Of this Parish: Using Church & Parish Records

Kedington parish chest

The village/parish was a self contained community. Moral supervision was in the hands of the parish priest with the elected churchwardens. The law was enforced by the parish constable and the poor were cared for by the overseers. The highways were maintained or most likely neglected by the surveyor and all of these were overseen by a kind of local parliament, the vestry meeting. The records of all these were kept in the parish chest. Thomas Cromwell, after the final suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace & Lincolnshire rising, issued a mandate that every vicar, parson or curate was to enter into a book every wedding, christening and burial in his parish and the parish was to provide a “sure coffer” with two locks, the keys to be held by the parson and churchwardens All these activities created records most of which have never been indexed and in many cases provide further information about the lives and times of our ancestors. At the end of the lecture the student will have a working knowledge of the parish chest in furtherance of their family history research

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