Catalogue description Chapel Royal and successors: Register

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Details of PRO 30/19
Reference: PRO 30/19
Title: Chapel Royal and successors: Register

This single register covers baptisms from 1755 to 1875; and marriages from 1761 to 1880, as well as various other related entries, such as marriage licences. An inscription at the front of the register reads, "This Register is kept by the dean of the chapels royal according to the direction given by HM to Bishop Porteus [Bishop of London, 1787-1809]."

Date: 1755-1880
Related material:

A register of births, marriages, deaths and confirmations for 1647 for Whitehall, St James and Windsor is in RG 8

For correspondence between 14 and 26 March 1904 regarding the transfer, which actually took place via the library of the House of Lords, see PRO 1/69

Separated material:

See also Dutch, German and French chapel royal registers containing details of births, baptisms and marriages in: -4569 -4575 -4641.

RG 4/4639

RG 4/4568

RG 4/4574

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Not Public Record(s)
Language: English

Dean of the Chapel Royal

Physical description: 1 volume(s)
Physical condition: This calf bound volume is wrapped in velvet and is stamped with royal arms
Immediate source of acquisition:

in March 1904

Randall Thomas DavidsonBaron Davidson of Lambeth, 1848-1930 in March 1904

Publication note:

The Sixty-Sixth Annual Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, p6, (London, 1905) notes the transfer of the register to the Public Record Office. by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as late Clerk of the Closet. For further details of the chapels in this period see The History of the King's Works, general editor H M Colvin, V: 1660-1782, and VI: 1782-1851 (London, 1976 and 1973 respectively).

Administrative / biographical background:

The Chapel Royal at Whitehall was destroyed by fire in 1698, after which the Banqueting Hall at Whitehall served as the chapel, until 1702, when Queen Anne decided to restore the Banqueting Hall to its secular purpose, repair and enlarge the chapel at St James, and create this latter the Chapel Royal, removing all the singing men and boys thence in 1703. The Banqueting Hall still remained as a chapel, and became a military chapel in 1808.

From time to time extra chapels were created to serve particular sects and nationalities, reflecting the beliefs and nationalities of members of the royal family. Thus, a catholic chapel was established at St James for Henrietta Maria, Charles I's queen (known as the Queen's Chapel), and this was restored by Charles II for his queen, Catherine of Braganza.

In 1689 it ceased to be used as a catholic chapel, and was in use by French and Dutch protestants in 1700. The French used it until 1781, when they exchanged with the German Lutheran congregation, who were using a room in the Great Court as a chapel. It was known as the German Chapel for the remainder of George III's reign. During this latter reign there was also a Dutch Chapel in existence.

The French and Dutch Chapels were destroyed in the fire of 1809, which consumed much of St James' Palace. At Whitehall a catholic chapel was established during James II's reign. It should be noted that the entries in the register in this series generally refer only to the "Chapel Royal", and therefore, presumably, imply the main chapel.

The baptisms include not only those of the royal family, but also servants of the household, such as the child of a housemaid, groom, laundress or table decker. Some entries give neither the title nor position of the parent. Not all the royal baptisms took place at St James, some were in palace rooms, often in Buckingham Palace, but sometimes Windsor Castle or Marlborough House. The date of birth as well as of baptism is given. In the earlier baptisms the confessor to the Household signs at the bottom of the page. With the baptisms are notes of the royal family's attendance at divine service, their confirmations and their churching of women.

The marriages appear at the other end of the same volume, and are generally those performed at St James, but include marriages at Windsor, in several German states, and elsewhere. They include the monarch's consent to the marriage, under the Act designed to ensure better regulation of royal marriages (12 Geo III, c 11), after which the monarch's consent was needed for a royal wedding to take place. The entries contain the signatures of the witnesses, as well as of the persons married. Unlike the baptisms, the marriages do not include household servants, but do include some commoners of high rank. The licences to marry which are to be found here are usually for marriages other than at St James, and are often to take place at Windsor.

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