Durham St. Oswald baptisms 1630-1699

2,229 baptisms at St. Oswald’s in the city of Durham, spanning 1630-1699

There are no baptisms in the register between January and December in 1645. Based on surrounding years, there are probably about 30 baptisms missing in that period, probably due to the chaos caused by the English Civil Wars and the plague, which ravaged the city of Durham during the summer and fall of 1645.

As in many parishes, starting in March 1647, the register was not kept up during the English Civil Wars and was reconstructed from memory or other documents at a later time. Baptisms are entered in groups with dates ranging from 1646 to 1653, with multiple children from one family all entered together with a range of baptism years. This continues for several pages to the end of this register in late 1653.

Due to the Parliament act that passed in August 1653 (“An Act touching Marriages and the Registring thereof; and also touching Births and Burials”), a new register, kept by a civil clerk instead of a Church clerk, started in Dec 1653, giving birth dates instead of baptism dates. This practice continued, gradually adding baptism dates and then, as the Church of England was restored to power, shifting over to just baptism dates by 1661.

The father’s occupation is usually listed in these, but abodes are sporadic. Mothers are generally not listed (unless they are unwed), except for a brief period in 1665. Birth dates are listed in nearly all the baptisms from mid-1653 to mid-1660 and 1695 through 1699. A few baptisms list godparents between 1630 and 1643.

Sample baptisms:

  • 13 Apr 1630 Susanna Kennall, daughter of George Kennall (feltmaker) baise gottin with Elizabeth Dun (spinster)
  • 1 Feb 1643 Richard Dickinson, son of John Dickinson (pewtherer)
    Godparents or Sponsors: Richard Whitfield, junior, Richard Kenleside & Mrs. Mary Jackson
  • George Hunter, born 15 Jul 1658, son of George Hunter (the younger, fuller, late deceased)
  • 28 Aug 1665 Heath Tempest, born 20 Aug, daughter of John Tempest (Esq.) & Elizabeth (his wife)
  • 5 Sep 1676 Henry Eden, of Shinkliff, son of Mr. Henry Eden (doctor of physick)
  • 27 May 1688 William Potts, of Aldernage, son of Michell Potts (yeoman)
  • 13 Jul 1699 Charles Didsbury, born 16 Jun, son of Mr. Godfrey Didsbury (attorney at law)

Abodes mentioned are Aldernage, Arbor House, Auton Field, Baxter Wood, Bent House, Brome or Broome, Brome Hall or Broomhall, Burne Hall or Burnhall, Elvet, Farewell Hall, Fenckley/Fencola/Fenkala/Fenkley, Heards House, Houghall, Old Durham, Relley/Relly, Shinckliffe or Shinkley, and White House.