Was your English ancestor baptised in Somerset? Search more than 2 million records and discover your ancestor’s baptism date and place, as well as parents’ names. Among the records, we found the name of John Cleese’s father, Reginald Francis Cheese, and Andrew Crosse, a scientist whose experiments with electricity inspired Frankenstein.
With each record you will be given a transcript of details found in the original records held at the Somerset Archives. The amount of information found in each record depends on the date and legibility of the record, but you may find a combination of the following facts:
County and country
Archive and reference
Somerset is located in South West England and bordered by five counties: Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Dorset, and Devon. The Somerset baptism index is an index to all baptism records held at the Somerset Archives. The collection stretches from 1501 to 1917. Baptism records are an incredible resource for family historians. They provide you with two generations of names for your family tree as well as a location to allow you to search for additional records related to the family such as electoral registers, census returns, and directories.
Among the records, we discovered Reginald Francis Cheese, father of the comedy actor John Cleese. The baptism record states that Reginald Francis Cheese was baptised 16 August 1896 at St Barnabas in Knowle, Somerset. His father was John Edwin, an accountant, and mother was Edith. The record also shows that the family lived at 15 Gwynn Street. In 1915, Reginald joined the British Army. At enlistment, he made the decision to drop the ‘h’ from his surname and replace it with an ‘l’. The family then became Cleese instead of Cheese.
Another notable name in the records is Andrew Crosse, a scientist from Broomfield, Somerset. His baptism record tells us that he was baptised on 23 July 1784 and his parents were Richard and Susannah. In his adult years, Crosse experimented with electricity in his home laboratory. While experimenting with crystal formations and electricity, he produced bizarre and unexpected results. His experiment resulted in the appearance of insects. He tried the experiment in different ways to prevent contamination but the insects continued to appear. When he spoke to the London Electrical Society about his findings the story was seized by the press who called the new insects Acarus Crossii, Crosse’s creation. He received public backlash for his experiments from people who called him a blasphemer and trying to play God. The story of Crosse’s experiments with electricity, which seemed to bring forward new life, is said to have inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. As for Crosse’s discovery, it is hard to say what he did discover since modern scientists have not replicated the experiments.