Last week I made the unhappy discovery that the Vicar is meant to write his marriage registers in indelible ink. It’s obvious when you think about it – you don’t want your marriage certificate to fade after a few years, but unfortunately we hadn’t thought about it and hadn’t had it pointed out either. This information wasn’t included in ordination training, nor in the diocesan training for curates (as far as the Vicar remembers, anyway). Thankfully (and rather sadly), in our sort of parish there aren’t many marriages at all and those that there are aren’t often in church, so not too many documents were filled out in evil biro before we discovered this.
Having found out about the need for the special ink, I made some enquiries and have the following information for anyone else who is similarly underinformed about writing legal documents:
- Apparently, ink should be to ISO 12757-2.
- You can get pens with this special international standard ink from Staedtler (who incidentally make the world’s best felttips, in Vicarage experience).
- Traditionally, Registrar’s Ink has been used. The original recipe contains iron gall and clogs up fountain pens. You can buy a fountain pen for your registers and flush it out if you prefer a scratchy pen to Staedtler’s ones. [Late edit: A reader has ordered from the Registrar's Ink website and his pen was a Parker vector, supplied with a Parker quink convertor.]
- Registrar’s ink does not fade from documents, nor from carpet, in the unhappy experience of one of my informants.
Hopefully this blogpost will prevent the writing of a few registers in dodgy ink in the future. I suspect that as the number of church weddings continues to decrease, clergy will be less familiar with this requirement and fading ink registers may become more numerous.