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Berwick Holy Trinity Bastardy Case (29th July 1766)


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Berwick Holy Trinity Bastardy Case - Click for bigger imageThis entry is extracted from the Berwick Vestry Minute Book, 1758 to 1810. These books often provide a record of families or individuals in the parish who received financial assistance from the church. Their need for this assistance may have resulted from someone losing a partner, or becoming too ill or too old to work. This particular entry relates to a bastardy case brought against Joseph Stamford and John Fairwell. They are accused of failure to maintain Joseph's illegitimate child to Jane Matthewson. John is named because he had stood as surety in the event of Joseph failing to uphold his responsibilities to the child. This detailed information is particularly useful to family historians. Many of the Berwick parish records are deposited with Northumberland Archives Service. Previously they were kept at the church. For many years church records were stored in the Parish Chest. This tradition dates back to medieval times. The Chest would usually be found in the vestry and kept under lock and key. All church records would be stored there. For example, baptism registers, poor relief records and churchwardens' accounts would all be found within the Chest.