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):
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 Bagnall||Cradley Heath|
|Sarah Bagnall||Cradley Heath|
|Saml. Clift||Overend Cradley|
|Elizth. Clift||Overend Cradley|
|Mary Clift||Cradley||1796 August 3|
|Jas. Clift||Cradley||bap 1798 July 28|
|Mary Clift||Cradley||bap 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. Clift||Cradley||bap 1799 May 5|
death 1825 June 7
|Elizh. Clift||Cradley||bap 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 (§)||Overend||bap 1832 December 25|
|James Clift is recorded as a trustee, and the son of a deacon.|
|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 Harris||Near Old Hill|
|Heber Harris||Gosty Hill|
|Jane Harris||Gosty Hill||bap 1828 September 28|
|Benjn. Harris||Furlong Lane||bap 1832 December 2|
|Eliza Harris||Furlong Lane||bap 1832 December 2|
|J. Harris||Ghosty Hill||bap 1834 July 27|
|Mary Ann Hipkiss||Overend||bap 1832 December 2|
|Saml. Ingley||Cradley Coleman Hill|
|Ann Jones d of James and Sarah Hingley was born January 1 1790|
|Betty Ingley||Cradley||1795 July 1|
|Dina Hingley||Furlong Lane||bap 1832 December 2|
|Jane Hingley||Dudley Wood||bap 1833 March 3|
|Hannah Hingley||Dudley Wood||bap 1833 March 3|
|Hannah Round||Mushom Green|
|top||© Alan M Stanier (contact details)|