We now come to the baptismal registers of the congregation—beginning in January 1690-1 and going on to the end of the eighteenth century. These contain, in addition to baptisms, some few entries relating to church discipline, which give some idea of the different authority of the minister, or rather the different way that authority was exercised, in those days as compared with the present.

There appears to have been no settled rule as to whether the baptismal ceremony should be performed in public or in private, though if it took place in private, the reason is frequently given, such as the weakness of the child, the sickness of the parents, or as happens in several instances "in regard to the severe frost and snow." As illustrative of the then common practice of family worship and the early habits of the day, may be mentioned an entry of a baptism in the father's house " at the time of morning family duty."

Adult baptisms are not infrequent. In 1696 "James Taverner, being 29 years old or thereabouts, was baptised by Mr. John Whitlock Senior in the presence of many witnesses," and William Coppock, "not having had baptism in his infancy through his parents' dissatisfaction, was baptized together with William his son, an infant."

We come across, too, many interesting and quaint expressions concerning adherents of the congregation, such as "serious creditable members," "an eminent Christian," a "serious professor," a "very judicious, serious, and experienced Christian," "professing godliness," "serious and of a covenant stock," and we meet with a lady who is "a choice working Christian; daughter of that eminent experienced Christian woman," so and so.

In two cases of considerable interest are references to the sect of "Familists." Thus in 1701-2 is an entry of the baptism of "Joseph s. of Christopher Shepherd of Fisher Gate, & Anne his Wife; he a familist and not present, she a serious attender on ordinances," and on the 27th of March, 1704, we read that— "Robert Smith, of Cow Lane, Button Maker, was baptized privately at Mr. Whitlock's. He was born of parents yt. were Familists, had himself been wild & loose, but has now for some time with great seriousness attended our ordinances, express'd his sense of his former course, & great desire of this ordinance, & in his discourse with the ministers gave them good hopes of a work of grace wrought in him."

The Familists were a singular mystical sect, founded by Hendrick Niclaes, who was born in Westphalia at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and died about 1580. They interpreted the whole of the Scriptures allegorically, and held that as Moses had taught hope, and Christ faith, it was their mission to teach love. Their society was known as "The Family of Love," a title which' brought unmerited abuse upon its members. They came into collision with the civil authorities, and a proclamation was issued against them in England in 1580. A Familist ccngregation appears to have existed in Nottingham in 1669. (See the "Episcopal Returns" for that year, and a previous note)1.

Elsewhere in 1713 is the entry— "20th July, Ann Poe, niece of Mr. Samuel Poe, born of parents that were Quakers, but they dying when she was young, she was left to her uncle's care who brought her up religiously, is now about 20 years of age, desired the Ordinance, and has been discoursed with by us to satisfaction, was baptised in private by Mr. Barrett, Jo. Whitlock praying before, & Mr. Barrett after the Ordinance discoursing three-quarters of an hour upon Rom. VI. 3., and closing with prayer."

Mention has already been made of the care exercised in the admission of members. We may judge from the following entries that equal strictness was shewn with regard to the conduct of persons after they had become members. Thus we read in the writing of John Whitlock, under the heading:—"The names of persons suspended from the Sacrament of the Ld. Supper,"— "The wife of William Feild, Wheelwright,"— (William Feild and his wife come third under the letter F in the list of members in the oldest register, shewing that they had been for long connected with the congregation)—

"was suspended for drunkenness, Aprill the 29th, 1694. She had heen admitted formerly, before ye exclusion at Bartholomew Tide and did since our libertie once or twice come to the Sacram', but being complained of by some of our members, and the complaint proved, we suspended her as above said."

Again, we meet with— "Margaret Hancock, servant to Mr. Watkinson, was suspended for notorious lying, whereof she was convicted November 21, 1692,"

But later we find that— "Margaret Hancock upon her professed repentance & proof she had given of her reformation of the vice whereof she was convicted, and earnest desire to be received into communion again, was restored upon the 3rd of Novr. 1694."

We have also another instance of suspension and readmission—

"Elizth. Gee the wife of Jonas Gee, taylor, in Brewhouse Yard, was suspended for lying, slandering, talebearing, drawing a young man to a wake with one Benjamin Thompson. Her suspension was on the 23rd Nov. 1692."

Later came the entry,— "Elizth Gee, upon her repentance & promise of amend', having given some proof of it, was restor'd in the month of August, 1693."

Just one other example— "Deborah Short, a taylor's widdow, was suspended from communion for the scandall she gave in her too great familiaritie with one Edmund . . . . . a journeyman, and for her concealing a cloak which appertained to Mrs. Smith, and her disposing of it to her paramour Edmund . . . . . .This suspension was by Mr. Whitlock, Reynolds, Mr. Barrett, and young Mr. Whitlock. March 15th, 1694-5."

For suspension in the above cases there seems to have been very sufficient reason. How much further this discipline was carried cannot be ascertained from the records. At Castle Gate, among the Independents, however, they went great lengths in this matter, and in the minute book of that congregation are numerous entries of the appointment of deacons and others to see different members of the congregation to know their reasons for absenting themselves from the ordinances, or to endeavour to bring such a one to a sense of his or her sin in not attending them; and we also find entries of an intimation being conveyed to such sinners that the church would suspend them if they continued so to offend.

In 1722 is the entry of the baptism of— "George, s. & Elizabeth & Anne, the daus. of the late John Bridgeford stockener & Elizabeth his wife, now for above half a year a widow, these bap. in private by John Whitlock, 6 April, 1722. The son is near three years old, the eldest dau. turn'd five & the younger a fortnight old. The deferring of the two elder of these children was occasioned by the dissatisfaction the father gave by his espousing Mr. Hussey's2 dividing Congtl. principles, but I hope he died a true penitent."

Another point of interest in these registers is that well-nigh to the end of the eighteenth century, one finds scarcely any child with more than one Christian name. Out of probably 3000 entries there are not half-a-dozen cases of two names, and there seems to be some special reason for it, where a second name is given. Thus in the family of Nevill, they preserve the name of Langford as a middle name, and in another case—that of Esther Wolsley Payton—the minister who baptized her thinks it necessary to go out of his way to state in the register that Esther is the Christian name of the grandmother of the child by the father's side, and Wolsley the surname of the great-grandmother.

We find, too, how regular was the practice—indeed it was almost a settled custom at the time—for a young wife to return to her parents' house for her first confinement. Another fact these registers reveal is the awful amount of infant mortality, even in well-to-do families. Thus the Rev. John Hardy enters in 1724 the baptism of his daughter Elizabeth, "baptised at the age of eight ays by me her father," with the pathetic addition " deed seven days after," and in 1727, is the baptism of Joseph his son, "baptised by me his father," with the words "he died the following day." Constant entries occur of baptisms in private—the child being very weak, or in others "near death," and though the following are extreme examples, they are only illustrations of frequent similar notes:—thus, "Esther, the fourteenth child and the sixth now living" of so and so, "Samuel, the fourteenth child and the sixth now living" of another married couple, and another" Samuel the nineteenth child, but the second now living."

Certain baptisms in the register refer to persons of some considerable interest. In 1710/11, is the record of the baptism of John, the son of John Collyer, bookseller, one of our earliest Nottingham printers, and in 1724 is an entry of the baptism of another John, the son of Samuel Fellows, followed, in 1725, by that of Robert, son of William Seagrave and Priscilla his wife—which Robert in later years succeeded his father as town clerk. On April 14th, 1730, comes the baptism of "John, the son of John Pearson & Mary his Wife." This John Pearson was a well-known mathematician and schoolmaster in Nottingham, and for some years edited the Almanack called "Poor Robin's Almanack," of which most readers of the Transactions have probably heard. On the 18th of September, 1737, occurs the baptism of "Elizth the daughter of Humphrey & Elizabeth Hollins," the first time that well-known Nottingham name appears in the register. Humphrey Hollins and his wife had been admitted members in 1724, from Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Under date the 31st of December, 1737, is the entry "Thomas son of Thomas Peat and Martha his wife." Thomas Peat, the father, was an eminent mathematician of his day (1708-1780). He was born near Wirksworth, and came to Nottingham to be with his elder brother, who was a member of the congregation. Another attender at that time was a master dyer, Cornelius Wildbore, (the family are recorded as members in the earliest list) and he, noticing young Peat's ability, furnished him with books and aided his studies. In addition to his mathematical work, Peat acted as a schoolmaster and land surveyor. He compiled the "Gentleman's Diary" and "Poor Robin's Almanack" for upwards of forty years, for which he received £23 a year, complete sets of his own publications, and the privilege of ordering every new mathematical book at the expense of the Stationers' Company. There are, naturally, to be found in the registers, references to members of the body who from time to time took a prominent part in town affairs. Among them are the Huthwaites, the Worthingtons, and the Denisons—the Speaker's family. The earliest entry we find of the last name is in 1747, when Mary, daughter of Nathaniel Denison, was baptised by the celebrated Nonconformist divine, Dr. John Taylor, of Norwich, and at a later date there comes the baptism of another Nathaniel Denison, son of Robert Denison. Robert Denison was owner of a large worsted mill near where St. Philip's Church stands. It was burned down upwards of 100 years ago and never rebuilt. It may be added that there is a very interesting mezzotint of the fire, of which a few copies still exist, and that until lately a faint tradition lingered about the High Pavement of the old gentleman attending service in a green dress-coat and pigtail. Then there are baptisms of the Harts and the Huishes; the last of the Harts in the male line (the old banker, whose daughter married Sir Charles Fellows) and the last of the Huishes, who was his wife, used to attend the High Pavement in a sedan chair—the last of its race in Nottingham. We have also numerous entries of the baptism of members of the families of Fellows and Lowe. Of the former, Charles Fellows (afterwards Sir Charles Fellows) baptised in 1799, is most noteworthy. By his archaeological researches he achieved a European reputation. He discovered the site of Xanthus, the ancient capital of Lycia, and eventually brought home the famous Xanthian marbles, among the most valuable of the contents of the British Museum. He published several works relating to his travels in Asia Minor, and one on the "Coins of Ancient Lycia." Of the Lowes, the late Mr. E. J. Lowe, the well-known meteorologist, was perhaps the most distinguished, though the whole family were men of "light and leading" in the town for several generations. There also frequently appear in the lists the names of the families of Burden, Foxcroft, Hollins, Howitt, Oldknow, Coldham and Enfield. That of John Attenburrow is also recorded. He was a leading surgeon in Nottingham, and had a great deal to do with the establishment of the General Hospital, of which he was for sixty-one years the Senior Surgeon. In 1800, or thereabouts, he introduced vaccination into the town, and commenced in the face of great opposition by inoculating his own son. The second to be inoculated was the infant son of Charles Baxter, of the Cordwainers' Arms on Tollhouse Hill. On November 28th, 1802, was baptized "Richard Parkes Bonington, son of Richard Bonington, and Eleanor his wife (daughter of Thomas Parkes), born 25th October, 1802," and with this entry our notice of this register must close.

It may, in conclusion, be of interest to mention some of the local trades practised in Nottingham a couple of hundred years ago, and recorded in these registers, many of which have since died out. Among men's occupations, apart from such necessary ones as baker, shoemaker, and the like, "stockener" is far the commonest, and the local hosiery trade must even then have been a very important one. Connected with it we find framemaker, or framesmith, in the peculiar form of "framesmith-maker." Maltster is quite common (as one might expect from the fame of Nottingham ale) and there are instances of distillers, woolcombers, jarseycombers (Jarsey, or Jersey wool is the finest wool taken out of other sorts of wool by combing it with a "Jarsey-comb") hecklers (dressers of flax or hemp) weavers, ribbon weavers, and worsted weavers, glovers, tanners (who chiefly lived in the Marsh), potters, needle makers, spinning wheel makers, heel makers, pipemakers, button makers, mugmen, ropers, and "codders.'" It is noticeable how widely small trades were distributed at this time. We have also the ubiquitous collector in the form of toll-gatherer, and tax-gatherer.

Of women's occupations, Elizabeth Millington is the only lacemaker, Ann Watson is a sizer, and there are a nursekeeper and a wheatwoman. The exact meaning of a "wheat-woman" is not clear, and it is stated at the British Museum, and by the editor of the New English Dictionary, that the word is unknown at present. A "nursekeeper" (as is also a similar word, a "nursetender") is equivalent to a sick nurse. This is a singular use of the word "nurse" as a sort of adjective. "Nurse-keeper" appears as early as 1602, when Harvey in his Anatomy writes of "chattering charwomen and nursekeepers." In 1724, a woman is described in the London Gazette as " widow and nursekeeper."

Uncommon male Christian names in the registers are Eusebius, Hemus, Hybbord, Icah, Izkerjah, Onesimus, and Relenzor, and among women's names, we find Beulah, Bilbye, Bathiah, Doratha (occurring several times and always in this spelling), Presky, and Tamar, together with the high-sounding ones of Gratiana, Philadelphia, Philippiana, and Theodosia.

The books produce also the singular surnames of Benoni, Bohme, Charnel, Corcop, Dunce, Franceway, Goal, Hethersam, Hoerobbin, Horsh, Leper, Marist, Megs, Sheers (a butcher) Tabaner, and Tooe.

(1) Dr. Deering, in his Historical Account of Nottingham, p. 46. refers to them under the name of "Philadelphians,' and states that they formerly had a meeting-house in Brewhouse Yard, under the Castle rock, but were then entirely dispersed.
(2) This was Joseph Hussey (1660-1726) respecting whom see Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London.