Catalogue description Home Office: Ecclesiastical Census Returns

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Details of HO 129
Reference: HO 129
Title: Home Office: Ecclesiastical Census Returns

Ecclesiastical census returns of churches and chapels, endowments, sittings, estimated attendances on 30 March 1851 and average numbers during the preceding twelve months.

The Ecclesiastical Census was taken at the same time as the 1851 Census of England and Wales, to ascertain the available provision for religious worship, and how many people actually attended. It was not comprehensive, because it relied on the local knowledge of the regular census enumerators to identify each place of worship and deliver a schedule, which meant that some small nonconformist sects could easily be missed. Also, there was no penalty for non-compliance, unlike the population census.

Parish and hamlet names stated on the forms can vary. Place names found in the 1851 census returns may supporting searching.

In a few cases the papers include returns of the educational census, 1851. A few individual returns have been found in some London districts, but there appear to be complete sets for HO 129/494 Keighley and HO 129/495 Todmorden. These have been catalogued as 'educational census', not by the names of specific places or schools.

Most records within this series are available to download as digital microfilm.

Note: Catalogue entries for this series have been enhanced as part of a transcription project supported by remote volunteers using digital microfilm.
Date: 1851

Items have been referenced using the original folio number inscribed on the records. Where a duplicated folio number has been used or where a return is unfoliated or obscured, an ‘'A' has been added to ensure unique catalogue references. Please note this does not appear on the original record.

For some districts, the returns are divided into two or three parts, each with its own sequence of folio numbers. In these cases, the item references include the part number as well as the folio number; for example, HO 129/428/1/1.

Some records relating to a particular church were misfiled in the wrong county or district by the managing body due to confusion over similar place names.

Related material:

See also:

Records of the General Register Office, Government Social Survey Department, and Office of Population Censuses and Surveys: RG

Census Returns for the 1851 population census: HO 107

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 623 bundle(s)
Access conditions: Available in digital format only

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