In the parish records for Kirkheaton, West Yorkshire, some of the early 18th-century records have an "aff." notation at the end of a burial record (Ancestry.com example). I presume that means that the writer of the parish register received affidavits that the burial took place, rather than presiding over it himself.

Some of these notations have a number after them, as in this case of the infant son Thomas of one Joseph Jubbs of Whitely. You can see the next entry also shows a similar notation, with a 15 rather than a 12, for William son of Thomas Deison (sp?) of Dolton.

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So I thought maybe it was the number of days the child lived, until I saw the same notation for the burial of an adult, incidentally for the same Deison family.

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So I thought maybe this was the number of people who attested to the event, which took place in private burial grounds. The families concerned all seem to be located in villages within the parish but not near the parish church.

Does anyone have any information about what these numbers might mean?

  • I have come across a slightly different designation, i.e. 15 aff 20 and another 4 aff 5. The first number in each case was the burial date [OR was it the death date and the second number was the burial date?]
    – Mike
    Aug 5, 2017 at 7:23
  • @Mike Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour to learn about our focussed Q&A format which is quite different from bulletin boards, discussion forums and other Q&A sites you may be used to. I think that your post may be better as a new question (that links to this one for background), so if you see it deleted, then just click the Ask Question button and ask it as a new one. Which parish and when did you see them?
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 5, 2017 at 9:43

1 Answer 1


I have no previous experience in this but I think it may be related to the Burial in Woollen Acts:

The first Act was passed in 1666 (18 & 19 Cha. II c. 4 1666), and the second, and rather more famous, in 1678 repealing the first (30 Car. II cap.3). Its aims were "for the lessening the importation of linen from beyond the seas, and the encouragement of the woollen and paper manufacturer of the kingdom."

The Act required that when a corpse was buried it should only be dressed in a shroud or garments made of wool.


Within 8 days of the burial, an affidavit had to be provided attesting that the burial complied with the Act. The affidavit had to be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace or Mayor by two creditable persons. If the parish did not have a JP or Mayor, the parson, vicar or curate could administer the oath.

I am thinking that those burials which were not "on the day" in the presence of the priest and many witnesses, probably needed the affidavit. All the aff. entries on that page seem to be a number (X) which is 0-7 higher than the day of the month so I think it means the affidavit to the burial having happened "in wool" was sworn on X day of the same month.

This is reinforced by @TomH's observation that on the first page of 1702 there is an entry for 31st December 1701 with "Aff: Jan: 4th" showing a forward reference into the next month.

  • 3
    If you look on the first page of 1702 there is an entry for 31st December 1701 with "Aff: Jan: 4th" showing a forward reference into the next month.
    – TomH
    Dec 13, 2014 at 10:04

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