5–11 Aug. 2013: Whissonsett commemoration of its diarists

The small village of Whissonsett in central Norfolk produced two published diarists in the 18th century: Mary Hardy, born Mary Raven in 1733; and her nephew Henry Raven, born there in 1777.

They and their Whissonsett relations will be commemorated during Open Churches Week, from Monday 5 August to Sunday 11 August 2013 inclusive.

Whissonsett Church, south parking

The south approach to Whissonsett Church, showing the large green for car parking. The mediaeval game of camp was played here, and it is now the Camping Land

The light and airy church impresses visitors with the way it is cared for; some of its mediaeval glass in the west window is shown at the banner. It will be open on all seven days from 10 am to 4 pm (except on Tuesday 6 August, when the exhibition will run only until 3 pm owing to a funeral later that afternoon).

Events and activities will be laid on during the week, to which all are welcome.

You can also read more about the events programme and contact details on the organisers’ two-page Whissonsett flyer, available for download and printing.

Original parish registers on display

Some of the early parish registers will be on display. These are normally stored at the Norfolk Record Office in Norwich, but just for this special week they will be coming home to the place where they were created.

Family historians, long accustomed to working from filmed copies of the original registers in record offices, will have the opportunity of poring over these precious manuscripts in the home parish.

Whissonsett parish register 1627, marriages

Part of the page for 1627 – in English – showing marriages and burials when the register was last on display at Whissonsett. Mary Hardy’s ancestors Thomas Raven and Ellen Heye were married on 1 May 1627

A talk by Margaret Bird on 7 August at 2 pm

Mary Hardy’s diary helps to bring the archival sources to life. The editor of the diary, Margaret Bird, will give a talk on Mary Hardy and her Whissonsett relations in the church on Wednesday 7 August at 2 pm.

The women of the family were strong personalities, and she will reveal how manorial law (as opposed to common law) buttressed the independence of women in legal and property matters in an age long before the Married Women’s Property Act.

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Margaret Bird

Margaret Bird in 2016

The editor and author of the Mary Hardy volumes

You can read about the historian Margaret Bird on the link above

See inside…