Tanfield’s “lost register” 1577-1719

Researchers are often disappointed to learn that the earliest parish register of Tanfield St. Margaret, up to 1719, has been lost or destroyed. Fortunately, some extracts of the first register were recorded in a manuscript compiled by Sir Cuthbert Sharp (1781-1849), a distinguished antiquarian and friend of Robert Surtees, with whom he collaborated on that mammoth work on Durham’s history, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. Prominent Durham families and their pedigrees were included in that book, which may explain why Sharp collected noteworthy extracts from a number of selected parish registers. This small book, titled “Manuscript Library of Sir C. Sharp“, is one of a collection known as Sharp MS22, held in Durham Cathedral’s Library. On page 54 of the manuscript, under the heading of Tanfield, appears this statement: “The early register in a most lamentable condition has been drowned”. Some of these extracts were mentioned in the 3rd volume of Sharp’s “Chronicon Mirabile seu Excerpta Memorabilia e Registris Parochialibus Com. Pal. Dunelm.” circa 1841, and some were mentioned in the Surtees volumes in 1820. It is quite likely that the register was lost long before 1820, and also likely that Sharp and Surtees got these extracts from a much earlier transcription by George Allan,Thomas Randall, or Christopher Hunter.

One of our team recently transcribed the 271 extracts from Sharp’s manuscript, consisting of 146 baptisms, 31 marriages and 94 burials between the years 1577 and 1719. The second register, which we have had online for years, begins in 1720. When comparing Tanfield to a parish with similar numbers of records for 1720-1730, we estimate (very roughly) that these 271 extracts represent around 2% to 3% of the records that originally existed for 1577-1719, with their content heavily skewed toward the nobility and land-owning families.

Sample baptisms:

  • 13 Apr 1578 Nic. [Nicholas] Greenwell
  • 18 Sep 1616 William Blakeston, son of Mr. Nich. [Nicholas] Blakeston
  • 20 Oct 1715 Dulcibella Davison of Beam[ish], daughter of Mr. Wm. [William] Davison

Sample marriages – the earliest marriage in the transcript is in 1615:

  • 20 Aug 1615 Saumewell Hancocke married Alice Sotheren
  • 19 Aug 1714 George Humble married Ann Headley of par. Ryton [the parish of Ryton]

Sample burials – the earliest burial is in 1578:

  • 9 Nov 1596 Anne Shafto, wyff of Mr. Shafto
  • 1 Jan 1628 Sir Wm. Wray, of Beamish, Knt. [Knight]
  • 3 Oct 1718 Mr. James Blaxton, son of James Blaxton

All of these records will display the following note:

  • [Note: this register was water-damaged beyond repair and is no longer extant, so this record is from Cuthbert Sharp’s pre-1841 register extracts held at the Durham Cathedral Library.]

Bishopwearmouth Cemetery burials 1940-1947

8,898 burials from the beginning of 1940 to 24 March 1947 at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery in Bishopwearmouth, district of Sunderland.

Because these are cemetery records rather than church burials, there is usually either an occupation, parent, or spouse listed in the record, and sometimes the cause of death (usually only if it was dramatic, such as drowning). Deaths in hospitals and deaths due to World War II are also noted.. Here are some samples:

  • 1 Jan 1940 Ernest Albert Sutton, of 59 Bede Street, age: 85, builder
  • 3 May 1940 Mary Grieve, of 20 Holmlands Park North, age: 97, widow of William Todd Grieve
  • 5 Aug 1941 Jane Murray Malone, age: 20, daughter of George Malone, died at the Municipal Hospital
  • 27 Dec 1943 James Edwin Grozier, age: 23, sergeant, R.A.F., killed in action over Germany
  • 24 Mar 1947 Ada Boyles, of 27 Belle Vue Park, age: 72, wife of Herbert George Boyles
  • 19 Apr 1941 Thomas Welsh Hazard, of Oddfellows Hall, Laura Street, age: 39, caretaker, Civilian War Death

Tynemouth baptisms 1833-1849

9,737 baptisms at Christ Church, Tynemouth, Northumberland, covering 1833-1849.

From June 1837 onward, nearly all of these baptisms include the child’s birth date. Before that, some do.

The chapelries of Holy Trinity, which covered the western portion of Tynemouth parish, and Holy Saviour, situated at Tynemouth Priory and encompassing the southeast section of Tynemouth parish, were given their own registers in 1861. Before that, baptisms at those chapels were recorded in the Christ Church register, so you will see baptisms with the notations “HT” or “HS”, as shown below, to signifiy where the baptism actually took place.

Besides many streets in North Shields, residences include Allotment, Backworth, Balkwell, Billy Mill, Blyth, Burdon Main, Chirton, Coble Dean, Collingwood Main, Cullercoats, East Howdon, Flatworth, Hayhole, High Flatworth, Howdon and Howdon Pans, Limekiln Shore, Low Lights, Macaroni, the Master Mariner’s Asylum, Monkhouse, Monkseaton, Moor Houses, Mount Pleasant, Murton, New Whitley, New York, Newcastle, North Shields, Old Ferryboat Landing, Percy Main, Philadelphia, the Poor House, Preston, Seatonville, Shiremoor, South Preston, Spittle Dean and Spittle Hill, Tynemouth, Tynemouth Garrison, Whitehill Point, Whitley, Whitley Hillheads, Willington Quay, and Wooden Bridge.

Sample baptisms:

  • 2 Jan 1833 George Chisholme of Low Street, son of Robert (ballast keelman) & Sarah Chisholme
  • 23 Oct 1836 Thomas Partis of Milburn Place, son of John (mason) & Dorothy Partis, H.T. [baptized at Holy Trinity, North Shields]
  • 8 Mar 1839 Henry Newman of Stephenson Street, son of Abraham Newman (a grocer of Stettein in Prussia) & Rosa Abraham Newman, hawker, aged 30, an adult Jew
  • 4 Apr 1842 Charles Robson of Albion Street, born 21 Mar 1842, son of Isabella Kell Robson (single woman)
  • 30 Dec 1849 Joseph Behenna of Tynemouth Garrison, born 10 Sep 1849, son of Henry (Corporal Royal Artillery) & Margaret Behenna

Gainford baptisms & burials 1760-1797

884 baptisms and 719 burials at Gainford St. Mary in Teesdale district, covering 1760-1797, joining our existing collection for 1798-1851 at this church, from a combination of the parish register and the Bishop’s Transcript for maximum detail.

Residences mentioned (including some in Yorkshire) besides Gainford include Alwent and Alwent Mill, Bolam, Burnhouse, Cleatlam, Forcett, Headlam, Hopewell, Ingleton, Killerby, Langton, Morton, Piercebridge, Selaby, Snow Hall, Square House, Summerhouse, West Hullholme, Westside House, and White Cross.

A few leaves went missing from the Gainford baptism register before it was filmed, covering May 14th 1775 to January 1st 1778. The Bishop’s transcript has the baptisms for May 1775 to the end of 1775, and the baptisms from Feb 1777 to the end of 1777, but all of the baptisms in 1776 at Gainford are apparently lost forever.

Sample baptisms:

  • 16 Dec 1761 Thomas Smurfoot of Bolam, son of Thomas & Hannah Smurfoot
  • 31 Jan 1772 Margaret Sidgwick of Piercebridge, daughter of Thomas Sidgwick, 11 years of age
  • 6 Jan 1787 Alice Wilson alias Breaks of Gainford, daughter of Henry & Margaret Wilson alias Breaks
  • 21 Jun 1797 John Bousfield of Alwent Mill, son of Joshua & Jane Bousfield

Sample burials:

  • 5 Aug 1760 Dorothy Richardson, of Gainford, wife of Mungo Richardson
  • 15 Aug 1765 William Bayls, of Staindrop, hanged himself
  • 5 Jun 1792 Margaret Chrisop, of Piercebridge, daughter of Richard & Ann Chrisop
  • 9 Nov 1797 Arabella Vickers, of Sellaby, housekeeper to the Hon’ble Frederick Vane, wife of Dodds Vickers, dropsy

We enjoyed this touching tribute to the Vicar, in his burial record:

  • 5 Dec 1797 The Revd. Bertrand Russell, of Gainford, age: 50, B.D., Vicar of Gainford, died the 29th November – respected and lamented by all who knew him – born in the parish of St. Martin’s in the Fields, Middlesex in the year 1747 – by Mr. Russell’s death, the Sunday Scholars of this Parish lost an unwearied & kind instructor, and the poor a great benefactor.

Easington burials 1653-1757

2,312 burials at Easington St. Mary the Virgin, filling a gap we had from 1653 to the end of 1757. We now have a continuous run of burials at this church from the first register in 1570 to 1956 – nearly 400 years of burials.

This register is in poor condition. Between March and September in 1752, there are 5 burials whose dates are completely unreadable due to fading, and another 3 burials after these where absolutely no information can be gleaned.

Abodes mentioned besides Easington include Beacon House, Beggars Bush, Easington Lee, Eatherdakers or Edderacres, Eden, Ellimor (Elemore) Grange, Fallowfield, Haswell and Haswell Moor, Hawthorn and Hawthorn Hive, Horden, Little Thorpe, Oakside, Peasepool or Pespool, Shotton and Shotton Moor, Sunderland, and Thorpe.

Sample burials:

  • 24 Jan 1656 Ellen Byars, of Shotton, wife of Robert Byars
  • 3 Feb 1658 James Crooks, of Litle Eden, being 6 weeks lost
  • 26 Jun 1706 John Shipherd, of Haswell, son of John Shipherd (blacksmith)
  • 21 Nov 1706 Phillip Humble, of Haswell, schoolmaster
  • 8 May 1757 Mary Middleton, of Low Hills, daughter of Michael & Mary Middleton

South Shields St. Hilda baptisms 1880-1891

9,906 baptisms at South Shields St. Hilda spanning 1880-1891, from the Bishop’s Transcript with extensive checking against the parish register.

Like our recent release of baptisms from this church, this register continued to display peculiar errors. Some were recognizably phonetic – Field for Veale, Hervert for Herbert – as if the cleric simply didn’t understand what the parent said for their surname. More often, the clerics continued the unexplained mixing up of the letters “N” and “L” – we found Dougal for Dougan, Mannum for Mallum, Sawkinn for Sawkill, Cartol for Carton, and Gawil for Gawin, among others. There were also substitutions of “t” for “h” –  Hust instead of Hush, Marst instead of Marsh.

Here are some sample baptisms:

  • 7 Jan 1880 Amy Margaret Sheringham of South Shields, born 6 Dec 1879, child of Cornelious (commercial traveller) & Jennet Sheringham
  • 1 Sep 1886 Catherine Mary Fenwick of Cornwallis Street, born 17 Aug, child of Dorothy Fenwick (unmarried woman)
    [Note: father’s name Joseph Wawn, of Fowler Street, crossed out.]
  • 29 Nov 1891 Andrew John Millett of 85 Adelaide Street, born 3 Nov 1891, child of Charles (tailor) & Annie Millett

We also saw a rise in the number of German and Scandinavian mariners living in or visiting this busy port:

  • 11 Sep 1881 Christina Blom of South Shields, born 16 Jul 1881, child of Franz Oscar Blom (sailor) & Eleanor Blom
  • 26 Sep 1888 Gustave Emmanuel Hagelburg of 67 Commercial Road, born 22 Jul 1888, child of Gustave Emmanuel Hagelburg (mariner) & Mary Hagelburg


Aycliffe baptisms, burials, & marriages: 1560-1650

At Aycliffe St. Andrew in Darlington district, from the beginning of the first register in 1560 to the end of 1650:

  • 1,599 baptisms
  • 432 marriages
  • 1,171 burials

Abodes mentioned besides Aycliffe include Brafferton, Brough Close, Coplaw, Cotham or Coatham, Grindon, Ketton, New Town, Preston, and Woddam (Woodham). Oddly, the abodes are recorded more often in the earlier records and less often in the later records, with only a few abodes recorded after 1605.

Sample baptisms:

  • 22 Oct 1560 Anthony Helcote of Brafferton, sonne of Xpofer [Christopher] Helcote
  • 22 Nov 1601 Isabell Cotsforth of the new town, daughter of Mr Raphe Cotsforth
  • 27 Oct 1650 Luke Alecsander, son of William Alecsander

Sample marriages:

  • 20 Oct 1560 Thomas Grisse [Grice] of Rickwall Myll married Margaret Tutyn
  • 24 Jun 1600 Martyn Maynger of [the] P[ar]ish of Eshe married Ann Prierman
  • 25 Jan 1646 William Brass married Doryti Proudlock

Sample burials:

  • 17 Oct 1560 Jennett Mordon, of Grindon, daughter of Mr. Thomas Mordon
  • 19 Jul 1597 Anthony Cuthbert, plague victim
  • 31 Oct 1605 Alice Hansome, wife of Thomas Hansome
  • 25 Feb 1644 Margarit Cotsfurth

Ovingham baptisms 1790-1804

906 baptisms covering 1790-1804 at Ovingham St. Mary the Virgin in the Hexham district of  Northumberland, filling a gap we had in our collection, which now runs from 1769 to 1840. These are from a combination of the Bishop’s Transcript and the parish register, for maximum detail.

Abodes mentioned besides Ovingham include Airey Hill, the Boathouse, Broomhouses, Cherry Burn, Dukes Hagg, Edgewell, Eltringham, Haerlow or Harlow Hill, Halls Yard, Hedley, Hollins, Horsley, Mickley, Mount Hully or Hooly, Nafferton, Ovington, Oxclose, Pruddoe or Prudhoe, Rowchester, Spittle, Welton, Whittle, and Wylam.

Sample baptisms:

  • 10 Jan 1790 Robert Minto of Hedley, son of Robert & Ann Minto
  • 1 Jul 1798 Ralph Maughan, born 25 May 1798, 2nd child of John Maughan (cordwainer, native of Corbridge) by his wife Margaret Newton (native of Ryton)
  • 29 Jul 1804 George Armstrong Clemison, born 9 Mar 1804, 7th child of John Clemison ([native] of Hexhamshire) by his wife Elisabeth Bell ([native] of St Johnlee)

Durham St. Mary the Less baptisms 1560-1784, burials 1559-1761

At St. Mary the Less (also known as St. Mary in the South Bailey, or Little St. Mary’s) in the city of Durham:

  • 404 burials from the beginning of the first register in 1559 to the end of 1761, meeting up with the burials we already had online starting in 1762. We now have all the burials here from 1559 through 1917.
  • 407 baptisms from the beginning of the first register in 1560 to the end of 1784, meeting up with the later baptisms we already had online. We now have all the baptisms here from 1560 through 1993.

The registers were in Latin up to 1659 – we have left the names in Latin and provided English equivalents for the non-obvious names. Mothers are named in baptisms for 1658-1664 but then not again (except single mothers) until 1731, after which they appear in most baptisms. There are no baptisms recorded during 1645-1655 and only 1 burial between Sep 1645 and March 1654. This was a small parish, so there are numerous 1-to-3-year stretches with no baptisms or burials. No baptisms Jun 1778 to Mar 1784 or Oct 1784 to Nov 1787. No burials 1685-1689.

Sample burials:

  • 8 Mar 1563 Jacobus Wilson, filius [son] of Emerii Wilson
  • 27 Dec 1684 Madam Dorothy Carnaby, wife of Thomas Carnaby (Esqr.), was buried…in Lynnen contrary to the Act of Parliment, where upon Thomas Carnaby, Esqr., her husband, hath pd. the forfeiture of fifty shilings to the Church Wardens of Little St. Maries, which they have disposed of to the poore of the sayd parish
  • 26 Nov 1732 Rev’d Mr. John Waring, A.M. rector of little St. Mary’s, S. Bailey & precentor of ye Church of Durham & vicar of Billingham
  • 30 Jan 1761 George Pickering, son of Richard & Mary Pickering

Sample baptisms:

  • 5 Jul 1560 Francisca Fawell, daughter of Thomae Fawell
  • 29 Aug 1642 Thomas Penniman, son of Jacobi Penniman (militis [soldier])
  • 27 Jul 1747 Elizabeth Bedford, daughter of Mr. John Bedford (M.D.) & Elizabeth (his wife), publickly baptized
  • 8 Jul 1772 Sarah Viner, born 7 Jun 1772, daughter of the Rev’d Samuel Viner & Sarah (his wife)

South Shields St. Paul Presbyterian baptisms 1809-1968

1,513 baptisms at South Shields St. Paul Presbyterian church from Oct 1809 to Oct 1844 and from 28 July 1860 to March 1968. There is no explanation in the register for the gap between 1844 and 1860; we assume an entire register was lost or destroyed. The earliest baptism recorded was actually in 1800. 

From the National Archives: “St Paul’s Presbyterian church was formed in 1822 from the amalgamation of a Presbyterian congregation at Academy Hill dating from 1779 and East Street Chapel, which came into being as a chapel in 1810, although it had existed from 1805 as a preaching station in Market Street, South Shields. By 1877 the chapel in East Street had become too small and a building committee was formed to establish a new church. This opened for worship in Westoe Road on 16 February 1880. St Paul’s was united with St John’s on 23 March 1968 and closed. The new congregation became St Paul and St John Presbyterian Church.”

The register commencing in 1860 calls this church "East Street United Presbyterian". This church was also variously called the Scotch Church and the Presbyterian Secession Church, because the East Street Chapel was originally founded by a group of Anti-Burghers, a small and very strict Scottish sect with firm discipline, who had earlier split from the Church of Scotland.

These are wonderful baptisms! Nearly all of these baptisms give the mother’s maiden surname and the child’s birth date. From 1809 to 1844, the birthplaces of the parents are usually listed. From  1812 to 1824, the names of the parents of each parent are usually listed. Yes, that’s right, you get maternal AND paternal grandparents!


  • 17 Apr 1813 William Blenkinsop, born 8 Apr 1813, son of William Blenkinsop (seaman, native of Newburn, Tyneside, Northumberland, son of William Blenkinsop, staithman at Leamington, Northumberland and Hannah Dove of Hexhamshire) and his lawful wife Sarah Phillips (daughter of David Phillips, tayler of Newburn and Ann Stoker of Blue Houses near Newcastle), baptized by Rev. Robert Heslop of Swalwell, witnessed by Jane Morris (her mark)
  • 29 Aug 1824 James Curry, born 29 Jul 1824, son of John Curry (carpenter, native of Dalserf, Lanarkshire, Scotland, son of Alexander Curry of Dalserf also, & Marion Wiseman of Strathaven, Lanarkshire) and his lawful wife Mary Horsburg (native of Jedburgh, Scotland, daughter of William Horsburg of Kelso, & Jannet Balmer of Jedburg aforesaid)
  • 25 Feb 1835 Jane Scott Dale Sinclair, born 4 Feb 1835, daughter of Robert Sinclair (master mariner, [native of] Stronsey, Orkney) & Mary Fisher ([native of] South Shields)
  • 30 Aug 1862 Catherine Lockyear of Orme Street, South Shields, born 7 Aug 1862, daughter of James Lockyear (seaman) & Jessie Brass
  • 7 Jun 1882 Gertrude Maltman of 47 Eleanor Street, born 28 Apr 1882, daughter of William Maltman (draper) & Margaret Jouers
  • 28 Dec 1917 Marjorie Martha Mowat of 12 Bright Street, born 17 Nov 1917, daughter of William Alfred Mowat (Engineer Lieutenant) & Jessie Annie Miller