Author Topic: Professional witness?  (Read 950 times)

Offline Stanwix England

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Professional witness?
« on: Monday 31 August 20 22:47 BST (UK) »
I've been doing some research concerning families in the Bolton area and I noticed the name 'James Orrell' on a marriage record as a witness.

Then I saw him on another one and wondered if he was a friend of the family.

However, looking again, I can see that actually he turns up as a witness on a lot of marriages.

This made me curious and I tried to find a James Orrell in Bolton who might be in some way related to the church, but didn't turn much up.

Just made me wonder who he was and why he witness to so many marriages. It's not important to my research, I'm just being nosey.  ;D

GB127.L243/1/4/13 - is the reference to what I was looking at.

Robert Bolton and Martha Smith, 23/10/1815 , St Peters, Bolton-le-Moors was the particular record I was looking at.
Primary interest - The Wheldale Family - Globally

Online Jebber

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Re: Professional witness?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 31 August 20 23:09 BST (UK) »
It was quite common for the same person to witness many marriages in a church , it was often the Parish Clerk, or someone else closely connected to the church. I have come across some marriages witnessed by the sexton, I know he was the sexton as he was one of my ancestors.
CHOULES All ,  COKER Harwich Essex & Rochester Kent 
COLE Gt. Oakley, & Lt. Oakley, Essex.
DUNCAN Kent
EVERITT Colchester,  Dovercourt & Harwich Essex
GULLIVER/GULLOFER Fifehead Magdalen Dorset
HORSCROFT Kent.
KING Sturminster Newton, Dorset. MONK Odiham Ham.
SCOTT Wrabness, Essex
WILKINS Stour Provost, Dorset.
WICKHAM All in North Essex.
WICKHAM Medway Towns, Kent from 1880
WICKHAM, Ipswich, Suffolk.

Offline Stanwix England

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Re: Professional witness?
« Reply #2 on: Monday 31 August 20 23:10 BST (UK) »
Thank you Jebber, that is interesting.  :)
Primary interest - The Wheldale Family - Globally


Offline Rena

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Re: Professional witness?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 01 September 20 00:17 BST (UK) »
I too have found the same person acting as a witness to my ancestors up in Scotland
Aberdeen: Findlay-Shirras,McCarthy<br />MidLothian: Mason,Telford,Darling,Cruikshanks,Bennett,Sime, Bell<br />Lanarks:Crum, Brown, MacKenzie,Cameron, Glen, Millar
Ross, Urray:Mackenzie<br />Moray: Findlay; Marshall/Marischell<br />Perthshire: Brown Ferguson<br />Wales: McCarthy, Thomas<br />England: Almond, Askin, Dodson, Harrison, Maw, McCarthy, Munford, Pye, Shearing, Smith, Smythe, Speight, Strike, Wallis/Wallace, Ward, Wells<br />Germany: Flamme,Ehlers, Bielstein, Germer, Mohlm, Reupke

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Professional witness?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 01 September 20 06:11 BST (UK) »
First thing to note it is very doubtful he was a "Professional witness", i.e. someone paid to witness the marriage.
It is far more likely he was a person who was often in the church or churchyard, because he worked there, visited the church often or tended family grave in the churchyard, he may even have lived next door or across the road from the church and have been happy to pop in to witness a marriage.
Some people just like attending marriages.
Cheers
Guy
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Offline coombs

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Re: Professional witness?
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 01 September 20 13:17 BST (UK) »
Also he may have been a local pillar of the community such as the local publican, blacksmith or merchant, or a parish overseer who liked to witness marriages.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline Kiltpin

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Re: Professional witness?
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 01 September 20 13:37 BST (UK) »
Until the start of the lockdown there was usually an elderly, well dressed, gent hanging around the outside of the Thetford Registry Office, because "there is always a drink in it afterwards". 

Regards
Chas
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Offline ShaunJ

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Re: Professional witness?
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 01 September 20 13:39 BST (UK) »
Quote
Robert Bolton

Robert Booth

James Orrell was possibly a churchwarden.
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Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Professional witness?
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 01 September 20 14:07 BST (UK) »
The relevant Acts say that all Marriages had to be solemnized in the Presence of two or more credible Witnesses, without defining what a 'credible' witness was. It was up to who ever was officiating to decide whether they were credible or not. The advice to the clergy was these should, whenever practicable be the relatives or friends of the parties, who would be able to testify afterwards to the identity of the persons from personal knowledge or recollection.

Stan
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk