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    Default Private baptism?

    On my G Aunts baptism record it says "privately".

    What exactly does that mean.

    June

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    At home, possibly because she was thought to be in danger of dying. Usually, in that case, it is repeated later in church, cicilysmith

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    It usually means that the child was sickly and unable to be taken to the church, and was baptised privately at home, especially if there was some doubt as to whether the child would survive. If the child did survive there is sometimes a later note in the parish registers to mark the child being received into the church (sometimes a good few years after the birth)
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    Thankyou Cicilysmith and Sue. I hadn't thought of that. She certainly did survive. She lived to 74.

    June

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    Just looked at her baptism again and realised the baptism was in 1868 but she was born in 1866.

    Although the "privately" was entered at the 1868 baptism I suppose the vicar was registering that she had been baptised at home when she was born.
    As you said they are often baptised in church later.

    June

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    Hi June,
    It is commomly thought that if a child was privately baptised it was because it was thought that the child was unlikely to survive. This of course is a reason why newborn infants were often baptised at home soon after birth. certainly as late as 1868. Those that did survive were usually baptised into the church later and often though not always a note was added in the parish register to denote a private baptism had already taken place. A private baptism is not totally the same as a church baptism and solely privately baptised infants will rarely be mentioned in the parish register. This would depend more upon the clerk of the day.

    It was generally accepted that those not baptised into the church, ie given a church baptism, were then not allowed to marry in the church without first obtaining a licence from the Bishop. This can often be the reason why some people were baptised as adults.

    Another reason, which is far more common than is generally realised, especially amongst the more gentry classes, why infants were privately baptised was nonconformity. Baptists, Presbyterians and other such denominations regularly privately baptised their children and similarly these same families then married clandestinely too because they did not agree with the teachings of the Church of England. This was the main reason Hardwicke's marriage law of 1753 came about to counteract the large number of Clandestine marriages that went unrecorded. If you study the people who married by Licence you will notice that a high percentage came from the Gentry/Yeoman classes and one of the reasons, but not solely, that they married by licence was because they were not originally baptised into the Church.

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    Thanks for all that information Jeremy. It makes sense now.

    June

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    It's worth adding, however, that in some places at least it seemed to be almost a 'fashion' to have a private baptism.

    There are a number of examples of private baptisms in Northwold & Weeting in Norfolk where it appears to have been almost de rigueur to have a private baptism followed by being ‘Received into the Church’ anything from 3 weeks to 14 months after the private baptism.
    malcolm99

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