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Dundee Chapels and the Holcombe Brook Meeting House
in the Parish of Tottington

There are four pre-1837 baptism registers for Protestant Nonconformist places of worship in the Dundee-Holcombe Brook area of Tottington Lower End (now the southern suburbs of Ramsbottom). The registers are:-

1699-1731 Dundee Chapel
1800-1807 Dundee Chapel
1807-1817 Holcome (Holcombe) Brook Meeting House
1817-1837 Dundee Chapel

The relationship between the congregations that produced the registers is unclear. At the time the registers were surrendered to the GRO for archiving (1837-1840), the 1699-1731 and 1817-1837 registers were in the hands of Andrew MacLean, the Minister of the Scottish Church at Ramsbottom, and presumably the ‘heir’ to the oldest Dundee Chapel. At the same time, the 1800-1807 Dundee Chapel and 1807-1817 Holcome Brook Meeting House registers were held by Peter Ramsay, the Minister of Dearden-gate Chapel at Haslingden. The reports of these two ministers to the Commissioners for enquiring into the State, Custody and Authenticity of Non-parochial Registers are summarised below.

The four registers are separately recorded here.

The 1699-1731 and 1817-1837 Dundee Chapel Registers.

On 30 October 1840, Andrew MacLean A.M. the Minister of the Scottish Church at Ramsbottom, Tottington Lower End sent the Register of Births and Baptisms belonging to the Dundee Chapel, Tottington Lower End, Bury Parish to the ‘Commissioners for enquiring into the State, Custody and Authenticity of Non-parochial Registers’. The chapel was said to be founded about 1670, but the baptism and birth register dated only from 1817-1837. 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.

As well as the 1817-1837 register, a much older baptism register and transcript was sent to the GRO. It dates from 1699-1731 and in 1822 was transcribed by George Brown, the minister who preceded Andrew MacLean. At the end of his transcript, George Brown noted “The above register on this and the eleven preceding pages is extracted from a Common Place Book in the hand-writing of the Revd. Edward Rothwell and the leaves containing the said original document are here annexed for the further satisfaction to all concerned. March 1st 1822. George Brown A.M. V.D.M.” Both original and transcript are on LDS Film 560904.

The 1699-1731 records presented here have been extracted from the original register by Edward Rothwell and checked against George Brown’s transcript.

Neither the 1699-1731 nor the 1817-1837 registers originally had page numbers, but were stamped when archived (two leaves per page): these are the page numbers referred to here.

In the later register the place of birth was recorded but only as Bury Parish: exceptions are noted. The register contained a column for parents to sign. Many signatures were not recorded, and in many cases where both parents apparently signed it is clear from the handwriting that one person signed for both father and mother.

The 1800-1807 Dundee Chapel and 1807-1817 Holcome (Holcombe) Brook Meeting House Registers.

On 22 December 1837, Peter Ramsay, the Minister of Dearden-gate Chapel at Haslingden sent the Register of Births and Baptisms belonging to the Dundee Chapel and also the Holcome-Brook Meeting House at Tottington, Bury Parish to the ‘Commissioners for enquiring into the State, Custody and Authenticity of Non-parochial Registers’. He stated that they were of Independent denomination, and were founded about 1800 and dissolved in the year 1814 (though the register continues till 1817). 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. Peter Ramsey stated that “The names in the other end of this book were written in it as the Register of Dundee Chapel when it came into my custody”: these baptisms date from 1800-1807. Therefore we can assume that the entries from 1807-1817 belong to the Holcome-Brook Meeting House, and all but the first three baptisms were signed by Peter Ramsey. The first three baptisms (all in 1802) from the Dundee Chapel register were written into the Holcombe-Brook Meeting House register by Peter Ramsey and credited to James Hacking, with the words “The original of these three names is at the other end of this book. 1 page”.

Neither of the registers originally had continuous page numbers, but were stamped when archived (two leaves per page): these are the page numbers referred to here. The last page of the Dundee Chapel register is stamped 5, and the first page of the Holcome-Brook Meeting House register is stamped 7. Stamped page 6 is not in the LDS film of the book, and it is not known whether it contained baptisms.

Peter Wood
February 2009

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