John Squire has made a study of the first 100 years of the Registers of All Saints, Cople, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1561-1660. John has kindly provided us with a short summary of his study.

Contact, regarding this work, to John by email only at

The Early Genealogy of Cople

On the 10th October 1606, a Friday, Dameris BLOCKE and George STAPLETUN were married at All Saints, Cople.
Dameris and George had seven children between 1608 and 1619, all baptised at All Saints, two, Ann & John were twins.
Their mother and father brought them to All Saints to be baptised on 14th January 1614. Five days later they returned to bury John and then, two days after that, Ann. George was baptised at All Saints 1576 August 24 the son of John & his wife Agnes (Nee SPARKE) STAPLETON who also married at All Saints 1575 June 22.
George STAPLET(U)ON lived all his life in Cople and is recorded in the Burial Register 1635 June 5.
His wife, who was known as Emma was buried 1642 June 13.
In the 100 years 1561-1660 503 Men, Women, Children are recorded in the Burial Register of All Saints, Cople.
They are represented by 172 family surnames, from ABBIS to YEARILL.

Thomas Cromwell, Vicar General to Henry VIII laid the foundation in 1538 of modern registration with his Injunctions to the Clergy of England ‘ …that you and every Parson, Vicare or curate wythin this dioces for euery churche keep one boke of reistre, wherein ye shal wryte the day and yere of euery weddying, christenyng and burying within yore pishe for your time….and therein set euery persons name…. ‘
The Parish Register for Cople 1538-1561 is unfortunately, a lost document and Bishop’s Transcripts (copies of original entries) for the Registers do not commence until 1561.
The Register of Baptisms in the parish commences 1562, Marriages in 1563 and Burials 1561.

The first entry in the Marriage Register is 1563 April 30 Thomas CAPYMAN and Agnes ROWCH & in the next 100 years
They are followed by 184 couples whose marriages are recorded at All Saints. Thomas THIPTHAP married Joan GRIGS 1564 January 15, his surname appears only on this one occasion, GRIG(G)S more often.
Ann FESAUNT and Reynould IRELAND were married 1580 April 04. Alice FESANT 1612 May 05 at All Saints on her wedding day to Garret STANFORD, surnames not appearing again.
The most frequent family name shown in the Marriage Register is MERRILL commencing 1570 November 23 when William MERRILL married Millicent BELL. MERRILL appears on 12 other occasions to 1656.

Nicholas GALLIGANT and Constance WESSEN held their weddying at All Saints 1612 October 27 and lived in Cople with their son John. Nicholas is recorded in the Burial Register 1616 June 26 and John the following year March 29.
Constance was buried 1632 January 17.
There are no marriages recorded in the Register for the years 1642-1653 and again 1658-1661.

Seven hundred & seventeen Baptisms are registered at All Saints in the Century 1562-1660, the decade 1610-1619 showing 99.
The family names that appear in the greatest number during that Century – PURSER 48 entries, MERRILL 30, WARNER 29, SPENCER 22, LUKE 20, BRACE 19, PALMER 16. Many children in one family are shown in the Register – Robert SPENCER is shown as the father of 12 baptismal entries 1572-1590 (no mention is made of the children’s mother, in the 16thC it was often not recorded.) Nicholas LUKE had 10 children baptised at All Saints 1574-1591. Their mother is not mentioned in the Baptism
Register but she is shown in the Burials record, Margaret LUKE wife of Nicholas LUKE esquire buried at All Saints 1597 June 12.
The WARNER family, William – six baptisms 1564-1574, Robert – 9 children 1593-1614 and William and his wife Elizabeth – 5 baptisms are recorded 1624-1632.

Several family names show some evidence of continuity in Cople from the 16th to the 19th Century with entries in all or some of the Registers.
CLARK (CLARKE CLERK) COOK(E) FEILD (FEILDE FELD FELLD FIELD FILD) FRANKLIN (FRANCKLIN FRANKLYN) HARDEN (HARDIN HARDING HARDINGE HARDYNG) HIL (HILL HILLES HILLS HILS) PURSAR (PURSER PURSOR PURSUR PUSER PUSSER) SMITH (SMYTH) WRIGHT (WRGHTE).
The most frequent throughout is PURSER.

Christian or first names in the Register of Baptism are many, some appearing only once in the hundred years 1561-1660,
BRIDGET, GILLIAN, LUCY, ANTHONY, HUMPHREY, MOSES. Other first names show a frequent preference, ANN is mentioned at 58 Baptisms, ELIZABETH 50, MARY 36, JOHN 69, WILLIAM 49 and THOMAS with 49 entries.

Some families have a place name, CARDINGTON 1571 &1637, CHICHELEY 1594, HOLWELL 1573, LETCHWORTH 1571 & 1628, RENOULD 1590.

The BROWNELL family were numerous in Cople during the late 16th and early 17th C.
John the son of Richard BROWNELL was baptised at All Saints 1569 September 12.
In 1594 June 14 John married Mary GRIFFIN at All Saints and together they had one child, Rose BROWNELL.
On August 22 1595 John brought his wife and child to All Saints . When Rose had been baptised John held the child in his arms and walked in to the Churchyard and stood watching & mourning as his wife Mary was slowly lowered in to the grave that had been prepared for her.

JOHN SQUIRE
February 2019

Acknowledgements & Sources
The Parish Registers of Cople, Transcribed & edited by FG Emmison OBE FRHistS (1907-93,)
Senior Archivist, Bedfordshire County Council & published by the County Council 1935..
Bedfordshire Family History Society – Indexes to Bedfordshire Parish Registers 2011.