I am very pleased to report that the Bishop Burton Burial registers for 1704-1751 have now been scanned into a searchable, electronic document; it is attached to this article. They have been taken from existing typescripts using optical character recognition rather than being re-typed from scratch. There may be a few oddities in the new transciption as OCR only gets it right about 95% of the time and is easily confused between 1 and I, 0 and O and a few other characters can throw it.

The Bishop Burton burial registers were originally transcribed by hand. They were then typed up from the handwritten transcription. The present transcription was effected by scanning the typewritten version using optical character recognition and then correcting it to match the typescript. A quick comparison has been made with the original or between the hand-written and type-written versions and a few minor changes have been made.

Only a very few corrections have been made to the type-written version. No changes to names or dates have been made. Years (calendar) have been added to each entry to avoid confusion since the registers up to 1751 were based on the church year. The capitalisation of surnames was introduced in the typewritten version and has been retained.


A number of entries in the Burials register refer to affidavits. The Burial in Woollen Acts 1666-80 were Acts of the Parliament of England which required the dead, except plague victims, to be buried in pure English woolen shrouds to the exclusion of any foreign textiles. It was a requirement that an affidavit be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace (usually by a relative of the deceased or some other credible person) confirming burial in wool, with the punishment of a £5 fee for noncompliance. Parish registers were marked with the word affidavit or with a note A or Aff against the burial entries to confirm that affidavit had been sworn, or marked "naked" for those too poor to afford the woolen shroud. Some affidavits survive. This legislation was in force until 1814, but was generally ignored after 1770. These related records are generally regarded as a source of genealogical information, and can help provide evidence of economic status and relationships that may be unavailable elsewhere or ambiguous.

Calendar year and church year

Until 1751 the burials register was organised on the basis of the church year which ran from Easter to Easter. Thus a burial in February Anno 1720 would have occurred in February 1721. In 1752 the records changed to align with the calendar year i.e. January to December.

Month and date abbreviations


8br       October – traditionally the eighth month in the Roman calendar

9br       November – traditionally the ninth month in the Roman calendar

10br     December – traditionally the tenth and last month in the Roman calendar

Ult.      Ultima - Last day of the month


Abbreviations of forenames


Jno       John

Ricd    Richard

Robt    Robert

Wm     William


Meaning of terms

Husbandman is a term used in England in the medieval and early modern period for a free tenant farmer. The social status of a husbandman was below that of a yeoman since they did not own land but rented it. The earliest recorded use of the term dates from the 14th century. The sense of husband in this term is that of the "master of house" rather than "married man".

Yeoman has several meanings. Generally in the registers it appears to refer to a man holding a small estate, a minor landowner. For an extended discussion of the term refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeoman


Esquire refers to a man with a social status more or less at the bottom of the social hierarchy at the top of which is royalty. Gentleman is sometimes equivalent to Esquire and sometimes below it. The complexity of this may be explored further at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esquire


Please let me know if you spot any mistakes.

Please feel free also to add any comments or insights you may have about the people included in the registers or email me if you prefer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . It would be nice to create a consolidated commentary in due course. 


Download this file (Bishop Burton Burials 1704-1751.pdf)Bishop Burton Burials 1704-1751.pdf[ ]76 kB


#1 Buried in woolJohn S Dunning 2009-07-24 10:08
Am I correct that \'Burying in Wool\' was purely to help the wool trade?

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