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Stories Baptismal Registers Told: Private Baptism in Seventeenth-Century England

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Abstract

Even though non-emergency private baptism became a debated issue in seventeenth-century England, the practice, as has been commonly believed, did not become a trend all over the country. By taking a close look at several seventeenth-century baptismal registers of churches in and outside London, this article shows that non-emergency private baptism was the choice taken mostly by well-to-do families living in London. As a contrast, rural parishes still adhered strictly to the Prayer Book, by administering private baptism only in emergency. Therefore, this article maintains that non-emergency private baptism was more of an exception than the common practice.

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