Parish Registers

Merriott Parish Registers 

Available to view at LDS libraries, and to purchase from the Somerset Archives. All transcriptions with the exception of the last batch of marriages  have been completed, and queries can be directed to me at 

Somerset Archives ( holds the Copyright to all of the following Parish Registers, and they have allowed me to publish my transcriptions with the proviso that I make it clear that all usage of data is to be for non-profit making purposes.  If you wish to publish a book or otherwise distribute Parish Register information for profit, you MUST contact Somerset Archives for express permission.  

I have passed on some of my transcriptions to the Somerset Archives, for publishing on their website.  As far as I know this hasn’t happened yet.  I have passed my transcriptions to the FreeReg people.

Archives Reference Period Type Page rulings
DP MER 2/1/1 1646 – 1712
1653 – 1712
Marriages & Burials
DP MER 2/1/2 1678 – 1731
1740 – 1742
Burials in Woollen
Baptisms & Burials
DP MER 2/1/3 1695 – 1706
1695 – 1706
Baptisms & Burials
DP MER 2/1/4 1710 – 1775
1710 – 1768
Baptisms & Burials
DP MER 2/1/5 1768 – 1812 Marriages 4 to a page; more detail
DP MER 2/1/6 1775 – 1813
1775 – 1812
DP MER 2/1/7 1813 – 1846 Baptisms 8 to a page; father’s occupation included; sometimes
DP MER 2/1/8 1813 – 1875 Burials 8 to a page; age of deceased included.
DP MER 2/1/9 1813 – 1839 Marriages 3 to a page; no extra detail
DP MER 2/1/10 1837 – 1892 Marriages 2 to a page; occupations & fathers’ details
DP MER 2/1/11 1847 – 1876 Baptisms 8 to a page; same format as previous
DP MER 2/1/12 1875 – 1907 Burials 8 to a page; same format as previous
DP MER 2/1/13 1892 – 1924 Marriages 2 to a page; same format as previous
DP MER 2/1/14 1907 – 1952 Burials 8 to a page; same format as previous
DP MER 2/1/15 1924 – 1952 Marriages Not known (not transcribed)

The reading and transcribing of unruled registers is more difficult than for ruled ones.  Problems include the variation in size of the writing, as well as the squeezing in of entries in various places.  If the print is also very feint the problems compound.  

Other notes:

  • I have transcribed onto computer databases all available PRs with the exception of the final marriages fiche 1924 – 1952.
  • 1646 to 1712 (DP MER 2/1/1):    There is  poor legibility of some of the years (particularly around the year 1700) and also extremely tiny but beautifully written script in the initial years of the register.     In some areas the scribe has used notations such as 8ber for October; 9ber for September etc.   Also keep in mind that the registers use the calendar year of 25 March to 24 March, rather than 1 January to 31 December, throughout these years, and up until 1751.  Thus, 31 December 1720, for example, was followed by 1 January 1720, up to 24 March 1720, followed then by 25 March 1721.    If care isn’t taken, it can appear that some infants were buried before they were baptised!  Approximately 11 baptisms from the year 1689 are totally illegible.
  • 1678 to 1731 (DP MER 2/1/2): Burials in Woollen:  legislation was passed in 1667-8 requiring that all burials should be in a woollen shroud, in an attempt to help the wool trade.   A fine was payable if an affidavit was not made at a burial certifying that this had been done. The law was gradually ignored.
  • There is some overlap in the early records, and some events were recorded twice in two different registers, and not always with exactly the same detail.
  • 1710 to 1775 (DP MER  2/1/4): During the Julian to Gregorian calendar changeover years, the following occurred:
    1750   commenced on 25th March 1750 and ended on 24th March 1750/1.
    1751   commenced on 25th March 1751 and ended on 31 December 1751.
    1752 commenced on 1 January 1752 and ended on 31 December 1752, but 11 days of September were omitted to bring it into line with the Gregorian calendar already operating in Europe.
    Scotland changed the beginning of the year to 1 January before England in 1600, but  they  continued to use the Julian calendar until 1752, at which time they changed to the Gregorian along with the rest of the UK.   [My thanks to Colin for this clarification of the Scotland system].

    One can only imagine the confusion which would reign nowadays if such a drastic change had to be made again!

Other Points to Consider

    From 1695 to 1706 a tax was levied on all births, marriages and deaths recorded in the Parish Registers, unless a person was designated a “Pauper”.  Hence there are quite a few notations of “pauper” in the records.    Whether the pauperism was continual for the particular person, or whether it was a convenience to avoid the tax at the time remains to be seen.
    Marriages are sometimes hard to find in the Merriott registers until the mid eighteenth century.  Clandestine marriages, without banns or licence, usually held in a parish which was neither the bride’s nor the grooms, were common in England until the introduction of Hardwicke’s Marriage Act on 25 March 1754, which outlawed such marriages.  After 1754, marriages had to take place in a Church of England (except in the case of Jews or Quakers);   had to be performed by ordained clergy;  those under 21 had to have parental consent; and the marriage had to be witnessed.   Banns books and Marriage register books were supposed to be kept separately from baptisms & burials.   [This did not occur in Merriott until 1812.]  A marriage is most likely to be found in the Bride’s parish, but in the case of Merriott, quite often both parties were local residents. After 1837, when Civil Registration began, Superintendent Registrars were allowed to issue licenses for marriage in either the Registrar’s Office or in a non-conformist church.
    Other denominations used the All Saints Church of England Churchyard for Burials after the Burial Laws Amendment Act of 1880.   See also Other Churches.
    The following is taken straight from the Merriott Burials Register:

    On 12 January 1907, Mary Loosemore, aged  54, of  Tuncombe Farm, Crewkerne was buried at All Saints.  The following notice appeared after her entry:
    “I, Matthew Silas Cross of Misterton, Somerset, the friend having the charge of or being responsible for the burial of Mary Loosemore of Tuncombe Farm, Crewkerne, who died at Tuncombe Farm in the parish of West Crewkerne on the 8th day of January inst., do hereby give you notice that it is intended by me that the body of the said Mary Loosemore shall be buried within the Churchyard of Merriott on Saturday the 12th day of January instant at the hour of 3 pm, without the performance in the manner prescribed by law of the service for the burial of the dead according to the rites of the Church of England, and I give this notice pursuant to the Burial Laws Amendment Act, 1880.Signed Matthew Silas Cross to the Rev. S E Percival Vicar of Merriott”.

Notes of interest within the Parish Registers 

  • Within the registers 1723 – 1730  “A Register of Briefs collected in Merriott” – click here
  • Within the Burial Registers, 1932 [Written by Stanley Edward Percival]
    The new extension to the Churchyard consecrated by the Bishop of Taunton on Thursday May 19th 1932 at 3 pm.
    N = New Grave Yard;  Number of Grave after N; O = Old;  D = Double.
    [From this point forward for many years, each Grave in the new section is numbered, eg N. 1. This is helpful in trying to match up family members.]

Snippets of BMD Information from Rev Percival’s Letters [located here]  for the years 1890 to 1892 (parts)


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