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the church or have been built into it, which indicate that a twelfthcentury building once stood here. In the churchyard, in addition to the three venerable yews, on the north side of the building are an early churchyard cross and a Roman altar without inscription. The communion plate has been described by Mr. Blair in the Proceedings of the Society.11

A chapel erected in 1827 at Greenhead, and entirely repewed and renovated throughout a few years ago, chiefly at the cost of the late Edward Joicey, esq., of Blenkinsop hall, is now the parish church for the western portion of the old parish of Haltwhistle.

VESTRY BOOKS. The vicar has made the following extracts from the vestry books:

The earliest entry is a burial. George Ridley, of Henshaw, was buried the 21st of ... (? Dec.) 1656. The earliest baptism is in 1691, and the earliest marriage in 1703 :

The extant minutes of vestry meetings are contained in three volumes, dating from the year 1717. For the most part they consist of records of the Easter meetings of the 12 men, for settling the church accounts, the election of wardens and the laying of rates, whenever required, for church expences. Occasionally we come across matters which have a certain interest as showing the condition of the fabric and the cost of its reparation. For instance, on May 19th, 1718, the 12 men and church wardens agreed with Geo. Kell, ' plummer' of Hexham, to keep in good repair, and keep dry, the · leed' of the church for 7 years at £1 10 a year, to be paid at Lammas each year. This shows that at that time the outer covering of the roof was entirely of lead. The agreement was signed by all the 12 men, two of whom were unable to write their names.

In August, however, of the same year, the 12 men and wardens agreed with the vicar (finding our church out of repairs) to repair the roof, Mr. Pate to find all material, to cast the lead at 8 lb. per square foot, to lay gutters and to make spouts for £44. Work to be inspected by two sufficient workmen, and Mr. Pate to give security for performing the bargain.' Cautious wardens !

Non-attendance at vestry meetings is a failing of ancient date, for we have the following memorandum made at the Easter meeting, 1725 :—' It is agreed and ordered by unanimous consent of the 12 men that whosoever of us (after law. ful summons given) does not attend in the vestry, and discharge the trust in us reposed by this parish, shall for his absence on Easter Tuesday forfeit the sum of 2s. 6d., and for any absence at any other time the sum of 1s. to be disposed of at the discretion of those who are present.'

In the wardens' yearly accounts we find constant entries of sums paid for killing vermin,' at the rate of 2s. 6d. for old foxes' heads, 1s. for young foxes' heads, and 4d. each for brocks, 'foomurts' and otters' heads.

At Easter, 1726, an assessment of three and sixpence in the pound was laid towards • whitening of the church, payment of arrears for gates to the church.

11 Vol. iii. p. 367.



yard, and other uses,' and in the following year an assessment of two and sixpence in the pound is laid for repairing church wall and other uses.' As it appears from the accounts that the repair of the wall only cost £9 198., one wonders why so high an assessment was required. It can hardly have been on the rateable value of the parish, as the amount realised would have greatly exceeded that sum, and yet in 1751 it was agreed by the vestry 'that all monies raised for repairing of church and other legal purposes shall be by an equal rate or assessment according to the rack rents or true legal values.'

In 1735 two wardens were chosen by the vicar and two by the parish. In 1733, 10s. 6d. was paid for a new font cover. In 1741 there is the following entry :— For a spade and hack to Beltingham chapel, 4s. 6d. N.B.—The spade and hack are an imposition. Sir Edward Blackett is impropriator there. In 1744, 8d. was paid for two otters' heads, and on August 24, 1773, Cuthbert Bidley entered to be clerk. In John Snowball's account for 1739 he charges 9d. for a quart of ale, but does not say who had it. Keeping the roof in repair was evidently troublesome, for in 1765 there is the following item :—' Agreed that Edward Robson, senior, and Edward Robson, junior, be employed to keep leads of roof in good repair for the whole year, on condition that he receives £5 in hand and £5 in Easter week, 1766. N.B.-Wardens are to take care that Edward Robson fulfil this bargain for the above term, otherwise the wardens must be presented by the vicar if the leads are not taken care of and kept free from holes and letting in rain.' In 1768 it is noted that Rev. Mr. Wilson left Haltwhistle in September of that year, and on Friday, 14th of October, the Right Worshipful John Sharp, D.D., archdeacon, visited the church and ordered ‘that all the pews in the church be furnished with moveable kneeling boards, low, flat, and broad. That a cover for font be provided. That a new stone threshold for chancel door be provided. That a new bell of at least equal weight with the present one be provided. That remaining heaps of rubbish against church and chancel be removed. That one casement be made in each side of the church and chancel. That pulpit and reading desk be raised as vicar shall direct, and painted white. That a stool or moveable kneeling board, low and flat, be provided for reading desk, covered and stuffed. Matthew Ridley and Isaac Thirlwell monished to cause them to be performed and to certify at visitation to be held after Easter next.' In 1770 it was ' agreed that a hearse be got for conveying of corps for the use of the parish, and to be kept in the church ;' and it was further agreed that the sexton shall have from the executor or principal person that comes along with the corps sixpence for cleaning the said bearse.' There is no entry of the cost, but in 1789 there is an entry of £12 ls. 'for hearse and trappings. In 1771, £13 vs. 5d. was paid for hearse house and other repairs. At the same vestry meeting it was agreed that any person who kills an old fox within the parish, and makes oath thereof before a magistrate, shall receive for the same 2s. 6d., and for every young fox, ls. In 1771, £1 4s. 6d. was paid 'for a cloak for the sexton, and 2s. for making it.' In 1772 a weathercock was erected at a cost of £1 12s. 6d. There is no record of any stoves being purchased, but in 1776 sixpence halfpenny is charged for a load of coals. In those days it would seem that Haltwhistle church was very like one about which the parish clerk, when asked how it was warmed, as there appeared no place for a fire, indignantly replied—We put our fire in the pulpit—that's the proper place for it.' In 1782 it was noted that the Rev. Thos. Rotheram, M.A., who became vicar in 1768, died on the 5th of April, whilst visiting his brother at Houghton-le-Spring. He was succeeded by the Rev. Hugh Nanney, M.A. In 1783 a new bell was bought at a cost of £1 10s. In 1786 the royal arms and five texts of scripture were placed in the church. In 1792 it was decided at a special meeting that as the lead roof was in a ruinous state, the most effectual course will be to take it off and to put on instead a substantial slate roof, also that the west window be enlarged and the north side aisle win. dows be made to correspond with the south,' in which sash windows had been substituted for the ancient lancet windows. The slating was done for £55 and the roofing for £103. The west window was altered by Jas. Armstrong for £1 3s. 61. In 1794 Geo. Biggs was appointed parish clerk, vestry clerk, and schoolmaster. In 1799 notice was given in church on two consecutive Sundays to receive proposals from masons to ceil and paint inside and outside of north and south aisles. The work was let for £40. In 1795 Mr. Wm. Saint was elected churchwarden for Haltwhistle township. In 1800 the outside walls of the church were rough cast and the inside whitewashed at a cost of £8. The following is among the entries of the Easter meeting, 1798:— It appearing at this meeting that a very great destruction of sheep, lambs, and geese is likely to happen in this parish from an uncommon increase of the breed of foxes, it is therefore ordered that instead of five shillings now to be paid for each old fox killed in the parish, that the sum of ten shillings and sixpence be paid until Easter next. Also ordered that the several sums be paid to people that produced vermin heads at this meeting.'

One volume of the registers contains a curious soliloquy on matrimony by vicar Wilson.

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[Read on the 23rd day of December, 1891.] ONE of many difficult problems that puzzled the early members of the Society of Friends was how to dispose of their dead. A great number stood excommunicated at the time of death, and, on that account, were denied interment in the ordinary manner. It is said that some of the clergy refused to bury any of them, and the story is told of one reverend wag, who, when upbraided for such inhuman conduct, denied the accusation, stating that, far from declining to bury them, he would cheerfully bury them all! Be this as it may, it is certain that the religious persecutions that the early nonconformists were subjected to, led to the formation of private burying grounds, in garden, orchard, or field, the privilege of interment being often extended to relatives and friends. For establishing such grounds the owners were sometimes cited before the ecclesiastical court at Durham, so that it must have been most perplexing to know how to act. When the laws were altered, public nonconformist burial places were gradually opened, the private ones falling into disuse. In many cases the ground has been utilised for other purposes, and in some instances, has been so entirely forgotten that even the situation occupied cannot now be identified.

Such interments as I have named not being entered in the parish books naturally led to formation of private registers, in which births and marriages were also recorded. No body of dissenters was so careful in keeping its registers as the Society of Friends.

Sims, in a chapter upon · Non-parochial Registers,' when remarking upon the Quaker Registers says :— The Commissioners appointed by Her present Majesty in the year 1838, to enquire into the state of the Registers of Births, etc., in England and Wales, having called upon the Society of Friends to deliver up their Registers, with a view to some arrangement for depositing them with the Board ; the several Registers from the origin of the Society down to the establishment of

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the system of civil registration, under the Act of 6 and 7 Will. IV. were brought to London for their inspection. The Commissioners state, in their Report :-'We have visited their place of deposit, and saw enough of their state and condition to testify that they exhibit an admirable specimen of the state to which order and precision may be carried in the classification and arrangement of records of this description.' At this time the Society declined to surrender their books but subsequently consented to do so. I believe that prior to the surrender of these books, most, if not all, were copied in duplicate, one being retained locally, and the other deposited at Devonshire House, the London depôt of the Society.

One local volume has the following endorsement :- Surrendered to the Commissioners of Non-parochial Registers, pursuant to Act of Parliament III. and IV. Vic. Cap. 92.'

I find from The Lists of Non-parochial Registers in the custody of the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages' the number of volumes now at Somerset House exceeds 1,500. Unfortunately they are difficult of access ; were they more easily got at for purposes of literary enquiry, they would prove of the greatest use to the antiquary and the genealogist.

A short time ago I was fortunately able to examine one or two of these registers, which much aided my investigations. I have further been very much assisted by the kindness of Mr. J. R. Boyle, who placed at my disposal the notes that he extracted from the records of the Society of Friends when preparing the chapter . Early Quakerism in Gateshead' for his Vestiges of Old Newcastle and Gateshead. Mr. Blair also kindly lent me some most interesting papers, which were endorsed Copied from original documents in private possession, saved from fire, when the room within the gates at Auckland Castle was cleared out to make room for an office for the agent to the Eccl Com and the papers ordered to burnt. The carts carrying the documents to the flames were intercepted and many of the papers, but not all, secured.'

Those who wish to see an account of the rise of Quakerism in this district, I refer to the most interesting chapter in the Vestiges, to the pages of Ambrose Barnes (Surtees Soc. vol. 50) and to Besse's Sufferings of the Quakers. The first home of Quakerism in this

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