Calverton Population

The Protestation Returns of 1642 were intended to record a full list of all male inhabitants aged eighteen years and over in each parish, who took an oath to ‘live and die for the true Protestant religion’. A population total can be easily calculated by allowing for the estimated proportion of the population under the age of eighteen years, perhaps 40% and doubling to allow for women.[18] Seventy-five names are listed in the Calverton parish returns, with the note ‘none refused’.[19] A population estimate for the village, immediately before the English Civil War, is therefore 250.

The Hearth Tax was introduced, after the Civil War, in 1662 to provide a regular source of income for the newly restored monarch, King Charles II. Sometimes referred to as ‘chimney money’, the tax was essentially a property tax on households (rather than houses) graded according to the number of their fireplaces. The 1664 Hearth tax returns show that Calverton had seventy-nine chargeable hearths in thirty-five households and seventeen not-chargeable hearths in seventeen households which had been exempted from the tax.[20] A multiplier, recommended by some authorities, is 4.3, which gives a population for Calverton at the end of the English Civil War, of 223 in the fifty-two households.[21]

Village surnames which span the Civil War period include Cooper, Wilkinson, Martin, Pepper, Mottram and Sturtivant.

Soon after the Restoration, Calverton lost its vicar, John Allot, for non-conformity. The Act of Uniformity 1662 required the use of all the rites and ceremonies in the Book of Common Prayer in church services. Revd. Allot, a puritan, was one of nearly two thousand clergymen who refused to conform and were removed from office in the Great Ejectionfrom the Church of England for not complying with the Act. He went to London and ministered in private, but died soon afterwards.[22] The Act encouraged the notion of non-conformity and religious dissent in English society.

By 1676 it was of urgent interest to discover the religious opinions of the people, since the Catholic James was likely to succeed his brother King Charles II. This anxiety led to the Compton Census, a national ecclesiastical survey named for Henry Compton, Bishop of London. Adults (i.e. people over the age of 16) of each parish were recorded as either communicants, popish recusants, or other dissenters. In Calverton 129 communicants were recorded, no recusants, but a remarkable fifty-two dissenters.[23] Demographic historians suggest that the proportion of the population over sixteen in settlements at the time was about 65%, so a simple calculation gives the total population as 278.[24] The population estimate is less interesting however than the high proportion of dissenters, which may well have been a result of the ejection from his living of Calverton’s vicar, James Stephenson, at some time between 1654 and July 1656, by reason that he was ‘destitute… aged and impotent’, and also by the 1662 ejection of John Allot for non-conformity (above).[25] Ejections left a void in a parish, which may have facilitated the growth of groups of dissenters. In 1677 Robert Thoroton commented that Calverton was ‘… a populous village, with an empty church, for the most part’.[26]

In 1743 a new Archbishop of York, Thomas Herring, was appointed.[27] Soon after taking up his post he wrote to all the clergy within the diocese, seeking information about the parishes they served.[28] Calverton’s curate, Maurice Pugh (1705–1766), replied to the archiepiscopal enquiry, and his answers give interesting incidental information about life in the village in the mid 18th century:

  • I. We have about eighty Families in Our Parish we have but two Families Dissenters, one of them Presbyterian, one Quaker.
  • II. We have a licensd Meeting House in Our Parish for the Presbyterians, but it has not been made use of these 5 or 6 Years
  • III. We have a Charity School, but not endowed, to teach fourteen Children to read english at the Direction of Mr: Abel Smith, Trustee to the late Mr. Labray of this Town. the Children are instructed as the Canon requires.
  • IV. We have no Alms House, but have land given to the Poor, by Mrs. Jane Pepper late of this Parish and others the Rent of which is 2 : 7 : 0 per An. The Vicar and Parish Officers dispose of it jointly to the Poor, we know of no abuse in the management of it.
  • V. I reside upon My Vicarage of Calverton.
  • VI. I do the Duty Myself
  • VII. I know of no such Persons. (i.e. Non-baptised churchgoers)
  • VIII. I read the publick Service once every Lords Day in My Church Morning & Evening alternately I am obliged to do Duty in the Church of Woodborough that is joined with Calverton, I presume the small allowance from the Church of Southwell has been the Reason that Service could not be performed according to Canon
  • IX. I catechise the Children and Servants during the time of Lent, and all the Summer from May to Michaelmass, and spend some time every Sunday Evening in instructing the Youth in the Principles of the Christian Religion during that time.
  • X. I administer the Sacrament four times in Year at least. I have about a hundred and fifty Communicants they all receive two or three Times in the Year, about three score last Easter.
  • XI. I give open and timely Warning of the Sacrament before it is administred, My Parishioners give Me Notice when any Young persons design to communicate, or new Servants, but the elderly People I have not called upon to do so but will for the future. I have had no Reason to refuse the Sacrament to any Person. Calverton 21 May. 1744 MAURICE PUGH Vicar

If the family size was 4.75 in 1743, then the settlement had about 380 inhabitants at that time. Twenty years later, at the time of Archbishop Drummond’s 1764 visitation, Maurice Pugh reported that the number of families had risen to ‘above 110’, and so the number of villagers was perhaps 520. Throsby, however, writing in the 1790s said that ‘the village consist of 100 dwellings’.[29]

By the time of the first decennial census of 1801 the population had risen to 636 in 129 families.[30]

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