LONDON-L ArchivesArchiver > LONDON > 1999-10 > 0941308796
From: Eve McLaughlin <>
Subject: Re: Affidavits with Burials - late 1600's
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 19:39:56 +0100
In message <>, John Paul Bradford <johnpaul.br
>I was going through the burial records of St. Mary's, Sawbridgeworth,
>Hertfordshire and came across all sorts of references to affidavits and
>certificates. These are generally dated a few days after the burial.
>Anyone know what this is all about?
When the law applied which said all corpses must be burial in woollen
only (to promote the dying wool trade in face of fashion changes).
Someone in the family or dealing the with death (a nurse often) had to
go to the magistrate and swear that this rule had been complied with.
There may even be a separate register of 'burials in woollen'; or the
ordinary register may be annotated with Aff. and a date. or even
Alfydavy and a date. Failure to comply rated a fine, hald paid to the
informant, half to the 'poor man's box (charity relief). It became a
matter of custom that rich people (even magistrates) would bury in silk
or cambric or fine linen, then report themselves, taking half the fine
and giving the rest to the poor. Not doing this if you could afford it
was 'cheating the poor man's box'.
Author of the McLaughlin Guides for family historians
Secretary Bucks Genealogical Society