By Linda Turnbull, Archivist
Parish Records (PR/RM)
The most well-known ecclesiastical records are probably the registers of the parish church, in which were recorded baptisms, marriages and burials. Our collections include some 50 registers of baptisms, marriages and burials conducted at Richmond parish church from 1556 to 2002 (baptisms), 2017 (marriages) and 2010 (burials).
Our holdings of parish registers can be consulted on the subscription website Find my Past, which can be accessed from North Yorkshire Libraries (or online by North Yorkshire library members whilst libraries are closed due to Covid-19).
The complete parish collection for Richmond however contains far more than the parish registers.
Included are records of administration at a parish level, with vestry minutes surviving from 1784 to 1927. Of these, the earliest volume (PR/RM 2/1) covers the years from 1784 to 1822 and is greatly concerned with the administration of the poor law.
The page on the left shows disbursements (i.e. handouts) to the poor at a meeting on 27th September 1785. On the right page, at a meeting of the Vestry held on the 4th January 1786, it was resolved that
“An advertisement be inserted thrice in the York old paper for the purpose of contracting with a proper person for the maintenance of the poor of this parish for three years commencing the 5th April next”
After some discussion, and a vote, Mr Robert Wright was awarded the contract for three years. By the end of April however, Mr Wright was complaining that
“the poor in the House on the 5th April (29) were very ill clothed and many of them almost naked”.
It was agreed that the vestry would provide money so that Mr Wright could purchase new clothing, and that he should bring receipts to a future meeting and that the overseers would inspect the poor to ensure that they were adequately clothed.
At the back of the book is a list of what appear to be settlement certificates granted between 1702 and 1787. Each entry names the person, the parish from which they came and the year.
The parish records also include faculties, which record work carried out on the church building. This colourful booklet contains the names of those who subscribed towards the cost of purchasing a new church bell in 1904 (PR/RM 9/1/33.
Other financial matters are covered by churchwardens’ accounts (from 1736 to 1751) which contain church rates and assessments, and include very full lists of names, as well as a church rate book from 1856 to 1862.
In addition, there are documents relating to the National School, Richmond tithes, Holy Trinity Chapel, the riding of the boundary and many other subjects.
Next time in Focus on Richmond records – Part 3 we’ll be exploring maps and the information they can provide