Listing St Chad’s parish records
We’ve just finished the list for Shrewsbury St Chad’s parish records. This was something that we began as a whole team last year and now (finally) the list has been printed and is browsable on the online catalogue.
Listing as a team effort…
The way in which we listed this was somewhat unusual…
Firstly, the older lists were checked over and items reclassified on paper into the sections currently used for parish listing:
St Chad’s also had an extra section for records generated by the Trustees who were responsible for the management of the rebuilding of the parish church. They were empowered under the Acts for the rebuilding of the parish church of St Chad’s, 1789 & 1790, with their first meeting being held on 9 July 1789 (exactly one year after the old tower fell). The building debt was paid off in 1867 and in 1870 the Trustees’ powers under the building acts came to an end. Although there was some early overlap with the Trustees and Churchwardens’ responsibilities, most records were quite clearly defined.
This draft reclassification was typed into CALM – the bespoke database used by many repositories for cataloguing.
Then for the ‘fun’ part! During our week’s closure each team member took a section of the new list on CALM, had to look for documents under their old reference number, renumber them and re-box them under the new classification. Some descriptions and reclassifications had to be rejigged and information on the draft catalogue could be expanded and improved. There were also some very recent accessions that had never been listed which could be added into the new catalogue.
This was a fairly manic way of working. Inevitably with a whole group working on a collection in a limited time, there were some decisions about classifications that were fairly arbitrary. For example the receipted bills, ref P253/B/2/3/1 turned out to be much more extensive than originally thought and could probably have done with a reference with fewer levels.
Most of the work was completed within the week, with a few loose ends and missing documents to tidy up afterwards. Most of the missing documents turned out to have been erroneously entered twice into the catalogue – a pitfall in working in this way.
The list was then checked over and printed. Although inevitably there idiosyncrasies in the list, it was an enjoyable way to complete the listing in a very limited time and we hope that you will find it useful.
Gems in the collection…
The collection as a whole is fascinating. The material relating to the rebuilding of the church is extensive.
Also, the receipted bills, P253/B/2/3/1, date from 1795-1945 and cover all sorts of expenses from the repair of bells and glass to fixing black draperies to pulpit and desk for Lord Hill’s funeral. Many of the bills also include the detailed letter heads for different professions.
Although there is relatively little relating to poor relief, there are revealing documents about the charities supported by the Church. For example the charity of Edward Tomkis who left 400 pounds, upon trust, that the interest should be annually spent in buying 12 blue coats for 12 ‘decayed ‘men, and 12 gowns and petticoats, of the same colour, for 12 women of the same circumstances (not paupers) to be given to them yearly against Christmas.
Of interest to family historians, in addition to the parish registers of course, might be the district visitors’ books ref P253/B/3. They describe houses and inhabitants for each area eg Notes on Belmont Bank and Milk Street by Amy G S Corser, District Visitor, 1910. The information might supplement the 1911 census (although some of the later volumes will be subject to the data protection act).
Within the collection are also school records including a log book for Allat’s girls school, 1877-1906 P253/R/1/6.
Please do have a look at the St Chad’s catalogue online for yourself. We hope you find it useful!