Church of England Parishes
We are the Diocesan record office for about 400 parishes in the Diocese of Chester (roughly the same area as pre-1974 Cheshire) and for those in the deaneries of Widnes and Warrington in the Diocese of Liverpool. The vast majority have deposited records and most registers can be seen on microfilm in our searchroom. Larger local libraries hold microfilms for their areas. Microfilmed register entries up to 1910 can now be searched and viewed online with the subscription site Find my Past.
Parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials generally begin between 1538 and 1598. Each church kept its own set of registers so there can be gaps in the records where volumes have been lost or damaged, or due to the disruption caused by the Civil War and Commonwealth period (1640-1660). Copies of baptism, marriage and burial records were sent every year to the Bishop of Chester until the late nineteenth century. These ‘Bishop’s Transcripts’ (BTs) can be useful when the original register is lost or difficult to read.
Cheshire parishes: registers we hold
You can also check which registers we hold for each parish using our online catalogue. Enter 'p' in the 'Reference' box and choose 'Church of England Parishes' in the drop down menu for 'Type of Archive Collection', then click 'Search' at the bottom of the page. You can then click on the individual parish reference for more information.
For additional help locating records of interest the guide to Cheshire Towns and Parishes is also very useful. Transcriptions of information from parish registers are also available, the Cheshire Parish Register Project have made some available online.
Records ‘other than registers’ in parish collections contain a variety of material, often relating both to the ecclesiastical parish, for example churchwarden’s accounts, church and churchyard papers, tithe and chantry records and to the civil parish, for example overseers’, surveyors’ and constables’ books.