Smarden’s original documents

This page contains technical notes on each of Smarden’s historical church registers between the dates of 1632 and 1953, contributed by Roger Craig of Smarden Local History Society. Roger also took the pictures below, please click on the images to enlarge.



A vellum bound volume comprising 14 sections of parchment skins with laid paper end-pages. The sections are made of three skins per section, although occasional sections have had sheets removed prior to pagination. The whole is sewn on six bands with a card-lined limp vellum cover, which is detached from the text block. The volume measures approximately 13 inches by eight and one quarter inches.

The manuscript text is on both the recto and verso of each page, which accounts in some part for the variation of colour due to both skin and flesh side of the parchment being used. The iron gall inks also vary considerably in intensity.

Pages 1-111 contains entries of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials. Pages 112-129 contain entries relating to collections ‘Collected’ or ‘Collected on a Briefe’ in the Parish Church of Smarden between 1663 and 1709. The entries have been made in chronological order from the back of the book.

1750-1812
A vellum bound volume comprising 14 sections of parchment skins with the first and last sections also used as paste-downs. The sections are primarily of two folios per section, although the second has three folios and occasional sections have had sheets removed prior to pagination. The second and third sections are detached from the sewing. The whole is sewn on four parchment tapes with a card-lined vellum cover. The volume measures approximately 13 and one quarter inches by eight. The outer binding and sewing are generally in poor condition.

The manuscript text is both on the recto and verso of each page, which accounts in some part for the variation in colour due to both skin and flesh side of the parchment being used. The iron gall inks also vary considerably in intensity.

Pages 1-51 contain entries of Baptisms, and pages 55-88 entries of Burials. Page 49 contains a ‘memorandum’ relating to the expenditure of ‘necessary Repairs, in, & about the Parsonage House & Premises at Smarden’ by the Reverend Wm MacKenzie. Page 88 also contains a note by MackKenzie, referring to the Burials now being ‘entered in a fresh Book, according to the recent Act of Parliament for that Purpose’.

1813-1876
A vellum bound volume comprising 25 sections of one folio each, of laid paper. The whole is sewn on three tapes, with laid end-papers and ridged boards. The volume measures approximately 15 and one half inches by 10.

The early manuscript text would appear to be iron gall ink with later entries in blue or black ink.

1876-1953
A vellum bound volume comprising six sections of four folios each, of laid paper with a blue tint and red colouring on the fore-edge, head and tail of the text block. The whole is sewn in three tapes with marbled end-papers and ridged boards. The volume measures approximately 14 and three quarter inches by 10 and three-quarter inches.

The early manuscript text would appear to be iron gall ink with later entries in blue or black ink.

Smarden Local History Society, September-October 2010