The Church Records

Pentney Church Records

One of the most interesting areas of research in any parish is to look at the Church Records.  It became law in 1538,for each Parish to keep its own set of records of baptisms, marriages and burials.  Each year as well, a copy of the records was sent in to the Bishop's Office, unless he was making his Visitation that year, so in theory, we should be able to trace everyone's family in England back to that date. 
Of course, it doesn't work like that!  At first, records were kept on loose sheets, easily lost.  Record Books got thrown away, or eaten by rats, watermarked, or used to wrap up someone's dinner! Sometimes they are all there, but are just too faint to read without ultra-violet light. Or the Clerk's writing was atrocious - some things never change! However, now most old record books are conserved in County Record Offices, and have also, often been filmed, so they can be consulted without further damage to the originals.

The Church Records, of the Parish of Pentney kept at the Norfolk County Record Office, date from about 1730, and go up to 1903.  They are available on Microfiche from the Office, or can be consulted there.

The first page in the first book contains a List of all the Ministers of Pentney from 1538 to 1888. 

On the second page are details of a Benefaction, distributed to the Poor of the parish in 1769, with the names of 32 people, who each received a share of the 30. 

The Register proper then begins, with a large, though faded title,

"Registerium Ecclesia Parochialis Beato Maria in Villo de
Pentney Et Comitat Norff. 
Incepit Per Thomas Robotom Ibid Curati. 

Until 1752 the Calendar was kept in a different way, with New Year starting on March 25th or Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord.  The first Baptism in the Register is therefore recorded as on 31st January 1730
The entry reads,

"Maria, filia Thomo Carter et Maria, Ux, baptiz. Jan'y 31 1730/31"

Or, in English,

"Maria, daughter of Thomas Carter and Maria, his wife, was baptised on
31st January 1730"

To see whether your family name features in the Records, please click on the link below.  Here you will find summary transcriptions of all the records at Pentney, plus quite a few other parishes in Norfolk.
To return to the Pentney site, press the back button on your browser.

Rita Sheridan,

Email: rasheridan@lineone.net