Baptist Historical Society: England and Wales
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Discover 400 years of Baptist History

The Baptist Historical Society is here to help British Baptists understand their heritage and history. We provide an opportunity for those who wish to study life of Baptist churches, people and ideas, so that we can "articulate and discover the faith by which we all live" (Brian Haymes).

This site acts as a beginning point for your research into Baptist history, whether you are a full-time academic, or just interested in the history of your local church or a Baptist family member.

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Family history

We share the modern concern for family history, although our resources are limited. For Baptists, baptism means total immersion in water of those who are old enough to confess Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Therefore, records of Baptist baptisms will not be found in parish registers, but will probably be recorded in the Minutes of the local Baptist Church.

Local church history

The local church is the centre of Baptist life - each church is brought into being and sustained by the faithful sovereignty of God. If your church has just discovered it's fifty, hundred or more years old next year, and you have been asked to write the story of God's Baptist people locally, we can offer some practical advice. With the Society's help you can do it!

Interesting fact

Guarding the portals; In 1715 or 1716 Anne Smith, a member of Walgrave wished to transfer to College Lane, Northampton. The Walgrave brethren, who were very strict, refused her a dismssion because those at College Lane “practised singing publicly and admitted saints as saints (without regard to Baptism)” She was welcomed on profession of faith […]

Publications

Consult the wide range of our Society publications, there will probably be something to help you know Baptists better. For example, our accessible English Baptist History and Heritage, which was completely revised, extended and illustrated in 2005 and provides a concise overview of Baptist life.

Become a member

Obviously there is strength to be found in a community of people and congregations that have a common background, and wish to understand their origins. It was George Santayana who said 'the fate of those who forget their past is to have to relive it.' We invite those who share that concern to join our society and enable our vital work to continue.

Baptist Oral History

We have begun an oral history programme, and one such interview is available. You can read a transcript of Revd Dr Leonard Champion, one time minister at Minehead and Rugby, Principal at Bristol Baptist College, and President of the Baptist Union in conversation with Roger Hayden.