Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A-Z Challenge 2016: P is for Private Baptism


This is one you may have come across when researching in parish registers.  There is an entry for a baby “privately baptised” and/or “publickly received into ye church”.  What’s all this about?  You may even have come across the term “half-baptism”.

There are two main reasons for it.

      1) The baby was not expected to survive even as far as the church door, so it was ‘privately baptised’ then and there.  Sometimes even midwives could perform such a baptism! If the baby did survive, it was ‘publickly received’ as soon as it could make it to the church.

2)   The baby was born into a posh family who, like the families who married under licence instead of banns, thought that the general public should not be party to what was a very private event i.e. getting married or being baptised.

© 2016 Ros Haywood. All Rights Reserved


  1. I haven't found one yet - will be on the lookout.

    1. They turn up in the most surprising branches of the family tree - and the surname study!

  2. So interesting! First time visiting your blog on the A to Z challenge, but I'm very glad I did.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Do come back for more! Thanks for stopping by...

  3. I could totally see this happen since there was such a high mortality rate.



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