Cradley Particular Baptists

Cradley Particular Baptists

The Baptists originated within 17th-century Puritanism as an offshoot of Congregationalism. The Particular Baptists adhered to the doctrine of a particular atonement (that Christ died only for an elect) and were strongly Calvinist.

In 1783 an Independent Congregation began to meet and worship in the village of Cradley in the Parish of Halesowen. However, in May 1798, the incumbent at the Independent Chapel, the Rev. Thomas Best, announced his intention of conforming to the Church of England. This took place in December 1798, with the Church building being known initially as “Cradley Chapel” and now as the Parish Church of St. Peter, Cradley.

Whilst some of the congregation followed Best back into the Established Church, those who counted themselves as Dissenters in principal felt “deserted by him and deprived of their place of worship without their consent, thus left destitute”. A small group of them began to meet with Brettal Lane Baptist Church, being so impressed that six of them were baptised on 28 July 1798: James Clift, Benjamin Steventon, Josh. Buffery, Edward Barnett, Elizabeth Buffery and Mary Clift.

They were joined by other Baptists from Brettal Lane and Netherton, and in November 1798 formed their own Baptist Church in Cradley.

A letter, apparently written at the time the Register of Births and Burials at Cradley Baptists was lodged with the Registrar General (presumably in 1837 or 1838):

Honoured Gentlemen

With all Possible deference we beg to state that the Baptist Church meeting for divine worship at Cradley Worcestershire was formed into a religious community Novr. 28th 1799 by the late Rev. Saml. Pearce of Cannon St. Birmingham, who provided them with this little book in which to enter a short history of the rise and progress of this Intrest - the Church covenant. Names of the Members etc. - and, as for many years the cause was unable to support a stated Pastor - one or more of our number thought we had better make a Memorandum of the children which were brought to be dedicated as we called it - which consisted merely in the Minister giving a religious address to the Parents with a short prayer for both parents and Child - and we wrote the name of both parents and Child, not expecting that such accounts should be called for, or that they would ever be of any essential use, and we put the name of the Minister who performed the religious Service opposite where it appears now that the name of the registrar should have stood - and as it was with the Births so it was with the Burials. Numbers of both were omitted considering it of little or no avail. But since government has condescended to interfere, several of our friends have requested to have their families registered, which we have done in our simple way - we have taken out the leaves which contained memorials of other things not connected with the registrar, and send it just as it is.

We have endeavoured to fill up your other papers to the best of our knowledge and judgement. We should have sent much earlier but a severe affliction has prevented - you will perceive a number of the Births and Burials registered by Rev. Wm. Matthews who was our Pastor upwards of 6 years, and is now Pastor of the Baptist Church, Canterbury - and a number by James Clift, whose father was a deacon and himself a useful member, and also a Trustee from the commencement of this Intrest - and is now in the 70th Year of his age, a few by Rev. Jabez Tunnicliff who succeeded Mr. Matthews and also a few by several others, who are members of the Church

signed by James England: Minister

Charles Yardley, Felix Petford, Jno. Nock: Deacons

James Clift, Joseph Buffrey, Edwd. Barnett: Trustees

This Minute Book still survives. Entries from a partial transcript referring to families in these pages follow:-

James BagnallCradley Heath
Sarah BagnallCradley Heath
Saml. CliftOverend Cradley
Elizth. CliftOverend Cradley
James CliftCradley
Mary CliftCradley1796 August 3
Jas. CliftCradleybap 1798 July 28
Mary CliftCradleybap 1798 July 28
James Clift s of Samuel and Elizabeth Clift was born Feb 11 1768 and was baptised at Dudley by Rev. Josa. Bissel July 28 1798. Mary Clift his wife was born October 14 1766 and was baptised at Dudley July 28 1798
Nancy Clift d of James and Mary Clift was born May 12 1798
Saml. CliftCradleybap 1799 May 5
death 1825 June 7
Elizh. CliftCradleybap 1799 May 5
death 1806 September 20
Samuel Clift s of James and Mary Clift was born August 10 1744 and was baptised May 5 1799. Elizabeth his wife was born October 31 1743
July 11 1799 Samuel Clift chosen as a deacon
Mary Clift (§)Overendbap 1832 December 25
James Clift is recorded as a trustee, and the son of a deacon.
Clift Tree James Clift Mary Bagnall Samuel Clift Elizabeth Harris James Clift Mary Round The Clift family reconstructed from these records.

(§) Mary Clift cannot be put on the tree. The date of [adult] baptism does not indicate the date of birth, and it is unknown if Clift was her maiden or married name.

Mary HarrisNear Old Hill
Heber HarrisGosty Hill
Jane HarrisGosty Hillbap 1828 September 28
Benjn. HarrisFurlong Lanebap 1832 December 2
Eliza HarrisFurlong Lanebap 1832 December 2
J. HarrisGhosty Hillbap 1834 July 27
Mary Ann HipkissOverendbap 1832 December 2
Saml. IngleyCradley Coleman Hill
Ann IngleyFoxhole
Ann Jones d of James and Sarah Hingley was born January 1 1790
Betty IngleyCradley1795 July 1
Dina HingleyFurlong Lanebap 1832 December 2
Jane HingleyDudley Woodbap 1833 March 3
Hannah HingleyDudley Woodbap 1833 March 3
Mary RoundCradley
Hannah RoundMushom Green
Abraham WhitehouseNeitherend
Ann WhitehouseNeitherend

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