Multiple Family Baptisms

Henry & Lydia's 6 children's baptisms

Whilst researching Bancroft family lines I have come across several families where, for one reason or another, the parents had several of their children baptised at the same time, which seems a strange arrangement, particularly as infant mortality rates were sometimes quite high in times gone bye.
There were many Bancroft families, living with large families in cramped poor conditions, with poor diets and where diseases such as smallpox were prevalent, who made it a practice to have children baptised as early as possible, and yet there were some parents such as Henry and Lydia Bancroft from Abbot’s Clough area of  Wadsworth near Halifax Yorkshire who chose to have their six children all baptised at the same time, when their eldest child was 12 years of age….I wonder what the reason for this was? are some possibilities.

1-The most obvious one was that they were not interested in religion, or just could not be bothered with their local church/chapel.

2-There was sometimes a charge by the local clergy for a baptism, and as money was tight and children were coming at a rapid rate they just could not afford it.

3- Some families seems to have worked on the basis that if one child was approaching marriageable age, they ought really to be 'done' so they did the others at the same time.

4- The family had a disagreement with the local clergy, and it’s only when a new clergyman was appointed that he would decide to round up all the unbaptised families and have a mass baptism day. [This may well have been the case with Henry & Lydia, as it is clear from the church records that several other family had a family group baptism of their children on the same date. See below]

Multiple family baptisms on same day

5- There may have been an absence of a clergyman in the area for some time.

6- The parents may have been a bit naughty and had a child less than 9 months after marriage, so they decided to wait until the arrival of the second child, hoping to mask the fact that the first child was conceived before their wedding date. [This is probably the case in Henry & Lydia’s case, as their first child Henry was born on 7th April 1825, less than a month after their marriage on 17th March 1825 and they then waited to have the sixth child before doing the right thing!]

Anyway whatever the reason for Henry & Lydia’s reasons, the couple are shown on the 1841 census as living in the Halifax area with 7 children and list Henry as a ‘Labourer”.
1841 census
 Both seem to have died in the 1840’s because by the 1851 census the children are living without parents. 

1851 census
 One child William b 1829 went on to be an important businessman in later life as a Worsted and later Bunting Manufacturer in his story by clicking HERE

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