Frank Step Hockaday was a local historian who lived in Lydney during the early part of the last century and who spent many years examining the church records pertaining to Gloucestershire before his death in 1924. His collection, recently transferred from the Local Studies section of the Gloucester Library to the Gloucestershire Archives, consists of a number of large bound volumes, approximately 500 of them in all; they filled one wall at the library! Each book has hundreds of quite fragile pages containing his hand-written notes. At some stage, because many of the basic details of the records were largely repetitive, he used typewritten sheets and just filled in the information that varied.
The Hockaday Collection is organised by parish and contains abstracts of ecclesiastical records relating to the Dioceses of Worcester and Gloucester from the year 1187 – yes, I did mean 1187. The abstracts are filed in chronological order so if you are looking for something relating to, say, Badgeworth in the 16th century, it is fairly easy to go through the pages in the Badgeworth volume for that period. There are some indexes to the personal names in his work as well but these are spread over about thirty slim books. I don’t think the indexes are complete for his whole collection but they do provide a means of finding some names.
Many of the entries in the collection relate to the ministers in the parishes, their appointments, payments and biographical notes but there are also snippets regarding boundaries, bad behaviour of parishioners, a few will abstracts, etc.. There are two whole pages in the Gloucestershire Collection catalogue listing the items that have been included in the Hockaday Collection.
So, it is a wonderful resource, particularly if your ancestor was a minister, or if you are researching the history of a particular parish but it does have to be searched at Gloucestershire Record Office and, if the parish of interest is a large one, can be quite time consuming. Photocopying from the collection is not permitted because of its fragility but transcription or photography can be undertaken.
Contact us at Hidden Heritage if you would like a search of the Hockaday Collection.