Records of famous British “rebels” have been digitised and published online.
The 224,000 names published from originals held by the London Metropolitan Archives tell the story of the Britons persecuted by the state between 1694 and 1921 for their religious beliefs who campaigned for many modern political rights. This includes poet William Blake and author Daniel Defoe as well as George Fox and John Stuart Mill – a leader in liberal thinking.
Dr Deborah Jenkins, Assistant Director of the City of London’s Department of Libraries, Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery, said: “The non conformist congregations have played a fascinating role in the story of London and the collections we hold at London Metropolitan Archives are fundamental to developing our understanding of their impact on life in the capital.”
The records have been published on Ancestry.co.uk and also include baptism and marriage registers and burial inscriptions, dating from the late 17th century when the roots of non conformism were laid.
The company also claims that members of the current Liberal Democrat party can trace their origins to these religious dissenters, who supported the Whig politicians in the 18th and 19th centuries in their push for greater civil and religious rights.
Dan Jones, international content director at Ancestry.co.uk, said: “Many of the free, multi-faith and multi-cultural societies around the world owe a great deal to 18th and 19th century nonconformists who fought for a more tolerant and diverse Britain.”
“Anyone who is lucky enough to find an ancestor within these records can be proud in the knowledge that their forebear was someone who wasn’t afraid to be different or stand up for what they believed in.”