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Movement In and Out of the Parish

The Parish Records

Burials in Elsfield 1841-1901

One way of leaving the village is by dying. An examination of the parish records shows that while many people buried in Elsfield were listed in the census, a substantial number were not. They were often listed as dying at Headington, St Clements, Cowley or Marston. At both Headington and at Cowley Road, in the parish of St Clements there were large workhouses, which took in not just the elderly but the sick and unmarried mothers. At Marston, there was a house set aside for the poor of the parish, supported by the Mary Brett Charity. This shows that there were numbers of people leaving Elsfield and moving into the workhouse when they could no longer earn a living but returning here to be buried.

Children not appearing in the census had usually been born too late in the decade to appear in the census.

Burials between 1841 and 1901 are:

Adults Children Grand Total
In census Not in census Total In census Not in census Total
1841-51 18 13 31 8 14 22 53
1851-61 13 10 23 3 7 10 33
1861-71 16 11 27 3 6 9 36
1871-81 15 7 22 0 2 2 24
1881-91 10 4 14 3 5 8 22
1891-1901 14 1 15 1 3 4 19

There is a decline in the number of people being buried per decade as the century progresses and also a decline in the number of people not in the census being buried. This may not necessarily have meant that there were fewer deaths in the parish and the work houses provided by the parish. It might have meant that families were choosing to bury their relatives in places other than Elsfield churchyard. While burial grounds other than churchyards were opened as early as the 17th century, the Headington cemetery, the nearest to Elsfield, did not open until 1885, so it seems unlikely that this accounts for the decline in number of burials. It seems more likely therefore that there were fewer people dying per decade and also fewer people dying outside the parish.

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