Transcription of Parish Registers in 1602

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, p. 63.


J. Hambley Rowe, M.B., F.S.G.

Prepared by Michael Steer

A Guide to North Devon, published in Ilfracombe by J, Banfield in 1843 informs the reader that parish registers there commenced in 1567, and that the Vicar of Ilfracombe in 1602 was George Milton. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers. .

Note 36. TRANSCRIPTION OF PARISH REGISTERS IN 1602. — In the Ilfracombe Registers is to be found in the first volume, "George Milton, Sen., wrote this Register book in yere of our Lord 1602," and in another place, "19 May, 1601, George, sonne of George Milton, Hujus Libri Scriptor" (bap.).

Was George Milton a local scrivener or was he a professional transcriber of registers, who it is not unreasonable to think may have gone from parish to parish transcribing the earliest entries from paper to parchment? According to the ordinance of Queen Elizabeth in the matter of registers, enacted in the closing years of the 16th century the older paper books were to be superseded by parchment folios into which all previous entries were to be transcribed.

Would the Vicar of Ilfracombe kindly allow a photograph to be taken of the most legible of George Milton's pages for comparison with neighbouring registers of the same period. 

                                J. HAMBLEY ROWE, M.B., F.S.G.