Irchester Parish Historical Society

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The Irchester Personal names index represent the gathering together of information from several hundred documents covering the period from 1350 to 1800.

Hopefully the information found here will put flesh on the bones of “hatch, match and dispatch” provided by the Parish Reigisters, and that it will form a starting point for further studies of the life a typical East Midlands village.

This is an ongoing project and the database will be updated as new material is researched.

The area of study is encompassed by the modern parish of Irchester which includes the hamlets of Knuston and Chester upon-the-Water and also Farndish which historically related more to Irchester than to Bedfordshire.

Northamptonshire County Record Office is the main archive for the records of Irchester but other important depositories include Bedfordshire Record Office, Northampton Library and The National Archives at Kew for the records of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Wherever possible the original documents have been consulted but when this has not been possible then reliable transcriptions have been used such as the publications of the Northamptonshire Record Society (NRS) and the work of Rev JWB Kerr at Northampton Library, who was vicar of Irchester for twenty five years until his death in 1928. The Rev Kerr transcribed many documents from what was then the Public Record Office.

Whenever I have struggled with a document in medieaval script written in abbreviated Latin I have checked with his transcriptions and always found him to be extremely accurate.

Original spellings of names have been used but over the period of study few people were literate and the scribe would write unfamiliar names down as he heard them, often spelling the same surname several different ways in the same document.

The concept of “correct spelling” did not exist before the introduction of universal education in Victorian times. To try and bring some order to this “alphabet soup” and allow sorting of the records I have added a field “Normalised spelling” which is my interpretation of what the modern form of the surname should be.

Over much of the period covered by these records (until 1752) the Julian calendar was in force and dates in the first quarter of the year would be written as “10th January 1719/20. I have always transcribed this as 1720 which would be the modern (Gregorian) interpretation of these dates.


DL  Duchy of Lancaster

FH  Finch Hatton

NRS  Northamptonshire Record Society

QSR  Quarter Session Returns

RO  Record Office

TNA  The National Archives, Kew

Some useful reference books

The Local Historian’s Glossary of Words And Terms

by Joy Bristow   ISBN1-85306-707-5

Latin for Local History

 by Eileen A Gooder  ISBN 0-582-48728-5

The Record Interpreter

by Charles Trice Martin ISBN 0-85033-465-9

The Irchester Personal Names Index