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Meaning of "indweller"?

Discussion in 'General Genealogical Queries' started by LizzieA28, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. LizzieA28

    LizzieA28 New Member

    This is my first posting so I hope that I have chosen the correct forum. Whilst my question relates to an entry I found in a parish in Somerset, I don't think that it is limited to that particular county.

    I have found the marriage of my 6 x great-grandparents in the parish registers of Taunton St Mary which are included in the "Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1531 - 1812" dataset on Ancestry. If anyone wants to look at the entry, it is for James Marshall and Sarah Wood on 17 August 1723. Whereas other couples on the same page are described as being "of this parish" or "of the parish of...", my couple, and a few others, are described as "indwellers of this parish".

    In this context, does "indweller" simply mean resident and if so, why are other couples described as being "of the parish" Is there a difference between the two or were they interchangeable terms? I've not come across this before in any other parish records. Is anyone else familiar with this description or does anyone have any thoughts on the matter?
     
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    My guess is that it's the difference between people who had a right of settlement in the parish, and those who - whilst resident in the parish - had not acquired such a right.
     
  3. LizzieA28

    LizzieA28 New Member

    Thanks for that suggestion, Peter. Do you think it was the indweller who had the right of settlement or vice versa?
     
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I would assume that the ones shown as OTP had the right to be there, and the indwellers were sojourners (who might acquire the right under certain conditions). But it is just a guess.
     
  5. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I have just caught this posting and recall something similar in Roots Chat although, as I remember, it was someone asking why the word 'indweller' had been written within an 'Occupation ' column; was it an occupation and of what type? The answer was that it was just written in the wrong column . The term related to parish occupancy with the majority opinion much as Peter has set out, that indwellers were sojourners.

    Here is a response from RC with information accredited to www.nationalarchive.gov.uk.

    "It seems to be mainly related to the entries in the parish registers after Hardwicke's Marriage Act. Entries after 25 March 1754 had to record the spouses' parishes of residence, most spouses were stated to be 'of this parish, but this did not necessarily mean much since the legal requirement for this description was only three weeks residence in the parish. Someone who had only recently moved to the parish might also be described as a sojourner"
     
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  6. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Picked up some interesting follow-up postings on RC on this subject. One relating that in order to marry as a parish resident (indweller or sojourner) an ancestor had to deposit a suitcase for three weeks with a friend of the rector, to comply with the three week law (the same period as the banns). Someone else reminds of a lady being refused by the vicar to marry in her nearest parish church as she lived just across the parish boundary!

    Apparently an 'indweller' was a term used in Scotland in the 16th & 17th centuries for someone who was a parish inhabitant. A Sojourner was a temporary resident. (So this seems to counter the English/Welsh acceptance that an indweller was also a sojourner).

    The OED records; "Indweller b. A mere resident; a sojourner"
    20th Century Bible reference -Genesis 23-4: "I am a stranger and a sojourner with you"...(or a 1535 Bible (Coverdale ) version) "I am a straunger (sic) and an indweller amonge you" Note how the earlier term indweller changed to sojourner!

    Hope all that doesn't muddy the water too much!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Why the exclamation mark? As recently as 10 years ago she would have needed a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury unless she or her intended were resident in the parish - it wasn't something that was in the gift of the vicar. The regulations changed in 2008.
     
  8. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    In truth I was just copying something someone posted on RC, but I would defend the exclamation mark anyway. I have voiced my favourite saying before about 'Rules' (...are meant for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools), and a personal experience to go with it; in fact two.

    Whilst in the RAF and on leave I married a girl from a small rural Northamptonshire village in the picturesque village church. After demob I made friends with a chap through our mutual love of gardening, and we both had an allotment. Back to the church: a lane ran alongside with a field one side and an allotment the other, than a few cottages before the lane wound its way to the next village. My friend lived in the last cottage with his parents. A few years later (mid 60's) he applied to marry in the local church (of course in the same village where we also socialised). His future wife lived locally but a few miles away in a small town but they both elected to marry in the village church. As it turned out the 'parish' boundary came just after the allotments and his parents cottage was just outside the boundary. Permission was refused by (as it happened a new) vicar and the village was up in arms about the matter for a long time; but he would not budge.

    I said I had two experiences and the same vicar refused to allow a family to put 'plastic' flowers (in truth an expensive item bought from the Cooperative Funeral Service) on the grave of a 4 year old child, accidentally killed in the village playing field. I got involved in that controversy in a big way but to keep it short will just say the ecclesiastical outcome caused the decision to be reversed. Soon after the vicar moved on. Need I say more!
     
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Bob, it's not simply a matter of turning a blind eye on wedding day, when a couple marry by banns the banns have to be read in the parishes where each party resides. Although a marriage that was in breach of the legal requirements wouldn't be void, the vicar who carried out the ceremony could have lost his job.

    All this because the groom couldn't be bothered to apply for a Special Licence.....
     
  10. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I doubt they knew of such a thing at the time, but whether they did or not, they opted to marry in his wife's parish and we attended their wedding.

    As an amusing aside -and showing another face to the Clergy - the Vicar in the neighbouring parish (who had been in the post for many years and was well regarded) advised the couple when they visited to arrange for the banns to be read (thinking they wanted him to marry them), he would not be able to fit them in on any Saturday if there was a race meeting at nearby Towcester races; which he religiously (that may be the wrong adjective) attended. When my friend explained they only wanted the banns read and told him of being refused permission to marry in what he regarded as his local church, he apparently uttered a mild profanity and said such things could be sorted things out with a quick call to the Bishop...adding a personal friend! So not what you know but who...and of course rule interpretation.
     
  11. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I think not - a licence would still have had to have been issued, and the fee would still have had to be paid. But the process might have been a bit quicker and easier.

    When my ancestors married in 1807 the groom applied for and received a Vicar General's Licence which allowed them to marry in London without the banns being read in Bildeston, Suffolk - the parish of which my great-great-great grandmother was regarded as resident. The Vicar General and the Faculty Office issued licences on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the records are held at Lambeth Palace; however the licences from 1695 onwards are online at Findmypast. The possession of a Special Licence does not guarantee that the couple can marry in the church of their choice, but it allows them to do so.

    Anecdotes can be interesting and amusing but only research will reveal the facts!
     
  12. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Yes agreed, as that was indeed an anecdote. Of course I was not party to any insider details of the marriage, merely recounting the amusing tale of the neighbouring Vicar who would not marry anyone if it clashed with his race arrangements.

    I do not even recall the arrangements for my own first marriage (unlike the second about which I know quite a lot). We became engaged whilst I was serving in the forces, my future wife & mother-in-law took care of the arrangements (father-in-law paid for things -including the coach that brought family from Birmingham). All I had to do was arrange my leave and turn up for the wedding and marry in uniform. I recall the Vicar at time was the old incumbent - as Bertie Wooster might say -'a spiffing nice chap' who came to the reception in the village hall. (Another anecdote I'm afraid but I'll save the Best Man getting left behind after arranging for cars to take guests to the Reception, and getting there himself on the back of a motor bike, for another time):)
     
  13. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    What was quite common in the church I attended as teenager (and where I was married) was to get yourself put on the electoral roll of the parish where you wanted to marry. [This is quite distinct from the list for voting in parliamentary election, by the way; it is church thing.] Then you had to have the banns read in the church where you were on the electoral roll, and the parish where you lived. Comparatively simple, and at no charge.
    My mother lived in her youth in the parish where Gray's 'Elegy in Written in a Country Churchyard' was written. Apparently the 'suitcase for 3 weeks' was quite common, as lot of people fancied getting married there.
     
  14. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    A bit more than that, I'm afraid - if you have the banns read in a parish other than the one where you intend to marry there is an extra £28 for the banns (on top of the £28 you pay in the first parish) plus £13 for a banns certificate.

    In my next newsletter I'll be writing about church marriages and linking to this very useful document.

    EDIT: link updated
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  15. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Couldn't open the link Peter despite using two browsers. However, I managed to find it via UK Parliament website and searching for the SN00644.pdf document. Looks interesting.
     
  16. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    I guess I misrembered. I had myself put on the church electoral roll (to be involved in the church business) well before I got married and I SERIOUSLY doubt that at 18 years old I would have coughed up for the privilege. And I daresay the passage of many years has blurred over whether I paid my 'home' parish to have banns read - though I do recall I was rather embarrassed at the thought I might be hurting the priest's feelings by not getting wed in his church.....
     

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