Appendix: Duties of parish officials

The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2. Originally published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1921.

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E A Webb, 'Appendix: Duties of parish officials', in The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2, (Oxford, 1921) pp. 562-564. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

E A Webb. "Appendix: Duties of parish officials", in The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2, (Oxford, 1921) 562-564. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

Webb, E A. "Appendix: Duties of parish officials", The Records of St. Bartholomew's Priory and St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: Volume 2, (Oxford, 1921). 562-564. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

In this section


Duties of the Vestry Clerk.

1 April 1778. Vestry Minute Book, iii, 490. (fn. 1)

To attend all vestry meetings summoned by the churchwardens and make proper entries.

To write all notices prepared by order of Vestry.

To make the several Tax Books of the Parish at 8 shillings each, and for confirmations, signing and attendance, 8 shillings and 4 pence more.

To make his charge half yearly to the churchwarden to be inspected by the vestry for all business done for the parish and to be allowed a salary of £4 per year.

As clerk to the Guardians of the Parish poor children:

To summon and attend them at their several meetings.

To write all notices ordered by them in execution of their trust or directed by Act of Parliament and to be allowed for the same 2 guineas yearly.

To attend the meeting of the Trustees when summoned and make proper entries.

To write all notices directed by them.

To write the charge to the several constables yearly and the abstract of their choice by the parish, to make these tax books at 8 shillings each.

To be allowed six pounds per annum exclusive of other business done for them.

Duties of the Beadle.

Epitomized from Vestry Minute Book, iii, 454. (fn. 2) Approved in Vestry, 4 Sept. 1771.

To set the watch at 10 every night and wait till the constable for the night comes to the watch-house.

To give notice to each constable of respective Watch nights and if he does not come by eleven to give notice to treasurer and take an exact account of neglect of duty by watchmen.

To keep order in parish, prevent beggars and vagabonds lurking in parish, boys disturbing the inhabitants by gaming, &c., keep the horses out of the close on Fridays, attend church on Sunday morning and afternoon and prevent children playing and talking in service time.

Assist churchwardens in collecting their books, attend upper churchwarden every morning to receive orders, keep him informed, prepare and deliver out summons for vestry and trustee meetings, give notice to Contractor for the poor of the meetings of the Guardians.

To convey the poor to the contractor for their maintenance.

For any poor passed into the country to be allowed 3s. a day for himself and 2s. a day for each pauper besides the expense of carriage.

That he be paid £20 a year salary and five pounds more in lieu of all extra charges in the performance of his duty. That he have a cloak and hat once in two years and a great coat and hat in the intermediate years, and that five pounds be paid by the Treasurer. (fn. 3)

Duties of the Sexton.

18 Oct. 1816. From Vestry Minute Book, iv, 372. (fn. 4)

To sweep and keep clean the church.

To ring the bells and open the pews on Service Days and other necessary occasions.

To sweep the leads and gutters and the belfry stairs.

To blow the organ bellows, and dig the graves or cause them to be dug.

To sweep and keep in order the churchyards.

To attend Vestry and Trustee Meetings, &c.

To light the church and vestry fires whenever they are wanted.

To attend the rector or minister on all church duties and whatever assistance he may need in the performance of his duty he must pay for it out of his salary which he will receive which is Thirty Pounds per annum.

Duties of the Watchmen.

From the Vestry Minutes, 4 Oct. 1744, vol. iii, 228. (fn. 5)

The following regulations were agreed to, with the constables' consent, viz.:

That fastenings be made to the Gates of this Parish, and that they be shut from the time that the watch are set to the time they go off.

From the 29th of September to the 25th of March the watch to be set from nine o' the clock in the evening till six o'clock in the morning and from the 25th of March to the 29th of September from 10 o'clock in the evening to four o'clock in the morning.

That the Watchman be allowed ten pence per night each man from the 29th of September to the 25th March and eight pence per night from the 25th March to the 29th September. If any of the Watchmen neglect to attend and perform his duty, that night's pay to be deducted, in which he shall so neglect his duty, and the constable for the time being to hire another man in his stead on the parish account.

That the number of Watchmen in this parish be so timed.

Ordered—That every Inhabitant in this parish who shall refuse to pay the Watch Rate be obliged to watch in person.


  • 1. Above, p. 365.
  • 2. Above, p. 365.
  • 3. The salary is increased by £20 paid by the Treasurer out of the Consolidated rate, and other alterations in 1805. See V. M. Bk. iv, 192.
  • 4. Above, p. 122.
  • 5. Above, p. 438.