Network Norwich and Norfolk > Regional News > South Norfolk > Norfolk church is reunited with 470-year-old records

Norfolk church is reunited with 470-year-old records 

A South Norfolk church was reunited with precious 470-year-old parish records on Saturday with the help of an innovative scheme run by Norfolk Record Office.

Mulbarton’s Parish Church, St Mary Magdalen, held an open day on May 13, which included the return of its very first parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials for 1547-1687, 150-year old architectual drawings and 220-year-old church accounts.

Village resident Jonathan Draper, Partnership and Development Manager from Norfolk Record Office (NRO), was asked by church rector Rev Adrian Miller to bring some old church records for display for the day.

Jonathan said he was delighted to do so: ”The lending of a church’s own records back to that church for an exhibition is a free service which the NRO offers to all Anglican churches, but only a fraction use the service. All of these records are usually stored at the Norfolk Record Office, adjacent to county Hall, in its capacity as the Diocesan Record Office for the Diocese of Norwich.

”The documents included the church’s first parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials for 1547-1687; architectural drawings of 1872 showing designs for new seating and a plan of the church prior to enlargement; the church’s first extant book of churchwardens’ accounts for 1800-1849; the church’s first extant service register for 1899-1915; a baptism register for 1863-1925; a marriage register for 1837-1930; and a nineteenth century manuscript music book for psalms,” said Jonathan.

”Mulbarton’s first parish register is fairly early when compared with those of other Norfolk churches. One of the aims of the Open Day was to raise funds for the repair of the church’s font. It seemed appropriate to display a page showing details of some early baptisms. One of the visitors was pleased to find an early twentieth century reference to a miller as he lives in one of the two mills which were located in the village.”

Mulbarton history expert, Jill Wright, who wrote the Book of Mulbarton with her late husband, believed it was about 30 years since the archives were last seen in the village – at an open day dedicating new Church kneelers in the mid 1980s.

NRO has a number of exhibition cases which it can lend, along with records and also lend. NRO staff can help choose which documents to display and can prepare exhibition labels. To access this service, email the NRO at

Pictured above is Jonathan Draper of the NRO with some of the parish record on display at St Mary’s open day in Mulbarton.

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