About The Project
The OPC Project concept was the original idea of family historians in Cornwall who launched the first OPC project; Devon and Dorset followed next, and there are several now more counties taking part. The idea is to assist those who are researching their family history in a specific parish who might otherwise have difficulty accessing information at record offices, etc. The Wiltshire OPC Project began tentatively in 2006 and has grown from strength to strength. Information is organised by the historic Church of England parishes within the county. Although there is a strong focus on genealogical information, we also include historical and social information. All parishes have been registered as one-place studies. We now have a diary page which will be updated from time to time. You can also follow us on Twitter and on Facebook. Put a face to the name - meet your OPC Team.
We have decided to create some files via Facebook to accommodate those members who would like to register their surname interests.
We must apologise for anyone using the photo galleries at present. We are still adding to these galleries but sadly the facility to sort in any particular order has been withdrawn by Google Photos which is how we at present display out images. Also in some cases the labelling of the image itself is not showing up. This is mainly due to the creation of new galleries. Anything added to a previously active gallery still shows this labelling. The OPC Webmaster and team are looking into alternatives to enable us to publish our photos and have control over the order they are seen. Many thanks for your patience whilst this is being sorted.
A Little Information About Using This Website
As mentioned previously information is laid out within parishes. There is also a page to cover the whole of the county and also a military page which relates to the county as a whole. There are also pages for research inquiries and other general information just explore the drop down menus at the top of the page. Most pages follow a set layout to assist you in finding information quickly under categories which have a set order. The Categories are Neighbouring Parishes (Contiguous); Websites; Parish Church; Parish History; Buildings & Land; Crime & Legal Matters; Directories; Education; Emigration & Migration; Employment & Business; Miscellaneous Items; Non Conformity & Other Places of Worship; People & Parish Notables; Poor Law, Charity & The Workhouse; Probate; War, Conflict and Military. Under Transcriptions at the bottom of the page can be found any Baptisms, Marriages, Burials & Census that have been completed. Categories will contain sub headings but these should be selective and contain a series of documents of the same kind such as parishioners wills. The documents themselves will normally follow a layout of oldest items first reading from left to right in columns of 3 or 4 items per row. The documents are linked to a pdf format and the title should be descriptive but concise so that you can see what you are likely to find within. Where there is a tithing or hamlet that has a fair amount of information these will have a tab (page) within that parish towards the end of the page. Photo Galleries can be found by following the links on parish pages or by accessing the main gallery section at the top of the page. The most recent parishes or items updated or expanded can be found by clicking on the images under the 3 headings towards the top of the home page. Also if you are looking for something specific such as the First World War it is possible to find a list of such items by using the search facility at the top of the page by keying in WWI.
Although most items are published on parish pages please also check the Wiltshire Additional Parish Page, Wiltshire County Wide Page, Wiltshire Military Page and the Nationwide Page. All of these may contain additional information not published on a parish page.
Due to the nature of the project some pages will hold more information than others. New items are being added to the site daily.
As you can see from the Memorial Days Section to the right of the page we are adding as many soldiers memorial days as we can. If anyone knows of soldiers whose deaths are not yet listed please let the admin team know.
What is an OPC?
An OPC (on-line parish clerk) is a volunteer member of the public who "adopts" a parish in Wiltshire becoming its custodian. The OPC is then able to research the parish and transcribe historical and genealogical information for that particular parish which may be of value to family history researchers and social historians. Our motto is "What may or may not be of interest to you, will be of interest to others". This information is gathered from many different sources, for example, parish registers, census records, churchwardens and overseers accounts, historical wills, business and trade directories, church and village histories, newspaper reports, war casualty lists, etc. An on-line parish clerk should not be confused with a parish clerk engaged by a parish council or parochial church council.
Adopt a Parish and Become an OPC
Firstly, you do not need to live in Wiltshire, or even in the UK, to become an OPC. We have OPC's in Australia, Canada, Holland, England, New Zealand, India, Scotland and several in Wiltshire itself! Some OPC's choose to adopt a particular parish because their ancestors hailed from that village or town or because they once lived there themselves; some just want to be part of a voluntary project to help family history researchers worldwide. Others choose their parish because of a subject interest such as Australian Soldiers of WWI buried in the county. Once you adopt a parish then you become its custodian by researching and building on the resources on the parish page. Even if a parish is adopted then other contributors are still welcome to submit items for inclusion.
You may feel you don't have the time to adopt a parish, but you can still support the Wiltshire OPC project by:-
- donating information you may have at home - school photographs, directories, village history booklets - in fact, any historical information on a Wiltshire parish
- transcribing - we can email records to you to transcribe at home at your own pace
- taking photographs in Wiltshire - war memorials, buildings, village scenes, plaques, etc.
If you would like to help with any of the above please contact the OPC of the parish you can help with or if the parish is vacant, contact our Administrator. Please note that you will need to register and sign in to contact OPC's/Administrator (via the Contact Us tab at the top of this page)
For a complete list of vacant parishes and other positions you could help with please go to our diary page
Heytesbury - Parish of the Month
HEYTESBURY, (or Heytesbury cum Tytherington) a parish and post town in the hundred of Heytesbury, county Wilts, 4 miles S.E. of Warminster, and 18 N.W. of Salisbury. It is a station on the Wilts and Somerset railway, in connection with the Great Western railway. The parish is situated on the banks of the river Wiley, near Salisbury Plain, and was formerly a market town and a borough by prescription, returning two members to parliament from the reign of Henry VI. until it was disfranchised by the Reform Act. The town, which is small, and irregularly built, consists chiefly of one street.
A portion of the inhabitants are employed in the manufacture of woollen cloths, but this industry has recently much declined. Near the town are Bowles-Burrow, Golden Barrow, Scratchbury Camp, Cotley Hill, and Knook Castle, where Roman and other remains have been found. A court-leet is held at Michaelmas, at which two constables and two tythingmen for the town are chosen, also similar officers for the hundred, which is co-extensive with the manor. The living is a perpetual curacy annexed to that of Knook, in the diocese of Sarum, joint value £350, in the patronage of the Bishop of Salisbury.
The church, dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, was made collegiate in 1165 by Bishop Joseline, and was rebuilt by the Hungerfords in 1404. It is of a cruciform construction, with a tower containing six bells. The charity called Lady Hungerford's hospital was founded in 1470, and rebuilt in 1769. It is designed for a custos, twelve males, and one female. There is a National school, also a place of worship for the Independents. A short distance from the town is Heytesbury House, the seat of Lord Heytesbury, a title conferred on Sir William A'Court in 1828. A fair is held annually on the 14th May."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
Heytesbury has an entry on GENUKI and Vision of Britain. The parish is not included in British History Online but there are a number of entries relating to the town. Details held by Wikipedia can be found here. The parish is also listed on the British Listed Buildings website. There is also a website for the parish.
There is a vacancy for an OPC for this parish, if you would like to volunteer for this post please contact Teresa Lewis. This is a list of items transcribed for the parish. If anyone has any photographs, postcards or items of interest that they are willing to share then please contact the administrator from the contact us drop down lists.
During September 2016 OPC's and transcribers uploaded 108 items to parish pages (including updated documents). New documents added as we go through August will be published here. New images are added to our galleries on a regular basis. At present it is estimated that we have in the region of 5000 items awaiting upload, revamping or transcribing (however much more information is available elsewhere to be gathered in and processed).
At the beginning of each month the site holdings list is updated to show what can be found on parish pages and elsewhere on the site at present we have over 19200 items on parish pages. Items highlighted in green have been updated; Those highlighted in red or yellow are being re-transcribed and are available for look up purposes; the original upload date is in the left hand column, the date when the item was uploaded with changes is in the right hand column.
We currently have 63 OPC's and 4 Consultants who cover between them 135 parishes/pages of the 334 available. We also have 8 transcribers registered (not all active at present).
The site currently has over 587 registered returning users and the web site has been visited almost 278000 times.
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Copyright & Disclaimer
We think it is important that our users understand the strengths and limitations of this website. The OPC Project aims to provide historical and genealogical information without charge that researchers might pay a fee for elsewhere. OPC's voluntarily provide this information, often at their own expense by purchasing documents to transcribe. In most cases their transcriptions are not checked by anyone other than themselves.
Our OPC’s and volunteers are aware that material submitted for this site must be within copyright law and accreditation must be given where necessary. Our Administrator checks items as they are submitted, however, occasionally an item may ‘slip through the net.’ If this occurs, we apologise most sincerely and will correct the issue immediately upon notification.
We don't guarantee to be perfect! All information should be taken as a guide only and the original source consulted wherever possible. In many cases this will be the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. Please note that some items are published to parish pages and are incomplete, such items will be updated as and when new information is transcribed. These are mainly ongoing projects such as the national probate index, strays index, etc.
Please note that OPC's are unable to undertake family history research for our users, but we are always willing, where possible, to advise where the information being sought might be found.
If you find this site useful please tell others - if you have a problem with it then please tell us. Users of the site are invited to leave comments/constructive criticism &c. in the box at the foot of each parish page or in our guest book. You may also rate the page using the star option on each parish page. Thank you.