Wedding of Let and Percy


Wedding of parents,

Peggy and Norman


A Tome inside Bath Abbey


Merchant Navy War Memorial


Golden Hinde, London


Olympic Torch carrier running through Sutton 2012


Temple Bar Memorial


HRH Queen Elizabeth II in Epsom


Railway Permanent Way (Track) workers

at London Bridge remodelling


Golden Anniversary

Peter and Gloria 2009

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The Burying in Woollen Acts

The Register of the Parish of the Church of Thorncombe.

One example of many.

Register of those burried in Woollen in Thorncombe

The first, well actually the second page of the register is headed;

A Register of those that have been buried in Woollen according to ?? ??? Act of Parliament Thorncombe 1680.

The primary thing to note here is that the book is indeed in relation to Thorncombe and that there is no reference to it being any other form of church, so presumably the Established Church.

The other thing of particular interest was the 'buried in Woollen according to Act of Parliament.' I had not come across this before so had to look it up. Wikipedia quickly provided an answer.

The Burying in Woollen Acts 1666–80 wRegister of bap in Thorncombeere Acts of the Parliament of England (Cha. II c. 4 (1666),  Cha. II c. 3 (1678)  and Cha. II c. 1 (1680) ) which required the dead, except plague victims and the destitute, to be buried in pure English woollen shrouds to the exclusion of any foreign textiles.

It was a requirement that an affidavit be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace (usually by a relative of the deceased), confirming burial in wool, with the punishment of a £5 fee for noncompliance. Burial entries in parish registers were marked with the word "affidavit" or its equivalent to confirm that affidavit had been sworn; it would be marked "naked" for those too poor to afford the woollen shroud.

The legislation was in force until 1814, but was generally ignored after 1770. The 1666 Act was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863.

The next interesting title page was at the beginning of the baptisms. It was a very smudged copy so I have tried to clean it up a little, without losing any of the original writing, however it is still difficult to decipher in the whole.

However, again it confirms that the book pertains to Thorncombe and seems to commence in 1663.

'A time to be born and a time to die' is one of the lines on the page.


It is difficult to make things out on the page, but it is nearly 4 centuries old. The Mayflower sailed to America in 1620 and the monarchy had been restored in 1660 with Charles II on the throne.

Turning to the next page of the scan, there are baptisms records, in Latin commencing in 15?? followed by 1552.

Catholicism banned


Catholicism banned

Penal Laws, laws passed against Roman Catholics in Britain and Ireland after the Reformation that penalized the practice of the Roman Catholic religion and imposed civil disabilities on Catholics. Various acts passed in the 16th and 17th centuries prescribed fines and imprisonment for participation in Catholic worship and severe penalties, including death, for Catholic priests who practiced their ministry in Britain or Ireland. Other laws barred Catholics from voting, holding public office, owning land, bringing religious items from Rome into Britain, publishing or selling Catholic primers, or teaching.

Sporadically enforced in the 17th century and largely ignored in the 18th, the Penal Laws were almost completely nullified by the Roman Catholic Relief Act (1791), the Catholic Emancipation Act (1829), the Roman Catholic Charities Act (1832), and the Roman Catholic Relief Act (1926).

Dissolution of the Monasteries


Dissolution of the Monasteries, and Anne Boleyn

The Reformation in Tudor England was a time of unprecedented change. One of the major outcomes of the Reformation was the destruction of the monasteries which began in 1536.

The Reformation came about when Henry VIII wished to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who had failed to give him a male heir. When the Pope refused to grant the divorce, Henry set up the Church of England. The Act of Supremacy in 1534 confirmed the break from Rome, declaring Henry to be the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

The monasteries were a reminder of the power of the Catholic Church. It was also true that the monasteries were the wealthiest institutions in the country, and Henry’s lifestyle, along with his wars, had led to a lack of money. Monasteries owned over a quarter of all the cultivated land in England. By destroying the monastic system Henry could acquire all its wealth and property whilst removing its Papist influence.

From a recent TV programme about Ann Boleyn there is a slightly different view on this

Anne Boleyn, William Tyndale and Henry VIII

Anne is thought to have been in position of a book, which could have led to her being called a heretic.

The 2nd October 1528 saw the publication of English reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale’s “The Obedience of the Christian Man” (full title: “The Obedience of a Christen man, and how Christen rulers ought to govern, wherein also (if thou mark diligently) thou shalt find eyes to perceive the crafty convivence of all jugglers”) in Antwerp. What has this book got to do with Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII? Well, it is thought to be the text that helped Henry VIII to realise that Kings were accountable only to God, and not to the Pope.

Tyndale's Bible laid the foundations for many of the English Bibles which followed his. His work made up a significant portion of the Great Bible of 1539, which was the first authorized version of the English Bible.[30] The Tyndale Bible also played a key role in spreading Reformation ideas to England which had been reluctant to embrace the movement. By including many of Martin Luther's commentaries in his works, Tyndale also allowed the people of England direct access to the words and ideas of Luther, whose works had been banned in England.

Perhaps the Tyndale Bible's greatest impact is that it heavily influenced and contributed to the creation of the King James Version, which is one of the most popular and widely used Bibles in the world today.

After a time of hiding the book, she is alleged to have shared it with her husband, Henry VIII. She and the book planted seeds of thought about Supremacy and about the land and wealth grab from the catholic monasteries, initially for redistribution to the poor, to improve the overall condition of England. However, Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell, who may have seen a political side and a benefit to filling the Royal Coffers.


From 1527, Henry VIII had sought to have his marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon annulled, so that he could lawfully marry Anne Boleyn. At the centre of the campaign to secure the annulment was the emerging doctrine of royal supremacy over the church. By the autumn of 1531, Cromwell had taken control of the supervision of the king's legal and parliamentary affairs, working closely with Thomas Audley, and had joined the inner circle of the council. By the following spring, he had begun to exert influence over elections to the House of Commons.

The third session of what is now known as the Reformation Parliament had been scheduled for October 1531, but was postponed until 15 January 1532 because of Henry's indecision as to the best way to proceed towards his annulment. Cromwell favoured the assertion of royal supremacy over the recalcitrant Church, and he manipulated support in the House of Commons for the measure by resurrecting anti-clerical grievances expressed earlier, in the session of 1529. Once he achieved his goal of managing affairs in Parliament, he never relinquished it. On 18 March 1532, the Commons delivered a supplication to the king, denouncing clerical abuses and the power of the ecclesiastical courts, and describing Henry as "the only head, sovereign lord, protector and defender" of the Church. On 14 May 1532, Parliament was prorogued. Two days later, Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor, realising that the battle to save the marriage was lost. More's resignation from the Council represented a triumph for Cromwell and the pro-Reformation faction at court.

The king's gratitude to Cromwell was expressed in a grant of the lordship of the manor of Romney in the Welsh Marches (recently confiscated from the family of the executed Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham) and appointment to three relatively minor offices: Master of the Jewels on 14 April 1532, Clerk of the Hanaper on 16 July, and Chancellor of the Exchequer on 12 April 1533. None of these offices afforded much income, but the appointments were an indication of royal favour, and gave Cromwell a position in three major institutions of government: the royal household, the Chancery, and the Exchequer.


Anne Boleyn
Henry and Anne married on 25 January 1533, after a secret marriage on 14 November 1532 that may have taken place in Calais.

Anne Boleyn (c. 1501 or 1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536, as the second wife of King Henry VIII. The circumstances of her marriage and of her execution by beheading for treason and other charges made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that marked the start of the English Reformation

Anne Boleyn

Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, and was educated in the Netherlands and France, largely as a maid of honour to Queen Claude of France. Anne returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans were broken off, and instead, she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII's wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Early in 1523, Anne was secretly betrothed to Henry Percy, son of Henry Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, but the betrothal was broken off when the Earl refused to support their engagement. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey refused the match in January 1524 and Anne was sent home to Hever Castle. In February or March 1526 Henry VIII began his pursuit of Anne. She resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress, as her sister Mary had previously been. Henry soon focused his desires on annulling his marriage to Catherine so he would be free to marry Anne. Wolsey failed to obtain an annulment of Henry's marriage from Pope Clement VII, and when it became clear that Clement would not annul the marriage, Henry and his advisers, such as Thomas Cromwell, began the breaking of the Catholic Church's power in England and closing the monasteries and the nunneries. In 1532, Henry made Anne the Marquess of Pembroke.

Anne was crowned Queen of England on 1 June 1533. On 7 September, she gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I. Henry was disappointed to have a daughter rather than a son but hoped a son would follow and professed to love Elizabeth. Anne subsequently had three miscarriages and by March 1536, Henry was courting Jane Seymour. In order to marry Seymour, Henry had to find reasons to end the marriage to Anne.

Henry VIII had Anne investigated for high treason in April 1536. On 2 May, she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, where she was tried before a jury of peers, including Henry Percy, her former betrothed, and her uncle Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk; she was convicted on 15 May and beheaded four days later. Modern historians view the charges against her, which included adultery, incest and plotting to kill the king, as unconvincing.

After her daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen in 1558, Anne became venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation, particularly through the written works of John Foxe. She has inspired, or been mentioned in, many artistic and cultural works and retained her hold on the popular imagination. She has been called "the most influential and important queen consort England has ever had", as she provided the occasion for Henry VIII to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and declare the English church's independence from the Vatican.




The final session of the Reformation Parliament began on 4 February 1536. By 18 March, an Act for the Suppression of the Lesser Monasteries, those with a gross income of less than £200 per annum, had passed both houses. This caused a clash with Anne Boleyn, formerly one of Cromwell's strongest allies, who wanted the proceeds of the dissolution used for educational and charitable purposes, not paid into the King's coffers.

Anne instructed her chaplains to preach against the Vicegerent, and in a blistering sermon on Passion Sunday, 2 April 1536, her almoner, John Skip, denounced Cromwell and his fellow Privy Councillors before the entire court. Skip's diatribe was intended to persuade courtiers and Privy Councillors to change the advice they had been giving the King and to reject the temptation of personal gain. Skip was called before the council and accused of malice, slander, presumption, lack of charity, sedition, treason, disobedience to the gospel, attacking "the great posts, pillars and columns sustaining and holding up the commonwealth" and inviting anarchy.

Anne, who had many enemies at court, had never been popular with the people and had so far failed to produce a male heir. The King was growing impatient, having become enamoured of the young Jane Seymour and being encouraged by Anne's enemies, particularly Sir Nicholas Carew and the Seymours. In circumstances that have divided historians, Anne was accused of adultery with Mark Smeaton, a musician of the royal household; Sir Henry Norris, the King's groom of the stool and one of his closest friends; Sir Francis Weston; Sir William Brereton; and her brother, George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford. The Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, wrote to Charles V that:

              he himself [Cromwell] has been authorised and commissioned by the king to prosecute and bring to an end the mistress's trial, to do which he had taken considerable trouble... He set himself to devise and conspire the said affair.

Regardless of the role Cromwell played in Anne Boleyn's fall, and his confessed animosity to her, Chapuys's letter states that Cromwell claimed that he was acting with the King's authority. Most historians, however, are convinced that her fall and execution were engineered by Cromwell.

The Queen and her brother stood trial on Monday 15 May, while the four others accused with them were condemned on the Friday beforehand. The men were executed on 17 May 1536 and, on the same day, Cranmer declared Henry's marriage to Anne invalid, a ruling that illegitimised their daughter, Princess Elizabeth. Two days later, Anne herself was executed. On 30 May, the King married Jane Seymour. On 8 June, a new Parliament passed the second Act of Succession, securing the rights of Queen Jane's heirs to the throne.






Dissenter or a member of a non-established Church; a Nonconformist.


To be developed


Dissenters' registers

The earliest registers, which are of baptisms, start in 1642, the first year of the Civil War, but most commence after the Restoration. There was no legal requirement to keep them as there was with parish registers and it is highly probable that many Nonconformist registers were destroyed or lost. There have always been far more birth/baptism registers than burial registers, and they usually contain details of birth as well as baptism.

Restoration; On 14 May 1660 Charles II was formally restored to his kingdoms and proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland.

A Catholic king
In 1685 Charles II was succeeded by his brother - James II in England and James VII in Scotland. The new king was a devout and practising Catholic, who wanted to secure the toleration of Catholics throughout his kingdoms and the removal of laws that forbade their full participation in government and public life.

It was widely suspected that James' real objective was to make Catholicism the official church.

The Glorious Revolution
The attempt by James II and VII to establish absolutist rule in his kingdoms, and to turn them into a Catholic monarchy, led to the breakdown of his authority by November 1688.

Widespread alarm
The birth of a healthy boy to the King and Queen in June raised widespread alarm that the monarchy and its future now lay securely in Catholic, rather than Protestant hands.

Anxious to avoid the catastrophe to which they felt this would lead, the King's leading opponents invited Prince William of Orange - the husband (and cousin) of James's Protestant daughter Mary - to intervene and resolve the turmoil.

William landed a vast invasion force at Torbay in Devon early in November 1688, and a few weeks later James escaped to France.

Bill of Rights
The Crown was eventually offered to William - as William III - and Mary as joint Sovereigns and they were crowned in April 1689.

In December 1689 Parliament passed what became known as the Bill of Rights. It set out to redesign how the English monarchy should work in future.

Never again would it be possible for a monarch to govern independently without parliamentary consent, as both James II and Charles II had done.

Scottish crown
A formal offer of the Scottish crown was accepted by William and Mary on 11 May 1689. William become William II in Scotland.


Protestant Records

After centuries of persecution those who did not conform to the Church of England’s views found greater tolerance in the late 18th century. From then they were able to keep records more openly and much survives from the 1780s onwards. However, there were no overall rules for creation, retention and preservation of records and great differences appear between denominations and indeed between congregations. Some early attempts at standardization and preservation include the 18th century innovations at Dr. Williams’ Library, and the call-in of old registers in 1837 and 1858. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that Nonconformist historical societies were created to grapple with the issue of preservation.

The main (Protestant) Nonconformist groups that have surviving registers are Baptists, Bible Christians, Congregationalists (Independents), Latter-day Saints, Methodists (including Wesleyans, Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion and others), Moravians, and Presbyterians. The smaller groups for which records survive at the PRO include Inghamites, Irvingites, New Jerusalemites and Swedenborgians.


Quaker marriages were also recorded, but no other Nonconformist marriages were legal between 1754 and 1837, although some were performed and a few records exist. Between 1660 and 1754 it is likely that most recorded marriages and burials took place in parish churches, and certainly in the earliest part of this period few Nonconformists dared to keep registers for fear of incriminating their members. Thus many Nonconformists births or baptisms went unrecorded. In addition, some groups did not believe in infant baptism, some did not baptize at all, and some did not recognize marriage or burial as religious events.




Tithe Commutation Act 1836


The Tithe Commutation Act 1836

An Act for the Commutation of Tithes in England and Wales. - 6 & 7 Will 4 c 71.  Royal assent; 13 August 1836

Together with several amendments;

Act amended by Tithe Act 1839 (c. 62), Tithe Act 1842 (c. 54), Tithe Act 1860 (c. 93), Tithe Act 1878 (c. 42), Tithe Act 1891 (c. 8) and Tithe Act 1918 (c. 54)

The Tithe Act, 1936 (26 Geo. V and 1 Edw. VIII. C.43) abolished all tithe rent charges. Responsibility for tithe documents created under the tithe acts (1836, 1837, 1839, 1860, 1891) were placed under the charge of the Master of the Rolls, who has the authority to transfer them to an approved place of deposit. This responsibility is exercised by The National Archives: Historical Manuscripts Commission. The Master of the Rolls has issued Tithe (Copies of Instruments of apportionment) Rules 1960 (SI 1960/2440), as amended by the Tithe (Copies of Instruments of Apportionment) (Amendment) Rules 1963 (SI 1963/977)] concerning the care, custody, access to, and definition of tithe documents.

The Census


The Census

Extracted from The National Archives

What is the census and why was it compiled?

The census is a head count of everyone in the country on a given day. A census has been taken in England and Wales, and separately for Scotland, every ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

The object of the census was not to obtain detailed information about individuals, but to provide information about the population as a whole; listing everyone by name, wherever they happened to be on a single night, was the most efficient way to count everybody once, and nobody twice.

How the census was taken and on what dates

In every census year an enumerator delivered a form to each household in the country for them to complete. The heads of household were instructed to give details of everyone who slept in that dwelling on census night, which was always a Sunday. The forms completed by each household, known as schedules, were collected a few days later by the enumerator. From 1841 to 1901 the information from the schedules was then copied into enumeration books. Once the enumeration books had been completed, most household schedules were destroyed, although there are some rare survivals. It is the enumeration books that we consult today online or on microfilm.

The 1841 census was the first to list the names of every individual, which makes it the earliest useful census for family historians. However, less information was collected in 1841 than in later census years. Read section 5 for details of the information recorded in each census year.

The General Register Office was responsible for taking the census, so it used the administrative framework already in place for the registration of births, marriages and deaths. The Superintendent Registrar was responsible for collecting the returns from each Registrar of Births and Deaths in their registration district, and sending them to the Census Office in London. Each Registrar of Births and Deaths was responsible for a sub-district, which they divided into enumeration districts (EDs), and recruited enumerators for each ED.

The dates of the censuses were as follows:

1841 – 6 June
1851 – 30 March
1861 – 7 April
1871 – 2 April
1881 – 3 April
1891 – 5 April
1901 – 31 March
1911 – 2 April
1921 – 19 June

The intended date for the 1921 census was 24 April, but was postponed due to industrial unrest, which the GRO decided would have made it impossible to collect accurate information in some areas.

In the censuses of 1801, 1811, 1821 and 1831 lists of names were not collected centrally, although some are held in local record offices.


Unfortunately, the 1931 census for England and Wales was destroyed by fire in 1942, and no census was taken in 1941 because of the Second World War.

People in the census

The following information on individuals enumerated within households is included in each census year as follows (slightly different questions were asked on schedules for institutions and vessels, depending on the location and census year):


first name and surname
age (rounded down to the nearest five years for those aged 15 or over)
whether they were born in the county where they were enumerated (Y or N)
whether they were born in Scotland (S), Ireland (I) or Foreign Parts (P)

1851 and 1861

first name, middle names (often just initials) and surname
relationship to the head of the household
marital status
age (at last birthday)
rank, profession or occupation
where born – county and parish if born in England or Wales, country only if born outside England and Wales)
whether blind, or deaf and dumb

1871 and 1881

As 1851 and 1861, except for the following difference:

the last column now reads: 1. Blind 2. Deaf and Dumb 3. Imbecile or Idiot 4. Lunatic


As 1871 and 1881 with the following extra details on employment:

whether Employer, Employed, or Neither Employer nor Employed
language spoken (Wales only)


As 1891, with occupation details changed to:

‘Employer, Worker or Own account’
a new column ‘If working at home’
language spoken (Isle of Man only)


As 1901, with extra questions:

For married women only, the number of years of their present marriage, the number of children born of that marriage, the number still living, and the number that had died.
As well as their occupation, the industry in which the person was employed. If employed by a government, municipal or other public body, the name of that body.
Parish and county of birth for anyone born in the UK (which included all of Ireland). If born elsewhere in the British Empire, the colony or dependency, and the state or province.
For anyone born outside England and Wales, whether they were resident or visitor in the country.
Nationality of anyone born overseas whether British by parentage, British by naturalisation (including year of naturalisation) or, if a foreign national, of which country.
In the Infirmity column, the age at which the person had become afflicted.
In 1911 all the household schedules were kept, for the first time (see RG 14), and were not copied into enumeration books. There are instead enumerators’ summary books which list every address, including unoccupied buildings, and the only names they contain are those of the head of each household (see RG 78). These summary books are the only place you will find a description of each building such as ‘House and shop’, ‘Hotel’, ‘Private house’. Unoccupied houses and non-residential properties such as churches and factories are also listed.



Social economic history


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