Author Topic: Illiterate parish clerk?  (Read 315 times)

Offline Top-of-the-hill

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Illiterate parish clerk?
« on: Monday 11 March 19 22:41 GMT (UK) »
   I have been working on a parish which appears to have had a parish clerk in the 1750s/60s who could not sign his name. At least, he witnessed quite a few marriages with his mark. I know the C of E was rather in the doldrums in the 18th century, so perhaps he just opened the church and rang the bell? I was going to add "dug the graves" but when he died in 1769 he was ancient! I have seen a list of the parish clerk's duties, and would have thought he needed to be literate.
Pay, Kent
Codham/Coltham, Kent
Kent, Felton, Essex
Staples, Wiltshire

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Offline cristeen

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Re: Illiterate parish clerk?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 11 March 19 23:00 GMT (UK) »
One of my OHs ancestors became chaplain of Troutbeck in 1723 when the previous chaplain was sacked for 'ignorance'. Interviews must have been easier back then  ;D
Newson, Steavenson, Walker, Taylor, Dobson, Gardner, Clark, Wilson, Smith, Crossland, Goldfinch, Burnett, Hebdon, Peers, Strother, Askew, Bower, Beckwith, Patton, White, Turner, Nelson, Gilpin, Tomlinson, Thompson, Spedding, Wilkes, Carr, Butterfield, Ormandy, Wilkinson, Cocking, Glover, Pennington, Bowker, Kitching, Langhorn, Haworth, Kirkham.

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Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Illiterate parish clerk?
« Reply #2 on: Monday 11 March 19 23:20 GMT (UK) »
If the clerk could not sign, who filled in the register?  Maybe he just initialled it?
Tarr, Tydeman, Liversidge, Bartlett, Young

Offline Top-of-the-hill

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Re: Illiterate parish clerk?
« Reply #3 on: Monday 11 March 19 23:25 GMT (UK) »
  It looks as if the clergyman filled it in.
Pay, Kent
Codham/Coltham, Kent
Kent, Felton, Essex
Staples, Wiltshire

Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Illiterate parish clerk?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 00:36 GMT (UK) »
Perhaps it was effect of old age on his eyes or hands.

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Illiterate parish clerk?
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 08:40 GMT (UK) »
If the clerk could not sign, who filled in the register?  Maybe he just initialled it?

Clerks were not supposed to make entries in the registers, as delegation of this responsibility by the incumbent was unlawful.

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Mapstone, Mapston.
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Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Illiterate parish clerk?
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 09:44 GMT (UK) »
If the clerk could not sign, who filled in the register?  Maybe he just initialled it?

Sorry, I didn't notice that the parish clerk was just acting as any other witness - which I guess he probably did quite often.  I have transcribed marriage registers where churchwardens or other lay staff come up repeatedly.
Tarr, Tydeman, Liversidge, Bartlett, Young

Online CarolA3

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Re: Illiterate parish clerk?
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 12 March 19 10:15 GMT (UK) »
I've seen a parish register where the writing is large and clumsy with, to put it politely, idiosyncratic spellings.  Fortunately the vicar (I've seen his writing elsewhere) has inserted 'alternatives' neatly above many of the names.

Otherwise I wouldn't have found my TAYLOR ancestor who had been recorded as TELER.

Carol
OXFORDSHIRE / BERKSHIRE
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