The little book belonging to Bartholomew Glasscock

One of the most exciting finds connected to my family history was a tiny book wrapped in brown paper.  It was hidden in a bookcase which I was going through after my mother died.

When first researching my grandmother’s ancestry I had hit a brick wall with her grandmother Elizabeth Palmer.  In 1842 Elizabeth Palmer married William Hopkins, part of a well-established family of Thames Lightermen in Lambeth and Southwark, but Elizabeth came from the small village of Sheering in Essex and I had problems discovering more about her family.

Gradually over many years I traced her father Thomas Palmer son of George Palmer and Mary Glascock also from Sheering and I was intrigued by Mary’s father Bartholomew Glasscock who although also born and married in Sheering appeared as a witness to many marriages at St Mary’s church in the nearby village of Matching.

Opening the little brown book revealed that all my research had been correct.  There were four handwritten names, three of which followed the family tree I had researched. The second name was Bartholomew Glasscock my 5th great grandfather, the third name was Elizabeth Palmer, my 3rd great grandmother and the last name Constance Talbot was my grandmother.

So what is this little book?  It is “The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper explained to the Meanest Capacity in a Familiar Dialogue between a Minister and one of his Parishioners” printed in 1766.  On the next page was written William Hopkins, husband of Elizabeth Palmer and the Granddad who had passed the book on to Constance Talbot.

I was able to discover William Dearing by Googling.  He was Vicar of St Mary the Virgin in the village of Matching in Essex from 1761 until 1785.  This was the time when Bartholomew Glasscock was witnessing marriage ceremonies in that church.

St Mary the Virgin, Matching, Essex

I have yet to visit Matching and I need to research Bartholomew’s role in the church but I do like it when all the pieces of a jigsaw fit together especially with a primary source!

In December 2015 I was contacted by a Glascocke descendent in Virginia.  We are now investigating the unlikely possibility that our shared ancestor was one of the first 17th century residents of Jamestown, Virginia.


  1. What a great find. I have a genealogy written by an ancestor in the second half of the 19th century, and I love the look and feel of the book and the wonderful handwriting of the time.

  2. Yes I was thrilled to find the first 2 signatures written in the 18th century. I also have 2 family Bibles but they are late 19th century.