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Ash ford . Kent > Sir , August S , 1821 . YOUR correspondent V . M . H . ( p . 218 ) seems desirous of knowing " what became of the parochial
registers framed under the government of Oliver Cromwell . " To this , as a general question , I can give no satisfactory reply ; but I can inform him of the fate of one of them , viz . the register that was then kept in the parish of Bethersden , in Kent .
This register , which I have myself seen by favour of the present vicar , is still in the number of the register books of the said parish , and is in a good state of preservation . Its title is as follows : " The Register of all the Marriages , Births , and Burials , within the Parish of Bethersden , since the 29 th
Day of September , 1653 . " The first entry , which is that of a birth or christening , bears the date of October , 1653 ; but from the tenor of the title , as well as from some other internal evidence , it seems likelv that the book
was uot procured till the beginning of the following year , and that all the previous entries were then inserted at once from memorandums . The last entries bear the date of October , 1660 . The chasm in the regular register corresponds to these dates , commencing in September , 1653 , and terminating in October , 1660 . In the chasm there is
inserted a memorandum , by the first vicar that was instituted after the Restoration , stating that the temporary register was then in his possession , though previously it had been kept by an officer called the Parish Register .
In the entries of marriages , the banns are not said to have been published in the church , but in the public assembly ( which was held , as I suppose , in the church ) on three Lord ' s days ; and in
one case they are said to have been published on three market days . The marriage ceremony was performed for the most part by a Justice ; but in one entry it is said to have been performed by the minister pf the parish .
The above is the only register of this sort that I have ever either seen or heard of , though it is likely that many others are still in existence , and in the custody of the incumbents or churchwardens of the parishes to which they respectively belong . If you should think that this account
of an individual register has any chance of being acceptable to your correspondent , I will thank you to give it a place in your Repository . A . C .
No . CCCLXXXI . The first Reception given to the pious and elegant Moralist , Francis Hutcheson , as a Preacher , in his Father ' s neighbourhood . ( From " Stuart's Historical Memoirs of the City of Armagh . " )
After six years spent in study at Glasgow , he returned to his native country , and preached as a probationer before various congregations , some of which were highly pleased with his eloquent discourses , while others totally
disapproved of his doctrines . At Armagh , his father , who laboured under a slight rheumatic affection , deputed him to preach in his place , on a cold and rainy Sunday . About two hours after Francis had left Ballyrea , the rain abated—the sun shone forth—the
day became serene and warm—and Dr . Hutcheson , who found his spirits exhilarated by the change , felt anxious to collect the opinions of his congregation on the merits of his favourite son , and proceeded directly to the city . / tlow was he astonished and chagrined when he met almost the whole of his
flock coming from the meeting-house , with strong marks of disappointment and disgust visible in their countenances ! One of the elders , a native of Scotland , addressed the surprised and deeply mortified father thps : " We a * feel muckle wae for your mishap ,
Reverend Sir ; but it canna be concealed . Your silly loon , Frank , has fashed a the congregation wi' his idle cackle ; for he has been babbling this oor about a gude and benevolent God , and that the sauls of the Heathens thenasels will gang to heaven , if they
follow the light o * their ain consciences . Not a word does the daft boy ken , speer or say about the gude auld comfortable doctrines of election , reprobation , original sin ; and faith . Hoot mon , awa * wi' sic a fellow . " J
4 76 Gleanings .
GLEANINGS ; OR , SELECTIONS AND REFLECTIONS MADE IN A COURSE OF GENERAL READING .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Aug. 2, 1821, page 476, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2503/page/36/