So That's Where I Get It From

Cozens READ not knowing his wife’s name!!!?


Having discovered that my 6 x great Grandfather Cozens READ had 20 children (possibly 21) with his wife Elizabeth SHIRLEY I also became aware of several mysteries.

One mystery that really gnaws away at me is for way back in 1735 when Cozens and Elizabeth were having their first child, also called Elizabeth, baptised. At this time Cozens READ was also one of the Churchwardens for this parish church.

I managed to get hold of a copy of the actual Bishop’s Transcript for this particular church in this particular year. It shows four Baptisms, two Burials and no Marriages for 1735.  

For the first Baptism, the parents are shown as John and Mary PLATER but Mary is then crossed out and replaced with the name Sarah. This does happen in the Registers, someone writes the wrong name, or maybe someone is actually known by a different name to their given one, so mistakes do happen which are then corrected. 

The next Baptism in this document brings a mystery. It is the Baptism of Elizabeth the first child of Cozens and Elizabeth READ. The actual wording for the entry for this Baptism is “Elizabeth Daughter of Cozens & Mary Read Baptized June 11th”. 

Well, I know from their marriage in Aylesbury in 1734 that Cozens READ married Elizabeth SHIRLEY. I know from researching this family over many years now, that  Cozens READ’s wife is always referred to as Elizabeth. I know from seeing many documents and having many copies of these documents that she is always called Elizabeth. But here, for the Baptism of their first child, Cozens READ’s wife is shown as Mary!! 

Unlike the first Baptism in that document where the Mother’s name is crossed out and replaced with another showing a correction to an error, in the case of Cozens READ and his wife, nothing is changed. What makes it more of a mystery is that this document is shown as being a “True” copy and it is even signed by Cozens READ himself!! 

Over the years I discovered that he was quite a businessman, he was also a Churchwarden for many years as well as being an Overseer of the Poor which means he was quite well educated and if he could write then there is a fair chance that he could also read. So I am prompted to ask myself, why did he not correct his wife’s name from Mary to Elizabeth? He has signed this document as being a “true” record of the events. If Elizabeth was also known as Mary, why, in all Parish Registers, Wills and other documents except this one, is she only ever shown as Elizabeth?

If Cozens READ could not in fact read what was written, someone there must have read the details to be able to ensure that this record was in fact “True”, so why did they not say something like, oh your wife is shown as Mary instead of Elizabeth, maybe we should correct this. If that happened, why was it not changed?

I had thought there is a possibility that maybe Cozens READ had been married previously to someone called Mary but as he was married to Elizabeth seven months before this Baptism then a possible first wife called Mary would presumably have died before then. I have never found another marriage for Cozens READ and certainly no burial or other record that could tie in another wife called Mary. So, it’s a mystery!

Bishop's Transcript - 1735 for Elizabeth READ daughter of Cozens and Elizabeth READ

 Click on image to see it larger!


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