MiscellaneousParish Records

Marriage’s 1780-1839

There were 352 weddings in St Peter’s Church between 1780 and 1839 and looking at these statistics shown in the graphs has raised some questions to be answered.

Why the larger increases in the 1820s and 1830s is something to be looked into. Census statistics are available from 1801 and the number of persons in the parish does grow from that date but is the growth from births related to existing parish residents or newcomers to the parish? Are the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) connected? There is a drop in marriages in the 1800s, with the trend going back up from the 1810s, with the biggest happening in the 1820s. Are there men missing from the records during this period?

If we look next at literacy, we see that it does drop in the 1820s and again in the 1830s this is the time that the number of weddings increase. This again raises questions!

What does this say about the people that are moving to the parish in this period? Are the majority of these marriages newcomers to the parish? We know from Steven’s1 that the parish had a village school from c.1723 for a limited number of boys and girls, and with 50% of grooms & 40% of brides being able to sign their name in the 1780s it is reasonable to think that some of them attended this school. Looking further into what jobs these people did is necessary, but not always easy for early records.

One would expect the upper classes of the parish and also those in trade like blacksmiths, shopkeepers, harness makers etc to be literate but the working labourers may be not so. Again understanding why the increase in weddings and who they were will aid in understanding why the decrease in literacy. It will be very interesting to compare labourers from St Mary Bourne with those who have moved to St Mary Bourne.

These are all questions that cannot be answered at present, but ones that I hope to be able to answer as the study progresses.

  1. Stevens, J. (1888). Parochial History of St. Mary Bourne Hants with an account of the manor of Hurstbourne Priors Hants. London: Whiting and Co. ↩︎

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