Friday, 2 May 2014

Bromley Baptismal Register 1812-1829

The Baptismal register has two features which are unusual in parish records.
The first is a double decker entry which the Reverend Henry Smith D.D. employs,that is to say that the register number is used for two different persons entry. This was a technical infringement of the requirement to enter a single entry for each individual. Since returns from the Parish Register were required to the Home Office for population totals to be maintained there was a purpose in this legal requirement and since the Reverend Smith had occupied the living of Minister of Bromley since 1785 it is puzzling that in the final two years of his ministry he should develop this spasmodic entry system. He is replaced in 1818 as Minister.
Entries from 1816-1818 are affected.Baptisms on different dates outnumber those on the same date. The Minister of Bromley has a neat hand and is capable of producing very small characters so that all entries are legible. My thought on first encountering such tiny hand writing was that during the Napoleonic wars sailors often produced such miniature hand writing and I wondered whether the Minister had learned the skill from them.
His successor is Reverend James Edward Newell who served as curate previously in the parish. I presume he retired from ministry in 1826 after which date he does not sign the register. He leaves an extraordinary record in the blank pages after the 1829 baptisms are completed.In two pages and "with great care" he provides two tables,the first recording baptisms marriages and burial totals for each year and the second tables analyses by age ranges each event. I have to admire the careful preparation of the data (presumably in retirement) and the value of the record in submitting information for 1831 population details.
The Civil parish of Bromley has population data has been compiled by academic research and  recorded as follows:
1801      2700
1811      2965
1821      3147
1831      4002
1841      4325
1851      4127
1861      5505
1871      10674
1881      15154
1891      21684
1901      27354
1911      33646
1921      35052
1931      43832
Mottingham was an extra parochial area until 1857 ;it became a civil parish in 1866 see civil parish history of Mottingham
Both of these aspects of the register are leading to a revision of the Bromley Archives catalogue entry.
The transcripts now complete are joining my other transcript work for Bromley Bromley Transcripts Kent Online Parish Clerks.