Explore over 38,900 burial records from St. Leonard parish in the east end of London. The records will give you details of your ancestor’s address, birth year and burial place. The records also include the full burial date, from which you can estimate a date of death and add another piece to your growing family tree.
Each record includes a transcript of the original burial records. The records include valuable details which will add greatly to your family history research. Most records will include the following:
The individual’s birth year is determined by the age given at the time of death. The age is often given by a relative or someone close to the deceased, for this reason the age at death is not always accurate and that can be reflected in the birth year.
Shoreditch, a borough of London, has enjoyed great cultural history. These burial records have come from St. Leonard, Church of England. St. Leonard parish of Shoreditch was once a part of Middlesex County, but became part of the county of London in 1889. There has been a church on its site since the 12th century, but the most recent was rebuilt in 1740.
By the middle of the 18th century the parish had a population of about 10,000. The 1801 census showed an increase to 35,000 in just 50 years. Between 1822 and 1827 the 'Waterloo churches' of St John Hoxton and St Mary Haggerston were built to cope with the rising population and in 1830 they were spilt off to form two new ecclesiastical parishes. In 1831 the population was recorded as 69,000. A third ecclesiastical parish was created in 1841: St James, Curtain Road. By 1851 the population had risen to 109,000.
Overcrowding, disease and poverty were so great in this area that the Shoreditch vestry levied a special poor rate in 1774 to create a workhouse for the parish. This was the first in London to have a separate isolation ward to house those with infectious diseases, in particular those infected with cholera. The parish burial registers for the 41 years from 1813 to 1853 record the deaths of 32,684 individuals. The average number per year was about 800 but during the cholera epidemics of 1832 and 1849 the number shot up to over 1,000.
The St Leonard's Shoreditch Burial index was compiled by the Society of Genealogists. The Society would like to express its gratitude to Stephen Freeth, formerly keeper of manuscripts at the Guildhall Library, for permission to buy film copies of the burial registers and allowing the society to have them scanned for volunteer transcribers to work on at home. Thanks go to Colin Allen, project coordinator and indexer, David Squire for analysis of indexing issues, suggestions for dealing with them and for indexing, Carole Powell and Nick Spence for indexing.
Among its congregation were many Elizabethan actors. In 1576, near the church, The Theatre was built. It was the first purpose built theatre in England. A year later a second theatre, The Curtain Theatre, was built. Both theatres were used by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, acting group, which included Shakespeare as an actor and playwright.
Years after the Theatre opened disputes occurred over the lease and finally in 1598 the building was demolished and the timber used to create the Globe. St. Leonard’s churchyard holds the graves of some of the early Elizabethan actors, including Richard Burbage, who built the Theatre. Shoreditch continued its reputation for entertainment and arts into the 19th and 20th centuries with the National Standard Theatre, the Shoreditch Empire and the Royal Cambridge Music Hall. Shoreditch can claim many famous inhabitants such as Hetty King, Peaches Geldof, Barbara Windsor, Noel Fielding, James Parkinson and Damien Hirst.
Within the St. Leonard Shoreditch Burials you will find the burial record for James Parkinson. His name is most recognised for his work in medicine and specifically in identifying Shaking Palsy, or Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s interests were not limited to the field of medicine. He was active in politics, social reform and geology. He had an inquisitive mind and was an excellent observer.
James Parkinson was born in Shoreditch on 11 April 1755. James was born into a medical family, his father was a surgeon and apothecary. James went on to study at the London Hospital Medical School. In his medical career he published work on appendicitis, mental illness and gout. His most notable essay was Shaking Palsy, published in 1817. In this essay he accurately identified the symptoms of the disease, created a comprehensive description and broke new grounds in its research. It was not until 60 years later when French physician Jean-Martin Charcott was studying Parkinson’s work that he attached his name to the disease.
In his early life James was politically active. He wrote numerous pamphlets and essays criticising the government and society on topics of universal suffrage, fair taxation and child abuse. He often wrote under the pseudonym of ‘Old Hubert.’ His actions did not end at writing, but he attended public demonstrations, participated in riots and was called to testify in front of the Privy Council in October 1794 where he was questioned by William Pitt regarding a plot to kill King George III. The plot became known as the ‘Popgun Plot,’ which was contrived by members of the London Corresponding Society for Reform of Parliamentary Representation. Their goal was to kill the King with a poisoned dart launched by an air gun. The conspirators were released without charge. Details and discussions about the ‘Popgun plot’ can be found the Chester Chronicle and Derby Mercury in findmypast’s Newspapers and Periodicals.
James Parkinson had further interests in Geology and Palaeontology. He wrote a three volume introduction to British fossils, Organic Remains of a Former World. In his personal life James married Mary Daly at St. Leonard church in 1781, together they had six children. James’ son, John William Keys Parkinson, followed his father’s footsteps and took over his practice after his death. The St. Leonard Shoreditch Burials also holds John William’s burial record from 12 April 1838. James Parkinson died of a stroke on 21 December 1824. He was buried at St. Leonard Church in Shoreditch on 29 December 1824.
Prior to 1813 most parish burial records only included the deceased’s name and burial date. After 1813 the records were kept in pre-printed books which allowed the name, residence, date of burial, age and who performed the ceremony. The information for the records were provided by someone close to the deceased. For this reason, these records are considered a secondary source of information and can have inaccuracies.
In many records the birth year is calculated by the age or the age at death given to the clerk recording the information. If the age is unknown, people often guestimate the deceased’s age, this is especially evident in burial records for unknown persons. Therefore, if the reported age is incorrect the birth year will be an estimate. Findmypast recommends using the year variant option, which is the plus or minus option to the right of the Birth year search option. This will allow you to search for your relatives, while accounting for inconsistencies in parish records.