Find your ancestors in Warwickshire Baptism Index 1538-1900

Explore this index of 242,700 baptisms in the historic county of Warwickshire across four centuries. You can search the records by your ancestor’s name or the names of your ancestor’s parents. The records include areas of Birmingham and Coventry, which are no longer within the borders of modern Warwickshire. In the records, Findmypast has discovered the baptism record of Mary Anne Evans, who is known by her pen name, George Eliot, and poet Walter Savage Landor.

What can these records tell me?

Each record includes a transcript of the original records. The amount of detail in each record can vary but most will include the following:

  • Name
  • Sex
  • Birth date
  • Baptism date
  • Baptism place
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name

Discover more about these records

Warwickshire is a land locked county located in the West Midlands of England. The modern county was not created until the Local Government Act in 1972, which removed Coventry, Solihull and Birmingham from the county boundaries. From 1451 until 1842, Coventry was its own county. Then in 1842 it remerged with Warwickshire. For more detail about what places are included in the Warwickshire Baptism Index, view our Warwickshire Baptism Index Parish List. The county town of Warwickshire is Warwick.

Warwickshire is known as the birthplace of William Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon, but in these records we have discovered author George Eliot; however, she was not born by that name, and writer and poet, Walter Savage Landor.

Mary Anne Evans also known as George Eliot

In our records we have found the baptism record of Mary Anne Evans, baptised 29 November 1819 at Chilvers-Coton. Her parents were Robert and Christiana Evans. Later in life Mary Anne would become known by her pen name, George Eliot.

Mary Anne Evans was a famous 19th century novelist, well known for her novel Middlemarch. She began her writing career by contributing to The Westminster Review, later she would become the editor. Not long after, Evans met George Henry Lewes. Lewes was married to Agnes Jervis, but they had an unfaithful marriage. Evans and Lewes began a relationship, travelling together and eventually living together, much to the disapproval of their friends and family.

In 1856, she began writing the series ‘Scenes of Clerical Life’ for Blackwood’s Magazine. It depicted the life of people in Warwickshire. The series was published under her pen name George Eliot. Evans chose a male pseudonym so that her work would be taken more seriously. Other female authors in history have done the same, for example, Emily Bronte published her work under the name Ellis Bell. However, unlike Bronte, whose pseudonym fell into disuse, Evans’ pen name George Eliot is still widely used today to reference her work.

George Eliot’s first novel, Adam Bede, was published in 1859 and became a bestseller. With success came approval and Evans and Lewes were welcomed back into their social circles. Her success continued with other novels such as, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, and Daniel Deronda. Among her admirers was Queen Victoria, who sought her autograph. Edward VII is said to have read Middlemarch fifteen times. In 2014 an early edition of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities sold for £275,000. The book was signed and inscribed by Dickens, ‘To George Eliot. With high admiration and regard. December 1859.’

George Lewes died in 1878. Evans was so distraught by his death that she could not attend his funeral. Mary Anne Evans died from kidney failure on 22 December 1880. She was refused internment in Westminster Abbey due to her unconventional lifestyle and beliefs; she is buried with Lewes at Highgate Cemetery. In 1980, a plaque was placed in Poets’ corner of Westminster Abbey in honour of George Eliot.

In the Findmypast newspapers we found many references to her work and her death. Here is an example of an obituary from the Tamworth Herald on 8 January 1881.

‘A great reputation has been withdrawn from us. The icy hand of death in a literal sense has deprived the world of one of its chief benefactors…In all cultured circles the event will in some sense throw the shadow of a gloom over the festivities of Christmas…There are in all fiction no greater variety of types than what appear in these tales. The characters are created with such analytical skill that it requires no analysis on the part of the reader to understand them…She knew modern languages and all their literatures as she knew those of the past. With thought in all its forms, ancient and modern, she was familiar. Logic and metaphysics had their attractions for her mind. The whole round of the arts and sciences was, in fact, within her province. It is not too much to say that in ‘George Eliot’ the world today will miss its most accomplished woman.’

Work by George Eliot

1857 Scenes of a Clerical Life

1859 Adam Bede

1859 Novella The Lifted Veil

1860 The Mill on the Floss

1861 Silas Marner

1862-1865 Romola published in Cornhill Magazine

1866 Felix Holt the Radical

1868 The Spanish Gypsy

1871-72 Middlemarch

1876 Daniel Deronda

Walter Savage Landor

Another author and poet we found in the Warwickshire Baptism Index is Walter Savage Landor. His baptism record shows he was baptised on 30 January 1775 at St. Nicolas Church in Warwick. His parents were Walter and Elizabeth Landor. At 9 years old he attended Rugby School. Walter can be found again in the Britain, school and university register books 1264-1930 records. A school register entry includes stories of his life at school. It recounts Landor’s love of nature and recorded, ‘At School, Landor once pulled a boy’s ears for pelting at the rooks in the School close, and was almost the only one of his day that never took a bird’s nest.’ After Rugby School, Landor went to Trinity College, Oxford, but he was suspended from the college for shooting at a neighbour’s shutter to punctuate a political dispute. He never returned to the college after the suspension. He moved to London and published, The Poems of Walter Savage Landor. It was considered an ambitious title for a 21 years old. In 1799 he began writing for the Morning Chronicle and wrote passionately against the Pitt government.

After his father died, he inherited a large sum, which he spent travelling to Spain to fight Napoleon Bonaparte and raising a regiment, but never saw action. When he returned to England he published Count Julian which was inspired by his time in Spain. After encouragement from friends like Robert Southey, Landor married Julia Thuillier, daughter of a Swiss banker, in May 1811. They lived on the continent for a number of years in France and Italy, but separated by 1835. It was during these years that he began to write his most famous series of writings, Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and Statesmen. The series was written over many years and published in separate volumes. This work gained Landor literary praise. It was based on conversations between historical figures such as Plato and Diogenes, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and Lucullus and Caesar. In the later years of his life he was distant from his family, often finding himself in court and relying on his friends financially like Robert Browning. He died at the age of 89 in Florence on 17 September 1864.