The records are transcripts of the original bishop’s transcripts. The details in each record can differ, but most transcripts will include:
The county of Shropshire (also known as Salop). West Felton and Kinnerley are both villages located within Shropshire. West Felton was mentioned in the Domesday Book as ‘Feltone’ and ‘Felton by le Knokyn.’ The old ecclesiastical parish contained the townships of West Felton, Sutton, Rednall, Haughton, Teddesmere, Woolston, Sandford and Twyford.
After the establishment of the Anglican Church of England, Thomas Cromwell, the Vicar General, mandated in 1538 that all parishes were to keep records of marriages, baptisms and burials. Often these records were kept in a single book. The book was to be kept in a coffer, a small chest, locked by two keys. One key was held by the minister and the other by the church warden. Entries were to be made every Sunday after service. If records were not kept the church would be fined.
In 1597, a constitution of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury was approved by Elizabeth I. It required that each parish send annual reports to the bishop. These were known as bishop’s transcripts. This new practice is significant for the genealogist because it meant that two records were being kept of baptisms, marriages and burials, doubling the chance that the records would survive.
In some parish records, gaps may appear. This can be due to a number of reasons, including the condition of the paper on which the records were written and where they were stored. Older records may have been ruined by disintegration or water damage. Also, during the Commonwealth years from 1642 to 1650, records were neglected due to the Civil War. During this time, Cromwell had ordered that marriages would be conferred by the Justice of the Peace and parish registers would be recorded by civil parish clerk. Records were given back to the church wardens and ministers after the restoration of Charles in 1650.