Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/345

This page needs to be proofread.

9* s . ix. APRIL 26, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


or elsewhere. He is reported to have spent a fortune of several thousands of pounds in trying to prove the claim and in searching registers, but he failed, I understand, owing to the absence of the connecting link of one entry, which he knew to exist, but could not find. RONALD DIXON.

46, Maryborough Avenue, Hull.

CHRIST'S HOSPITAL: THE LAST OF THE "BLUES" (9 th S. viii. 283; ix. 231, 251). The Standard of April 21st contains the following interesting account of the closing of the old school :

"Only a few boys had remained within the gates during Friday night, a portion of which was spent in the observance of a custom which will, no doubt, appeal to the sympathies of ' Old Blues ' all over the world. The 'Grecians' formed a long single file, each youth carrying a candle, and as they beat the boundaries of the hospital they kicked at walls of well-known spots bearing such mystic geographical expressions as ' Gymmer Door,' ' Sixes Tubby's Hole,' 'The Rid's Staircase,' 'The Z Minor,' and ' Haggery Stairs.' The perambulation having been completed to the intense satisfaction of all concerned, the boys stretched hands across the playground, and, marching up and down three times, sang 'Auld Lang Syne.' The quaint cere- mony concluded with lusty cheers for the pious founder and benefactors."

A. N. Q.

PARISH REGISTERS : THEIR CARE AND PRO- TECTION (9 th S. ix. 168). The case cited by H. G. K. is certainly scandalous in the last degree, but it is not worse than two or three that have come to my knowledge in the course of twenty years' experience. I also could give the name of a parish whose registers were deliberately burnt by the incumbent only a few years ago but without the somewhat palliating circum- stance of a copy previously prepared. ^ I know another instance where the parish registers are kept at a farmhouse.

Another aspect of this urgent question is the frequent practice of exacting prohibitive fees from genealogists and antiquaries whose work necessitates a general search through the registers. This is commonly supposed to be legal, but I doubt it very much. The fees fixed by statute were never intended to apply to a literary search. It is absurd to suppose it. They were meant to be charged for particular entries required for legal purposes. Yet historical investigation is often checked in mid -stream by a hopelessly conscientious insistence, on the custodian's part, that the full fees are to be paid- amounting to many pounds in an ordinary case. I admit that such custodians are a minority of the clergy. Courteous and in- telligent liberality is much more common.

But cases of the other sort are numerous enough and sufficiently scandalous to call urgently for a remedy. What antiquarian workers want to know is, When are we to expect the introduction into Parliament of a Bill similar to that drawn years ago by the late Mr. William Copeland Borlase, M.P., with the object of giving us relief in this respect? It is monstrous that records of such priceless value as church registers should be left in any custody but that of the Master of the Rolls. They are perishing by the dozen every year. I could furnish abundant evidence of their rapid and irre- coverable loss. If they are to be saved, it must be done at once.


Is H. G. K. aware that the existing form of entry in marriage registers does not go back further than the year 1754, having been prescribed in the Marriage Act passed in 1753? He does not mention the year to which his inquiry related, but the names of witnesses and other matter not judged material, as he supposes, are not to be found recorded before the date above mentioned. The book in use in my parish from 1754 to 1812, in pursuance of the Act of 1753, was published by Joseph Fox, " Parish Clerk to the Honourable the House of Commons " and " Bookseller in Westminster Hall," and also by Benjamin Dod, " Bookseller to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge." There is also a register of banns similarly published. Probably the proceeding which appears to H. G. K. to be " monstrous " is only an evi- dence of the care of the curate at the time, who, finding the old registers tattered and decaying, may have copied them for preserva- tion, attesting them oy his own signature and those of the churchwardens in accord- ance with the canon of 1603. But, never- theless, the originals should also have been carefully kept. W. D. MACRAY.

Ducklington Rectory, Oxon.

There can, of course, be only one answer to H. G. K. The copy to which he refers is useless alike for law and history. Why nothing is done for the protection of parish registers is a mystery, and now that the Church is every year admitting more and more uneducated men the danger is growing. I know a Cornish parish where the old regis- ters lie about, part on the vestry floor and part in an open box, yet the vicar, instead of being suspended, has just received a good promotion. Not all the clergy are thus ignorant and selfish. In another Cornish