Friday, May 25, 2007 "city of london burials 1788-1855"

The new City of London Burials records 1788-1855 are invaluable for finding deaths in the crowded square mile before civil registration began. Many of the burials detailed are from Anglican parishes but a number represent a different section of society, known as Nonconformists.

Nonconformists were, in the broadest sense, Protestants who practiced their religion outside the Church of England, such as Quakers, Baptists, Unitarians and Presbyterians. Nonconformity, or Dissent, was linked to the championing of freedom and liberty. Those who refused to obey the regulations of the established church were excluded from public office, until 1828.

As well as being excluded from holding office, Nonconformists were forbidden burial in consecrated ground. As such, alternative cemeteries were utilized for Dissenters, such as Bunhill Fields and Tower Hamlets Burial Ground. Bunhill Fields had especially strong links to Nonconformists. William Blake is buried there:

as well as two other famous British Dissenters: John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe.

By 1851’s census Nonconformist numbers were almost on a par with those belonging to the Anglican Communion.

If your relatives were Nonconformists, or you simply want to find out more, you may wish to contact the Quaker’s Library, Doctor Williams’ Library or the Society of Genealogists.


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