The Documents

  1. Primary sources
    1. Church records
    2. State records
    3. Estate records
    4. Personal records

Primary Sources

The historical documents of Earls Colne are a rich and powerful resource for reconstructing the history and culture of the village. Four types of documents enable us to accomplish this task: the church records, state records, estate records, and personal records.

If you need more detailed descriptions of the historical documents, select from the source overviews to the left. This reference section contains a variety of overviews and support materials. To view the actual historical records, please go to the documents section.

Church Records

The Church records document the seven major activities of the Church: administration, initiation of business, judiciary, probate register, registry of baptisms, marriages and burials, licensing authority, and poor law administration. Further information about the Church records can be found in the reference section.

State Records

The State records constitute the governmental archive of Earls Colne and document the legislative and judicial institutions of the time. They include records of finance, common law court records, equity and concilliar court records, and records of local comissions of the peace and quarter sessions. The State records are discussed further in the reference section.

Estate Records

The Estate records document the holding and transmission of estates, as well as the decisions in the courts held by individuals who were lords of estates. They encompass not only rights in objects, land and housing, but also rights in and over people and the rights to hold courts. A full description of the estate records is available in the reference section.

Personal Records

The diary of Ralph Josselin, the vicar of Earls Colne between 1641 and his death in 1683, is one of the richest seventeenth century sources for English social history. In his diary, Josselin documented not only community events which he witnessed as a clergyman, but also his own family life, including the birth of his children, their upbringing, and relations with other family members. The reference section gives further information about the personal records.