Extend your family tree further with these baptism records. Learn your ancestor’s birth place, parents’ names and even the name of the officiant. In the records, Findmypast has discovered the baptism records of Mary Anne Evans, who is known by her pen name, George Eliot, poet Walter Savage Landor, football coach Arthur Cox and astronomer Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer.
Baptism records are a brilliant source for your family history because they date back centuries before civil registration of births began in England.
Each record includes a transcript of the original baptism record. The amount of information in each record can differ depending on the age of the account, but most will include a combination of the following details:
County and country
Warwickshire Baptisms was created by an amalgamation of Findmypast’s baptism records from all across Warwickshire. These records are not intended to be a comprehensive survey of all the baptisms in Warwickshire. Rugby, Southam, Dunchurch and Ufton are some of the places found in the collection, along with areas of Birmingham and Coventry, which are no longer within the borders of modern Warwickshire. For more detail about what towns or villages are included in Warwickshire Baptisms, view our Warwickshire Place List available in Useful Links and Resources.
Warwickshire is a landlocked county located in the West Midlands of England. The modern county was not created until the Local Government Act in 1972, which removed Coventry, Solihull and Birmingham from the county boundaries. From 1451 until 1842, Coventry was its own county. Then in 1842 it remerged with Warwickshire. The county town of Warwickshire is Warwick.
In our records we have found the baptism record of Mary Anne Evans, baptised 29 November 1819 at Chilvers-Coton. Her parents were Robert and Christiana Evans. Later in life Mary Anne would become known by her pen name George Eliot.
Mary Anne Evans was a famous 19th century novelist, well known for her novel Middlemarch. She began her writing career by contributing to The Westminster Review, later she would become the editor. Evans met George Henry Lewes. Lewes was married to Agnes Jervis, but they had an unfaithful marriage. Evans and Lewes began a relationship, travelling together and eventually living together, much to the disapproval of their friends and family.
In 1856, she began writing the series ‘Scenes of Clerical Life’ for Blackwood’s Magazine. It depicted the life of people in Warwickshire. The series was published under her pen name George Eliot. Evans chose a male pseudonym so that her work would be taken more seriously. Other female authors in history have done the same, for example, Emily Bronte published her work under the name Ellis Bell. However, unlike Bronte, whose pseudonym fell into disuse, Evans’ pen name is still widely used today to reference her work.
George Eliot’s first novel, Adam Bede, was published in 1859 and became a bestseller. With success came approval and Evans and Lewes were welcomed back into their social circles. Her success continued with other novels such as The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, and Daniel Deronda. Among her admirers was Queen Victoria, who sought her autograph. Edward VII is said to have read Middlemarch fifteen times. In 2014, an early edition of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities sold for £275,000. The book was signed and inscribed by Dickens, ‘To George Eliot. With high admiration and regard. December 1859.’
George Lewes died in 1878. Evans was so distraught by his death that she could not attend his funeral. Mary Anne Evans died from kidney failure on 22 December 1880. She was refused internment in Westminster Abbey due to her unconventional lifestyle and beliefs; she is buried with Lewes at Highgate Cemetery. In 1980, a plaque was placed in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey in honour of George Eliot.
In the Findmypast newspapers we found many references to her work and her death. Here is an example of an obituary from the Tamworth Herald on 8 January 1881.
‘A great reputation has been withdrawn from us. The icy hand of death in a literal sense has deprived the world of one of its chief benefactors. In all cultured circles the event will in some sense throw the shadow of a gloom over the festivities of Christmas. There are in all fiction no greater variety of types than what appear in these tales. The characters are created with such analytical skill that it requires no analysis on the part of the reader to understand them. She knew modern languages and all their literatures as she knew those of the past. With thought in all its forms, ancient and modern, she was familiar. Logic and metaphysics had their attractions for her mind. The whole round of the arts and sciences was, in fact, within her province. It is not too much to say that in “George Eliot” the world today will miss its most accomplished woman’.
Another author and poet we found in Warwickshire Baptisms is Walter Savage Landor. His baptism record shows he was baptised on 30 January 1775 at St Nicolas Church in Warwick. His parents were Walter and Elizabeth Landor. At 9 years old he attended Rugby School. Walter can be found again in the Britain, school and university register books 1264-1930 records. A school register entry includes stories of his life at school. It recounts Landor’s love of nature and recorded the following: ‘At School, Landor once pulled a boy’s ears for pelting at the rooks in the School close, and was almost the only one of his day that never took a bird’s nest’. After Rugby School, Landor went to Trinity College, Oxford, but he was suspended from the college for shooting at a neighbour’s shutter to punctuate a political dispute. He never returned to the college after the suspension. He moved to London and published The Poems of Walter Savage Landor. It was considered an ambitious title for a 21 year old. In 1799, he began writing for the Morning Chronicle and wrote passionately against the Pitt government.
After his father died, he inherited a large sum, which he subsequently spent in travelling to Spain to fight Napoleon Bonaparte and raising a regiment. However, he never saw action. When he returned to England he published Count Julian, which was inspired by his time in Spain. After encouragement from friends like Robert Southey, Landor married Julia Thuillier, daughter of a Swiss banker, in May 1811. They lived on the continent for a number of years in France and Italy, but separated by 1835. It was during these years that he began to write his most famous series of writings, Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and Statesmen. The series was written over many years and published in separate volumes. This work gained Landor literary praise. It was based on conversations between historical figures such as Plato and Diogenes, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and Lucullus and Caesar. In the later years of his life, he was distant from his family, often finding himself in court and relying financially on his friends, like Robert Browning. He died at the age of 89 in Florence on 17 September 1864.
Found within the baptism records is Arthur Cox, football manager. According to the record, Arthur Cox was born 14 December 1939 and baptised the next month on 28 January 1940. His parents were Doris and Arthur Cox, whose occupation is listed as stores clerk. Young Cox began his career as a football player. However, due to a leg injury he was not able to continue, so he turned his sights to coaching. He started coaching with Coventry and then continued his career with other clubs like Walsall, Halifax, Preston and Aston Villa. He took his first managerial position with Sunderland as assistant manager and worked with the team when they won the FA Cup final against Leeds in 1973. In 1976 Cox was given his first management position with Chesterfield and then moved on to Newcastle in 1980.
While with Newcastle United he gained recognition for signing Kevin Keegan, former England striker in 1982. Keegan helped to rejuvenate the football club. Cox left Newcastle in 1984 and went to Derby County. There he attained noteworthy players, such as Peter Shilton, Dean Saunders and Ted McMinn. He had to leave Derby in 1993 due to ill health, but he didn’t stay away from football long. He would work again with Keegan at Fulham and then with the England national team. In April 2002 he took his last post as assistant manager at Manchester City, two years before retirement in August 2004.
Another notable baptism within the collection is of Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer, an English astronomer credited with discovering and naming the element of Helium on the sun’s atmosphere. He made the discovery a decade before Helium was discovered on Earth. Joseph Lockyer was born 17 May 1836 and we can see from his records that he was baptised on 1 June 1836 at St Andrews. The records also include the baptisms of his siblings William and Lucy. His parents were Anne and Joseph Hooley Lockyer. Sir Lockyer inherited his father’s interest in science at a very early age. In his baptism records, his father’s occupation is listed as a chemist.
Joseph Lockyer had many accomplishments in his lifetime. He is noted as the father of archeoastronomy, which is the study of how people understood phenomena in the sky and how that understanding affected their lives. Lockyer first became interested in this study while in Greece in 1890; he observed that ancient temples were aligned along the same axis. He predicted that the positioning of the temples were in relation to the positioning of the rising sun. He later published results of his study in 1894; thus, leading to the beginning of a new field of science. Another accomplishment was the founding of Nature, a scientific journal, in 1869. The journal is still in publication today and is ranked among the top journals for original research and scientific discoveries.