A One Place Study of the Parish of Staveley, Derbyshire, England...
Spellings of Names
Alternative Name Spellings
Alternative Names
Illegibility and Blank Cells


Parish registers originated from a Mandate formulated by Thomas Cromwell in 1538 which required that all christenings, burials and marriages in a parish be registered by the parson and churchwarden. In 1598 by an Order of Queen Elizabeth it was stipulated that, going back to the beginning of her reign in 1558, the resulting registers be transcribed into parchment books and in practice most registers, including Staveley's, date from about that time. By the same Order a copy of the registers was to be sent each year, at Easter, to the diocesan Bishop.

The original Staveley parish registers are held at the Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock. With permission some have been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and copies are available for inspection at the Sheffield Family History Centre, Grenoside, and the Derbyshire Record Office. These microfilms reveal that due to the ravages of time the condition of registers for the 16th. century and most of the 17th century is such that they are rendered very difficult to use. Consequently this compilation has needed to draw on a variety of sources to present the Staveley Parish Registers in something approaching their entirety.


The Period 1559 to 1641

In their current condition the early registers are not at all easy to use. However it emerged that in the past, when they may have been more legible, various transcripts had been undertaken, the internal documentary evidence (spellings, palaeogaphy) suggesting that these copies were made in the 19th. century and even earlier. The most comprehensive transcript of the Staveley Parish Registers, which probably dates from the early 19th. century, is held by the College of Arms. In principle it covers the years 1559-1641 for christenings, 1588-1641 for burials and 1588-1637 for marriages; in fact the coverage was not comprehensive with some years missing for each type of entry. A second source, The Society of Genealogists, possesses a transcript of unknown date for Staveley christenings, again in principle covering the period 1559-1619. Thirdly the Jackson Collection, held in the Sheffield Archives, includes the oldest of these early transcripts, dating from 1706, which also relates to christenings between 1559 and 1609. All three transcripts have been drawn upon, to supplement each other and provide mutual checks, in order to reconstruct a picture - though one that is less than totally comprehensive - of the Staveley Parish Registers prior to the middle of the 17th. century.

The Period 1653-1702

No Staveley Registers have been found for the years 1642 to 1652. In many parishes there was a lapse of registration during the Civil War and the early years of the Commonwealth, partly because there were some objections to the religious rites practiced at that time. A revival of the Staveley registers in 1653 may owe something to an Act passed in that year which transferred the record keeping from the clergy to the Parish Register (Registrar). As noted the microfilms of the original registers, of little practical value for the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, are also impaired as a source for the second half of the 17th. century. For christenings and marriages alike they provide information only for the years 1654 to 1665, and in the case of burials for the same period and also for the years 1678-1692. Therefore for the period 1653-1702 principal reliance has been placed on the Bishop's Transcripts of the Staveley Registers, which are in good condition and held at the Lichfield Record Office, though where possible these have been cross checked with the microfilmed originals. Interestingly such comparisons between these two sources reveal that in some instances entries in the Bishop's Transcripts are more comprehensive than those in the original registers, for example in the case of christenings providing information about the mother's name and the family's abode. This suggests that, in some periods, the original registers and the Bishop's Transcripts may have been derived from a third perhaps less formal list kept by the parson, churchwarden or clerk.

The Period 1702 to 1837

The entries in the Staveley Parish Registers presented here have been taken up to 1837 the year when the system of national civil registration of births, deaths and marriages was introduced and the General Register Office established. (Although the Staveley Registers held at the Derbyshire Record Office extend beyond this date). For the most part both the microfilmed originals and Bishop's Transcripts for the 18th. and early 19th. centuries provide good sources for transcribing the Staveley Parish Registers and both have been drawn upon to supplement and confirm each other.


A general limitation of parish registers as a record of the numbers of christenings, burials and marriages which took place in a particular parish is that they record only those which were conducted by the Anglican church. Increasingly as the years passed, and particularly during the 19th. century, the number of such events which were celebrated or commemorated by other denominations, especially in the case of Staveley in the Methodist chapels, increased substantially.

Within this general limitation, in terms of both comprehensiveness and accuracy, the least reliable of these entries recorded in the Anglican church are those covering the period prior to the 1650s, which were derived from earlier transcripts of the originals. Whilst the record of christenings started in 1559, there is no coverage of either burials or marriages until the late 1580s, and no registers appear to have been kept during the Commonwealth years, essentially the 1640s. During this earlier period even for those decades that were in principle covered by the transcripts it appears that some years were not included. Burials entries were missing or unusable for the periods August 1591 to September 1596, March 1607 to December 1608, December 1629 to April 1632 and November 1633 to February 1634,. The same applies to marriages for the periods June 1588 to May 1593, November 1601 to May 1604 and April 1605 to January 1609. Nor could any entries for christenings be found during the periods May 1564 to March 1565, November 1569 to July 1570, April 1597 to April 1599, November 1605 to November 1606, and May 1607 to December 1608. A rough estimate suggests that, in all, some 15 per cent of all entries are missing for the years prior to the middle of the 17th. century.

Moreover comparisons, where possible, of the three sources for these early transcripts - the College of Arms, the Society of Genealogists and the Jackson Collection - reveal some discrepancies in the way in which certain names were transcribed, and whilst every effort has been made to avoid the introduction of additional errors in this presentation, it is clear that the reliability of the record for these early years is less than perfect.

In terms of both coverage and accuracy the entries for the years between the 1650s and the end of the century must be counted a great improvement on the earlier, transcript based, record and they should be regarded as essentially sound. This is due to the fact that they are largely derived from the original Bishop's Transcripts (inscribed on parchment and held at Lichfield) which for the most part are both comprehensive and in good, legible, condition, and because for those years where this source can be checked against the microfilmed original registers relatively few discrepancies emerged.

From the beginning of the 18th. century the reliability of the entries is probably very good: they are derived from two sources, the microfilmed originals and the Bishop's Transcripts, both of which are in good condition. For the most part it has proved possible to resolve any uncertainties associated with legibility using the two sources to check and compare any dubious entries. After 1813, when a tabular presentation of the registers - somewhere between the earlier form of the originals and the indexed format employed here - was introduced, although residual legibility problems remain, the registers must be counted as highly reliable.


The Staveley Parish Register entries are presented here in an indexed format. Traditional transcriptions normally follow the chronological sequence, precise wording and presentation of the originals and may or may not be accompanied by a name index for easier use by amateur and professional genealogists. In the following tables the entries have been grouped (separately for christening, burials and marriages) alphabetically, by family name, and only at a second stage, within each family grouping, by date. Clearly it is much more convenient for someone researching a particular family to identify immediately a block of entries focussed on the family surname, than to trawl through all the register's entries looking for individual family members. Converting register entries originally available only on a chronological basis into such an indexed form is a straightforward operation once the entries are entered into a computerised data base.

The tabular presentation of the entries which this process requires means that only the essential elements of each type of entry can be included. For christenings these comprise, in the case of the most comprehensive entries, the family name, the given christian name, the sex of those baptised, the father's first name, the mother's first name, the abode of the family and the date of the christening. Not all these elements were necessarily recorded in the registers at all times. In the early transcripts of the Staveley registers mothers' names and the location of the family were not systematically included, though from 1662 this became the normal practice rather than the exception. The standard burial entry included the deceased's first and family name together with the burial date. Paradoxically compared with the post 1813 registers the earlier Staveley registers contained, presumably where the burial of infants and children are concerned, the father's name and sometimes also the mother's, as well as the family's abode. For adult female burials, where relevant, the name of the husband was usually cited from about 1662 onwards. In the Staveley marriage registers the name and surname of both groom and bride are normally listed together with the date of the wedding. From around 1610, apart from a decade in the 1650s, the marriage entries record the abode of both bride and groom. The entries have been indexed first under the groom's family name and in a separate table under the bride's family name.

All these elements have been presented in this indexed presentation of the Staveley Registers and for the bulk of the entries these variables exhaust the information contained in the original registers. However this kind of indexed, tabular, presentation is not without its drawbacks. In some cases a degree of abbreviation is required to embrace the relevant information in the cell space available. In a limited number of instances where special circumstances attaching to a particular burial, christening or marriage are noted in the original registers, for practical reasons these may not be accommodated in the tables. However such nonsystematic, "obiter dicta", have been recorded when compiling the database and although not reproduced in the relevant tables it is intended that in a later, separate, analysis of these Staveley Registers, such events will be noted and commented upon.

Comprehensive information about the age of the deceased and fathers' occupations is provided in the registers from 1813 onwards. Such information is available only sporadically for earlier years. Therefore for consistency, and to facilitate the indexed presentation, this information has been excluded from all the tables. Again however these aspects are to be the subject of an intended analysis of the Staveley Registers.

Editorial Principles


Dates, given in a standard form in all tables, consist of a single figure in which the year precedes the month which in turn precedes the day of the month. Thus the date 21st May 1633 would simply be represented by the figure 16330521. That is the first four digits of the number relate to the year 1633, the second two digits represent the month, May being O5 the fifth month, and the final two digits give the day of the month 21, the twenty first. Similarly the number 17331020 represents the 20th October 1733. This numbering of dates greatly facilitates the indexed presentation of the entries - at a first stage by family name listed alphabetically and at a second stage chronologically - since a computer recognises a higher number as a later date and a lower one as an earlier date. For most purposes the user's interest will focus on the first four digits of the date number, which give the year of each event.

It should be appreciated that baptismal dates are not usually the date of birth, and burial dates are not the same as the date of death, though in the vast majority of cases there will be only a short time lag between the two.

Spellings of Names

As far as possible original spellings of personal names and abodes have been adhered to, a practice having the advantage that evolution over time of both family and place names can be traced. For example in the case of name of the parish itself there was a gradual, if not interrupted, long term transition from Staley through Stavely to Staveley. It is clear however that in some instances short term variations in spellings simply reflect the idiosyncrasies of different parish clerks. It is proposed that this aspect of the registers will also be pursued in a later analysis. For marriage entries the general practice was to note the abodes of a bride and groom who lived in Staveley as "of this parish" or, where applicable, "both of this parish". However in the marriage tables they are explicitly shown as residing in Staveley, though the spelling is that which reflects the practice of the times as shown in christening and burial entries. The same spelling principle has been applied to the earlier transcripts that were drawn upon.

In certain significant respects the use of original spellings had to be modified. Those responsible for the earlier transcripts, from which are derived the entries for the years prior to the mid 17th. century, chose to substitute English equivalents for the Latin first names given in the original registers. For consistency therefore English names have been adopted throughout these tables.

Alternative Name Spellings

Variations in spellings have special implications for family surnames given the indexed presentation of the entries adopted here - first by family name in alphabetical order and only secondly by date. Minor variations in the spellings of family names will be inconsequential when it comes to locating individual families in the tables because for the most part the names will still be grouped together, or found very near to each other.

However in another category are alternative spellings of surnames such as Jervis\Garvais and Gee\Jee which allocate family members to quite different parts of the lists so that anyone interested in such families would need to search under both names. For common Staveley surnames contained in the registers the following list identifies name variations some of which can lead to displacements in the lists.

Alcroft, Allcroft, Aucroft, Awcroft

Allwood, Alwood

Bate, Bait, Bates

Bilbee, Bilbie, Bilby, Bilbye, Bylbee, Bylbie, Bylby, Bylbye

Birkby, Byrkby, Byrckby

Brailsford, Breilsford, Brealsford, Brilsford

Bromhead, Bromehead, Broomhead, Brumhead

Brookfield, Bruckfield, Brokfeild, Brokefeild, Bryckfeilde

Butcher, Bucher

Coe, Cooe

Collumbine, Colombine, Cullabine

Cosen, Cosins, Cozen, Cousin

Cowper, Cooper

Elliot, Ellot

Elsom, Elzam

Foorne, Fourne, Furn, Furne

Fretchvyle, Fechvyle, Frechevile, Frecheville, Frescheville, Frecheville, Frechvile

Frith, Fryth, Furth, Feirth, Firth

Furnace, Furnass, Furness, Furnase

Finney, Fynney

Gee, Jee

Gouldes, Gould, Gold

Gooddie, Goody

Hadfield, Hatfeild

Hancock, Hancocke, Handcocke

Haywood, Heywood

Huchinson, Hutchinson

Hitch, Hytch

Jarvais, Jarvis, Jervis, Jervas, Gervais, Gervas, Gerves

Kirkbie, Kirkby, Kerkby

Lea, Lee

Leavesley, Levesley, Lievesley, Leevesley, Leavsly

Litlewood, Littlewood, Lytlewood, Lyttlewood

Lowndes, Lownde, Lownds, Lound, Lounds, Loundes

Maw, Mow, Mowe

Maberry, Mayberrie, Mawberrie

Madin, Maden, Maiden, Mayden, Maydin

Merfield, Mirfeild, Myrfeild

Milns, Myllnes

Michell, Mitchell

Molins, Mullins

Nouch, Knouch

Pearson, Pierson, Person

Pickard, Pyckard

Pinder, Pindar, Pynder, Pyndar, Pynedar

Radcliffe, Ratcliffe

Rodes, Rhodes, Roodes, Rhoades

Roger, Rogers, Rodger, Rodgers

Royals, Ryals

Scawthorne, Scothen

Searston, Sestern, Sesterne, Seastin, Sestearne, Sistern, Ceastern

Sikes, Sykes

Sitwell, Sytwell

Spentall, Sprintall, Sprenthall, Shrintall, Shentall

Stephen, Steven

Stephenson, Stevenson

Thompson, Tompson

Wash, Waush, Walsh, Wayshe

White, Whyte, Wight

Whitacre, Whytacre, Wittaker, Whitacres

Watson, Wadson, Wodson

Wragg, Ragg

Alternative Names

Yet another category comprises those entries where two quite different family surnames are given in the form, for example, of "Frith alias Walsh", where alias means "otherwise called". Register entries for christenings, such as "illegitimate, Smythe alias Bruckbye" and "spurious, Wildsmith alias Deane" suggest that such alternative names have their origin in illegitimacy, the two names reflecting the surnames of both mother and father, no doubt being applied to the individual concerned throughout life. In the tables such "alias" names are shown in the form "Frith\Walsh". Among such alternative surnames found in the Staveley Registers, indicating the need to check under each are:













Illegibility and Blank Cells

Despite consulting and comparing a variety of sources to compile these Staveley Registers a degree of uncertainty attaches to specific entries where the script is not completely legible. In such instances the entry has been italicised thus. Blank cells mostly reflect the fact that at the time of the entry it was not the practice to record the kind of information in question though sometimes they are simple due to the fact that for some reason the clerk did not on that occasion include the information in question in the registers. In a small minority of cases blanks may be due to the total illegibility of an entry.


Both the burials and christenings tables presented here contain, in a column labelled 'Rel' (for "Relationship"), information in an abbreviated form about the connection (and/or status) of the person concerned with other members of the family. In the case of burials a female may be designated as the wife of a named surviving husband, or sometimes, where it is relevant, as widow. The abbreviations used for these two terms are respectively Wf and Wd. Burials of children are frequently recorded with the first names of their father and sometimes mother so that according to their sex they have been denoted as S for "son of....", or D for "daughter of....". These same two abbreviations are also used, according to the sex of the child, in the christening table.

Another abbreviation used in the christening table is 't' to denote the christening of a twin, triplet etc., so that Dt indicates twin (or triplet) daughter, and St twin (or triplet) son. Normally the christenings of twins (or triplets) are explicitly noted in the registers but in some instances can only be inferred, with a high degree of probability, from the fact that children of common parents were baptised on the same day. In these cases the same abbreviations are used but in italicised form, Dt or St. Since twins (or triplets) share the same family name and are (normally) baptised on the same day the indexing method adopted ensures that they are recorded adjacently in the Christenings Table.

Other abbreviations are:

Com for Common, in place names

Ctss for Countess

dec for deceased

gent for gentleman

jun for junior

Rel for relationship

Rev for Reverend

sen for senior


Three kinds of entry can be distinguished where the christening of a illegitimate child can be recognised or inferred. In many cases illegitimacy is explicitly confirmed by the inclusion in the registers of the Latin term "nothus", or by a variety of adjectives such as 'spurious', 'bastard', or simply 'illegitimate'. Such instances have been denoted by the letter 'i', so that an illegitimate daughter is indicated by Di and an illegitimate son by Si. Secondly illegitimacy is signaled where an actual or putative father is cited following the Latin phrase "ut fertur", or a variety of expressions such as "father as t'is said....", "father as t'is alleged....", "father as supposed...." or "reputed father....". Again these cases have been denoted by using Si or Di, depending on the sex of the child. Thirdly there are some instances when, although there is no explicit reference to illegitimacy and no reputed father is recorded, the inclusion in the record only of the mother's first name and surname circumstantially suggests the probability of illegitimacy. Where such uncertainty exists the entry has been italicised to yield Di for female children and Si for males. (When a husband died in the period between conception and birth it appears to have been the normal practice to include the father's name as well as the mother's, with an indication that he was "deceased").

In the majority of baptisms involving illegitimacy only the family name (and first name) of the child's mother is recorded. For consistency therefore all illegitimate children have been listed in the main Christenings Table under the family name of their mother. However supplementary Christenings Tables have been drawn up listing illegitimate children where information is available about the father or reputed father, first under the family name of the father and secondly by the mother's family name.