Molland Parish Registers and Bishops Transcripts

By Adrian Bruce

Molland and Knowstone had a single parish priest from the Middle Ages as the two parishes formed a united benefice. Theoretically, they had separate registers, however vital records for people from one parish do occur in the registers for the other. It is generally not known whether such events took place in the other church or were simply recorded in the most convenient book. 

Original Parish Registers have been deposited at North Devon Record Office (under reference B415A/PR/1) and cover

  • Baptisms 1541-1602, 1640-1664, 1667-1965 
  • Marriages 1538-1601 (parts only of 1553-1576 because of damaged section of register), 1646-1812, 1814-1987
  • Burials 1541-1901

Theoretically, images and indexes of the above are on FindMyPast up to cut-offs of 1915 (baptisms and marriages) and 1901 (burials).

Bishops’ Transcripts exist for various years from 1602 to 1850. They have been filmed by FamilySearch (films 5751452 and 5750438) but not yet indexed. Images are available online (with restrictions) and are currently best accessed through a place-name search for Molland in the FS Catalogue (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/search). The Catalogue shows the potentially large gaps. 

Years 1716 and 1718 (and possibly others) are duplicated within the Molland BTs – based on the format of the sheets, these duplicates are almost certainly BTs from Knowstone. 

A comparison of the year 1720 in both the Parish Register and the Bishop’s Transcript shows major differences. There are 8 entries in the PR, but 6 in the BT. Five of the PR entries (scattered over the year) are not in the BT. Three of the BT entries (equally scattered) are not in the PR. Just three entries appear in both – only one fully matches, another has a different date and the third is a birth in the PR and a baptism on a later date in the BT. Other years are equally problematic. 


Devon & Cornwall Record Society, Guide to the Parish and Non-Parochial Registers of Devon and Cornwall 1538-1837(Torquay: 1979)

Society of Genealogists, National Index of Parish Registers Volume 8 Part 5, Devon (London, 1999)

South West Heritage Trust, Devon Archive Catalogue (URL http://devon-cat.swheritage.org.uk/search - accessed August 2018)