West Hartlepool Primitive Methodist baptisms 1852-1870

423 baptisms at the West Hartlepool Primitive Methodist Church, from the beginning of the register in December 1852 to the end of 1870.

By the early 1850s, the village of Stranton was being absorbed into West Hartlepool. This Primitive Methodist register identifies itself as Stranton on some pages and West Hartlepool on others, without specifying an address. Based on the dates, we think this is the congregation that met first at “the Tripe Shop” on Ann Street in the 1840s, moved to the new Dock Street chapel around 1852-53, and then moved to a new chapel on Whitby Street around 1862-63.

About one-third of the baptisms before 1866 show the child’s birth date. Some samples:

  • 16 Dec 1852 James English Clouston, of George Street, West Hartlepool, born 20 Nov 1852, child of John Clarke Clouston (mariner) & Elizabeth Clouston
  • 3 Apr 1865 Margaret Laurie, of Arthur St., born 20 Feb 1861, child of William (tailor) & Catherine Laurie
  • 27 Sep 1871 Ada Huntrods, of Church Street, child of Leonard (shoemaker) & Jane Huntrods

Why we think this register is for the Dock Street/Whitby Street congregation

Durham County Record Office has a transcript of this register, called “Stranton Brougham Street Primitive Methodist Church”, but we think this title is incorrect for the following reasons:

  1. Brougham Street (now Durham Street) is on the peninsula, in Hartlepool, not Stranton or West Hartlepool.
  2. The Brougham Street chapel in Hartlepool has a separate register for the same time period, with different baptisms and different families.
  3. No archive has records for the Dock Street and Whitby Street chapels, even though Whitby Street is referred to in histories as the “mother church” of Primitive Methodism in West Hartlepool.
  4. We cannot find any other location for a Primitive Methodist church in West Hartlepool in this time frame. The histories and newspapers say one existed, but they don’t give its location. Newspapers record the laying of the foundation stone for a new Primitive Methodist church at Dock Street in 1851 and the subsequent laying of a foundation stone at the corner of Whitby & Reed streets in 1861. In 1864, the new Hartlepool Primitive Methodist Circuit was split off from the Stockton Circuit and Primitive Methodist records say that the new Hartlepool circuit had 2 chapels at that time: Brougham Street (Hartlepool) and Whitby Street at the corner of Reed & Whitby in West Hartlepool.