Sunday, 16 December 2012

Cathedral Kisby Caretaker

Peterborough Family History Society have done a marvellous job in transcribing the registers of the Cathedral in Peterborough, from the 1600's to the 2000's. This 400 years of history is all available on CD for the very reasonable sum of £10 (of which £1 goes to the Cathedral funds). Peterborough is the major city in the Kisby heartlands, so I couldn't resist investing some of my savings in this purchase.
Peterboro' Cathedral, West Front (1600's)
The Cathedral was of very major importance. It is known for its imposing (and unique) west facade, built in the 1200's. Henry VIII's first wife Katharine was buried at the Cathedral. Mary Queen of Scots was also interred here. Despite its size, christenings, marriages and burials were not common because, until the 1530's, the building was used as a monastry. It didn't have a font until 1615. Marriages and burials were often of people with a link to the Cathedral contrast, the nearby parish church of St John seems to have been incredibly busy!! But to my delight I found there were a small number of Kisby's who appear in the Cathedral registers. 

Most prominent is one Clement KISBY. Clement, it turns out, was the Sexton for the Cathedral. As far as I understand, a sexton is a glorified caretaker with a key role in running and maintaining the building and its grounds. Clement lived a long and honourable life, it seems. His first wife, Faith, dies in 1668. Later the same year Clement gains a new wife, Ann, at a Cathedral marriage. Clement's son (also called Clement)  marries at the Cathedral too. In 1699 Clement "Sexton of this Church above 50 years"dies in his 80th year and, more impressively still, is "Buryed in the body of the church near the west door." It will be interesting to know whether there is a marker of any kind!

Ann, his widow, seems to have been given a place in an almshouse and dies in 1719.

Well, maybe the parish registers of St John's will reveal where Clement and Faith came from. Clement KISBY isn't a name I've come across until now. But nice to find a KISBY playing such a long and prominent role in city life!

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