Henry VIII established himself as head of the Church of England through the Act of Supremacy in 1534. While the Church of England became the state church, the law did not require all citizens of England to be adherents, and in time, members of churches that did not conform with the doctrine of the Church of England were labelled “Nonconformists.” Included among Non-Conformists were members of Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Society of Friends (Quaker), Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and other congregations.
This collection comprises baptism, marriage and burial records from Non-Conformist congregations in the Bristol area. These include Roman Catholic, Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, Congregationalist, Baptist, Unitarian, and other denominations.
These records may be particularly useful for researchers who can’t find their relatives among Church of England records. Also, note that these records do not necessarily represent a comprehensive collection of Non-Conformist records for Bristol. For example, some registers may have been sent to The National Archives in accordance with an 1837 request, while others remained with the church or congregation.
Records vary over time and by denomination or congregation, but they may provide some of the following details where available:
- event date
- birth date
- death date
- parents’ names
- trade or profession (typically father’s)