Documentary Sources For Population : 1670 - 1850
From the late 17th century the population of Rochester can once again be examined in detail as the parish records become available. However, the establishment of the Presbyterian chapel of Birdhope Craig in 1672 was obviously having a major impact on the devotional allegiance of Rochester's population by the mid-18th century, perhaps in part simply through the convenience provided by the chapel's proximity. Indeed there is a virtual hiatus in the Elsdon parish records as far as references to individuals from Rochester are concerned during the middle decades of 18th century (1730-1760).
In part this is also due to the imprecision of the marriage registers for this period, which overwhelmingly use the phrase 'of this parish' to record the husband and wife's place of origin. For these years we are reliant on the registers (baptisms only) of Birdhope Craig itself, which are preserved from 1728 onwards (NRO 1953). The Elsdon registers resume more prominence later in the century. From 1797 the records of Byrness church (cf. PSAN3, 3, 1907, 23-29), which was erected in 1796 in an earlier burial ground (Hodgson 1827, 148, 153, Grundy 1988: 289 - ROC 5), must also be taken into consideration for these too mention individuals from Rochester.