Arlingham Parish Register Notes

Early Church records often recorded major events, as well as the normal Baptisms, Marriages and Burials. The following entries are from Arlingham registers, and were recorded in Volume 1 of Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, edited by the Rev. Beaver H. Blacker, M.A, published in 1881. The spelling and grammar are as the original document.

Unusual Burial Entries  Church Bells  Excommunication Flooding   Fear of Invasion  Civil War Casualties


The oldest register contains baptisms from 1539 to 1552, and from 1590 to 1613; marriages from 1565 to 1645; and burials from 1540 to 1547, and from 1573 to 1632. But the leaves are not bound up in chronological order; the baptisms for 1539 being on fol. 17, and the burials for 1540 on fol. 31.

The lacunae are:- baptisms, 1552 to 1590, and 1613 to 1655; marriages, 1539 to 1565, and 1645 to 1655; and burials, 1547 to 1573, and 1646 to 1655.

In the third register this memorandum occurs:-"These following names of persons baptised, married, and buried, betwixt the yeares 1654 and 1662, being registered in a paper book in the time of the usurpation by Oliver Cromwell, were at the charges of the parishioners transcribed into this book in the yeare of the Lord God 1688.
"William Bycke, Gent,           )
"Thomas Fryer, of Milton end) Churchwardens"

April 25, 1599, being St. Mark's Day, in the 41st year of her Majesty's reign, there is a memorandum of Henry Childe reading himself in as vicar of the parish, signed by those who were present.

There is likewise the following record of "beating the bounds" in the year 1606 :- Memorandum that I, Henry Childe, Vicar of Arlingham, wente in perambulation, with ----- of my parishioners, on Rogation Monday & Tuesday, 1606. Upon the Tuesday I wente to the uttmost confines of our parish, eastward and from north to south, not for any superstitions sake, but to see the boundes of the parish. Per me, Hen: Childe, Vicarius de Arlingham."

This vicar generally preached at "gentle" baptisms, and noted his texts in the register; e.g., "Twins, 1609, Decr 3, Hosea xii. 3; Hosea xii. 4; Acts viii. 36; and the names of sponsors at such baptisms are recorded. He also preached at weddings, noting the texts; e.g., "1 Cor. i. 28; Heb. xiii. 4; 1 Tim. ii 13, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1632." And numerous entries make mention of his preaching at funerals; e.g., Monday, April 5, 1613, Psalm xxxix. 4,5, 6, at Mrs Anne Clifford's burial ; Exodus i. 20, 21, at the burial of Margery Wintle, midwife; and "1626, Octr 22nd, I expounded gratis John vii. 11 to 18 ; Nov. 3, the 16th Psalm per totidem." As to fees, he was particular in his notes. The ordinary marriage-fee seems to have been 12 pence, whether by license or after banns; but Dec. 12, 1632, he enters: "10s. in gold." The mortuary fee most common was 3s 4d; but sometimes 6s 8d.; and sometimes 10s. In 1629 he enters it thus: "ys 8d. in carne porcina."

Amongst the early entries of burials the following may be noted:-

1597. "Xtober Acclyfs legge was cut off under the knee the xxxth day of January, Ano ut supra."

1597. "A certain beggar wenche stranger."

1599. Feb. 10. "Ales Fryer, celebem vitam finens."

1599. Feb. 21. "John Wotton, of the Church house."

1599. "John Lawrence, alias Midleton, medicq et clericq, circa 105 annos natus, was buried the 1st of September by Mr Luffingham. Per me, Hen : Childe."

1624. Dec. 27. "Margarett, the wife of Wm Blakeney, alias Kinge, commonly called the krooked Queen."

1626. June 16. "Mr Norris preacht at funeral of Thomas, only surviving son of Thos Bick, gent, deceased being his scholler."

The bells of the church were not neglected, as appears from the following entries :-

"1608. Jan. 30th, the third bell went up towards Gloucester to be cast."

"1612. March 5th. Memorandum that the great bell of Arlingham was cast by Richard and Simon Baker, of Gloster, for 4 in monie, and 30pds allowance of mettall, and 27pds more for 27pds of old pott and cauldron mettall belonging to the Parish. But it amounted in all unto --- in weight with that which they putt in. So that the bell would have cast itself without any other addition of mettall. And this bell was cast in the church house of Arlingham on the 5th day of March, 1612. The same Lent next after the Lady Elizabeth was married unto the Count Palatine on Shrove Sunday before with great triumph. God give them abundant joye. Amen.

March 7th, 1612. Wm Rowles & R. Downe  Churchwardens.

Per me, Hen : Childe, Vicarius de Arlingham.

"And out of this was conveyed by the bell founders privily 200pds of mettall, worth 10 (at 1s. per lb.), which was sold by Wm Rowles & R. Downe, churchwardens, unto -------- for 5."

The bells were re-cast in 1717 by Abraham Rudhall.

River Severn Flooding
There is a memorandum that on Tuesday in the forenoon, being the 20th of January, 1606-7, "there was in Arlingham, and also .............. Severne, an exceeding great fludd, and the greater by reason of the south west winde, so hye that one might have morde a boate at Thomas Vinges gate; when many lost their sheepe and other cattle and their goods, Horsecroft and Newbridge being then sowde with wheat, and all overflowde; and had it not been for the C........... boate, which was commonly used upon 10th daye, and in the Tenure of Mr Robert Yate and Thomas ...... , manye, about the number of 20, had lost their lives, or, at the least, binne greatly endangered to be pined or starv'd to death. Mr Thomas Yate and his eldest son, Mr Richard Yate, were then hemm'd in upon the Glass Cliffe with the water. I say it is an admirable memorandum, because it exceeded the fludd that was about 46 years before, a foot and a half at the least higher than it was then. Cursed be the hand that raseth this memorable Recorde out of this Booke. Upon the same day Mrs Anne (who then was not churched), for feare of the waters, was, with Mr Childe, then vicar, and his familie, fain to be hurried over with the boate from the Vicaridge. And this day was just 3 weekes after Elizabeth Childe was born. Per me, Hen: CHILDE, Vicarius [de] Arlingham."

"The somer following there was a most extreame hott somer, in so much that many died with heat; and in 1607 was a wonderful frost; after all which followed a dearth. Per me, Hen: Childe."

Another flood on Tuesday, November 4, 1628, is described in a lengthy memorandum. "Flood over 1/2 yard high in Vicarage Barn." Another flood, February 3, 1629, "ranne not into Vicarage."

"Thrice have I seen a fearful inundation
Within the space of two and twentie years,
As few of my coate have in al their station;
Which when it comes (as't will) unto men's eares
What hart so hard that can abstain from teares?
But woe is mee that I am first to dwell
Where seas, enradge with windes, so proudlie swelle!
God knows who shall survive to see the next,
To be, as I have binne, with feare perplext.

Novr. 6th, 1628, per me, HEN: CHILDE, Vicarius de Arlingham."

The parishioners were not without their fears of the threatened Spanish invasion :-

"Upon Wednesday, July 9th, 1628, between 10 and 11 of the clocke at the night, there was a fearful crye, and alarum of the landing of the Spaniards at Milford Haven, which caused the drums to sound and church bells to be runge out in most parishes adjoining; but wee were more affrighted than hurt."

There is a memorandum of excommunication :-

"1669. April 14th. Baptised Robert, the incestuous base son of Isaak Fryer and Sarah, the relict of Thomas Fryer, his uncle, whom the said Isaak keepeth verie wickedl, altho' they both were presented for it, and by sentence of the Lord Bishop of Gloucester's Court for their notorious contumacie stand excommunicate."

Civil War Casualties

Arlingham appears to have contributed soldiers who took part in the civil war :- "1643. Roger Williams (servant to Mr Fowler, of Saul, & slaine in a skirmish betwixt some of the soldiers of the King and others of the Parliament in the parish) was buried Sept. 7th, 1643." "1644, April 27, John Eaton, son to ----- Eaton, citizen of London, and soldier in Serjeant Major Dobson's companie, was buried." "1644. April 28, were buried ---

1. Nicolas Seabrook (another of Serj. Mr. Dobson's compy),
2. Arthur Ricketts,
3. Francis Horwood,
4. George Langley,
}soldiers of Capt. Richard Mather's company of the garrison at Slimbridge.

All these 5 were, with 12 others, drowned on the morning of April 27th, just against the Hockrill, being cast away in a little oar boate, and overturned by the violence of the waves of the flowing tide."

In 1763 there is this singular entry of burial, as quoted by Bigland :- "Stephen Aldridge, who was suffocated by a flat-fish, which he unadvisedly put between his teeth when taken out of the net; but by a sudden spring it made its way into his throat, and killed him in two minutes. It is here recorded as a warning to others, to prevent the like accident." - Thomas Holmes Ravenhill, M.A., Arlingham Vicarage, Stonehouse.