Aylsham, Norfolk Genealogy

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Guide to Aylsham, Norfolk ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Aylsham, Norfolk
Aylsham Parish Church.jpg
Type England Jurisdictions
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred South Erpingham
County Norfolk, England Genealogy
Poor Law Union Aylsham
Registration District Aylsham
Records begin
Parish registers: 1653
Bishop's Transcripts: 1600
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Ingworth
Diocese Norwich
Province Canterbury
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Court of the Archdeaconry of Norwich
Location of Archive
Norfolk Record Office

Parish History
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Aylsham St Michael is an Ancient parish in the diocese of Norwich.

The small spire on top of the 30 metre (98 ft) tower is also a landmark that can be seen for miles around. The nave, aisles and chancel were built in the 13th century. The tower and ground floor of the south porch were added in the 14th century. The north transept was built under the patronage of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster around 1380. An upper floor to the porch was added in 1488. The lower part of the rood screen survived the destruction visited by Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans, although some of the painted panels were disfigured.
In medieval times the parish of Aylsham was established as four manors, the main manor of Lancaster, Vicarage manor, Sexton's manor and Bolwick manor. The ownership of the Lancaster manor changed hands many times, before James I assigned it to his son, the future Charles I.

In the course of the events which lead up to the English Civil War Charles I had to raise as much money as possible, and mortgaged Lancaster manor to the Corporation of the City of London. The Corporation eventually sold it to Sir John Hobart, and through him it passed to the ownership of the Blickling Estate. The current lords of the manor are the National Trust.

Formerly part of the South Erpingham Hundred, Aylsham was, for administrative purposes, absorbed into St. Faiths and Aylsham Rural District Council in 1894 and became part of Broadland District Council in 1974.

Aylsham is a historic market town and civil parish on the River Bure in north Norfolk, England, about 15 km (10 miles) north of Norwich. The river rises near Aylsham and continues to Great Yarmouth and the North Sea, although it was only made navigable after 1779, allowing grain, coal and timber to be brought up river.

The town is close to large estates and grand country houses at Blickling, Felbrigg, Mannington and Wolterton, which are important tourist attractions.

For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of Broadland.

Aylsham is thought to have been founded around 500 AD by an Anglo Saxon thegn called Aegel, Aegel's Ham, meaning "Aegel's settlement". The town is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Elesham and Ailesham, with a population of about 1,000. Until the 15th century, the linen and worsted industry was important here, as well as in North Walsham and Worstead, and Aylsham webb or 'cloth of Aylsham' was supplied to the royal palaces of Edward II and III.

John of Gaunt was Lord of the manor from 1372 and Aylsham became the principal town of the Duchy of Lancaster. Although John of Gaunt probably never came to Aylsham, the townspeople enjoyed many privileges, including exemption from jury service outside the manor and from payment of certain taxes. The village sign depicts John of Gaunt.

In 1519 Henry VIII granted a market on Saturdays and an annual fair to be held on March 12, which was the eve of the feast of St Gregory the pope. Aylsham markets have always been an important feature of the town, and businesses developed to meet the needs of the town and the farming lands around it. Besides weekly markets there were cattle fairs twice a year and, in October, a hiring fair.

The historic Black Boys Inn in the Market Place is one of Aylsham's oldest surviving buildings, and has been on the site since the 1650s, although the present frontage dates to between 1710 and 1720. There is a frieze of small black boys on the cornice and a good staircase and assembly room. The Black Boys was a stop for the post coach from Norwich to Cromer, had stabling for 40 horses, and employed three ostlers and four postboys.

A thatched waterpump was built in 1911 at Carr's Corner in memory of John Soame by his uncle, a wealthy financier. An artesian well 170 feet (52 m) deep, its canopy is thatched in Norfolk reed.

As with many of the other market towns in the county, the weaving of local cloth brought prosperity to the town in medieval times. Until the 15th century it was the manufacture of linen which was the more important, and Aylsham linens and Aylsham canvases were nationally known. From the 16th century linen manufacture declined and wool became more important, a situation that continued until the coming of the Industrial Revolution. Thereafter the principal trade of the town for the 19th century was grain and timber, together with the range of trades to be found in a town which supported local agriculture. Records show that Aylsham had markets and fairs, certainly from the 13th century. Such weekly and annual events were important for the trade that they brought. Annual horse fairs would bring many other traders to the town, and the weekly market would be the occasion for more local trade. The rights of the stallholders in the market place today date back to the rights established in medieval times.

AYLSHAM (St. Michael), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of South Erpingham, E. division of Norfolk, 12¼ miles (N. by W.) from Norwich, and 121 (N. E. by N.) from London.[1]

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Registration Districts
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Parish Records
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Aylsham, Norfolk Genealogy parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:

FMP = Norfolk Parish Registers Browse (findmypast) - (£)[2]
FS ATs = England, Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts, 1600-1812 (FamilySearch) - free[3]
FS BTs = England, Norfolk, Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941 (FamilySearch) - free[4]
FS PRs = England, Norfolk, Parish Registers, 1538-1900 (FamilySearch) - free[5]
JOIN = The Joiner Marriage Index - (£)[6]
NTA = Norfolk Transcription Archive - free[7]
TGEN = TheGenealogist - (£)[8]
TIN = Tinstaafl Transcripts - free[9]
Aylsham, Norfolk Genealogy Online Parish Records


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
FMP 1653-1939 1653-1925 1653-1932
FS ATs 1600-1812 1600-1812 1600-1812
FS BTs Undefined Undefined Undefined Undefined Undefined Undefined
FS PRs Undefined 1653-1754, 1791-1901 Undefined 1653-1901 Undefined 1653-1754, 1791-1901

NTA 1710-1901
1653-1901; 1865-1868, 1870-1901 (Banns)
TGEN 1791-1901 1791-1901 1780-1901 1780-1901 1791-1852 1791-1852
TIN 1813-1880

Browse Bishop's Transcript Images on FamilySearch

Norfolk Record Office reference PD 602

  • Parish registers, 1653-1900
  • Microfilm copies of original records in the Norfolk Record Office, Norwich.
  • Baptisms 1653-1709, 1714, 1719, 1739 1709-1900 Marriages 1653-1754 Marriages & banns 1754-1780 Marriages 1780-1900 Burials 1653-1790, 1813-1852 (Early registers are damaged; partly illegible.) FHL BRITISH Film 1657202 Items 22-33
  • Burials 1853-1900 Banns 1824-1900 FHL BRITISH Film 1657203 Items 1-6

Courtesy of Norfolk Transcription Archives:

Archdeacons transcripts Baptisms 1600-1604, 1623-1633, 1665-1677, 1693-1812 Marriages 1600-1603, 1623-1633, 1665-1677, 1709-1812 Burials 1600-1604, 1623-1633, 1665-1677, 1709-1812 FHL BRITISH Film 1526779 Item 1

Non-Conformist Churches and Records
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Births, 1791-1837; burials, 1791-1833at the Baptist Chapel in the parish of Aylsham, Norfolk

Microfilm of original records at the London Public Record Office, London.

RG-4 series no. 637

Births, 1791-1837; burials, 1791-1833at the Baptist Chapel in the parish of Aylsham, Norfolk FHL BRITISH Film 596995 Item 1

England Nonconformist Church Records England and Wales Nonconformist Record Indexes (RGA 4-8) ,1588-1977 - FamilySearch Historical Records

Church records for the Aylsham Primitive Methodist circuit, 1836-1888

Microfilm of original records at the Norfolk Record Office in Norwich, England.

Localities include Aylsham, Heydon, Blickling, Wood Dalling, Barningham, Lower Sherringham, Corpusty, Calthorpe, Matlock, Burton, Aldbrough, Ittringham, Wickmere, Bodham, Marsham, Runton, Briston, Sall, Shotesham, Whitwell, Little Barningham, Saxthorpe, Alby Hill, Reepham, Brampton, West Beckham, Plumstead, Gresham, New Lakenham, Beeston, Hindringham, Briston, Foxley, Edgefield, Field Dalling, Langham, Holt, Sharrington, Billingford, Folley, Hunworth, Weybourne, Thursford, Stebburt, Cley-next-the-Sea, Glandford, North Repps, Great Thornage, Kettlestone, Wells, Salthouse, Brinham, Guestwick, Wolverton, Norwich, Foulsham, Wood Norton, Bintry, Kelling, and Norton.

Norfolk Record Office no.: FC 47/39-40.

Baptisms, 1836-1888. FHL BRITISH Film 2299613 Item 13
Baptisms, 1845-1870 (most of the pages indicate "Briston and circuit"). FHL BRITISH Film 2299614 Item 1

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Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Note: FreeCen has recently completed the 1861, 1871 and 1891 census indexing for the parish of Aylsham (which see). 

Courtesy of Norfolk Transcription Archives:

Genealogy From Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Curties. E.A. The Curties Family of Norfolk. History and family tree of Robert Curtes and Prudence Gascoyne, with the following surnames, Barker, Boldney, Leman, Creasey, Doughty, Parker, Paul, Titsell, Smith, Topps, Hutton, Lake, Howard, Summere, Sturt, Bailey, Loynes, Mattewson, Rook. There is a descripiton of each of the family and their life, in many Norfolk Parishes. Brampton, Irstead, Oxnead, Aylsham, Sidestand, Oxnead, Scottow, Trimingham, North Walsham, and Swofield. Article dates are 1556-1945, and is found in The Norfok Ancestor, old series, vol. 2,pt2 page 17-22, Family History Library Ref. 942.61 B2j old series, v2. pt. 2

Poor Law Unions
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Aylsham Poor Law Union, Norfolk Genealogy

Parish chest material, 1637-1848
Microfilm copy of original in the Norfolk Record Office, Central Library in Norwich, Norfolk, England.

Churchwardens accounts, 1637-1793 FHL BRITISH Film 1951461 Item 9
Churchwardens accounts, 1793-1848 Miscellaneous register, 1663-1783 FHL BRITISH Film 1951462 Items 1-2

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England Jurisdictions 1851

Military[edit | edit source]

Courtesy of Norfolk Transcription Archives:

Taxes[edit | edit source]

Courtesy of Norfolk Transcription Archives:

Websites [edit | edit source]

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  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England(1848), pp. 120-124. Date accessed: 28 August 2013.
  2. 'Norfolk Parish Registers Browse', findmypast, accessed 31 July 2015.
  3. 'England, Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts, 1600-1812,' FamilySearch, accessed 22 March 2014.
  4. 'England, Norfolk, Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941', FamilySearch, accessed 22 March 2014.
  5. 'England, Norfolk, Parish Registers (County Record Office), 1538-1900', FamilySearch, accessed 17 March 2014.
  6. 'Norfolk Coverage,' The Joiner Marriage Index, accessed 8 February 2014.
  7. Norfolk Transcription Archive, accessed 14 April 2014.
  8. 'Subscription Coverage Catalogue', TheGenealogist, accessed 11 January 2016.
  9. 'Norfolk Baptism Project 1813 to 1880,' Tinstaafl Transcripts, accessed 11 April 2014.
  10. 'England, Norfolk, Church of England Bishops' Transcripts Parish Search/Aylsham', FamilySearch Wiki, accessed 11 April 2016.