Swaddled Tudor baby.
As you might have noticed, notes in parish registers fascinate me. One I came across the other day seemed to pack quite a story into just one sentence.
In the earliest register for Little Bromley in Essex, there’s a baptism on 8th April 1593 for a child called Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Myller “of Bryghtwell in Suffolk, mattmaker, borne in Staceys? grounds as his wyf travayld from Manytry towards Wevenho.”
Elizabeth Salter of Flowton?
Whilst researching the Cardinall family, I got slightly sidetracked with Thomas Bowes’ family. In 1603, Charles Cardinall, widowed, married Bridget Bowes, and they had one son, James, who, it seems increasingly possible, is one of my ancestors. Born in Dedham in about 1561, the daughter of Ralph Starling, Bridget had been married to Thomas Bowes of East Bergholt (just over the border from Dedham in Suffolk). The 1634 Visitation of Essex shows that Thomas and Bridget had two children: Thomas, who became Sir Thomas, the magistrate who prosecuted “witches” found by the infamous Matthew Hopkins, and Elizabeth. . Elizabeth, according to this Visitation, married Martin Salter of Flowton in Suffolk.
Part of the entry for the Bowes family, 1634 Visitation of Essex
An interesting note from 1745 in West Bergholt‘s parish register shows us that the vicar got muddled up with some of his parishioners’ surnames. Understanding the accent of your ancestor’s region can be really helpful if you want to trace them back further. In this video I talk about certain features of the accent(s) found in the north of Essex and the south of Suffolk, delivered in my authentic north-east Essex twang.
Image reproduced by courtesy of the Essex Record Office.
I’m currently transcribing the earliest register for Ramsey St. Michael in Essex. Although the very early register is lost, entries survive from 1645 onwards. I was intrigued to see if Ramsey was as affected by the plague of 1665 as had neighbouring Great Oakley. There certainly appear to have been an increase in burials that year, particularly in August, September and October – this is the same period as plague deaths were noted in Great Oakley’s register. But there’s no notes in the Ramsey register, so we can’t say for sure what those people died of.
But moving into 1666, something unusual appears. From 5th August to 26th August, the Ramsey parish register records the burials of nine sailors. By why?
Snippet from the 1585 will of Margaret Starlinge of Dedham. Image reproduced by courtesy of the Essex Record Office.
What? All that in one blog post? Erm… no… however, there’s been a couple of jumps forward with regards to the availability of wills and will indices recently, especially for Essex but for Suffolk in a way too, so that’s my topic for today. And because I’m a librarian who spends a lot of time trying to extract information from databases and catalogues, I want to share some of my search skills with you.
Dying is rather unfortunate anyway, but in Beaumont-cum-Moze, the causes of death are given far more often than they are in other burial registers that I’ve seen. So here, then, are unfortunate ways to die in Beaumont-cum-Moze.
Photo by Cindy Lilley.
I’ve nearly finished transcribing the baptisms and burials register for Wivenhoe St. Mary the Virgin, 1695-1751.
It’s not unusual at all to find people being buried in a parish that they don’t usually live in – either because it’s where they’re originally from and they want to be buried beside their family members, or because they died too far from home.
I found one burial from 1718, and two from the 1730s for men from Sunderland, County Durham – James Dun on 22nd October 1718, John Whitfield on 16th June 1735, and Timothy Ruston on 23rd August 1739. Not long after Timothy’s burial, on 24th Feb 1739/40, John Richardson from Scarborough, Yorkshire was buried.
These seemed rather odd – Wivenhoe is nearly 300 miles away from Sunderland by road, and 250 miles from Scarborough. Of course, with Wivenhoe being a village which had a port and ship yards for centuries, it’s possible that these men were sailors, involved with transporting something down the North Sea coast. But what?