Why are there so few early records of Caldecote people?

As we have seen, the devastation left nationally by the Black Death in effect created a revolution. Labourers were no longer tied to the land as serfs but were a wage-earning group. Ownership and its tenancy had changed too. Details of those living at the time are scant.

One reason for this is the fact that the clergy in all of its forms was particularly hit. As a group they mixed more with all sectors of society, were more mobile and dealt with the dead and dying. As this group was the most literate section of society and were used to record taking, their loss meant that records became sketchy. In addition to this, there wasn’t a legal requirement for records of baptisms, marriages and deaths to be kept until 1538, though many parishes ignored this law and another order was sent out in 1558 to reinforce the rule.

17th century parish records

17th century parish records

Many of the early records, where they still exist, are often difficult to read (See photo). The records that still exist for Caldecote run from 1604. The first is the marriage between Raphe Bagleye and Margaritte Bull.
At the time, not everyone living in Caldecote would be listed there. With strong links to the nearby villages, especially Bourn, we find that items are recorded in this parish’s records.

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