The Ten-Yearly Censuses
The first national censuses from 1801 to 1831 were very different from the modern ones. The forms asked local landlords and church officials to provide information on the number of inhabited and uninhabited houses in the parish; the number of people in the parish and their employment; and numbers of baptisms, burials and marriages. Unfortunately for future researchers, no names were asked for until 1841.
Once the statistics had been collected, they were sworn before the local Justice of the Peace and eventually sent to the Home Office. The results were then collated and laid before Parliament.
In 1841 the full name, sex, age (rounded down to the nearest five, if aged over 15) and occupation of each person living in the household was recorded. In 1851, questions were added about the relationship of each individual to the head of the household and whether any member of the household was blind or dumb; also more detailed information on place of birth was recorded.
Only minor changes to the census forms were made over the next 50 years. In 1871 people were asked whether any member of the household was an ‘imbecile or idiot’ or ‘feeble-minded’, a question that was retained until 1911. In 1871 and 1881, people were asked whether they were unemployed – a question not then repeated until 1931.
Because the personal information in the forms is closed for 100 years, the 1911 census is the latest one to be fully released for public access. For more recent censuses statistical data of increasing sophistication is available from national down to parish level, but not including individual households or names.
Datchet’s Population Figures 1801-2011
|It is not possible that the population doubled in 10 years. Baptism and burial records show no change in the normal pattern and the answer must be that figures were recorded, as in later years, in two sections of the village. In processing the forms, it seems that only half of them reached the Home Office or Parliament – so somebody’s loss or mistake was recorded for ever.|
|1881||1,202||Mid-1870s agricultural land sold for housing|