worst ever King of England, has at least one thing that can be said in his favour. He ordered the keeping of Parish Registers starting in 1538.
One way to access some of them is through the work of the Parish Register Transcription Society. Particularly strong for the south of England, the latest major Society achievement is completion of transcriptions for all registers of all West Sussex pre-1837 parishes up to at least 1900 - nearly 200 of them.
The transcriptions are available on CD from the society, an increasing number are being added to the pay-per-view online search facility at http://prtsoc.frontis.co/bin/index.php. Worth a look.
Thanks to Christine Jackson for the tip.