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St. Mary`s Parish Register

Architecture - Stained Glass - Ancient Cross - Clock - Bells - Parish Register - Church History - Organ - Past Rectors

The church registers of St. Mary's go back to 1577, with 1700 the first legible date for a memorial in the churchyard.

That dedication, to Mary wife of the village baker Christopher Burway, is just one of hundreds of memorials inside the church and out which have been carefully catalogued and which provide a wealth of information for family history researchers.

The most commonly represented surnames are Annison, Barker, Fox, Hall, Nelson, Parker, Raven, Skinner, Thing and Yaxley, but many more are featured.

And it's not just surnames which are of interest. The memorials feature three very unusual Christian names which reflect an old Norfolk tradition. These are Pretoria Parker (1901-1968), named after the Boer War; Happy Hall (1876-1936), and Kerenhappuch Makens (1799-1860).

The last named derives from the Book of Job and literally means a small box used for eye make-up.

The complete list of surnames (pre-1945) recorded in church memorials is as follows:

Annison, Askew, Bailey, Barker, Blazey, Brentnall, Buscall, Burway, Brown, Basham, Baker, Barrett, Brittain, Bayfield, Blake, Crane, Craske, Creed, Cushing, Cushion, Chapman, Cooke, Clarke, Cash, Coleman, Carverhill, Clark, Carr, Custance, Crofts, Dix, Duffield, Drozier, Dunger, Delaromee, Drake, Douglas Lane, Dodman, Drury, Everett, Emerson, Elyard, Fox, Fish, Finch, Flower, Forby, Finn.

Goode, Guybon, Goggs, Howson, Harvey, Hall, Hunt, High, Hammond, Holland, Hoy, Howard, Hawkins, Jarred, Jex, Johnson, Jessup, Jeeks, Ketteringham, Kendall, Kemp, Loades, Mason, Middleton, Mathews, Myles, Marsters, Mitchell, Makins, Makens, Minister, Moore, Martin, Norton, Neal, Newstead, Nelson, Phillippo, Porter, Parker, Playford, Parfit, Pratt.

Quant, Reeve, Russell, Rudd, Ramm, Reynolds, Ralph, Roper, Robinson, Raven, Ringer, Ratcliff, Rusen, Sidell, Skinner, Seagrim, Seaman, Stacey, Searles, Spalding, Smith, Stangroom, Stratton, Stapleton, Seppings, Sergant, Sparkes, Skrimshire, Taylor, Titlow, Thing, Thompson, Tann, Took, Towell.

Wright, Woods, White, Wiffin, Webster, Winearls, Williamson, West, Yarham, Yaxley.

The following names are recorded on the War Memorial in the churchyard: World War One -- George Bailey, Edward Barker, Alfred Buck, Frederick Buck, Albert Carr, Edward Howell, Walter Lacey, Cecil Moore, Lancelot Titlow, Leonard Willimott.

World War Two -- Ray Reeve, Robert Hammond, Hugh Seagrim, Derick Seagrim, Thomas Lakey and Leslie Palmer.

The moving story of Hugh and Derick Seagrim is told HERE.

More information:

Memorial Inscriptions, copies of the Memorial Inscriptions book may be obtained from the Mid Norfolk Family History Society or from Lesley Pegg. The book contains detailed descriptions of all memorials in the graveyard and in St.Mary's Church.

A transcription of the Memorial Inscriptions seen in the church and churchyard is available from L A Pegg tel: 01328 700010 for details of cost. Postcards copied from the archive are also available.

The church registers may be inspected at Norwich Records Office.

The final word we will give to parish clerk David Raven, who died in 1789 aged 73. His inscription records:

"Gravestones and tombs are trifles vainly spent.... a good man's life is his own monument."

Text copyright © 1997 the Parochial Church Council of St Mary Whissonsett, all rights reserved.

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