A guide to searching for death and burial records in Southwark
Religious burial records
Church of England, Catholic and nonconformist denomination
In the 16th century the Church of England (Anglican Church) was established as a reformed version of Catholicism and became the state church, where the monarch was the head of the church. Individuals remaining loyal to the church in Rome were referred to as Roman Catholics. Yet, there were those who did not align themselves with either the Church of England or Catholicism and became part of the Protestant movement, including Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, and Methodists. These people became known as nonconformist because of their non-conformity to the state religion. Generally speaking, the word “Non-conformist” refers to any group that did not conform to the Church of England, including Roman Catholics, Jews, Quakers, Unitarians, the Salvation Army, the Protestant churches already mentioned, and non-religious people.
London Metropolitan Archives hold the digitised nonconformist registers for the years 1694-1931 which include burials.
The National Archives hold the England and Wales nonconformist and non-parochial registers from 1567-1970. These are also available on www.BMDRegisters.co.uk and FindMyPast
Records of Catholic burials are generally only available from the Catholic church in which the burial was registered, though, as previously mentioned before Civil Registration in 1837, non-denominational burials were recorded by the local Anglican Parish. Catholics might sometimes be recorded as ‘papist’.
Burial records for Roman Catholics from Southwark can be found on FindMyPast.
Further information on Catholic burials in London can be found on FamilySearch.org.
Note: Many of the burial records before 1900 are in Latin and common words and phrases are translated on FindMyPast.
Burials for the Jewish and Muslim community
Nunhead Cemetery has a dedicated section for current Muslim burials. Past burials of Muslim residents and servicemen also took place at Brookwood Cemetery in Woking where there is a dedicated burial ground for Muslim soldiers. The National Archives include extracts from reports on the reasons given for the choice of a Muslim burial ground in Woking.
There is no dedicated area for Jewish burials but the Jewish community can and do bury their deceased in Southwark’s cemeteries.
Jewish burials in the mid-1800s took place in one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries like Highgate and Brookwood. However many Jewish burials took place in east and north London, where the majority of the Jewish community in London lived and worked.
The following websites can offer further information and records:
Page last updated: 16 December 2022