Project Purley

The Local History Society for Purley on Thames

Parish Records and Registers


Parish Registers had been required to be kept since the 16th century, but so far as Purley is concerned none survive from before the Restoration in 1660.

The references are to the records in the Berkshire Record Office

The surviving registers are:-

Mixed Entries 1662-1773 (DP/93/1/1)
Marriages and Banns 1755-1908 (DP/93/1/2)
Baptisms and Burials 1773-1812 DP/93/1/3
Burials 1789-1811
Baptisms 1789-1812
Burials 1813-1985 DP/93/1/
Burials 1985-date (still in use)
Marriages 1813-1840 DP/93/1/5
Baptisms 1813-1948 DP/93/1/4
Services 1968-1980 DP/93/1B/1
Services 1980-
Services -date still in use
Marriages 1838-date still in use
Baptism 1948-date still in use
Banns 1815-1838 DP/93/1A/1
Banns 1915-1964
Banns 1964-date still in use

Many of the registers contain a lot of additional notes and memoranda, several of which are mentioned in the text

Bishops Transcripts

The Bishop’s Transcripts were certified copies of the entries in the Parish Registers which were lodged periodically with the Bishop. Transcripts for Purley survive from 1607, much earlier than the earliest entry in a surviving register. Later transcripts provide a useful cross check on the register entries themselves. Transcripts for Purley from 1607 are to be found in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre at Chippenham.

Churchwardens Presentments

Each year the churchwardens are required to report to the Archdeacon on the state of the church. These usually took the form of a personal visit upon the Archdeacon to present a written report and to transact any other business., eg to pay for Church Briefs.

An almost complete set of the presentment reports covering the years 1666-1836 are preserved at the Berkshire Record Office (DA2 ch 129). The set had originated with the Diocese of Salisbury but were transferred to the Bodleian in1836. Later reports remain either in the Bodleian or in the custody of the Diocese of Oxford.

The presentments provide a detailed record of the names of churchwardens and many incidental items of information ranging from the state of the fabric of the church to the reported sins of some of the parishioners.

Churchwardens and Overseer’s Accounts

Originally the Vestry Accounts covered all the financial transactions of the Parish, both church and community excepting those relating specifically to the fruits of the benefice which remained the personal concern of Incumbent and patron. As functions were divested to the Boards of Guardians and Local Authorities the subject matter has reduced to strictly church matters. The earlier accounts covered such things as rateable values, collection of rates, payments to the poor and repairs to roads as well as church matters. The Account books for the periods 1825-1914 and 1914-1932 have survived and are kept at the Berkshire Record Office (DP/93/5/1&2).

Later Account Books are retained by the Treasurer of the Parochial Church Council although many have perished.

Union Records

Poor Law Records

None of the poor Law Records for Purley have survived. However there are many references to Purley in the records of neighbouring parishes. These are mainly ‘Removal Orders’ whereby someone who had fallen onto Parish Relief in a parish other than his or her own, was ordered to be removed to his own parish.

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