The Parish Register dates from the year 1661. William Nicholson was then Bishop of Gloucester. It consists of at present (1893) nine books, three of which are of parchment. Three or four of the earliest of them show evident signs of wear, one being without covers, and nearly black with age. The first book looks as if it were made out of odd pieces of parchment, some pages being much larger than others, some again having boles in them, like knot holes in wood, and these are evidently original, as the person who made the entry missed the hole and continued the entry on the other side of it. There is no break between the end of the first book and commencement of the second, but there is a long one between the end of the second and commencement of third; although not apparently from the loss of any pages
The first entry (1661) reads thus:-- "Sara, daughter of Roger Elliott? and of Sarah his wife, was baptized 28th day of April" (?)
The entry on the cover of the third book says :-
" Bought for ye prsh of Randwick," and gives the signatures of the Churchwardens (one of which lived at Oxlynch), but they have become erased it is, at least at the commencement, noticeable for its brevity of report, one line only being allowed for each entry. Thus:--
"Betty-of George and-Lawrence, of Eastington, baptized Feb. 25th, 1732."
At the end of 1740, in a faint hand, is the following:-
"William Harmer, is his hand and pen."
In the middle of the third book is the following, which is most important, as it relates to the piece of land given in 1465 for the building of a church house, although what this house was originally used for is not clear. The village Workhouse latterly occupied the site, and it is now part of the Rectory garden:--
Hereunder written is a true and perfect copy in English of the Grant in Latin of the Lands on part of which the Church House standeth, in the Parish of Randwicke, in the County of Gloucester. Entered in the Register the 22nd day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty-nine, by Richard Watkins, then Churchwarden of the Parish of Randwicke:--
"KNOW all men in the present and to come that we John Cok son and heire of Walter Cok and Alice his wife eldest daughter of Thomas Spylman Esquire and Catherine the wife of the aforesaid John Cok Thomas ffromilode and John Cuggley Lords of one moyety of the manor of Rendwicke 'in the County of Gloucester HAVE given granted and by this our charter Indented have confirmed to Thomas Hort Thomas Holder Nicholas Mill Richard Bullock James Beele John Smyth John Spenser Robert Selwyn Thomas Bygge John Warner John Driver William Sanders Thomas Spoke James Robinson James Selwyn and William Holder of the county aforesaid ONE part of our Land lying in our Croft called Cowless containing in Length sixtyfive lawfull feete and in Bredth thirty and six feete near to the Parish Church of Rendwicke aforesaid That is to say between the wood of the aforesaid Lords and Kings way according to the metes and bounds thereof made TO HAVE and TO HOLD all the aforesaid Parcel of Land to the aforesaid Thomas Hert Thomas Holder Nicholas Richard James Beele John Smyth John Spenser Robert Thomas Bygge John Warner John Driver William Thomas Hoke James Robins James Selwyn and William holder their Ileires and assignes freely well quietly and in peace To the intent that a House may be there by them built and for ever possessed to the Honour of God and the Blessed Mary his Mother, of Saint John and all Saints in the Church of Rendewicke aforesaid for the health of our Soules and of ancestors benefactors and of all other faithfull people deceased the better for ever to be observed YIELDING and paying therefore yearly to us and our Heires one penny of silver at the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel if it be demanded for all secular services and demands And wee the aforesaid John Cok Katherine Thomas ffromilode and John Cuggley and our heires all the aforesaid Parcell of Land TO the aforesaid Thomas Hert Thomas holder Nicholas Richard James Beel John Smyth John Spenser Robert Thomas Bigge John Warner John Driver William Sanders Thomas lioke James Robins James Selwin and William Holder rrheir heires and assignes the promises under -the Manner and form aforesaid against all persons shall and will warrant and for ever defend.
In Witness whereof to this our present Charter Indented wee have put our Seals in the presence of these Witnesses.
Walter Brookhampton and Robert Bertham Esquires John Hayward John Twissel Richard ifeles and others.
Dated in the feast of St. Woolstan the Bishop in the seaven thirtyeth year of the Reign of King Henry the Sixth after the Conquest."
I acknowledge that I have in my hands as trustee for the Parish of Randwicke the original Charter under seale, whereof above written is a copy, and promise to produce the same as occasion may require for the benefit of the said Parish of Randwicke witness my hand the 22nd day of June one thousand seven hundred and thirty nine.
It will be found among my evidences relating to my manor of Standish.
The "J. Dutton" whose signature here appears was an ancestor of the Right Hon. Lord Sherborne (Lord of the neighbouring Manor of Standish). On inquiring of his lordship as to whether he still holds this Latin document, his lordship kindly informs the writer that this signature is that of the last heir male of Dutton; and that on the rebuilding of Sherborne House the documents were much displaced; have never, in fact, been properly classified since, so that he really cannot say whether he has the one in question or no. His lordship has never observed it.
In 1745 (June 13th) is the first mention of the Visitation at Gloucester. A Visitation is also recorded as occurring on August 13th, 1747. This is twice mentioned. Again, June 12th, 1749, August 9th, 1750, June 12th, 1751, are all given as dates of the Visitation in those years.*
(*Martin Benson was then Bishop.)
Many people seemed to have had an "alias," in old times, which is always given in the Register thus:-- Two children of Thomas Bonnett, alias Calf-way, March 26th (1749).
One book says, some way in :-" The names of those that are to be baptized, married and buried, in the year of our Lord God 1668."
In 1766 the following occurs :-" Note that the Register of Burials for this year and henceforth is transferred to the other end of this book for better distinction." Evidently the Curate was getting a little methodical, but he had not reached the sensible stage, afterwards adopted, of allowing a separate book for baptisms, marriages and burials, nor even for dividing each page methodically.
The Rev. Mr. Bowen, in 1770, commenced keeping the Register separate and in order, and continued to do so till he had filled a whole page, after that, old style again ! Here is a copy of the Register of
|Names of Deceased||Years of Age||Parish||When Buried||By Whom|
|Giles Baxter||98||Randwick||Jan 10th||Rev Mr Bowen|
|Childs Name||Parents |
|Parish of||When |
|Richd||Job & Eliz||Stroud||Jany 4th||Rev Mr Bowen|
Some ministers gave the cause of death, such as consumption, small-pox, 'dropsy, &., also such particulars as widow, infant, natural child of, etc.
The names of Wildy (which is now Whiley) and Motley seem common surnames in the early Registers, and such high-flown names as Beata, Dorathy, Urscilly (1774), Judith, Damaris, Civil, Sevil, Grace, Priscilla, Prudence, Deborah, and Sophia were given to children at their baptism, as shown in the Register. Acquilla, although a man's name, was always given to a girl in Randwick. Betty, too, is not an uncommon name here.
Another book says :-" Of marriages, all that bath been performed in Randwick Church, from the year of our Lord God 1744 to ye year 1754, and. those that followeth."
The following are a few of the noticeable entries amongst the burials:-
(1) 1767. Jan. 10th Stephen Cratchley, and Joseph Wildy, (both executed at Gloucester the 9th inst on account of the late riots occasioned by the dearness of provisions,) buried here.
(2) 1788. Sussannah Barnett, She died excommunicated for having a bastard child.
(3) 1791. March 27th George Harmer, 75, Stroud (parish), master of the Charity School of Randwick, 44 years, 9 months.
(4) 1792. July 5th Solomon Chandler He was killed by a cart, near Mr Arundells at the Field, near Stroud.
(5) 1793. June 3rd, Henry Cooke, son of Richard Cooke Esqr. Farm-hill, Parish of Stroud, (Buried in the vault,) Small pox.'
(*Since the Restoration, now in progress was commenced, this vault has been discovered near the nave in the corner of the oldest portion of the South aisle.)
(6) 1793. Sep. 29th Solomon Vines, aged 36 yrs. He was drowned in Stroud river.
(7) 1792. Mary Pearce, she died excommunicated for having a female bastard child.
(8) 1794 Dec. 31st Charles, son of Giles Burford, 2 3/4 he was burnt to death by his clothes cathching fire.
(9) 1796. Sep. 12th Saml. Bounce, alias White, 2 yrs., Stroud parish, poisened by eating the berries of the deadly nightshade.
(10) Saml. Clissold who for several years received a pension from the East India Company.
(11) June 21st, Richard Pegler, Gent., Clothier, near this Church, was buried at Stonehouse, in this County, on Tuesday, the 16th day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one.
After perusing these entries, the question arises, whether the Arundells, who lived at "The Field," in 1792, were the descendants of William Arundell, who was Churchwarden at Randwick in 1679, and again in 1690, and whose "coffer" tomb is just at the back of the Church, near to Radlvph Meisy's.*
(* Since writing the above, I have found the entry in the Registers of burial of William Arundell. Here it is:--
William Arundell of the psh. of Stonhous Buried the 21st day of April (1681).)
Another question also arises, whether women who were so unfortunate as those mentioned above, were always excommunicated. One thing to be noticed among the Registers was this: that people of note, or rather people of position, were entered as, Mr. or Mrs. So and So, while everyone else was entered by their Christian name.