Saturday, 2 July 2016

Reverend Thomas Bagshaw's order of 1785

Reverend Thomas Bagshaw was Vicar of Bromley, Kent from1744-1785 in succession to his father Reverend Harington Bagshaw vicar from 1698-1744. One of the historic entries on the Sextons Account which I have recently transcribed at Bromley Historic Collections (formerly Bromley Archives) is a page long entry of Thomas Bagshaw's "order" in March 1785 and  a separate list of person's to be "observed" as a result of marriage outside the parish whilst both living in it.
This era of ecclesiastical law in Bromley parish had included the penance of Ann Chapman whose promiscuity resulted in her giving birth to several illegitimate children and being called to "stand in a white sheet" in the church see my blog.
The entry relating to 1785 reads:
"List of those persons the the Reverend Mister Bagshaw has required proof of their marriage before he would church the woman
Kelly uptown
Mary Proudlove
Simon Hill
Skinner the Farmer
Mrs Townsend at Wigmore
ordered by him in March 1785 that those persons who marry out of the Parish if both live in it shall pay the same fees or he will sue them for it and they shall bring a certificate of their marriage otherwise he will not church the women".
The churching of women after childbirth is the ecclesiastical ceremony in which a woman is given blessing after childbirth. It was particularly significant to women who had still born children at this time.
On the same page in a separate entry are the names and occupations or spouse of three people to be "observed" presumably because they had married outside Bromley and had not paid fees to Mister Bagshaw.
This period of Bromley history had demonstrated the force of ecclesiastical law and the later bitter dispute between Bromley's Vicar and vestry over the appointment of Parish Clerk and the Vicar's sale of timber from trees in the churchyard showed that considerable power resided in law with the incumbent in a parish.
It is not known how these individuals were dealt with in 1785 when Thomas Bagshaw gave up the living.