excuse for regarding the parish church as a local museum illustrative of byegone times, to be carefully dusted and nothing more. Where much new work, or any considerable extent of refitting, seem absolutely necessary, it is best to hasten slowly, and to do a little well rather than to aim at a speedy general effect. Thus, if one of our old grey churches requires fresh seating, how much better to fill a single aisle or one bay of the nave with sound and effectively carved oak, and only repair the remainder, rather than to accomplish the whole in sticky pine. The best material and the best art should surely be used in God’s service, and[100] not reserved to feed our pride or minister to our comfort in private dwellings. It has often been noticed how far better the work of redeeming the interior of our churches from that state of dirt and neglect that had degraded some at least below the level of the very barns upon the glebe, has been carried out where money has come in slowly, and at intervals, rather than where some munificent patron has readily found the funds to enter upon a big contract.

Religious Houses.

If the parish includes within its boundaries the remains or the site of any abbey, priory, hospital, monastic cell, or other religious building otherwise than the parish church, the history and description of such places must of course be separately undertaken.[101] And let not the local historian consider it is needless for him to explore into a subject that has probably been treated of with greater or less detail in the original edition of Dugdale’s “Monasticon,” or with more precision in the expanded English edition. The English abbeys or priories, whose history can be said to have been exhaustively written, could certainly be counted on the fingers of both hands.

Should any one desire to thoroughly search into the history of a religious house, it will be best in the first place to ascertain whether there is any chartulary or chartularies extant (to printed lists of which we have previously referred) for Dugdale and subsequent writers have often only quoted some two or three out of a hundred charters, or ignored them altogether. Secondly, the numerous references to national records, all now to be found at the P. R. O., which are given in Tanner’s “Notitia,” or in the big[102] Dugdale, should be referred to seriatim. Thirdly, the indexes and calendars to the various Rolls, etc., at the P. R. O., which have been mentioned under the manorial history, should be looked through for those more or less frequent references that are almost certain to have been omitted by Tanner. Fourthly, the Augmentation Books, and other likely documents of the time of the Suppression of the Monasteries, should be overhauled. Fifthly, special MSS. dealing with the order to which the house pertains, should be sought after; e.g., if of the Premonstratensian order, a store of unpublished matter is almost certain to be found in the Peck MSS. of the B. M., and in the Visitation Book of the B., numbered Ashmole MSS. 1519. Sixthly, search should also be made through the indexes of the various Blue Book Reports of the Historical Manuscript Commission, and inquiries set on foot as to local private libraries. Seventhly, and though last,[103] this suggestion will often be found to be of great value, questions should be asked through the pages of that invaluable medium between literary men—Notes and Queries.

It may also be found of use to study the precise statutes and regulations of the particular order. They will be found in full in the bulky folios of Holstein’s “Codex Regularum Monasticarum et Canonicarum,” 1759. Dugdale only gives an abstract of the majority of them.

General Topics.

Under this head we may classify the more general and modern subjects that should not be left out of any complete parochial history, but which it is sufficient just to indicate without further comment, only premising that the annalist should keep constantly[104] before him that it is the history of a parish, and not of a county or country, on which he is engaged, and that the more sparing he is of general disquisitions the more likely he is to please his readers.

The value of a thorough study of the field-names, of which we spoke in the first section of this manual, will now also become apparent. Some names will tell of a change of physical features, of swamps and islands, where all is now dry and far removed from water, or of forests and underwood, where the blade of corn is now the highest vegetation; whilst others will point to the previous existence of the vast common fields, and their peculiar cultivation (concerning which Maine’s “Village Communities” should be read). Some will indicate the foolish ways in which special crops were attempted to be forced by law upon the people, for it is few parishes that have not a “Flax Piece” as a witness to the futile legislation of 24 Henry VIII.; whilst others tell of trades[105] now extinct, or metals long since worked out. Some speak of those early days when the wolf or the bear roamed the woods and fields, the beaver dammed up the streams, or the eagle swooped down upon its prey; whilst others tell of the weapons whereby these fauna were rendered extinct, for scarcely a township can be found where some field is not termed “the Butts,” names that certainly date back as far as Edward IV., when it was enacted that every Englishman should have a bow of his own height, and that butts for the practice of archery should be erected near every village, where the inhabitants were obliged to shoot up and down on every feast day under penalty of being mulcted a halfpenny.

It will, of course, be a matter of taste whether the topics here enumerated should precede or follow the manorial and ecclesiastical history.

I. Situation—extent—hill and river—caverns and springs—scenic character—climate and temperature.

[106]II. Geology—mineral workings—quarries.

III. Special vegetable productions, past and present.

IV. Special Fauna—mammalia—birds—fish—reptiles—insects.

V. Agriculture, past and present. Inclosures of different dates—Inclosure Acts; for the mostly sad effects of these most selfish Acts, which profited the rich at the expense of the poor, for lists of inclosures from time of Queen Anne, and for other valuable information on this topic, see “General Report on Enclosures,” drawn up by the Board of Agriculture in 1808. The Board of Agriculture, in the first quarter of this century, drew up most valuable Surveys of Agriculture for the different counties, many of which are replete with varied and interesting information. On the economic and antiquarian side of this question, read Professor Rogers’s “History of Agriculture and Prices in England.”

[107]VI. Trades and manufactures, past and present.

VII. Fairs and markets.

VIII. Roads, canals, railways, and bridges—past and present. Care should be taken in tracing out disused roads, bridle paths, or pack-horse tracks.

IX. Folk-lore. Under this head will come customs and ceremonies relating to childbearing, churching, christening, courtship, betrothal, marriage, death, and burial—public-house signs and their meaning—customs and superstitious pertaining to wells and streams—used and disused sports and games—obsolete punishments, such as ducking-stool or stocks—omens—witchcraft—ghosts—charms—divinations—and other quaint or original customs. Several books have lately been published on this subject, but they are mostly instances of book-making, and none come up to or surpass Ellis’s edition of “Brand’s Popular Antiquities.” A most useful publication society has been recently started,[108] termed “The Folk Lore Society,” which has already begun collecting and publishing. The Hon. Sec. is G. Lawrence Gomme, Esq., Castelnau, Barnes.

X. Dialect. On this subject see the invaluable publications of the “English Dialect Society,” now (1879) in the seventh year of its existence. The hon. secretary is J. H. Nodal, Esq., The Grange, Heaton Moor, Stockport. One of their publications, price 6s. to non-subscribers, is “A List of Books relating to some of the counties of England.” Halliwell’s “Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words” will be found very useful.

XI. Poor Law and general Rating, history and statistics.

XII. Population, inhabited houses, and other census details at different periods.



Advowson, 76.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 16.

Armour, 89.

Attainders, 53.

Bacon’s “Liber Regis,” 82.

Banks’ “Dormant and Extinct Baronage,” 48.

Bateman’s “Ten Years Diggings,” 15.

Bells, 91.

Bigelow’s “Placita Anglo-Normannica,” 35.

Black Book of the Exchequer, 20.

Blount’s “Ancient Tenures,” 19.

Bloxam’s “Monumental Architecture,” 87.

Bohn’s “Antiquarian Series,” 16.

Boldon Book, 18.

Book of Ely, 17.

Book of Exeter, 17.

Book of Winchester, 18.

Borough Records, 56.

Boutell’s “Christian Monuments,” 88.

Brand’s “Popular Antiquities,” 107.

Brasses, 88.

Briefs, 74.

Burke’s “Armoury,” 89.

Burke’s “Landed Gentry,” 48.

Burn’s “Parish Registers,” 58.

Calamy’s “Ejected Ministers,” 81.

Chaffers’ “Hall Marks,” 91.

Chalmers’ “Biographical Dictionary,” 57.

Chambers’ “Divine Worship,” 92.

Chantries, 69.

Charities, 66.

Charnock’s “Local Etymology,” 14.

Charter Rolls, 25.

Church Details, 93-6.

Church, Description of, 84.

Church, History of, 67.

Churchwardens’ Accounts, 62.

Close Rolls, 24.

Collins’ “Peerage and Baronetage,” 48.

Commonwealth Survey, 73.

Constables’ Accounts, 62.

Corblet’s “Manuel Elémentaire,” 92.

Costume, 89.

County Records, 55.

Court of Chancery, 33.

Cowel’s “Interpreter,” 78.

Cussan’s “Heraldry,” 89.[110]

Cutts’ “Incised Slabs,” 87.

Dialect, 108.

Dedication of Church, 81.

Domesday Book, 16, 67.

Domestic Architecture, 44.

Dugdale’s “Baronage,” 48.

Dugdale’s “Monasticon,” 101.

Ecton’s “Thesaurus,” 82.

Edmondson’s “Baronagium Genealogicum,” 48.

Edmund’s “Names of Places,” 14.

Ellacombe’s “Bells of the Church,” 91.

Ellis’ “Introduction to Domesday Book,” 17.

English Dialect Society, 108.

Episcopal Registers, 79.

Etymology, 13.

Fairholt’s “Costume,” 89.

Feet of Fines, 40.

Ferguson’s “River Names,” 15.

Ferguson’s “Teutonic Name System,” 15.

Fergusson’s “Rude Stone Monuments,” 15.

Fergusson’s “History of Architecture,” 48.

Feudal Tenure, 18.

Field Names, 13, 104.

Fine Rolls, 26.

Folk Lore, 107.

Folk Lore Society, 108.

Fonts, 90.

Forfeitures, 53.

Fosbrooke’s “Encyclopædia of Antiquities,” 44.

Fowler’s “Bells and Bell-ringing,” 91.

Fuller’s “Worthies,” 57.

General Topics, 103-8.

Glass, 89.

Gomme’s “Index of Municipal Offices,” 66.

Gough’s “Sepulchral Monuments,” 89.

Greenwell’s “British Barrows,” 15.

Guilds and Fraternities, 72.

Haines’ “Brasses,” 88.

Halliwell’s “Archaic Dictionary,” 108.

Hamilton’s “Quarter Sessions,” 56.

Heralds’ Visitations, 49.

Heraldic Church Notes, 73.

Heraldry, 89.

Hewitt’s “Ancient Armour,” 89.

Historical MSS. Commission, 56.

History of the Church, 67.

Holstein’s “Codex,” 103.

Hundred Rolls, 27.

Incised Slabs, 87.

Inclosure Acts, 106.

Inclosure Commissioners, 14, 106.

Incumbents, Lists of, 78.

Inquisitiones ad quod damnum, 39.

Inquisitiones post mortem, 36.[111]

Inventories of Church Goods, 71, 92.

Itinerant Justices, 31.

Justices in Eyre, 31.

Justices of the Forest, 31.

Kemble’s “Saxons in England,” 16.

Knight’s Fees, 18.

Le Neve’s “Fasti,” 80.

Le Neve’s “Monumenta Anglicana,” 88.

Leo’s “Local Nomenclature,” 14.

Local Etymology, 13.

Lubbock’s “Scientific Lectures,” 15.

Maine’s “Village Communities,” 104.

Manorial History, 16.

Maps, 14.

Marshall’s “Genealogist’s Guide,” 49.

Marshall Rolls, 20.

Mayors of Boroughs, 54.

Members of Parliament, 54.

Merewether’s “History of Boroughs,” 57.

Monuments, 86.

Muster Rolls, 54.

Nichols’ “Collectanea,” 77.

Nicolas’ “Notitia Historica,” 53.

Nonarum Inquisitiones, 21.

Nonconformist Registers, 61.

“Notes and Queries,” 103.

North’s “Bells of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire,” 91.

Originalia, 26.

Overseers of the Poor, 62.

Paley’s “Fonts,” 90.

Papworth’s “Armorials,” 89.

Pardons, 53.

Parish Registers, 58.

Parker’s “Calendar,” 84.

Parker’s “Domestic Architecture,” 47.

Parker’s “Glossary of Architecture,” 86.

Parochial Records, 58.

Patent Rolls, 23.

Pedes Finium, 40.

Personal History, 48.

Pipe Rolls, 22.

Placita, 29.

Placita Itinerum, 32.

Plate, 91.

Prehistoric Remains, 15.

Quo Warranto Rolls, 32.

Re-consecration, 82.

Records of Assize, 32.

Recusant Rolls, 53.

Re-dedication, 83.

Religious Houses, 100.

“Reliquary,” 91.

Report on Enclosures, 106.

Report on Municipal Corporations, 57.

Report on Public Records, 53.[112]

Restoration, 96.

Rock’s “Church of our Fathers,” 92.

Roger’s “History of Agriculture,” 106.

Rotuli Curiæ Regis, 30.

Scutage Rolls, 20.

Sequestrations, 53.

Sharpe’s “Seven Periods,” 86.

Sheriffs, 54.

Simpson’s “Fonts,” 90.

Sims’ “Index to Pedigrees,” 52.

Sims’ “Manual,” 39, 52, 54, 77, 87.

Stone Effigies, 89.

Stothard’s “Monumental Effigies,” 89.

Stubb’s “Registrum Sacrum,” 86.

Styles of Architecture, 84.

Tanner’s “Notitia,” 101.

Taylor’s “Words and Places,” 14.

Taxation of Pope Nicholas, 67.

Testa de Neville, 20.

Thomas’ “Handbook,” 42.

Thorpe’s “Diplomatarium Anglicum,” 16.

Tithe Commutation Maps, 14.

Toulmin Smith’s “English Guilds,” 73.

Toulmin Smith’s “Parish,” 65.

Valor Ecclesiasticus, 68.

Village Officers, 66.

Viollet-le-Duc’s “Military Architecture,” 46.

Walcott’s “Sacred Archæology,” 92.

Walker’s “Sufferings of the Clergy,” 81.

Weever’s “Funerall Monuments,” 87.

Wills, 52.

Winston’s “Glass Painting,” 89.

Wood’s “Athenæ,” 57.

Worrall’s “Bibliotheca Legum Angliæ,” 35.

Worsae’s “Primeval Antiquities,” 44.

Wright’s “Archæological Essays,” 44.

Wright’s “Court-Hand Restored,” 43, 60.

Year Books, 34.

Youlgreave Parish Records, 64.



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Illuminated Addresses on vellum for Presentation in the highest style of the art. Heraldic Work of all kinds. Pedigrees and Coats of Arms copied with accuracy.
In every style—plain and strong for Parish Libraries, neat and uniform for Private Libraries, and superbly extra finished for Presentation and the Drawing Room Table.



THE process, briefly described, is as follows. The Instantaneous or Fac-Simile Printing Ink is made in sticks, to be rubbed like Indian Ink, as well as in a liquid state in Bottles, price One Shilling each. The ink should be used on ordinary paper, of a good quality, and for very elaborate Drawings, Whatman’s drawing paper is recommended. The paper must be kept free from finger touches and grease; and while the drawing is in progress, it is well to have a piece of loose paper under the hand, which serves to keep the paper clean and to try the pen on after each supply or dip of ink. The lead pencil may be used and left on the paper, as the strokes will not interfere with the printing; and the Ink Drawing must on no account be smeared or rubbed with India Rubber, &c.

For Circulars, Fac-Similes of old MSS., and Commercial purposes, the ordinary pen will do; but for Drawings, a fine steel pen or crow-quill should be used.

Drawing or writing executed with the ink should be sent flat, or round a roller, to Messrs. Bemrose & Sons, who will then print from it any required number of copies in exact fac-simile.


Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.

Archaic or variant spelling has been retained.