Durham St. Giles baptisms & burials 1701-71 & marriages 1701-90

From the parish of St. Giles in the city of Durham:

  • 1,191 baptisms spanning 1701-1771
  • 1,323 burials spanning 1701-1771
  • 537 marriages spanning 1701-1790

We now have all the baptisms and burials at St. Giles from 1584 through 1857 and all the marriages at St. Giles from 1584 to mid-1837. However, there’s a problem. A memo inserted by the Vicar after 1 Jan 1712, says (with his spelling retained):

“I find there has been a scandalous neglect of registring births, burials, marriages from the year 1711 to midsummer 1723 whereupon the curacy of St. Giles was entred upon by me – W. Forster”.

There follows an attempt to catch up, recreating the baptism entries from 1711 to 1723 in family groups, probably from the memories and personal records of the people involved, but we must assume that not all baptisms were recovered. There are also no marriages or burials recorded in this period, and apparently no attempt was made to reconstruct those records from memory.


There are 2 overlapping registers covering the first part of this data set. Baptisms from 4 May 1695 to 17 Sep 1706 appear at the end of Volume 3 and again in the beginning of Volume 4, but sometimes with different information. Volume 3 records baptism dates. Volume 4 usually lists the child’s birth date instead of a baptism date, and has additional births of dissenters, with some specified as Quakers or Papists. If a person appears with a birth date in one register and a baptism date in the other register, or appears in both registers with differing information, we have combined the two records into one and annotated it. For example:

  • 12 Sep 1703 Jane Greivson, born 2 Sep, daughter of Anthony Greivson (skinner)
    [Note: there are 2 overlapping registers for this period, with each register providing different components of this record, such as birth date and baptism date. We have combined the two register entries into one record for ease of research.]

As we were adding these new records, we realized that our earlier set of data from this church, which ended in 1700, had been transcribed only from Volume 3 mentioned above. We reviewed the same records in Volume 4 and added 16 baptisms to the 1695-1700 period. We also added birth dates and, in some cases, the father’s occupation and the mother’s name, to 87 baptisms in that period. If a baptism was changed that you had previously purchased, you have already been notified via email.

The first 5 years of baptisms had the most detail – father’s occupations, mother’s names, and child’s birth date appeared in many baptisms until the end of 1706. After that, we generally only see fathers and unwed mothers and sometimes an abode, with a few months here and there where the mothers were briefly named.

  • 26 Sep 1702 Richard Westmerland, of ye red house nr. Keepyer Sands, son of Mathew Westmerland (a poor colier), baptized privately
    [Note: there are 2 overlapping registers for this period. The record appears only in the later register, which starts in 1695.]
  • 1705 Ann Blamire, born 4 Dec 1705, daughter of Jonas Blamire (Dissenting Minister)
  • 24 Oct 1721 Andrew Reah, son of Andrew & Catherin Reah
  • 1 Jul 1750 Isabel [Coulson/Dobson], bastard daughter of William Dobson & Barbara Coulson
  • 5 May 1771 Christopher Lamb, son of the late Christopher Lamb


Many people came from elsewhere to be married in the city of Durham. There is a spate of occupations (of the grooms) in 1701-1706 and marital statuses in 1749-1760. Witnesses start as expected in mid-1754.

Marriage samples:

  • 11 Feb 1701 Mr. Thomas Sharp (Vicar, of Dalton) married Dorothy Paxton (of Dalton)
  • 16 Apr 1705 Michael Collin (butcher, of the parish of Darlington) married Mary Fenwick (spinster, of the Chappelry of All Hallows in Newcastle)
  • 31 May 1726 George Armstrong (of the parish of Whitworth) married Sarah Gibson, by licence
  • 1 Feb 1755 Benjamin Carr (widower) married Ann Moor (spinster), both of this parish, by banns
    Witnesses: John Ovington; John Ovington, the younger
  • 17 Jul 1791 John Skelton married Mary Conkerton, both of this parish, by banns
    Witnesses: John Robson; John Tilly
    [Note: entered in Nov 1790. The banns were read 14th, 21st & 28th November 1790, and the marriage was entered into the register in anticipation of the event, just waiting for the date and signatures, but for some reason they waited until the following July to marry, so this marriage is not in its proper place in the register.]


Many of the burials state a parent or spouse or occupation, and some are absolutely rich with detail (especially in the first 5 years), but unfortunately 1732-1745 is generally just names and dates. Here are some samples:

  • 22 Mar 1701 John Carr, son of Margaret Littlefair (whose husband’s name is William Littlefair, skinner & glover, who ran away)
  • 9 Sep 1701 William Hugall, son of Thomas Hugall (searcher to ye Company of Glovers), he was murthered on Sunday ye last of August at 12 at night by Jo. Lackenby & Thom. Dixon
  • 25 Mar 1702 George Liddell, of Hawthroren in the parish of Easington, labourer, who died by a suddain fall and departed about 30 hours after, being speechless all that time
  • 14 Mar 1710 Thomas Allinson, of the parish of St. Nicholas, son of James & Mary Allinson
  • 28 Dec 1729 Dinah Kell, wife of George Kell
  • 25 Jul 1744 James Greenshields
  • 22 Dec 1758 William Manners, son of Ann Manners (widow)
  • 11 Nov 1771 Elizabeth & Thomas Cooper, wife & son of John Cooper

Abodes most often mentioned besides St. Giles parish include the neighboring parishes of St. Nicholas and St. Oswald, Keeper or Keepyer, and Woodwell House

We’ll close with this note found in the register:

  • Memorandum that James Denton and Elizabeth Sharpp did penance the 2nd day of October 1707. Henry Parkinson senior did penance July ye 11th 1708 for committing fornication with the above named Elizabeth Sharpp.