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About Staplehurst All Saints Parish Registers

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  Source of Data
  Register Books
  How to Search

 About the Transcription
  General Notes

  About Registers pre 
  1538 - 1695

  Registers Post 1695:
  About Baptisms 
   
  About Burials
   
  About Marriages

  About Banns

   
 

 

 




 

 

Source of Data
  The source of the data is the All Saints Parish registers. The registers are held at the
  Centre for Kentish Studies (reference P347) in Maidstone and are available to view
  on microfilm. The records begin in 1538, and except for the period during the civil
  war, there is a full set of records. These records are an important source of
  information for anyone researching family or local history.

  I would like to thank Reverend Gill Calver, Rector of All Saints Staplehurst,
  and the Parochial Church Council for their kind permission to include these
  transcribed records on this web site.

  While I have used my 'best endeavours' to ensure the data is accurately transcribed,
  there will be mistakes. As is true in all circumstances, when in doubt, check the
  original. If you do identify mistakes, please contact Cathy Goodwin  and I will
  correct.
  I would like to hear from you if you have any suggestions or contributions.
  Contact information can be found from the 'Home' page.
 


About the Register Books

Staplehurst Registers 1538 – 1695
This is, for me, the most interesting set of registers. It is also the most difficult registers to transcribe. The writing is difficult to read, many of the pages are blurred or torn and the spelling is quite challenging.

However, we are extremely fortunate to have a transcription of the registers completed in 1907 by the then Rector of Staplehurst, James Slade Foster Chamberlain, M.A.

The transcription is exceptionally good. It transcribes the register line by line exactly as it was written. Over the last few years, I have spot checked various entries from the Chamberlain transcription against the original register and have always found the transcription accurate. I have not checked all entries against the original register.

I have also compared the marriages entries to Pallets Marriage Index 1538 – 1813. The Chamberlain version has more detail and is more accurate. He was obviously familiar with the parish and the families and the transcription reflects this.  

Note that the full transcription completed by James Chamberlain can be purchased on fiche from the KFHS. The fiche number is 1761 and links to the KFHS can be found on ‘Staplehurst Links’ from the Home page.

At this time period, 1538 to 1695, the registers were written in freeform with no separation of baptism, marriages or burials. To enable searching and to be consistent with accepted standards, I have separated the baptisms, burials and marriages. The data has been entered in tabular format but with as much detail as realistic to reflect the information held in the register. Spelling is as per the register while dates have all been standardised. I have used the notes fields extensively to add any additional information found.

The registers are apparently written in draft and then later included in the register. This becomes obvious as often they are out of sequence. The hand writing changes often and James Chamberlain noted that this coincided with the change of churchwardens who probably kept the register. At least once a year there was a visitation, often in Faversham, which the churchwardens would present a copy of the register to the Archdeacon. These copies are what we know as the Bishop’s Transcriptions.

The first register book opens with the record of the burial on 29 September 1538 of Thomas Petyman from Cranbrook, a child being nursed by dorithie Smythe. Again, we are fortunate to have these earliest entries as many parishes do not have the equivalent.

Pages 17 & 18 of the original register, covering end of March to 15 July 1541, have been torn out and data is missing.

An ordinance made by the Convocation of Canterbury, 25 Oct 1597 required all births, deaths, and marriages to be recorded on parchment to ensure a long life. The original paper register was copied to parchment and Staplehurst is fortunate to have both the original paper copy and the parchment copy. The paper copy tends to hold more detail as when transcribed to parchment, generally, only a basic entry was transcribed. Where the parchment copy differs to the original paper copy the difference is shown in brackets. The differences can be summarized as mainly spelling variations with a few exceptions.

There are several periods when significant political and religious upheaval had a major impact on the register.

During the reign of Queen Mary (1553 – 1558), The Rector of Staplehurst, Richard Beseley,  was forced into exile as a married minister. There is a period immediately after this when the register is suspect. By 1557, the registers appear mostly in Latin. Mary’s death is noted in November 1558 and immediately afterwards there is a backlash by the parishioners of Staplehurst. There are instances of burials taking place in the middle of the night and being refused burial rights. In 1559, there are very few entries in the register.
Note 1555 burials are recorded on a page that is headed with a year indicated as1550. This is incorrect most of the children buried were baptised after 1550, and logically looking at the period as a whole, these burials took place in 1555.

In 1640 Cromwell is elected to parliament for the second time and is openly critical of King Charles. By 1642, there is widespread unrest, and in April 1642 following parliament taking control of the militia, we see major changes taking place in the register of Staplehurst. From April of 1642,  the register becomes very confused. Detail becomes vague, spelling becomes worse and then at the end of June 1643, the entries are out of sequence and dates are either missing or suspect. This is partially explained by the following comment entered in the register.

“Anno 1642
Johannis Browne olim Rector et egregie doctus sed oppidanorum injuriis et temporum infoelicitate sequestratur ab Ecclesia suum infortunium deplorans inimicorum malitiam condonans Staplehursti quamvis indigao pacem ac salutem exoptans mortem obit Jan. 6. 1645.”

  "In the year 1642
"John Brown once Rector and eminently learned, but who was deprived of the
church of Staplehurst by the injuries of the townspeople and the infelicity
of the times, despairing of his misfortune and forgiving the malice of his
enemies, [and] although unworthy, hoping for peace and salvation, died on
the 6th of January 1645."

Translation kindly provided by Mark Harris.

There are no burial records between June 1643 and November 1653.


Until 1664, the entries are few and erratic. From 1664, we see an improvement in the quality of the entries in the register. However, by this time, the non conformist movement was taking place with both the Baptist at Spilshill and the Congregational, headed by  
Daniel Poyntell, were present in the village of Staplehurst. The volume of entry in the register reflects this.

I might also add that during the preceding 10 years, there had been major outbreaks of the plague. It is my opinion that this had a significant impact on the population of Staplehurst and is reflected in the reduced number of entries in the Staplehurst register.


The register book, covering the period 1695 to 1792 for Baptisms and Burials, and Marriages from 1695 to 1754, has a heavy leather cover with a metal clasp. The
pages are of parchment. It is divided into sections for Baptisms, Burials and Marriages.
Reference is CKS P347 1/4.
A separate book  has Banns in the front half  in a printed form (not transcribed to date) and Marriages in the second half for the period 1754 to 1809. This is again bound in leather. (Reference CKS P347 1/10) In yet another book,  there is Marriages for the period 1809 to 1812 containing only 5 pages which have been filled in. Reference
CKS P347 1/11. 1/12 & 1/13 hold marriages from 1813 to 1883.
A further book (Reference CKS P347 1/5) contains Baptisms and Burials from 1793 to 1812. Then books 1/6 to 1/9 hold baptisms only from 1813 to 1902. Burials from 1813 to 1873 are in one book; 1/15.

How to Search
The data has been sorted by surname and year of registration. Bookmarks have been provided at the top of the page based on the first character of the surname. You can use your browser to search for a specific name but be warned the spelling variations are great.

Problems
Please report any problems to Cathy Goodwin .

General Notes on the Transcription
I have tried to copy the data as it is recorded although it has been formatted to allow consistent style and relatively easy searching.
Not included in the transcription are notes regularly entered by the vicar indicating when he had copied the data for the Archbishop's meeting.

Surnames have been capitalised as is the general convention.
I have copied the spellings of surnames and forenames as they are entered in the register. Spellings differ greatly dependent on the scribe. Most people could not read or write and the scribe spelt the name as he heard it. This is the primary reason for sorting the file into alphabetical order as a search on surname would be very hit or miss.
Where there is a '?'  entered, it indicates the information was illegible, while a blank indicates there was no data entered.

Julian / Gregorian Dates
Until 1752, the Julian calendar was used in England and the new year began on Lady Day (25 March) rather than on 1 January as we know it today. This can lead to confusion on dates. I have recorded the year as per the register and, for the period
1 January to the 24 March, have included the Gregorian year after the character '/'.
For instance:                   ' 1693/94  15 Jan'

Abbreviations
A few abbreviations have been used to save space.
                wid.            Widow or Widower
                Lic.             Married by licence
                B                Married after Banns
                OTP           Of this Parish
                S of             Son of
                D of             Daughter of
                b. (followed by a date) Date of birth.

BAPTISMS
1695 - 1792 Baptisms
Reference : CKS P347 1/4

During this period the data was recorded in the register freeform.  Generally it would
be entered such as:

                '1792 Oct. 22nd Thomas son of Solomon Allen and Alice his wife.'

 In most instances that is all the data that is recorded. Where there is additional
 information, this has been recorded in the last column under the heading 'Notes'.
 Dates are recorded in this register in various formats including roman numerals,
 unusual spellings and abbreviations. These have all been standardised to current
 general practice (see also Julian / Gregorian Dates).
 The column headed S/D stands for Son or Daughter and these have been abbreviated
 to S or D.

 On the inside cover of the 1695 register, there is a note detailing fees charged.

 Go to Top of the Page  or go to Baptisms 1695 - 1792
 
1793 - 1812 Baptisms
Reference: CKS  P347 1/5.
In 1793, the baptisms are recorded in a standard form issued to all churches. The data also now includes the date of birth of the child which has been transcribed. Occasionally, particularly for illegitimate children, there is an additional note written and this is included in the column headed 'Notes' on the far right hand side which you will have to scroll across to find.
There is also a page number which is useful for finding the entry when checking is
necessary.
From 1793 to 1812, there is no reference to 'son' or 'daughter' in the register and the first name is the only means of identifying the sex of the child. Fortunately, except for the odd case, the sex of the child is fairly obvious.

 Go to Top of Page or go to Baptisms 1793 - 1812

1813 - 1843 Baptisms
Reference: CKS P347 1/6
The new book utilises standard forms which have changed from the previous book. The date of birth is now only available in exceptional situations, however, we now have the occupation of the father (except for illegitimate children). This data is found in the column headed 'Notes'. The column headed 'Nos.' contains the baptism number within the register.
The spelling used has standardised in comparison to previous periods but there is still sufficient variation that you will need to view all possibilities. A search using a browser could overlook an unusual spelling. The data is sorted in surname order and bookmarks are provided for easier access. There are just over 1520 records in this page and I hope access is not too inefficient.
Unless otherwise stated, the families are resident in Staplehurst at the time of the baptism. Any additional information in the register has been included in the notes column.

Go to Top of Page or go to Baptisms 1813 - 1843

Baptisms 1844 - 1864
Reference: CKS P347 1/7

The new book uses standard forms. There are about 800 entries in the book.
Date of birth is no longer available. It is now not unusual to see a family baptising several children at one time; but there is no indication of age or other additional information besides that required by the form.
Unless otherwise stated, the register holds 'Staplehurst' in the column headed abode. This has not been included as almost all records have this entry. Where abode is specified as different, it has been included in the column headed 'Notes'.
The notes column also holds the occupation of the father. This has been entered within brackets. Where the child is illegitimate, then the brackets hold the register entered reference which is generally 'baseborn' or 'single woman'. To the far right of the notes column is the reference number which refers to the entry number in the register.
It is now not uncommon for children to be given multiple forename's and all forenames have been entered.
The data has been sorted in surname order.

Go to Top of Page or go to Baptisms 1844 - 1864

Baptisms 1864 - 1882
Reference: CKS P347 1/8

The new book uses standard forms. There are about 800 entries in the book. In November 1880, the clerk began writing the date of birth in the margin. This information has been included in the notes column. In all other respects, the book is in the same format as the previous book. As abode is almost always Staplehurst, only the exceptions are noted; again in the notes column along with the occupation of the father.
The data has been sorted in surname order.

Go to Top of Page or go to Baptisms 1864 - 1882

Baptisms 1882 - 1900
Reference: CKS P347 1/9
This is the final book held in the archives at the Centre for Kentish studies. The register ends in September 1902 but in accordance with the agreement I made with the parish church, I have transcribed only to the end of 1900.
The book holds 800 entries. Almost all the entries have a date of birth written in the margin which has been included in the Notes column. The abode of the family is almost always Staplehurst and if that is all that has been entered in the register, it has not been noted. However, in 1892, the clerk began to enter a fuller address (name of house or road) and I have recorded whatever is held. Frequently it gives the name of the house followed by 'Staplehurst' which is what is recorded in the Notes column. Occasionally, all that is recorded is the name of the house. Whenever the residence is not Staplehurst, the name of the parish is entered in the register without further detail.
Occupation is also included in the notes column enclosed in brackets.
The data has been sorted in surname order with bookmarks at the top of the page to assist in searching.

Go to Top of Page or go to Baptisms 1882 - 1900

BURIALS

Burials 1695 - 1792
Reference CKS P347 1/4

During this period the burial data was recorded in the register freeform. The amount of detail entered is dependent on the scribe. Generally it would be entered such as:
 
       " May 1 Buried Sarah Daughter of John Simmons and Ann his wife"

 
Other times it is very simple with just:

       " April 21 Buried George Chittenden "

Until 1781 it is rare that an age is entered and, when it is, it is usually because the person had lived to an exceptionally old age for the time period. Children can be identified as generally they are entered as sons or daughters with at least the father's name given. Women are sometimes described in terms of their husband and often it
is noted if they are widows.

       " Feb 20 Buried ye wife of  John Usborne"
                       
       " May 28 Buried Widdow Smith"

When ever there is additional information above the name and date, I have included
it in the column headed 'Notes'.

From March 1700 until October 1702, there was written against most entries the
words 'not qualified'. This was written in a different hand and at a later date to the
original entry. It appears to be referring to the cleric not being qualified to undertake
the burial, but that is only a assumption.

On the inside of the back cover of this register there is a note entered by the rector, Michael Burton, in 1755 which he thought worthy of note because of the exceptional
age of 5 men.

Go to Top of Page    or   Go to Burials 1695 - 1792

Burials 1793 to 1812
Reference CKS P347 1/5
From 1793, the burials are entered on standard forms, with 10 entries per page and each page numbered. I have included the page numbers in case anyone requires to look up an entry. The age of the person buried is now also recorded and the parish the person is from. OTP is an abbreviation for "of this parish".  Each entry is signed by the officiating cleric. In a small number of cases, additional information is entered and this is included in the column headed 'Notes'. In the very rare instance, it includes a reference to cause of death such as "small pox" or reference to the person being from the poor house. I think poor house references are there more to identify who is to pay for the burial than any other reason and most references are included between 1804 and 1806.

Go to Top of Page   or   Go to Burials 1793 to 1812

Burials 1813 - 1873
Reference CKS P347 1/15
The new pre formatted book now contains ages for all entries. Place of abode is recorded in the register but I have only included entries which are not Staplehurst so that in all cases where an abode is not entered it is understood to be Staplehurst.
The spelling is much more standardised but there are still variations particularly when the scribe changes.
Each entry in the register is signed by the officiating cleric but this information has not been transcribed.

Go to Top of Page   or   Go to Burials 1813 - 1873

MARRIAGES
Marriages 1695 to 1792
Reference: CKS P347 1/4 includes marriages from the beginning of 1695 until
the end of Feb 1754.
Reference: CKS P347 1/10 includes marriages from July 1754 with the last entry
1 Nov 1809.
Reference: CKS P347 1/11
includes marriages from 24 Nov 1809 until 25 Dec
1812.
For consistency with Baptisms and Burials, I have created 2 pages covering 1695 to 1792 and 1793 to 1812.
I have copied the spellings of surnames and forenames as they are entered in the register. Spellings differ greatly dependent on the scribe. Most people could not read
or write and the scribe spelt the name as he heard it. This is the primary reason for sorting the file into alphabetical order as a search on surname would be very hit or
miss. The marriages can be viewed sorted by Grooms' surname or by Brides' surname.
The menu will take you to marriages sorted by Groom and you can then switch to
marriages sorted by Bride.

Before 1754, marriages were entered in freeform. They would generally take the form:

" Oct 5 Married Benjamin Wilding of the Parish of East Sutton & Elisabeth Watcherst of this Parish. "

In the column headed Lic., where the couple were married by licence this is indicated with Lic. an abbreviation of Licence.

The column headed notes primarily contains information about the place of abode. 
I have tried to save space by combining bride and groom notes and indicating which is applicable by adding a B or G to the beginning of the note.
From 1754, the register includes the names of witnesses. I have not included this information but there is the potential to do so in the future. I would be interested in
your comments.

It is worth noting here that many residents of Staplehurst married elsewhere. Sometimes it is a situation where the bride or groom is from another parish and they marry there. But there are many other instances where there is not a known reason.
I have a collection of marriages of Staplehurst residents who married in other parishes but it is far from complete. If you have any you would like to contribute, I would be delighted to hear from you. I shall include my collection in the next update of the
site.

Go to Top of Page   or  Go to Marriages 1695 to 1792

About Marriages 1793 to 1812
From 1754 the marriage registers are standardised forms. The forms include witnesses to the marriage but these have not been included in the transcription as of yet.
The marriages are sorted by Groom's surname and by Bride's surname. The menu directs you to the Groom ordered page where you can switch to Bride.
I have included bookmarks but the volume of data is small and can be easily scrolled.
To save space across the page, I have combined bride and groom notes, indicating with a B or G whom the note refers to. Generally these notes hold the parish the couple are from and occasionally indicate a status of widow or widower.
The column headed Lic. indicates those marriages that were performed via licence as opposed to banns.
Banns have not been transcribed.

It is worth noting here (again) that many residents of Staplehurst married elsewhere. Sometimes it is a situation where the bride or groom is from another parish and they marry there. But there are many other instances where there is not a known reason.
I have a collection of marriages of Staplehurst residents who married in other parishes but it is far from complete. If you have any you would like to contribute, I would be delighted to hear from you. I shall include my collection in the next update of the
site.

Go to Top of Page  or   Go to Marriages 1793 to 1812

About Marriage 1813 to 1837
A new book begins the beginning of 1813 (Reference CKS P347 1/12) ending May 1837. This book begins to record the status of the bride and groom from 1828 regularly and occasionally before. Ba stands for Bachelor, Sp for Spinster and W for Widow or Widower. I have also recorded the witnesses.
The column headed B/L contains a B where marriage was by Banns and an L when the marriage was performed by Licence.
The register menu will take you to the page sorted by Grooms Surname and you can then switch to a page sorted by Brides Surname.
There were only 187 marriages in this period so no bookmarks are included as it is simple to scroll down. 
Go to Top of Page  or   Go to Marriages 1813 to 1837

About Marriages 1837 to 1883
Another new book with 500 marriages covering August 1837 to August 1883. The register is held at the CKS in Maidstone; reference CKS P347 1/12. It is the last register at the archives; all the later marriages are still held by the parish church.
In 1837, it became necessary for all marriages, baptism and burials to be reported to the Register General. Therefore, all the marriages recorded within this register should be found in the Records Office with a possible exception of the first few.
This register holds much more detail than earlier ones and hence has been formatted differently.

Go to Top of Page  or   Go to Marriages 1837 to 1883

Inside Cover 1695
On the inside cover of the register book (Reference: CKS P347 1/4), the following notes have been written.

  'This book was bought on the 26th day of April 1695 for the use of the parish of
   Staplehurst in Kent and Cost twenty six shillings & six pence.'

  Below this is recorded fees applicable in old shillings and pence. For those too young
  to remember,   there were 12 old pence to a shilling (and pence were abbreviated to
  ''D" ) and 20 shillings to a pound.   In today's money, a shilling is 5 new pence.

            Surplice Fees

                                                  S          D

  Burial                                       3            0
  Parish Burial                             3            0
  Christening                               3          10
  Marriage by Banns                   5            0
  Marriage by License               10            6
  Certificate of
      Publication of banns              2            6
  Publication of Banns                 1            0

           Rectorial Fees

                                                                    £          S          D
  Breaking the ground
    for anyone that is out of the Parish             0           7          0
  Breaking in the church for anyone                2           2          0
  Flat stone in the Church Yard or tomb         1           1          0
  Head & Foot stones                                   0          10          6
  Rail                                                             0         10          6
  Stone Monument in Church                         2           2          0
  Burial in Church                                          0          10         6

                    H.  G.

Note: Harry Grove was the Rector of Staplehurst All Saints Church from 1786 to 1808 and it is likely that the H. G. at the bottom of the note are his initials which would date this entry sometime after 1786.

 Go to Top of Page

 

Back Cover Register 1695 - 1792
The following note was written inside the back cover of the 1695 register following the burial entries. 

" Buried July 3 1757 at Staplehurst John Webb Senior aged 90 odd
  Feb 1755 Brown dyed above 92 years buried at Sutton.
  John Knight Feb 16 above 90
  Solomon Chexfield the same day – 87
  Tolhurst  - 90 odd

 The above amount of the age of these five people was delivered to me & I believe the
 ? & I thought to enter it here as a note worthy of observation on account of their ages.
 

                                                  J.M Burton
                                                  Rector 1755"
  "NB Brown was a scotchman but had lived here a great many years & was buried at
   T . Sutton.
   Tolhurst was buried at Cranbrook

                        Webb               90
                        Brown              92
            Knight or Knightly         90
                       Tollhurst             90
                        Chexfield           87

                                               449 years   "

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Staplehurst Banns
There is only the one book of banns currently in the archives which cover the years 1754 to 1809. These have been transcribed and you can go direct to banns by clicking here.

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