POWYS-L Archives

Archiver > POWYS > 2001-05 > 0989122160

From: Graham Price <>
Subject: Re:Churchwardens' Accounts
Date: Sun, 06 May 2001 14:09:20 +1000
References: <001501c0d404$ef84f640$1ab60a0a@rivet.sk.sympatico.ca><029401c0d43f$74b94160$1e934842@preston><>
In-Reply-To: <000d01c0d570$8d42e9c0$570139cb@com.au.iinet.net.au>

At 12:34 AM 6/05/01, Trevor & Pamela Griffiths wrote:
>Hi Graham,
>I enjoyed reading your e-mail,
>As an aside to this, in your e-mail you mention churchwarden accounts, can
>you explain to me what these contain?
>All the best from
>Trevor Griffiths in Bunbury, West Australia.

Hi Trevor,
This won't be official, just straight out of my mind which is a bit slow
this morning, but it goes something like this. Churchwarden's accounts are
documents about the financial running of the parish, others are vestry
minutes which contain information relating to goings on. Chastising folk
for misbehaving in church, doing naughty things in the church grounds, etc.
Such and such a person whipped and sent away to another parish. Usually you
will find that much of these are filmed together on the same microfilm by
the Mormon folk, but not always. Of particular note are the Easter Tithes,
wherein a record is given of the tithes paid by the parishioners to the
church for the upkeep of the church, village, even roads, etc. There are
other tithes/taxes levied also for the poor. i.e. something like this "paid
to John Thomas of Little Green sixpence for poor relief." or "paid to Widow
Jones of Low Mere, five shillings." I even found this one, which went
something like: "paid to a stranger who fell dead in the street, sixpence,
for poor relief." So, there's the proof, you can take it with you!

My g.g.g.grandparents, Thomas & Elizabeth Peate had some of their children
baptized at Alberbury in Shropshire, close to the border of
Montgomeryshire, in the late 1700s. If it had not been for the
churchwardens' accounts, I would have never known where they lived. The
accounts showed that they lived in the town of Criggion, a little to the
west of Alberbury and had a farm. viz: 1789 taxes for relief to the poor
for his land, which was eight acres, eight pence. By 1793 it had risen to
one shilling, then in 1810 things were a little more complicated. Trade
sixpence, 3 cows threepence, 3 calves one penny half penny, one colt
twopence, two halls of bees, two pence, hemp (ahah!) sixpence, 4 corn
[fields] eightpence, house & garden twopence. By 1822 Thomas was paying an
extra tax of fourpence for one dairy-maid, and twopence for one pig. In
1823 Thomas had increased his holding to 15 acres, and the last entry shown
in the churchwardens' accounts is for 1827, which indicates that they had
died. They certainly did.

Sometimes you will find marriages in the vestry minutes. I had a lovely
time on the microfilm of Ellesmere, St. Mary, stumbling across a marriage
that belonged. Before the churchwardens 18 Aug 1654 had appeared Richard
Warburton and Katherine Higginson wishing to be married, the document
giving name and signature of Richard's father, and that of the grand-father
of Katherine on her mother's side, suggesting that her father was dead.
Nice jump back in time, that one. You will often find apprenticeship
details in these papers, some parishes publishing them each year, some
every month or so. In Yarmouth on the Isle-of-Wight this was found some
thirteen years after the child's baptism, so you can keep tabs on folk
afterwards, and before they marry. Also some parishes had pew rentals,
where names and the rent appear. Someone disappears from the rental list
after being there for 20 years or so, either died, moved out of the parish,
or if a widow, re-married. Very useful information.

Well, I mustn't ramble on. But these documents are sometimes a gold mine
for researchers.
Melbourne, Oz

This thread: