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Bethersden Parish Records: A short historical background. Kent, England

A short historical background

For more information about the Bethersden Parish Register Society and its records please contact Mr. Brian Robinson at Brian  [AT]  islandfarm [.] co [.] uk  Anti-spam has been employed in constructing the above email address.  Please remove the extraneous spaces as well as the sets of square brackets so that the email address looks like

The following article was prepared for the Bethersden Parish Records Society on the occasion of a millennium exhibition during May, 2000.

        The Bethersden Parish Records, which date back in unbroken sequence to 1515, is probably one of the very few sets of records that cover the whole spectrum of Village life down through the centuries and they continue to maintain links not only with the past but also with the descendants of Bethersden people all over the world.

        There is seldom a week that passes without the Hon. Keeper of the Records, George Fraser, receiving a request for information.  He personally transcribed nearly all the documents and books relating to marriages, deaths and baptisms from 1554 to 1940 so that searches can be carried out more easily and information obtained with a minimum of problems.

        The intended implementation of the Parochial Registers and Records Measure of 1978 would have meant all Village Records being removed to the County Archives at Maidstone unless an extremely rigorous system of record care, preservation and restoration could be implemented.  To date over £15,000 has been raised to help with this programme.  Much of this comes from individual subscription but we have also been most fortunate to have generous grants from the Kent County Council and also the Ashford Borough Council.

        The Rector of the Parish is the official custodian of the Records but the day-to-day running and administration is in the hands of an elected Committee who meet regularly to discuss matters appertaining to the books and papers in their care.

        With continued support we are anxious that books and papers which have been in the Parish for 450 years should remain here.  Although a great deal has been accomplished already there are a significant number of papers still awaiting funds for restoration and it is perhaps one of our ambitions that in the future we may secure a properly constructed room where all the Records can be housed and where research can take place in pleasing and convivial surroundings.

        Should you require any further information on our Records or wish to make a donation or enquire about sponsorship of a Record any of the Stewards would be pleased to assist.

        We hope that you will enjoy this millennium exhibition and we look forward to welcoming you at future Records events.

© 2000, Bethersden Parish Records Society