View Full Version : Age requirements-Clergy ?

11-03-2009, 9:55 AM
I am trying to establish roughly when my ancestor Rev. Benjamin Norcliffe was
born, I have checked the clergymen database and he was a deacon in 1703
and became perpetual curate in 1734 in Brassington/Derbyshire.
What would be the youngest age that he would be able to attain these positions ?
He married Mary Allsop in 1716 ( Wirksworth parish records) .Not sure of birthplace but it may well have been Yorkshire, I am looking to prove or disprove a link to another Benjamin Norcliffe (2nd son of Sir Thomas Norcliffe
of Nunnington/Langton).
Thanyou Denise

11-03-2009, 5:24 PM
According to the Book of Common Prayer, you normally had to be 23 years old to be ordained a deacon, although it implies that with special permission (a "Faculty") this can be waived. I don't know if it ever was, or if so, how common this was. Generally deacons were ordained priest (minimum age 24) after about a year, and as priests they would be eligible to be appointed to any parochial position.

A perpetual curate would typically be the minister of a church whose rector lived elsewhere and paid him to do that job. It would usually have been seen as a position with a fairly low status, so might be held by a fairly junior minister, or possibly someone elderly wanting a place to live in semi-retirement (no pensions in those days).


11-03-2009, 8:01 PM
Thanks for that Arthur, so my ancestor was probably born about 1680 ish.

11-03-2009, 8:15 PM
Not quite - more like "probably no later than 1680". Do you know when he died or where he was buried? Clergy often have memorials which can help with ages (and sometimes ancestry).


12-03-2009, 2:07 PM
I have no idea when he died, I'm presuming he is buried in Brassington or maybe Bradbourne; How do I find out about memorials ?
By the way I would never have realised that kind of information ages etc, could be
found in the book of common prayer, you definitely are very knowledgeable!
Thankyou Denise

12-03-2009, 5:24 PM
I understand there is a Derbyshire Burials Index, and I'd been hoping to find something on it in the Derbyshire pages at GENUKI - www.genuki.org.uk - but unfortunately at the time of writing the site is down, so I can't check this.

I did, however, find a Brassington village website (http://www.brassington.org/index.html), which includes a memorials index, and it would appear that there aren't any there for Norcliffes. (But there might have been one once which hasn't survived.) The village history page mentions a database of people connected with the village, so it might be worth contacting the person holding it to see if they have anything on Benjamin.

Was the information you gave before from the Clergy Database the full entry, or was there anything else which might give a clue, such as his university?


12-03-2009, 6:12 PM
Hello again Arthur,
Thankyou for checking these sites for me, I will do as you suggest.
A university wasn't mentioned on the clergy database, would there have been one in
York at all ?

12-03-2009, 8:18 PM
No - York was a 20th century invention. At that time there were only two to choose from in England - Oxford and Cambridge. The next to be founded were Durham (1832) and London (1836).


12-03-2009, 10:17 PM
Both the old English Uiversities have volumes of 'Alumni' [or former undergraduates], which should be in large public libraries. Venn's for Cambridge, Foster's for Oxford. They give a potted biography of scholastic achievements, clerical appointments and dates.