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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2005-02-16 04:58:20
Subject: Re: City and County of Bristol

* Forwarded (from: GEN_BRITAIN) by Stephen Hayes using timEd/2 1.10.y2k.
* Originally from Steve Hayes (8:8/2003) to Stephen.Hayes{at}
* Original dated: Tue Feb 15, 08:18

From: hayesmstw{at} (Steve Hayes)

On 7 Feb 2005 13:04:36 GMT, Stephen.Hayes{at} wrote:

>If the city and county were coterminous, then it would make sense for
>the city
>council to be the county council - it would be silly to have two. But were
>they? Was Bedminster part of Bristol or Somerset? Were suburbs like Clifton,
>later Barton Regis, part of the city or county of Bristol or both?
>My question is really whether Bristol remained a county when it
>became part of
>Avon, and if Avon has been abolished, did Bristol revert to being the
>City and
>Coounty of Bristol (status quo ante), or is it now something else, or
>part of
>themething else?

Someone else asked a similar question on the Bristol & Somerset Mailing
list, and someone gave the definitive answer there, which I post here for
any who are interested (and have saved for future reference).


Bristol became a county by Charter of Edward III on 8 August 1373 and
remained so until 1 April 1974. The records of Bristol are kept here at
Bristol Record Office. Over the years there were various city boundary
extensions; for example Bedminster which originally lay in Somerset came to
be included within Bristol in 1835 and a similar extension took in Knowle
and Totterdown in 1897. Therefore if you wanted, for example, a Register of
Electors for Knowle for 1880 it would be at Somerset but for 1920 it would
be at Bristol.

  Somerset Record Office is at Obridge Road, Taunton TA2 7PU.
There is a similar situation on the Gloucestershire side of the city:
Westbury-on-Trym, for example, was included in Bristol by a boundary
extension of 1904 so once again a Register of Electors for, say, 1900,would
be at Gloucester Record Office, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester,
Gloucs. GL1 3DW, whereas one for 1930 would be here at Bristol Record
Office. Although this is all quite logical, I do understand how confusing
it can seem when you are new to Family History!  To determine which
repository you need it is important to state the type of record, date and
place that you want when you pose your question otherwise there is a chance
of misunderstandings. For family history often church records need to be
used; the churches had their own boundaries, Circuits for the Methodist
church, Dioceses and Deaneries for the Church of England.  The various
Circuit records deposited here in Bristol Record Office include those for
places in Somerset such as Cheddar or Weston-super-Mare. The Church of
England boundaries are different and mean that we hold parish registers for
churches both in Bristol itself and for an area to the north and east
roughly bounded by Marshfield, Yate and Littleton on Severn. When indexers
compile indexes of records for the benefit of other family historians it is
entirely up to them how they arrange them.  Bristol and Avon Family History
Society divided its "1754-1837 Marriage Index" into two sections:
North Somerset is one, Bristol and South Gloucestershire the other. The LDS
church includes Bristol for convenience under Gloucestershire in the IGI. I
hope this has done something to explain the difficulties you have been
experiencing. As your research progresses I am sure you find that some of
the problems resolve themselves but I have to add that after very many
years of professional work in this field I still need to check up factual
points of date and place regarding records on virtually a daily basis. It
really is not a subject on which there can ever be a simple answer because
of the 

way that local administrative and religious history has evolved over the years.

Steve Hayes
E-mail: hayesmstw{at} (see web page if it doesn't work) Web:

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