Durham Cathedral baptisms 1609-1812 & 1851-1895, burials 1612-1812 & 1851-1896, marriages 1611-1896

At Durham Cathedral (Church of Christ & Blessed Mary the Virgin) in the city of Durham:

  • 319 baptisms covering 1609-1812 and 1851-1895 (we already had 1813-1850)
  • 881 burials covering 1612-1812 and 1851-1896 (we already had 1813-1850)
  • 932 marriages covering 1611-1896 (with big gaps, explained below)

The Cathedral’s registers primarily concern the activities of the Clergy and other families who lived within the Cathedral precinct and were connected to the Cathedral, plusĀ  prisoners in the Gaol and a few travellers passing through the area.

The baptism register is in Latin from 1632 to 1643 and Nov 1668 through 1688. We have generally made only minimal attempts to translate the Latin text, as some entries are quite verbose and we don’t want to get it wrong. There are many periods of one to five years without any baptisms, and none shown from mid-1773 to early 1783. Surprisingly (and unfortunately), the Cathedral officials did not follow the directive of the Bishop of Durham about recording genealogical details between 1798 and 1812 (except for two baptisms that recorded the mother’s maiden surname and her father’s name).

Sample baptisms:

  • 24 Nov 1611 Ciprian Suddick, sonne of Mr. George Suddick (divinitie lecturer in this Cathedrall Church.)
    Godparents or Sponsors: Mr. John Barnes esquier, Mr. John Richeson the yonger, gentleman, and Mrs. Cooper, witnessies
  • 15 Apr 1792 William Churnside, illegitimate son of Dorothy Churnside (from South Shields, but now in jail for debt)
  • 24 Sep 1812 Agnes Tyler, born 24-Aug 1812, fourth daughter & fifth child of Anthony Tyler (the Dean’s Virger) & Elizabeth (his wife, daughter of William Bates)
  • 25 Jul 1855 Elizabeth Antonia Greatorex, of The Grove, Durham, daughter of Edward (minor canon & sacrist of Durham) & Elizabeth Greatorex, received into the Church & privately baptized July 16th

The burial register is a mix of Latin and English from 1619 to 1643 and all Latin from Nov 1668 through 1678. There are some periods of one to two years with no burials shown.

Sample burials:

  • 10 Aug 1623 Edward Bussye, lay singingman of this Cathedral Church
  • 18 Apr 1675 Cuthbertus Sisson, age: 87, generosi & curiae consistorialis Dunelm, procuratorus unus, pacida quievit, morte 17 die Aprilis & die sequente sepultus est
  • 6 Jun 1708 Eliz. Dixon, wife of Mr. Geo. Dixon, laid violent hands on herself, as was supposed
  • 19 Apr 1751 Eliz. Rainsford, granddaughter of S’r Jno. Dolben, baronet, prebendary of this Church
  • 25 Apr 1793 Eliza Haslewood, daughter of the Rev’d Dickens Haslewood (minor canon)
  • 25 Mar 1809 Judith Sharp, virgin, sister to D’r Sharp, late prebendary of the eleventh Stall
  • 25 Apr 1876 William Hartley, of College Gates, age: 70, Dean’s verger for 37 years

The marriage register is a mix of Latin and English from 1630 to 1641 and mostly Latin from May 1667 to Jan 1698. There are numerous one-to-five-year gaps with no marriages, and none shown for these larger gaps: 1612-1624, 1643-1653, and 1655-1661. When the Marriage Act of 1754 went into effect, because the Cathedral was extra-parochial, the church officials did not initially apply for a license to perform marriages, so there are no marriages in this register between March 1754 and July 1883 (after they became licensed to marry), with the exception of one marriage in 1836 that was granted a special license to be performed anywhere.

Sample marriages – the third one is my favorite:

  • 9 Oct 1625 Tho. Tyler (lay singing man of this Church) married Anne Sheffeild (widow)
  • 4 Nov 1675 Johannes Milner (hujus ecclesiae minor canonicus) married Joannam Stones (viduam [widow])
  • 29 Nov 1708 Tho. Humble married Alice Lawson (of Ryton, County Durham), ye one four score years of age at least, ye woman about 18
  • 5 Mar 1753 Benjamin Hunter (of St. Nicholas Parish in Newcastle) married Eliz. Rawlin (of St. Giles Parish in Durham)
  • 26 Jun 1890 Percy John Heawood (bachelor, tutor of Durham University, of Old Street, Durham, son of John Richard Heawood, clerk in Holy Orders) married Christiana Tristram (spinster, of The College, Durham, daughter of Henry Baker Tristram, canon of Durham), after banns