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Non-conformist is a very broad term, covering churches that did not follow the teachings of the Church of England. The phrase can be used to describe Roman Catholics, Jews, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, members of the Society of Friends, and English Protestants who did not follow the established Anglican Church.

Before civil registration was introduced in 1837, most people were baptised, married and buried in their local C of E parish, regardless of their beliefs. Some however kept their own registers, particularly after the Toleration Act of 1689.

This collection contains 1,373,168 records of baptisms between 1778 and 1899. These come from Congregational Church records covering the Presbyterian, Baptist and Independent churches, the extensive Non-conformist archive held at Dr William’s Library in London and the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry.