Friends of the Red Church

Life Events at the old St Mary’s Church (The Red Church)

Prior to 1863, records of life events - baptisms, burials, weddings - at the main Church in Broseley, the Red Church in Jackfield and St Leonard’s Church in Linley were all together in one Parish Register. However, many of those at the Red Church were helpfully identified annotated by the officiating minister as “at St Mary’s Church” or “St M.” While it is not known how accurately this was done, they do give some information which offers an insight into the Red Church history.  After 1863, the new St Mary’s Church in the separate Parish of Jackfield had its own Parish Register.

A fully searchable record of baptisms and burials has now been compiled. These should be used for guidance and original Parish Records should be consulted for confirmation. In some cases the original record was barely legible and the names may have been transcribed inaccurately. (For example the surnames Roden and Boden may have been confused). Where inscribed memorials have been deciphered, they are shown listed with the burial record.

The Life Events can be searched in a variety of ways. For convenience, the same information is shown in two forms, by Year and by Surname, which is particularly helpful for family history searches.

The first of 1242 burials identified in the Red Church graveyard was that of Francis Oaks on 5 April 1770. The records also give the names of 38 victims of the tragic cholera epidemic in 1832 and 1834.

After 1863, the old Red Churchyard continued to be used, but it was declared “closed” on 27 January 1885. Despite that, burials were allowed under certain conditions including within family vaults. While the last recorded event was in 1931, there are reports that they continued as late as 1951, but we have no confirmed details.   

The first of 527 baptisms recorded at the Red Church was that of Susannah Bradley on 8 November 1767. Records after 1811 are particularly helpful as the occupation of the father is often recorded.

Perhaps it is no surprise that some 20% of children died before the age of five, but the longevity of adults may be unexpected, with over 30% surviving beyond the age of 60 years, the eldest burial record being for a 96-year-old man.

No records have been found of any weddings specifically performed at The Red Church, despite them being allowed as defined at its consecration in 1767.