Monday, 7 April 2014

The 1801 Census of Bromley

I undertook transcription of the rare survival 1801 census in 2013 at Bromley Archive. My transcript has been been online at Kent Online Parish Clerks see 1801 Bromley census. Bromley's population in 1801 is 2700 people.
Prior to the census taken on the 10 day of March the parish was asked to make another return from its registers.
The census reflects those who provided the census information  Henry Smith, D.D., Minister; Edward Latter, Vestry Clerk; John Pepper and L. Ashworth, Churchwardens; Samuel Floyd and [given name illegible] Chalkley, Overseers.
The Home Office stated "A correct return of the Baptisms,Burials and Marriages of the year 1800 is peculiarly requisite,as being the connecting Link of the series of Parish Registers with the Enumerated Population of 1801 and subsequent Enumerations.
The draft form has been left inside the flap cover of the bound Bromley Composite Register number one which covers the years 1558-1715 for some events. The form requires the number of Baptisms Burials and Marriages for three year clusters for:
1571  for which only baptisms survive.

This crude sampling of population shows the town was growing slowly, however against this growth trend there are a number of distortions. Present within the ancient Parish were a significant number of travellers particularly on Bromley Common. The burial register reflects also a number of deaths from those staying at the Bell and White Hart Inns which were large stage coaching Inns on the 10 mile road to London Bridge to the north and Tunbridge ,Tunbridge Wells and Hastings to the south east. in addition nurse children (including children identified from the Foundling Hospital in London) are introduced to the parish and baptismal registers include adult baptisms and reflect baptism of Londoners often so described. There is therefore a shifting non resident population as well as residents of the town.
The three year clusters do not reflect the years of highest death rates during epidemics. Bromley records plague deaths more than 20 years before the Great Fire of London.
Bromley appears to have been a relatively slow growing population in a rural market town on a major coach staging a short distance from the city of London. It was not until the coming of the railway that large growth appeared much later.
The civil War touched Bromley but there is no record of any conflict in the town; the upheaval centred on evicting the Bishop of Rochester from his Palace and the installation of Puritan clergy as Ministers. Eventually the Bishop returned to the Palace and the registers return to normality with  little disruption.