Clunbury Registers – General Information
Clunbury is a parish and village, about 7 miles south-east from Bishop’s Castle, and 4 miles east from Clun, in the hundred of Purslow, rural deanery of Clun, and diocese of Hereford. The area of the parish is about 7278 acres.
The religious census of Shropshire, taken in 1676, shows that there were then in Clunbury 329 Conformists, no Papists, and 5 Nonconformists, “inhabitants above the age of 16.” The population would therefore seem to have increased, probably above 30 per cent. since that census was taken. In 1881 it was 986; in 1891, 907.
The Parish Register Abstract, 1831, gives this account of these Registers:- “Clunbury P.C. No. 1. Register, 1574 – 1655. Nos. II. – IV., 1662 – 1812. No. V. Marr., 1754 – 1812.”
The Registers of this parish, till the year 1812, are contained in five parchment volumes, all in a very fair state of preservation.
Volume I. begins with Jan. 18th, 1574, but has had two leaves cut out at the beginning, which would cover about four years of average size.
Two leaves have again been lost, between July 26th, 1577, and Dec. 29th. 1580, apparently before the book was fastened together.
There is another gap, Dec. 12th, 1582, to Feb. 23rd, 1594; another from Jan. 8th, 1599, to Mar. 28th, 1602; and a gap of seven years, from Dec. 17th, 1609 to Apr. 7th, 1616, five pages being cut out. After this, the Register is complete till Dec., 1654, when the first volume finishes, some leaves being apparently lost at the end.
Vol. II. begins July 7th, 1660, and extends to Oct. 18th, 1730, without a break.
Vol. III. – Nov. 4th, 1730, to Dec. 27th, 1794, is complete.
Vol. IV. – Jan. 1st, 1795, to Nov. 18th, 1812, is complete.
Vol. V. – Marriages only, from 1754 to 1812.
The entries are in almost all cases legible, though sometimes with difficulty. The handwriting, 1624 – 1634, during the curacy of William Hayle, is bad, otherwise Clunbury has been fortunate in the penmanship of its Registers.
There are very few departures from the stereotyped form of entry, and only in two cases of centenarians, at the beginning of this century, is the age mentioned of those who were buried. These were Mary Weaver, buried in 1788, aged 104, and Jane Jones, buried in 1792, aged 101.
The names at the beginning of the period covered by these Registers are decidedly more Welsh that at its close, or at the present. The Prefix “Ap” is common in surnames, and in the case of one woman “verch,” occurs.
The families of Browne, Cooke, Dun, Evans, Floyd, and Morris, are styled “Mr.” or “Gent.” in the Register, whilst that of Downes is styled “Esq.”
The Church, though of small size – nave 63 x 19ft., chancel 19ft. 6 x 19ft. – contains several points of interest. The West end of the Church retains a West door of plain Norman work, a South door of slightly later date, and two Norman windows with narrow openings and deep internal splays. Proceeding Eastward, we come to three windows on the South, and two on the North side, of dates ranging from 14th to 15th century work, beneath one of which is the remains of a piscina. The chancel was built in 1847, on the site of a previously existing chancel and side aisle or chapel.
The roof of the nave is of good 14th century type, of a form common in this part of Shropshire.
The tower, 14th century in its lower, late 15th century in its upper portion, contains a good ring of six bells: of these one is ancient (1620) and untouched, two are also ancient (1631 and 1639), but re-cast in 1887, at which time 3 others were added in commemoration of Her Majesty’s Jubilee, by Messrs. Warner & Son of London.
The Church was restored in 1880-81, under the direction of Mr. J. P. St. Aubyn.
The Parish of Clunbury comprises within its limits no less than six Domesday manors: Clunbury, Coston, Purslow, Kempton, Clunton, and Obley. It originally formed part of the huge parish of Clun, as we find that temp. Rich. I., Isabel de Say, Lady of Clun, gave the Rectory of St. George’s, Clun, with the Chapels (among others) of St. Swithun’s, Clunbury, and St. Mary’s, Clunton, to the Priory of Wenlock. One result of this donation appears to have been the extinction of the Chapel at Clunton, though a piece of land in that village still bears the name of “The Church-yard,” thus probably indicating its former situation. The present District Church of St. Mary was built in 1870.
The incumbents of Clunbury were perpetual curates until 1857, when, on the appointment of the Rev. W. Jellicorse, the living was erected into a Vicarage by the assignment of the great tithes of the township of Clunbury.
The following is a list of Incumbents, taken principally from the Registers themselves, with the dates at which they first sign entries. Some additions supplied by Blakeway’s MS. (Bodleian Library, MS. Blakeway, Salop 14, fo. 62) are distinguished by square brackets.[Walter, Capellanus vicarious before 1346.
William Jay, presented by the King 1347, but see the account of this in Eyton’s Antiquities, xi. 250.
Hugh ap Meredyth, Curatus 1503
John ap David, Curatus 1534.
Edward Lloyd, Curatus 1587], first signs in 1604.
William Hayle, 1624
George Barkley, 1634
Richard Heath, 1641.
Richard Aunsham, 1646.
Thomas Waties, 1660.[—- Hay], 1676?
Henry Procter, 1720?
Joseph Orme, 1733
John Jones, 1759
Henry Williams, 1780
John Rice, 1782
John Parry, 1806.
R. Morgan, Sub-Curate 1814
Lewis Turnor, Sub-Curate, 1817
Isaac Ward, 1819
D. Nihill, 1820
G. A. Clive, 1828
Thomas Jenner Hogg, 1839
C. H. Hogg, Curate 1852
William Jellicorse, Vicar 1857
E. R. Holland, Curate 1892
J. Miller, Curate 1895
William Gilchrist Clark Maxwell, 1897
Clunbury having been till 1857 a Perpetual Curacy, the Diocesan Registry at Hereford does not record institutions to the Benefice.
The transcript of the Registers has been made by the present Vicar, who has also collated the proofs with the original Register, as they passed through the press.
W. G. Clark Maxwell.