Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

Churchwardens in Cheshire: Bebington Parish 1602–1830

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (2013), 162, (1), 1–28.


Although churchwardens performed many functions in the parish, much of the existing scholarship about them has tried to throw light on recusancy and/or dissent, or on the governance of the state, and over limited time spans. This paper concentrates on the wardens themselves, from when their names can first be established for Bebington parish until the structure of that parish began to change in 1830. Who were the wardens, how were they chosen, how old were they, were they literate, what was their social status, what occupations did they follow, and how far, if at all, did these characteristics change over time? In the parish community, as the repetition of surnames suggested, some families provided wardens across the generations, while others which were also in the parish for generations never provided a warden. There was a surprising number of wardens whose families were newcomers to the parish. Overall, when tax records give some insight into the social order, wardens seem to have been recruited from a wider social spectrum in the half century after 1660 than was in the case in years 1770–1830.

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Author details

Cox, P. J.

Hollinshead, J. E.

Nunn, C. M.

Phillips, C. B.