Records for Non Conformity by Alec Tritton

Reading branch talk 27th October 2016

Alec opened his talk with the statement that our ancestors were gullible and taken in by new "religions". He expounded the Myth that Henry VIII had founded the Church of England, then merely used it for his own purposes. Alec explained that the development of the non Roman Catholic churches were not all down to Henry VIII and there were many breakaway sects and groups well before Henry wanted to divorce his first wife .

John Wycliffe of Balliol College Oxford had translated the first English version of the Bible in 1320 and was instrumental in the Lollard movement. John Oldcastle of St Giles was executed by burning in 1417 for Heresy. An Act of Supremacy was passed in 1554 by Henry VIII, repealed by his Catholic daughter, Mary, in 1559, and reinstated by Elizabeth I.

In 1600 it was reported that in East Anglia 36% of parishes had no Minister such was the upheaval in the reigning religion.

Alec then gave some key dates 1609 Baptists first meeting, 1662 Ejection of Nonconformists, 1672 Declaration of Indulgence, 1689 Act of Tolleration, which over the following 100 years saw over 1000 congregations grow. He explained that Nonconformists were Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Salvation Army, Methodists. In 1753 there were Quaker, Jewish, and Roman Catholic marriages, by 1773 Methodist marriages. Paperwork for these was regularised by Act in 1837.

Quakers founded by George Fox (1624- 1691) kept meticulous documentation and all who attended marriage ceremonies signed the document.

Alec explained burials could take place in any location, but only one interment as two constituted a cemetery for which a licence was required. Most Quaker records were surrendered in 1837 and are now at the TNA under RG6.

Other useful places to look for records are Dr. Daniel Williams Library 1742 - 1837, 1772 Evans lists of Congregations, surman.english.qmul.ac.uk., Familysearch and BMD.

Caution was expressed re 1752 date reforms as prior years started on 1st March.

Other obscure Nonconformists were Sandermans, Campbellites, Inghams, Plymouth Brethren (who have not surrendered records), Moranians. Even more weird and wonderful groups were made up of Peculiar People, Mary Girling, Cokelers and Jezrielites.

He said that it is possible to find real  gems of information so it is always worth having a go to see what you can find . It was a very enlightening talk packed with information 

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