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Parish Burial Records

From the Barwicker No.99
September 2010

Some years ago I visited the West Yorkshire Archives at Sheepscar and photographed 400 pages of Barwick in Elmet Parish Records, specifically the Burial Records from 1813 to 1962. This was for a project, which has yet to come to fruition. From time to time I have been asked to confirm the burial in the parish of an ancestor or relative and these searches have led me to look more closely at some of the entries. These comments relate only to burials in the first 200 pages, up to 1865. At 8 entries to a page the average was about 31 burials per year.

The records show: name of the deceased, abode, when buried & age. Grave plot numbers are not included in the records nor, except on isolated occasions, are causes of death. The final column is for the signature of the clergyman officiating. At the beginning of the period many burials were conducted by the Curate but from about 1850 the majority were taken by the Rector.

In the name column, children were shown in the earlier entries as John/Mary, son/daughter of Father and married women and widows were shown as Mary, wife/widow of Husband. This changed gradually to full individual names. Abode in most cases meant within the Parish, the most common being Barwick and Scholes but with many entries for Barnbow, Stanks, Kiddal Lane, Seacroft, Brown Moor & Winnmoor (sic) and a couple of entries each for Speakley Nook and Manston Coal Staith. People with strong connections to the parish, but no longer resident, were shown for example as Aberford, formerly of Scholes. However, there were also burials for people with no obvious connection to the parish, examples being York, Guiseley & Manchester.

One recurring abode was Barwick Workhouse, particularly in the 1850s and 1860s with no fewer than 13 inmates being buried in 1857. There were a considerable number of infant deaths but, as we are told that our life expectancy has increased substantially in recent times, it is possibly surprising that many instances of deaths aged 70 and 80 can be found and there are at least three in the 90s, the oldest noticed being a lady of 97, who died in 1835.

In September 1819 the infant son of Thomas Braine, the Curate, was buried. The abode quoted was Rectory House, Barwick. The service was conducted by John Irvine, the Assistant Curate. The Rector at the time was William Lort Mansel, also the Bishop of Bristol, who is reputed to have visited neither Parish nor Diocese. On a day in July 1834 infant twin boys were buried and in 1837 there was the re-interment, without explanation, of a man originally buried in Hertfordshire. In 1865 the record of the burial of a child of 2 years has a small extra note, Drowned in Town Well. On at least three occasions no details of the deceased were known and the records simply state, A Traveller - Name unknown; A woman found dead - Name unknown; and possibly the saddest entry of all, A child of 3 months -A vagrant - died near Rake Bridge.


I am prepared to look up burials in these records for readers and will need the deceasedís full name and approximate date of death. I can be contacted at most Society meetings or or by email

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