Happy New Year to all! After two years of major focus on my volunteer work for the Guild of One-Name Studies, we start this year with a renewed sense of the importance of getting the Bratton Clovelly OPS website up-to-date. Actually, Mark and I have continued to progress the study behind the scenes but the website hasn’t kept pace. Here’s our starter goals for this year:
- Ensure that we’ve responded to everyone who’s been in contact. Due to a technical issue, we missed being notified of a number of contacts in the past two years. We’ll go back now and make sure that we haven’t missed any. Apologies if you’re still waiting for our response!
- We’ve now got photos of all gravestones in the St Mary’s cemetery as well as the Boasley Methodist Church cemetery, about 700 gravestones in total and perhaps a thousand burials. We’ve also got notes on everything we could make out of what’s inscribed on the gravestones. We’ll get all this onto the site and also add the photos to the brilliant work done by Ross Morton on FindAGrave to list all St Mary burials back to the beginning of the registers in the mid-1500s. Not surprisingly though, basically all of the still existing gravestones are from the 19th and 20th centuries.
- We spent the past three years engaging a highly experienced translator, Brooke Westcott, to translate the 10 surviving Bratton Manor Rolls dated 1377-1683 and these translations are now complete. We’ll get them on the website along with a video presentation I made to the Guild Manorial Records seminar that introduces the rolls. We’ll also make sure that The National Archives and Devon Heritage Centre get copies of the full transcripts and translations so that they will be preserved for the future. They provide a fascinating view of life in medieval Bratton Clovelly.
- We’ve recently transcribed the baptism registers for the Northlew Bible Christian Circuit, as part of a nonconformity project that I’m working on with the Family and Community Historical Research Society. About a quarter of Bratton Clovelly parishioners who attended a religious service at the time of the 1851 Religious Census were Bible Christian and the baptism registers have unearthed a substantial number of ‘missing’ baptism records for parish residents who attended the Boasley and Bratton Village chapels. Launceston Circuit baptism registers covering the Rexon Cross chapel are already available under non-conformist baptisms on the Cornwall Online Parish Clerk database at http://cornwall-opc-database.org/ but we’ve also transcribed the baptisms in these registers for those resident in Devon and will add them to our site. We’ve recently photographed the Holsworthy Circuit registers which we hope will unearth even more baptisms for Bratton Clovelly residents and we plan to transcribe these in 2018.
- Our good friend Celia Eastlake has kindly sent us a copy of an important new publication called Devon Parish Taxpayers 1500-1650, Volume Two containing Bratton Clovelly. As we had suspected from the Bratton Manor Roll translations, the 1601 Church Rate roll confirms that essentially all but the smallest farms in Bratton Clovelly today were already in existence before the start of the Early Modern period. This parish does have remarkable staying power and we’ll get this tax list on the site along with a map that correlates it with the modern day parish.
- Our biggest Bratton Clovelly effort this year will be to complete the nonconformity project called ‘Communities of Dissent’ with the Family and Community Historical Research Society. Of course, our interest is in Bible Christianity in Bratton Clovelly and our goal is to try to identify and characterise the nonconformists of the parish between 1841 and 1911. We hope to learn a great deal more about the Methodist history of the parish by the end of 2018 and will share our findings.
- As we say at the start of each New Year, we’re going to try to do better with adding blogs to the website on a routine basis to keep everyone aware of any progress. Now our goal is one per quarter.
So that’s our key aims for this year and we sincerely hope that you will get in touch and share your memories and knowledge of the parish so that the study can capture some of the ‘people aspects’ of the parish history. It’s a wonderful place and, although we can’t visit often now that we live in Malta, it will continue to capture our attention in the years to come. The best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful year!