Walmsley Unitarian Chapel (first registered as Walmsley Presbyterian Chapel) is located at Dimple, just north of Egerton and some 7km north of Bolton. The chapel, built in 1713, and graveyard are still in use.
On 10 January 1837, William Probert the Minister of “Walmsley Presbyterian Chapel in the Township of Turton, of the Parish of Bolton le Moors”, completed a questionnaire for the ‘Commissioners for enquiring into the State, Custody and Authenticity of Non-parochial Registers’ and signed along with William Warbutton (Deacon) and John Kershaw (Acting Trustee). The baptism and birth register, which had been in existence since 1762 but had been irregularly kept, was then sent to the Commissioners in London to be archived. The baptism and birth records presented here have been extracted from an LDS film of the register now housed in the Public Record Office London.
The register is in two parts. The first part covers the 1783-1794, with a few earlier baptisms of Mather family children in the 1763-1779 period. After the last entry in 1794 there is a single entry for a baptism by Wm. Probert in 1836 and then the following note:-
“Here Davies left off, and I believe some hundreds of names are lost. This is to be deeply regretted, but I don’t see how this evil can now be remedied. Wm. Probert”
The register originally had no page numbers, but was stamped when archived (two leaves per page): these are the page numbers referred to here. Pages of the first part of the register are stamped from 4 through 21 (Pages 1-3 are the questionnaire). Entries are numbered consecutively and consistently from 1 on 6 Apr 1783 to 240 on 18 Apr 1878 on page 13. The rest of the numbers run from 1 to 18 on 28 Dec 1789 at the bottom of page 13. The next year starts at the top of page 14 with a baptism on 7 Jan 1790 numbered 7. From then on the numbering is consistent again.
The second part of the register commences with baptism No.1 on 16 Jun 1811 on stamped page 24. Stamped pages 22 and 23 are not on the LDS film, though whether they are missing from the archived register or were missed during filming is not known. Entries are numbered consecutively through No.343 in March 1821 after which numbering ceased.