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St Mary’s Parish Church -
This is a compilation of church registers (the prime source) and the International Genealogical Index. The original parish registers are held at the Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford. The Principal Archivist at the Record Office has given permission for us to transcribe the microfiche records.
To get all of this information onto the page we’ve had to reduce the width of many of the columns so here is a key to those consequent abbreviations -
A. the ‘ch’ column refers to the particular village church where the event occurred. So SM’ is for St Mary’s,
‘IN’ for the Independent or ‘CA’ for the Catholic church
B ‘pl’ stands for the place of the event - ‘HM’ is Henham, ‘SW’ for Saffron Walden, ‘UG’ for Ugley, ‘MA’ for
Massachusetts, ‘GC’ for Great Canfield, ‘PL’ for Pledgden, ‘ST’ for Stansted, ‘BR’ for Broxted.
C the source column -
1. all entries taken from the parish register are marked ‘PR’.
2. all entries taken from the IGI are marked as ‘IGI’
3. If the same record has been found in both the parish register and the IGI, the reference states‘PR & IGI’
4. If the data has been supplied by another source, normally a family, it is shown as ‘F’
It is important to examine the original parish registers when doing your own family history research, as the IGI does not always accurately identify a person. If the original writing is very difficult to read, then you might find the terms 'male' or 'female' are used. Furthermore, dependant upon the literacy of the writer, a number of records may have been written phonetically. Therefore be prepared to use alternative and/or soundex search terms. Barlthrop is a name in point where there are 4 or 5 variations. Additionally two ss’s such as Stallibrass were written with a ‘F’ symbol during the 17th century. I have found 'Henham' spelt 'Henhem', 'Hennam' etc. A complete set of microfiches of St. Mary's registers are available for public viewing in Essex County Archives at Chelmsford.
Alphabetical list of surnames of baptisms for 1539 - 1848
|Births A||Births Ba||Births Be - Br|
|Births Bu - By||Births C - D||Births E -J|
|Births K - O||Births P - R||Births S|
|Births T - V||Births W - Y|
|Indecipherable List of surnames of baptisms for 1540 - 1883|
|IGI list of baptisms since 1838|
|IGI list of marriages since 1838|
|St Mary’s Parish Church - Marriages 1539 - 1837|
|Boyd's Marriage Index|
|St Mary’s Parish Church - Burials 1539 - 1878|
However, the registers are the property of the Incumbent and the Parochial Church Council and we are very grateful to The Reverend Dick Farr & the PCC for their permission tp reproduce the registers. The IGI interpretation of the parish registers is reprinted by kind permission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Copyright (c) 1999 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. The registers of the Independent Chapel are elsewhere on this website. Boyd's Marriage Index provides both a corroborative register and an alternative interpretation should the spelling be doubtful.
|Left - the first page of christenings, in 1539, from the register of St. Mary's Church. A number of regular names appear including Balstrop, Pennington, Wood and Wright
In 1538 Cromwell ordered all parish ministers to keep a record of all christenings, marriages and burials. It is these records that became known as the parish registers. The Tithe Awards of 1831 is the first comprehensive listing of all the owners and occupiers of plots of land in Henham and Pledgeden. This was shortly followed by the first census of 1841. It is from 1841 that we begin the first complete record in England of all the inhabitants either at a national, regional, or village level. Legislation was introduced into England in 1837 that required the registration of all births, marriages and deaths and so this date also provides a convenient but most important starting point from which to work back towards the earliest historical records.
Our two prime sources have been the parish registers of St Mary the Virgin, our village church and the IGI (more properly known as the International Genealogical Index). Fortunately for the Christian world there is a partial solution to our problem. The IGI is the only other readily-available tool that covers most of the period of recorded history in England within the Christian era. This database has been compiled from church registers by researchers of the Mormon Church (more properly known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of Salt Lake City in Utah, USA) and is freely available in public libraries and on the internet at www.familysearch.org
The IGI is an indispensable tool for local history and genealogy as it covers about 90% of UK parish registers. It extends our knowledge of former residents beyond events solely recorded in Henham. Somebody born in Henham but married in London can’t be found readily from parish registers, you’ve got to know the exact parish for the next event, be it a marriage or a burial. The IGI being a searchable database can, but not always, pull those two events out of the mass to show they contain the same person.
As with apparent jewel, even this index has its flaws. There can be are repeated entries for the same person, and the interpretation of the writing is highly subjective and made without the benefit of local knowledge. Don’t always select the ‘exact spelling’ option since many original entries would have been made on a phonetic presumption rather than from a proven written source. So be careful. Use a lot of lateral thinking to consider every possible spelling variation of the name. Over some four centuries my own Huguenot family name has acquired up to ten variations in the UK. We’ve obtained microfiche copies of St Mary’s registers from 1539 - 1848 and these quickly showed a large number of omissions from the IGI database.
We are both grateful and delighted to have been given special permission by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to reproduce our research on this webpage. Despite our request, at this time we are not allowed to publish a hard copy solely of the IGI for either the village school or the county archive. However if you visit www.familysearch.org then you may copy for your own private purposes.
So far the earliest record that we have traced to Henham is that of the birth in about 1200 of Robert Fitzwalter, the son of Robert Fitzwalter and Maud de Lucy, and his wife Rohese. Young Robert eventually married ‘Rohese’ in Henham in about 1220. She was born about 1199 and appears to have been descended from the aristocratic De Veres, Mandeville and Magnaville families (these families are mentioned in Miss Winmill’s articles on some of our other webpages).
In 1552 Pope Gregory X111 reformed the Julian Calendar (named after Julius Caesar) because it did not correspond exactly to the solar year. His new calendar, not suprisingly known as the Gregorian Calendar, reduced the year by 10 days as was adopted by Catholic countries (we’ll never be asked to make calendars when we have to choose from a plethora of Shanes, Waynes, Trevors & Brians). Initially England, as a Protestant country, did not follow suit but by 1752 had advanced about 11 days ahead of its closest european neighbours. This was more confusing than having different currencies or languages. For any society to act in unison, it must first have a common reference point. Time is the most important common denominator. After all, if we need to act simultaneously or arrange for an act or a ceasefire to occur, we don’t need to speak the same language but we do need to synchronise our clocks and watches. England remained observing the 25th March (Lady’s Day) to begin a new year but eventually conceded and brought in The Calendar Act of 1752. The consequence was that Wednesday, 2nd September 1752 was followed immediately by Thursday, 14th September 1752 and January 1st began as New Year’s Day on Jan 1st 1753. This meant that for say 1750, the year ran -
Nov 1750 —- Dec 1750 —- Jan 1750 —- Feb 1750 —- March 1-24 1750 —- March 25 1751
- one and a half centuries ahead of us !