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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.

Between 1754 and 1837 it was illegal to marry anywhere except in a Church of England parish church, unless you were a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) or Jewish. In both cases members were exempt from the Act and allowed to keep their own records.

This collection contains 5,289 records of marriages between 1641 and 1852. These come from the Presbyterian, Baptist and Independent churches, the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan registry and the extensive collection of Non-conformist records in the Dr Williams’ Library in London.