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Historic documents from parish near Lichfield unearthed in New Zealand

Historic documents detailing the accounts of churchwardens in a parish near Lichfield in the 18th and 19th centuries have been returned after being found in a New Zealand library.

The Venerable Chris Liley, Thea Randall (county archivist), Philip Wood (church warden), Alison Birch, Mary Tiso, Stella Harris, Chris Strophair and Reverend Denise Burgess with the documentsThe accounts of Harlaston church between 1777 and 1850 were found by Anthony Tedeschi, the rare books librarian at Dunedin Public Library.

He contacted Staffordshire’s County Archivist who confirmed they were from St Matthew’s Church in Harlaston.

Anthony believes that the volume may have been acquired by Sir Alfred Reed, a New Zealand book collector, sometime during the early 20th century. Sir Alfred ultimately donated his collections to the library.

Although the document has no historical connection with New Zealand, it was still necessary for Anthony to go through all the proper official processes to allow it to be exported back to England.

The volume is now safely in the care of the Staffordshire Record Office, where it has been placed with the other historic parish records from Harlaston.

Mary Tiso, one of Harlaston’s current churchwardens said:

“We are thrilled that this part of Harlaston’s history has been returned to us. It is wonderful to be able to recognise some of the names of long-standing local families in the accounts.”

Descendents of the Mercer family – who were frequently mentioned in the records – have visited Harlaston to view the documents.

Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Culture Ben Adams added:

“We often hear of historic documents having gone out of the country in the past, so I am delighted that this important part of Staffordshire’s archive heritage has found its way back to us.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to Anthony Tedeschi for the immense amount of trouble which he has taken on our behalf.”

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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1 Comment

  1. lichtidbits

    26th December, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Absolutely amazing – who would’ve thought! Excited to hear more about this :-)