Register of baptisms, marriages and burials for the Parish of St John the Baptist, Great Amwell, 1558-1657
Thomas Hassell, the London-born vicar of Great Amwell for 57 years, took his registration duties very seriously. The entries in the parish register of baptisms, marriages and deaths are described in great detail. From 1599-1635 the entries in this register are exceptionally full and descriptive. Plague deaths, especially, are noted with graphic and circumstantial detail and provide a vivid illustration of the impact of the plague on local communities. In 1603 and 1625 plague victims are clearly distinguished by asterisks.
Hassell’s comment on the 1603 plague reveals that he felt it was the worst plague in living memory, ‘Thys fatall and fearefull yeare was the year wearin our Queen Elizabeth of famose memory left her life and raigne in England, beeinge the first year of King James (whose life God longe continue) beeinge the yeare of the greatest and most generall plage in this realme that fell within the remembrance of man, whearof many died within this parrish, which I have noted with a starre* to distinguish them from the rest. I buried of this disease 6 in one daye.’
[FromThe Parish Register and Tithing Book of Thomas Hassell of Amwell ]