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Author Topic: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?  (Read 487 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2017, 18:48:37 »
Thanks Lutonman. Given the number of people besides the incumbent who conducted services it seems there were people of various kinds officiating.  Your explanation would cover this since some were doing it often (sometimes several days or weeks in a row) and others make solitary or infrequent appearances. Perhaps the regular ones were the curates, whereas the others fitted into the other categories you list.

And the suggestions of Priest in Charge or Parish Curate could both make sense in the context, but if Priest in Charge is still used I think that might be the more likely one.
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Offline Lutonman

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Re: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2017, 18:41:15 »
Leofine, it is possible that it is Priest in Charge, this is a current role within the Church of England but I do not know when it was started.

As for the general question, who was/is allowed to conduct baptism this is as far as I know the arrangement:

The following can baptise:
Lay Readers now known as Readers, these people are "ordinary lay folk who have been trained (2 to 3 years) and appointed by the Bishop,
All Priest within the Diocese this will include a variety of roles such as Dean. Archdeacon, Vicar, Priest in Charge, Rector and Curate including NSM (Non Stipendiary Ministers). Also priests giving honorary role (having retired) and PTO's who are priests given "Permission to Officiate" by the Bishop. These cover priests from outside the Diocese e.g. A Priest who comes back to his old Parish to conduct a service for a relative or friend.

Offline mikeb

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Re: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2017, 20:57:34 »
Could P C = Parish Curate?

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2017, 17:08:50 »
That could well be it, but would a Parish Clerk have officiated at a Baptism I wonder? Especially one so far from the parish. (Though it makes more sense than a policeman doing it!)
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Offline Bryn Clinch

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Re: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2017, 16:50:09 »
Could PC be Parish Clerk?

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2017, 14:03:49 »
Thanks for the replies.

In the case of the church I'm looking at, during the approx 50 year tenure of the first vicar, I have found about 40ish other people conducting baptisms (still going through marriages.)  Some make obvious sense, such as a vicar from a different parish baptising the incumbent's son, military chaplains baptising children of soldiers and sailors etc., and some names occur frequently enough alongside the main vicar to suggest another official at the same church, such as a curate. But others occur only a few times, or with years between officiating, or only for a few days (holiday cover?), etc. Others are from very distant parishes, for example I have one with a man described as "P.C. of Mortlake Surrey" conducting the service in Brompton, Kent. (I assume that "P.C." in this instance is some kind of religious office, and not a Police Constable, or it becomes even more confusing! - Anyone know what the abbreviation means in this context?)

The reason I was hoping to find lists of church "staff" was to try and figure out who some of these people  were in relation to the church.   Sadly my knowledge of things church related is very limited on a practical level.
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Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2017, 11:55:04 »
I have seen registers with vicar etc listed at the front, and changes noted through the register. Otherwise there must be other documents, perhaps at the diocese and ultimately archived.
As to who can do what, there must be someone who can give an authoritative response. But to start off, it's probably largely regulated in law, with changes over the years as civil powers have sought more control over registration, probate, inquest etc. Individual Christian denominations will have their own traditions and rites, with laymen performing some rites and clergy others. Perhaps over-generalizing now, baptism and burial ceremonies can be performed by any laymen in view of the urgency. Moslems, Jews, Hindus etc will have there own bases for hierarchies.
Hopefully someone will correct this and provide more detail.

Offline mikeb

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Re: Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2017, 10:58:42 »
Leofwine, I too have spent many hours trawling church records, and only an ordained priest can officiate.
Churches with large parishes by area or congregation would have a vicar and a curate and either would / could officiate. Curates didn't seem to stay long and there may have been several during the tenure of the appointed priest. I have also found many instances of priests from other parishes standing in, perhaps the incumbent was not available, but also if the bride or groom, for example, were marrying out of their "home" parish and the incumbent stood aside.

I cannot help with records of  church officials I'm afraid.

Offline Leofwine

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Who was/is Allowed to Conduct Baptisms, Marriages, etc?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2017, 00:22:49 »
I've been going through a load of Baptism and Marriag records for Holy Trinity Church in Brompton and have been surprised by the sheer number of people officiating/conducting the ceremonies.  I had expected to generally only see the vicar/priest's name, but this is not the case. That left me wondering... who was (or is) allowed to officiate at these ceremonies besides the incumbent priest?

It also led me to wonder which church records would actually list the staff/officials for a particular church. Would it be the church's own records, or would such records be at diocesan levels?
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