Parish records began when Thomas Cromwell Lord Great Chamberlain to King Henry VIII persuaded the king in 1538 to issue an order for churches to keep registers of baptisms, marriages and burials. Before then some parish priests kept notes of such events of leading families but this was entirely voluntary. The paper records were kept in a locked chest with two locks. The priest had one key and the churchwardens the other. On Sundays the chest was opened and the weeks events recorded.
Despite the order, compliance was patchy so Queen Elizabeth I reissued her father’s order verbatim in 1558 which resulted in a great improvement. In time other records were kept in the chest such as overseers of the poor accounts, poor law records, removal orders, bastardy bonds etc.
By 1597 it was realised paper was not a very good material for the long term and so record books were required to be made with parchment. In 1631 a fee of 6 deniers was imposed for registration of births but this was largely ignored with few children being baptised.
Between 1642 and 1660 during the English Civil War and the Interregnum the registers were neglected. Later in the Great Fire of London in 1666 a great many records in London were destroyed. In 1695 a fine of 40 shillings was introduced for anyone not registering as birth within 5 days.
Lord Hardwicke’s Act of 1754 introduced separate registers for marriages and separate books of banns recorded in a prescribed form. The signatures of the minister, bride and groom and 2 witnesses were needed. This was to deter clandestine marriages.
With this potted history you can see that there are many reasons why you might not find the record you are searching for. However we are fortunate in Tintinhull to have some excellent parish records.
These can be found by clicking on the links below. They are searchable using the search boxes at the top. To activate the search click on the side of the page.