Roger Price has generously donated his collations and transcriptions of early Burgess records and the earliest marriage records for Temple Church (Holy Cross) so that we can make them freely available to you.
Roger’s introduction to his work:-
The city of Bristol is blessed with having a large and diverse historical archive, which is kept at the excellent Bristol Record Office and Reference Library. In recent years, members of the Bristol & Avon Family History Society (B&AFHS) have been diligently working through certain of the local civil and ecclesiastical records, and CDs of their indexed transcriptions are available for purchase via the Society’s website.
For the family historian, among the most important of the city’s corporate records are the Burgess Books; which provide details of those citizens who were made free to practise their trades in Bristol and vote in elections. Those volumes have all been transcribed by the B&AFHS. The first of the series that we have commenced in October 1557, and the surviving sequence continues (with only one gap for the years 1599-1607) up to recent times. Yet there are other original sources for the same information, of which many people are unaware. Those are the Great Audits of the Corporation’s finances, compiled annually by the City Chamberlain, which replicate the details in the Burgesses Books. Most of those audits survive from 1531 onwards: ie they predate the Burgess Books by some 26 years. After going back to the accounts again and again for my own research needs, I finally decided to calendar all the relevant records that fill in the gap in the Burgess Book records of the early 17th century; and later I took up the more difficult challenge of transcribing the earlier audits from 1531-1557. The results of my work are now presented here. I must thank the staff of the Bristol Record Office, who were especially helpful in providing facilities for the project to go ahead as efficiently as possible; but even so, each of the two studies took about four months (on and off) to complete.
The B&AFHS has also transcribed many of the parish registers of the Bristol diocese for the period 1754-1837. However, for my own research purposes I often need to consult even earlier records; and I have found the Temple Church registers of particular interest. Edwin George made an excellent start in deciphering and typing up a list of what he could read on the microfilm of the first of those registers (for the period 1558-1630) and I have continued his work (as far as my abilities allow) to complete the transcription of the remaining records up to 1753. That means that all the legible Temple Church registers up to 1837 have now been transcribed and indexed, and are available for all to use. My study of those records was something of an arduous task, because they were so severely damaged when the church took a direct hit during the bombing of Bristol in 1940 that many parts of those pages that were microfilmed are virtually unreadable. To fill in some of those gaps I have examined the original transcripts that were prepared annually by the parish clerks for the Bishop of Bristol; but not all of those have survived; and some of them have been damaged by damp or vermin during the intervening centuries – which makes them difficult to use. The Temple project took me about six months to complete; much of which time was spent on rechecking and indexing the names found in the surviving manuscripts.
I hope that you find these indexes of interest and use. More are in the course of preparation and will be posted here in due course.
You can view the data on our ‘downloads page’ – click on the link, scroll down to section 11 and enjoy!