Of Old Christmas Day

15 December 2013

Some years ago, we were researching down in Devon at what was then the Devon Record Office, now Devon Heritage Centre. Searching for a marriage at Plymouth St Andrew – which is all indexed with images available on FindmyPast thanks to digitisation arrangements with Plymouth and West Devon Record Office – we stumbled upon an interesting name on the marriage register in 1816:


Richard-of-Old-Christmas-Day Honey married Jane Pardew on 11 April 1816, both signing the register, Richard as ‘Richd. O.C. Honey’. Better than O.C.D., I guess!

Marrying twice – the first time to Mary Hallett in 1790 – Richard was buried in Plympton St Mary on 11 February 1821 aged 54 and left effects sworn at under £1,500 in his Will.

Of course, many of these incidences of the more eccentric names of the past are only located by accident. Richard died long before any census and even FindmyPast indexes his marriage as just ‘Richard Honey’ and his burial as ‘Richard O L Honey’.

Aged 54 when he died, the most likely baptismal entry is in Jacobstow, Cornwall in 1767…. 1821 minus 54 being exactly 1767! Richard Honey baptised 2 August 1767 of John and Mary Honey…. but this is ‘only’ Richard Honey so I am not utterly convinced…. anyone down there in Cornwall who can check the baptism please? Does it mention Christmas Day!?

And more to the point, why ‘of Old Christmas Day’?

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