Project Purley

The Local History Society for Purley on Thames

Records and Sources


The documents and other sources for the History of Purley on Thames are to be found in many places. Almost every Public Library in England has at least something. This section covers the major sources of original material. They fall into four categories,

The Public Record Offices and Libraries,
Records of Public Bodies which they still retain and
Private Records

There are many different types of records. The key types for Purley can be noted as:-

Mediaeval Records

Parish Registers


Wills and Inventories

Bishops Registers

Directory and Gazeteer entries

The Project Purley Archive

As far as is practical copies of all the records found in other libraries and archives have been made and are held in the Project Purley Archive. There is still a lot of work to do to collect all this material together and catalogue it.

See Project Purley Archive for more details

b Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre

The History Centre at Chippenham holds the records of the Diocese of Salisbury and is a particularly rich source of material for the period up to 1836 when Berkshire was transferred to the Diocese of Oxford. Among other items it holds the originals of the Bishops Registers, Bishops Transcripts and Visitation Query responses.

See Their Website for more details

Berkshire Record Office

The Berkshire Record Office next to Yeomanry House in Reading contains most of the records of the Archdeaconery of Berkshire, transferred from the Bodleian plus those records deposited by the Parish. The latter are referenced by D/P 93. Some further items of interest are:-

D/A Depositions of the Archdeaconery of Berkshire
D/D Deposits relating to Tithes
D/EX 83 Notebooks, Wills etc
D/EX 27 Engravings of the Church and font
D/EX 264 Negotiations between the Rector and the GWR.
D/QC 35 Details of the new Rectory

See Their on-line catalogue for more details

National Archives

The National Archives at Kew contains many isolated references to Purley, especially with regard to Institutions and Excommunications.

See Their catalogue for more details

The Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library in Oxford holds the records of the Diocese of Oxford except for those items transferred to the Berkshire Record Office.

See for their on-line catalogue for more details

Reading Reference Library

Reading Reference Library contains a wealth of information and is particularly rich in topographical material and Directories as well as local newspapers. In addition there are records of local societies and histories of churches with associations with Purley. They also hold a complete set of minutes of Berkshire County Council and electoral registers since 1949.

See Reading Local Studies for more details

Reading University Library

Reading University Library contains a complete set of the printed Rolls Series which have numerous references to Purley from the Middle Ages. They also hold an excellent collection of other printed sources.

See their website for more details

Records of Public Bodies

Most public bodies have either deposited their records (if over 100 years old) in the Berkshire Record Office or in the Modern Records Centre (if less than 100 years old). As a general rule public bodies nowadays rarely keep material for longer than 7 years and they are notoriously difficult to get at. Bodies of particular note whosre records contain material relevant to Purley are:-

Berkshire County Council (now in the BRO
Newbury DC and West Berkshire DC
British Rail
Thames water
Environment Agency
Southern Electric

Church Records

The church safe used to contain a lot of information and records. However on the departure of the Reverend David Evans the opportunity was taken to sort through this material and deposit the majority in the Berkshire Record Office. What remains consists mainly of:-

registers in current use
recent minutes of PCC
miscellaneous correspondence
copies of annual vestry minutes and accounts

Thae material is variously in the church safe, held at the rectory or in the hands of various church officials, eg PCC secretary, PCC treasurer. A small amount which was rejected by the BRO was looked after by John Chapman and now in the Project Purley Archive along with an almost complete set of Parish Magazines and a large collection of Sunday leaflets plus copies of all the material deposited in the BRO around 1990.

Records in Private Hands

These include a number of Family Papers which are noted in the families pages There are also many records and copies of records which have been collected by members of Project Purley and these are gradually being collected and incorporated into the Project Purley Archive.

Oxfordshire Archives

Oxfordshire Archives in Oxford is the equivalent of the BRO, It holds a great deal of information relevant to Purley including records of adjacent parishes, esp Whitchurch and Mapledurham. Also the Powys Lybbe papers of which a microfilm has been made by Project Purley with a copy deposited in the Bodleian and the BRO.

Other Sources

There are a wide variety of other sources of material. Of particular note are:-

Bristol University Library (Repton papers and Brunel records)
Museum of English Rural Life, Reading
Public Reference Libraries
Other University libraries
Institute of Historical Research, London
British Library

H6100 31/1/2018

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