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All Saints' Church Records


All Saints Church, Crawley DownAn Act of Parliament (52 George III - CAP146), passed on July 28th, 1812, set out the requirements for keeping and storing records of baptisms, weddings and burials in order to "greatly facilitate the Proof of Pedigrees of Persons claiming to be entitled to Real or Personal Estates, and be otherwise of great public benefit and advantage". Among the provisions, Clause V stipulated that all records were to be held in lockable iron chests and Clause IX provided that the annual copies of the register (under the Church Wardens' endorsement) were to be carried free-of-charge by the Post Office - an early example of Freepost. The costs of both chests and registers were to be met by the parishes. All Saints' Church appears to have preferred to store its records in the stout oak lockable chest which is still in use.

In contrast with older churches, where a study of parish records might demand a knowledge of medieval Latin and script, the baptism, marriage and burial records of All Saints' provide simple, usually legible, information about who, what, where, when and by whom, and since the information requirements have scarcely changed at all in 150 years the task of analysis and comparison is not too difficult. Yet records even of such comparatively recent origin offer far more than a straightforward collection of facts: studied together, families come alive, happiness and tragedy may be seen and social change perceived as reality rather than as academic knowledge.

In looking at the records of All Saints' Church it is important to remember that when the Parish of Crawley Down was formed it included much of Copthorne and Turners Hill. Both villages in their turn expanded. In 1881, Copthorne became a Parish in its own right (with the consequent transfer of 700 parishioners from Crawley Down to Copthorne) and, in 1895, the Parish of Turners Hill was formed with some further inter-Parish transfers.

Baptism Registers    Marriage Registers   Burial Records