For this church:
Eastwood St Mary
The Church Registers
Registers prior to 1711 were lost when the rectory was destroyed in a fire. Subsequent records, to 1964, were deposited at Nottinghamshire Archives in 1964 by Rev Peter Caporn.
Under the provision of Hardwicke’s Marriage Act (1753), separate registers for marriages and banns were designed, each entry to be made on a specially prepared printed form, each form and page in the book being numbered, thus making insertions or forgery virtually impossible. To conform to the new law, a copy of the revised register for St Mary’s Church was purchased out of parish funds. The register in Eastwood is rather less in size than some in existence, containing only two forms to a page, whilst the larger size have four. Marriages commence at the front of the book and on reversing it, entries of Banns are to be found. Both marriages and banns commence in 1754 and terminate in 1781.
The leaves of this book are made of good quality strong handmade paper. The printed forms are numbered ‘1' to ‘100', though in the reverse half relating to Banns there are 102 entries. This is because two entries are numbered in duplicate.
In the first half of the register, which contains the marriage forms, there are 94 entries made. On one page, the forms have not been written upon, obviously indicating that two pages had been turned over together in error. The register is really interesting, inasmuch that it is the first one to be used exclusively for marriages and banns, and the first of the St Mary’s existing registers to contain hand made paper pages, instead of parchment.
The Fourth Register is identical in size to the third volume, and also contains forms for the recording of marriages and banns. Again, marriages are found at the front, and banns at the reverse of the book, and this one is covered in brown calf. Banns are recorded for a ten-year period only, ie from 1781 to 1791. Only 58 entries are made, the rest of the forms were left blank. Unlike registers of christenings, marriages and burials, there is no statutory obligation to preserve registers of banns. The blank pages in the banns section were used nearly 80 years later by the Revs.Henry Western Plumptre, who recorded banns of marriage in this book from 1870 to 1872. Marriages in the fourth register are from 1782 until 1798. In this sixteen year period there were 99 marriages recorded, which leaves 41 marriages in this register (less six by licence) therefore by the same calculation, from 1791 to 1812, there were 141 entries of banns in the missing register, that is 123 marriages, less 17 by licence.
The Fifth Register like the third and fourth volumes, is a register of marriages commencing in 1798, and terminates in 1812. It is 15 inches high, 9½ inches wide, and 1½ inches in thickness. This book, covered in brown calf leather, was printed and bound by W Lowndes, 77 Fleet Street, London. Only 123 entries are made, although the book has provision for 1,200, leaving 1,077 blank forms, or, over 7/8ths of the book unused. The reason for so much apparent waste is that in 1813, the law relating to Parish Registers was revised, and a new Act was introduced which required further alterations to the existing methods of recording parochial events. This legislature was known as the ‘George Rose Act’ which was passed on the 28th June 1812, and came into operation on the 1 January 1813. Briefly, the new Act required that separate registers would be kept for christenings, banns, marriages and burials, each register being provided with printed forms, each form and page numbered, thus making forgery or insertion between lines impossible. It also curtailed the amount of information some clerks and priests had previously been giving, when the entry had to be made on a blank page. On the other hand, it required slightly more effort from those who were content to enter only the scantiest details. The book contains printed forms, of the usual Hardwicke Act type, and in this case, there are four forms to a page, making it twice the length, and exactly the same width as the third and fourth registers.
After 1813, the rest of the Christening and Burial registers are of the usual ‘George Rose’ pattern, and the only description necessary is the periods covered by them, and interesting items contained therein, or at least, a representation of them.
Volume six is a register of baptisms, commencing on 17 January 1813 and terminating on 5 October 1845, covering a period of 32 years, during which 1,600 entries have been made. It contains the christenings of William Alexander Pickering and his sisters, and the children of the Rector, Henry Western Plumptre ‘the first’.
Volume seven provides for burials from 14 January 1813 to 5 May 1861, or 1,600
Volume eight is a marriage register, containing 600 numbered and slightly revised forms which the 1813 Act required. There are three forms to a page, with 200 numbered pages in the book. The additional information required, in comparison with the Hardwick Act, is the entering of the parish of residence of the bride, which more often than not, was previously recorded by the clerk since 1754. Also, if the marriage was by consent of parents or friends, a record was required in the 1813 Act, which was necessary in the case of minors. This book is blank in the latter part, in this case from page 79. There are only 234 entries made, from 12 January 1813, to 15 May 1837. The reason for this is the introduction of another Act of Parliament, this time the Civil Registration Act, which came into operation on 1 July 1837. This brought about a major change in the recording of marriages. Baptism and burial entries remained the same as under the 1813 Act. One of the parish clerks of St Mary’s Church took the trouble to bore four holes in the covers of this register, two in each, through which tapes were inserted, enabling the book to be tied up. This novel method of security has not proved very effective, as the volume is not in a very good state of presentation. The spine and corners are very much worn, obviously due to continuous and not very gentle handling. Only a little over a third of the book has been used.
The rest of the registers are all of the same pattern.
The Revd Peter Lalouel recorded not only the actual birth date of the child, but the trade or profession of the father, and the parish in which they resided or originated. He was equally conscientious when recording the events of marriages or burials. He also displayed a charitable spirit made evident when entering the baptisms of children born outside wedlock. Instead of the usual derogatory term, he writes ‘spurious, natural, or base begotten’.
From 1759 to 1764 in Eastwood burial registers, the word “Affidavit” is seen after most every entry. This is in accordance with the ‘Buried in Wool’ Act of 1678, designed to help the declining wool trade. No corpse was to be buried in ‘any shirt, shift or shroud’ made of other material than wool. The penalty was a fine of £5 imposed on the relatives of the deceased if the body was clothed in any other material, half of which was paid to the informant. Transgressors of the law could save themselves £2 10s by getting a relative to inform, and thus keep the ‘reward in the family’. Affidavit of ‘buried in wool’ was to be presented to the minister or clerk, and there is a record of a lady brought from Ilkeston to be buried, and no affidavit was received after ten days. Possibly, she was clothed in a silk or flaxen shroud, and failure to produce an affidavit was an attempt to evade the fine.
It is interesting to note that up to 1757, there is an average of less than 10 baptisms per year, only four marriages and less than 10 burials. Notable exceptions are 1672 (14 burials), 1722 and 1724 (13 burials each), and 1729 (17 burials). This would suggest local or even national epidemics of disease. Excepting for the year 1672, when most of the deaths occurred during the summer months, entries in the cases quoted above are evenly spread over the year, more or less ruling out a severe winter as a contributory cause to the high mortality rate.
Glebe terriers for Eastwood, also in Nottinghamshire Archives, survive for 1714, 1743, 1748, 1759, 1764, 1770, 1777, 1781, 1786, 1809 and 1817
Registers Held within the Church.
Baptisms from 1947 onwards