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Church's private vault reveals treasure of old documents

Dating back to 17th century

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

HOOGE MIERDE, the Netherlands - When looking for old baptism records in the parsonage of a church in this North-Brabant village recently, a local researcher came upon thousands of old parish documents some of which date back to the early 17th century. Although more of a re-discovery, the trove nonetheless is quite significant.

The approximately 4,000 papers - which have been photocopied since - had been collected by a former priest who had died in 1960 before he could finish cataloguing the documents. The papers include a church registry kept since 1820, newspapers and 17th and 18th century bishopric exemptions. The oldest document in the archive is a farm lease granted by the abbott of Postel to a man called Jan Vervoort.