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Parish Chest

During the Reformation in 1534, when the introduction of keeping a record of parish registers was instigated in 1538 by Henry VIII's Vicar General, Thomas Cromwell, a strong church chest was required.

The Parish Chest

Kept originally in the vestry and constructed to house the parish records, the parish chest is a splendid piece, probably made in the 16 th century. In addition to parish registers, chests were used to store money, accounts, wills, relics, vestments or documents, plate and other valuables. The use of the right timber was important, and in the main, it was oak which was very strong. The Prescot chest is a boarded chest, made of large planks with the back and front nailed on to two ends with large iron nails. The two ends are extended below the bottom to form legs. These were necessary to keep the chest off the damp church floor. Iron straps strengthen the sides, back, front and lid and there are five strong iron locks one for the Vicar and four for the churwardens. The chest stands against the east wall of the south aisle.

The ancient records themselves were deposited at the Lancashire Record Office in 1992.

There is also a Prescot Town Chest of 1597. A fine looking chest with iron straps. This was taken to King's College, Cambridge in 1912 and returned in 1992 where it is housed in Prescot Museum .

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