Before the nineteenth century the parish was the main level of administration encountered by most people.
The parish looked after everyone “from cradle to grave”
All matters concerning the parish from highways and health to welfare came under the remit of the Church Wardens. Parishes also appointed Overseers of the Poor and also elected other officers as they saw fit.
The parish kept minutes of the vestry meetings. Church Wardens and Overseers kept account books. Records of apprenticeships arranged for poor children were also kept.
Collectively these records were kept in the parish chest and where the contents have been lodged at county record offices they provide an interesting and informative insight into life before the lure of industrial employment took people away from the ancestral roots.