The OPC Project was conceived and set up in Cornwall; Devon and Dorset followed next, and there are now about a dozen more counties taking part. The concept 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 some historical and social information. All parishes have been registered as one-place studies. We now have a diary page which will be updated weekly on Sundays. You can also follow us on Twitter and on Facebook Put a face to the name your OPC Team
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 may be of value to family history researchers and social historians. 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. The motto for the Wiltshire OPC Project is "What may or may not be of interest to one person is probably of use to another".
Adopt a Parish and become an OPC
You don't 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 one or two 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.
If you feel you don't have the time to adopt a parish, you can 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)
Ramsbury - Parish of the Week
"RAMSBURY, a parish and post town in the hundred of the same name, county Wilts, 7 miles N.E. of Marlborough, 5 N.W. of Hungerford, and the same distance from its station on the branch line of the Great Western railway from Reading to Hungerford. The village, which is large, is situated on the banks of the river Kennet. Ramsbury was formerly a market town and a seat of the bishops of Wilts, in the 10th century, to which 13 bishops were appointed in succession when the see was annexed to that of Sherborne, county Dorset; and in 1072 the united sees were removed to Sarum. The parish, which is extensive, contains the hamlet of Park Town, with the tythings of Axford, Eastridge, and Whittonditch. The village chiefly consists of one long street, and contains several tanning, brewing, and malting establishments. The ancient episcopal palace is still remaining, and is situated near the church, with which it once had a subterraneous communication. The glebe comprises about 70 acres. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Sarum, value £219. The church, dedicated to the Holy Cross, has a massive square tower, strengthened with buttresses. The interior of the church contains tombs of the Dorells of Littlecot, of the Reads of Crowood, and a monument to Sir William Jones, late of Ramsbury House. This church was the mother church to Sarum, and was a cathedral up to the time of the Norman conquest. The vicarage is a modern house, built by a late incumbent. There is a National school for both sexes. The Wesleyans, Independents, and Primitive Methodists have each a place of worship. Littlecot Park, Crowood, The Cedars, and Ramsbury Manor House are the principal residences. The last-named is situated in a park watered by a stream of the river Kennet; and was for many years the residence of Sir Francis Burdett, Bart. At Littlecot Park is preserved a collection of ancient armour. Fairs are held on the 14th May for cattle and toys, and on the 11th October for hiring servants." [Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
The Village includes the tithings of Axford, Eastridge & Whittonditch as well as the hamlets of Littlecote, Marriage Hill & membury.
The OPC is Brian Watts, Brian joined our team fairly recently and is building on the information available for the page. 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 either Brian or Teresa from the contact us drop down lists.
During April 2015 OPC's and transcribers uploaded 428 items to parish pages (including updated documents). New documents added as we go through May will be published here. New images are added to our galleries on a regular basis.
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. Items highlighted in green have been updated; 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.
The site currently has just over 1730 users and the web site has been visited over 201400 times. There are 59 OPCs, including the Admin team and webmaster. Between them they cover 118 of 329 available parishes/villages.
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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.
Researchers can leave compliments/comments/constructive criticism in the box at the foot of each parish page or in our guest book. Thank you