A page of baptisms
By Christine Camplin
The baptism registers for the first church on Goose Green are held in the London Metropolitan Archives. East Dulwich Chapel (pictured below) was built in about 1826, a daughter church in the parish of St Giles, Camberwell. Baptisms took place in the Chapel from 1848 and were also entered into the St Giles registers (though not necessarily on the same date!)
The eight children on the first page of the register are an interesting cross section of the community to whom that first little church ministered.
1 Sarah Ann Tufnail: baptised 5 May 1848 by N G Charrington
(Parents: William Benjamin and Sarah Tufnail. Peckham Rye, Servant)
Sarah was not baptised by the Minister of the Chapel but the Curate, Revd Nicholas George Charrington (1821-1882), of the brewery family. He came to East Dulwich from a curacy in Bodington, Northants, married at St Giles in 1853, and then moved to Aveley, Essex. He recorded Sarah’s date of birth: 17 January 1848. This first baptism in the chapel may have been an emergency one. Perhaps Sarah was too ill to be taken to St Giles - as she was sadly buried there on 11 May, only six days later.
It was almost a year before the next recorded baptism in the chapel.
2 Ethel Oldham: baptised 12 Mar 1849 by J R Oldham
(Parents: John Roberts and Esther Oldham. East Dulwich Grove, Clerk)
This was the Minister’s own daughter: Revd John Roberts Oldham (1808-1882, pictured below) was Minister of the East Dulwich Chapel 1845-1858. Ethel, born 26 December 1848, was the youngest of his eight children. She married William Ernest Bacchus, a Merchant, on 29 April 1873 in Ottershaw, Surrey. In 1881 they were living in Oxfordshire where William was a “Gentleman farming 500 acres”. Ethel died on 22 June 1919 in Bournemouth.
3 Thomas Winder Hutton: baptised 8 Jun 1849 by J R Oldham
(Parents: Charles William Cookworthy and Elizabeth Hutton. East Dulwich, Merchant)
This family lived in a large house on the south side of Goose Green. Charles Hutton (1823-1903) took over his father's textile company in about 1856. It was a highly profitable business and enabled him to acquire the lease of Belair House, Dulwich, in 1859 and move in his household of twelve children and about the same number of staff. You can visit the house today. Thomas, baptised on his parents’ first wedding anniversary, became a warehouseman in his father’s company but died at Belair on 21 May 1872 aged only 23.
4 Stephen Whitton: baptised 14 Jun 1849 by J R Oldham
(Parents: Stephen and Rosetta Whitton. East Dulwich, Labourer)
Stephen, one of seven children, was another sad early death, buried at St Giles the same month. By 1851 his father was a “Greengrocer & fruiterer”.
5 John Richard Saunders: baptised 15 Jul 1849 by J R Oldham
(Parents: William and Elizabeth Saunders. 10 Grove Vale, Coachman)
John is not listed in the 1851 Census - he is probably the “Male Saunders” who died in summer 1849.
6 Florence Edith Day: baptised 18 Jul 1849 by J R Oldham
(Parents: Samuel Hulme and Mary Ann Day. Peckham Rye, Esquire)
Samuel Day (1805-1876) “of Pudding-lane and Peckham” was a wine merchant and Magistrate. Florence was the second youngest of eleven children, but the only one not to live into the twentieth century. She was buried on 8 September 1849 in Nunhead Cemetery. Samuel later moved his family across the Rye from 19 Rye Common to Beaufort House, 125 Peckham Rye. His grandson by the same name became a well-known cricketer.
7 Joseph Cormack: baptised 22 Jul 1849 by N G Charrington
(Parents: Joseph and Ann Cormack. Lordship Lane, Gardener)
Joseph junior survived to adulthood. However, in April 1881 he was in HMP Clerkenwell, London serving “1 months Hard Labour for offence of Cheating”. He became a signwriter, married Mary Jane Miller in 1884, and they had two children. Joseph died in 1900 in Marylebone.
8 Mary Smith: baptised 21 Sep 1849 by J R Oldham
(Parents: Thomas and Harriet. Peckham Rye, Tanner)
Thomas Smith (1817-1893) was a successful leather dresser in Bermondsey. He then invested in property, studied for the church and in 1858 became Perpetual Curate of St John’s, Harborne, Birmingham. He was “the chief contributor” to that church’s restoration and built and resided in Lordswood House. Mary, born 6 August 1849, was one of ten children. She never married and died in 1896 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
The second page of the register contains the first link to the “new” St John’s church, built on the current site in 1865.
9 William Henry Creed: baptised 11 Nov 1849 by J R Oldham
(Parents: George and Ann Creed. Peckham Rye, Coachman)
Father William was an Omnibus Proprietor; they lived near Rye House PH. Samuel died the following year aged seven months and was buried 16 June 1850 at St Giles.
10 Robina Gibson: baptised 30 Dec 1849 by J R Oldham
(Parents: Joseph and Sarah Gibson. Peckham Rye, Ostler)
Robina went on to marry William Wise, another horsekeeper. She died in 1931 in Stockwell, Lambeth.
11 Alfred Scott: baptised 6 Feb 1850 by J R Oldham
(Parents: John and Amelia. Rye Common, Shawl merchant)
John Scott (1811-1899) was President and Treasurer of the Building Committee for the new church. Many meetings took place at his home on Goose Green, Norland House, directly opposite the new church site.
Alfred went to Oxford University and was Vicar of St Mary, Paddington, 1884-1900. He married Annie Linton in 1885 and died in Carlisle, Cumberland, 1933.
Nearly half of the first eleven babies baptised in the chapel died as infants: neither wealth or status were an escape from the tragic incidence of child mortality in early Victorian times.