Registering a Complaint

As someone who spends a fair amount of my time searching through parish registers, I have been known to silently (or not so silently) curse the handwriting of a long-dead vicar or parish clerk.  They should have foreseen that a few centuries later I would need to decipher their scrawl to find Great-Great-Great-etc-Grandfather Fred!  So I was rather amused to find this note in one of the Castleton registers:

(unless the Parish will provide better Parchment, it is impossible to write on it legibly   

Castleton parish register

Perhaps I shall be a tad more charitable in future, though it’s a poor workman who blames his tools…

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About Helen Ellis

Archives Assistant - started at Derbyshire Record Office in 2004.
This entry was posted in Discoveries and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Registering a Complaint

  1. By the time the parish registers have been microfilmed in grayscale the legibility problem is even worse! At least he did complete the registers not leave the entries as scraps of paper to be deciphered as best his successors could some years later as happened in Southwell in Notts in the 1730s when the vicar died suddenly which is why there are whole years there with just one baptism.

    Often it’s the comments of the clerics who enliven the search though the account of the mad dog bite is my favourite from the Rolleston in Nottinghamshire registers compiled by Robert Leband the vicar there see:

    http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/monographs/rolleston1931/rolleston6.htm

    I can however see what the Castleton guy means – maybe it’s a problem with the ink as well – not enough acid? I have seen it a lot in other registers. Do we know how they were compiled? Before pre-printed registers I assume they were written on individual sheets which were then bound together (sometimes upside down or in the wrong order) so a batch of duff parchment might have lasted a long time but they could change it which is why I assume he was moaning!

    Jacqui Kirk

  2. Simon Chard says:

    Hello Helen

    Thank you for your post on Parish records. You mention that you’ve spent time reviewing parish records I’d be interested if you’ve come across any from Ault Hucknall from Rev William Jeudwine. Rev William Jeudwine married Mary Cottingham on 11th June 1840 at the church in Ault Hucknall.

    I visited the church last Sept (from Australia) to unfortunately find that it was closed on the day of my visit.

    I’d be keen to know if you’ve come across his records?

    I’m led to believe Mary Cottingham died (27/2/1842) during child birth to her son William Wynne Jeudwine (land agent to the Duke of Devonshire).

    Living on the other side of the world I look forward to reading each Derbyshire Record Office post in the hope to better understand the area & surrounds my family grew up in.

    Kind regards

    Simon

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