7

Bishop's transcripts were copies of parish registers that were sent periodically to the diocesan bishop.

In the past I have noticed minor discrepancies between parish registers and bishop's transcripts, which are to be expected. However, in examining the parish registers and bishop's transcripts for the parish of Quinton, Gloucestershire, I noticed some major discrepancies.

For example, for the years 1781-82 shown below, the parish register is on the left, the bishop's transcript on the right: enter image description here

Parish Register - 1781 burials

William Priest      Augt 13
Stephen Smith       Augt 15
William Heritage    Sepr 24
Richard Rogers      Sepr 27
Joseph Keely        Decr 1
Thomas Denes        Decr 22
Richard Best        Decr 24

Bishop's Transcript - 1781 burials

Thomas Dennis       Aug 12
Ann Rogers          Aug 22
Richard Best        Sep 12
Thos. Cooley        Sep 24
Mary Sadler         Oct 10
William Smith       Oct 23
Sarah Emms          Nov 20
Thomas & Richard Emms Nov 23

There is nearly nothing consistent between the two copies, apart from the curious similarity in a few names - "Thomas Denes" and "Thomas Dennis", a "Joseph Keely" and "Thos. Cooley", a "Richard Best" on both lists, though the dates are completely different.

Note that for the year 1782 (also included on the image), the inconsistencies are not so bad, although there are a few entries missing. The bishop's transcript states "The above is a true Transcript of the Register of the Parish of Quinton taken the 1st Day of July 1782."

What is the best explanation for the descrepancies between these registers which ought to be identical copies?


Note: Both the PR and BT can viewed on Ancestry.co.uk. Due to the location of this parish near the Warwickshire border it so happens that the PRs are archived at Warwickshire Archives, thus appears under Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812, while the BTs are under Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813.

  • 1
    Interesting that the BT wasn't signed by the incumebent and at least one – user104 Sep 29 '15 at 18:56
  • 1
    @ColeValleyGirl The BT was signed by the curate and two churchwardens (I didn't include the entire page in the image above) – Harry Vervet Sep 29 '15 at 19:10
  • 2
    It seems to cover more than one year, which is strictly speaking wrong -- they were supposed to be provided/cerified annually. Have you compared the BT for 1781 with the PR for the previous year? Also, did the parish have a chapel -- i.e the possibility for two PRs? – user104 Sep 29 '15 at 19:17
  • 1
    @ColeValleyGirl I have just looked at the BT for 1780, and there are some similar names though not all the dates match up - but you might have part of the answer there. Also I couldn't locate any other chapels in Quinton. – Harry Vervet Sep 29 '15 at 19:39
  • 2
    The September issue of the Genealogists' Magazine (p420) records missing burials due to the Priest completing the register once a year from the parish clerk's account book. Problem was that no entry was made into the account book if the fee had been paid in full already. The account book was there to record money owing, not burials. (I think I got the story right! ) Maybe here we see evidence of two books in use by different people. Only one was copied for the BTs. Wild guess. .. – AdrianB38 Sep 30 '15 at 18:25
3
+100

The September 2015 issue of the Society of Genealogists' Magazine (p420) notes missing burials in Sussex, in the early 1800s. The problem originated from the Priest completing the register once a year from the parish clerk's account book. The problem was that no entry was made into the account book if the fee had been paid in full already. The account book was there to record money owing, not burials.

Note that this exact case did not have discrepancies between PRs and BTs of the question. However, it does illustrate a possible failure mode leading to lost records of some sort.

Maybe in the case of this question, there were two books in use by different people and only one was copied for the BTs. Certainly there are a number of cases where draft and final copy parish registers survive - it is logical to assume that there were once many more draft PRs. It is, however, difficult to see how this sort of set-up could cause the major discrepancies seen in the original question!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.