*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***
Important information: We are currently experiencing technical issues with the webiste and it is currently running with reduced functionality, some category pages may not contain a full list of articles and the search is not currently working. We apologise for the inconvenience and should have everything back to normal as soon as possible.

Why so many private baptisms in 1798?

by
04 September 2020

Email if you have any answers to the questions, below

iStock

The parish register of St Nicholas’s, Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk, records 530 baptisms in 1798. Of these, 515 were private, 15 public, and one is unclear. Why would so many baptisms have been conducted privately? They were all conducted by Samuel Edwards, Curate.

 

Your answers: Our attention has been drawn to an article, “Few Deaths before Baptism: Clerical policy, private baptism and the registration of births in Georgian Westminster: a paradox resolved” by Jeremy Boulton and Romola Davenport at www.geog.cam.ac.uk. It cites several pieces of research that found private baptisms being conducted increasingly during the 18th century for social as well as emergency reasons, so that they became “widespread”. “Complaint literature and a few diaries suggested to David Cressy that there was a ‘rise of private baptism’ in London after the Restoration, driven less by fear for the child’s life than by the imperatives of social status and a desire for privacy amongst the better off. Such privacy also allowed dissenters to evade elements of the Anglican liturgy that they objected to. By 1682 it was alleged by one hostile cleric that: ‘Public baptism is now very much grown out of fashion; most people look upon it as a very needless and troublesome ceremony, to carry their children to the public congregation, there to be solemnly admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s church. They think it may be as well done in a private chamber, as soon as the child is born, with little company and with little noise.’ London it was claimed in 1754 was the original site of the ‘infection’ of private baptism that was spreading out into the surrounding country.” Editor

The questioner is surprised that St Nicholas’, Great Yarmouth, recorded 515 private baptisms in 1798. Having served in a parish with roughly 100 baptisms per annum, I am not surprised at all.

(The Revd) David Billin
Carshalton

 

Your questions: 

Andrew Brown reports on the lack of BAME presence among the senior leadership of the Holy Trinity, Brompton, and New Wine networks (Press, 12 June). Are Evangelical/Charismatic BAME Christians more likely to attend black-led independent churches?

A. C.

 

A correspondent (Letters, 21 August) refers to leaving the Church of England. Is there a formal method of leaving the C of E? Does it require a deed of declaration/revocation, or other legal process?

J. W.

 

Please use email only at present: questions@churchtimes.co.uk

We ask readers not to send us letters for forwarding, and those giving answers to provide full name, address, and, if possible, telephone number.

Latest Cartoon

Forthcoming Events

29 September 2020
Festival of Preaching
A one-day online version of our popular preaching festival. With Mark Oakley, Sam Wells and Anna Carter Florence.   Book tickets

 

19 October 2020
Creativity out of crisis: Hymns and worship webinar
In association with RSCM, this online event will explore creative uses music and liturgy in the context online and socially distanced worship.    Book tickets

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)