ANGLICAN PARISH REGISTERS (TRINIDAD & TOBAGO)
The baptismal, marriage and burial registers, and any available indexes, are kept in the individual Anglican parishes and a
request for permission to research them in person or to obtain information from them should be obtained from the parish in
which your relative(s) were baptised, married or buried.
Although none of the old Anglican Diocese parish registers are kept at the Diocesan Office at Hayes Court, nevertheless,
contacting the Diocesan Secretary, Mrs. Sonia Noel, by an initial letter, fax or email may facilitate matters when you
write subsequently to the parish which holds the registers you wish to research.
No Bishop's Transcripts of the parish registers were sent either to London or to Barbados.
The baptismal and marriage registers for Trinity Cathedral in Port-of-Spain commence in 1801, the burial register being
one year later.
The Holy Trinity Baptismal Register, 1801 - 1845 is particularly useful: for approximately the first 22 years, the father’s
name is given, even when the parents are unmarried. However, the name of the father, in common law relationships,
begins to disappear ca 1824.
People living in Couva and as far distant as Manzanilla have been noticed in this register as well as districts closer to
Port-of-Spain, eg Belmont, La Ventille, Mucurapo, St. James, Woodbrook Estate and St. Ann’s.
In the Abstract of the Triennial Return of Baptisms of Plantation Slaves of November 1824, the Church of England was
reported as having 1,498 baptised slaves.
During this period, the Government granted marriage licences only after the payment of fees. The additional church fees
and the marriage licence rules were an obstruction to marriage among any enslaved people, who had been baptised. The
total high cost also meant that marriage was beyond the reach of any of Trinidad’s poor who were not enslaved.
Research in the Holy Trinity registers is much easier than in the registers of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
(Catholic). The handwriting, layout and spelling conventions are more familiar to English language researchers.
Importantly, slave baptisms are also entered in this, the earliest Trinity register.
In respect of the Holy Trinity Baptismal Register, 1801 - 1845, for approximately the first 30 years of the register’s use, there
was an entry describing the person baptised, ie Slave, Free Black Person, Free Person of Colour, Solicitor. Ca 1834 ethnic
background and colour was not recorded, but useful information was still retained for some years, by the use of the terms,
Apprenticed Labourer or African Labourer. By 1841, ethnicity cannot be established, except very infrequently.
No other information on the surving registers of other 19th century Anglican parishes in Trinidad is available, but see:
The Bishop: The Right Reverend Claude Berkley
Secretary to the Bishop: Mrs. Sharon Brito
Tel.: (868) - 622 - 7387
Diocesan Office: 21 Maraval Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Postal Address: Hayes Court, 2 Hayes Street, St. Clair, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Tel.: (868) - 622 - 2863/7704
Fax: (868) - 628 - 1319
Diocesan Secretary: Mrs. Sonia Noel
Some appreciation of Trinidad Anglican Church History will help your research progress.
The first Anglican Church, Trinity, was a modest wooden building on the corner of Prince and Frederick streets. In 1808 a
great fire swept through Port-of-Spain burning down the Church. On the 30 May, 1816, the foundation stone of the new
Trinity Church was laid, in its current location, being completed in 1818, but it was not until Trinity Sunday, on 25 May, 1823
that it was consecrated.
Reverend John H. Clapham probably came to Trinidad about the time the British occupied the island in 1797 and from
December, 1802, was the first rector of Port-of-Spain. Until 1823, for twenty-two years, he was the only ‘Church of England’
clergyman in Trinidad.
In 1824, formerly under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Trinity became part of the new diocese of Barbados.
and until 1835, it was the only Church of England’ church on the island.
The Ecclesiastical Ordinance of 1844 made the Anglican Church the Established Church of Trinidad. This resulted in
Trinidad being divided into sixteen parishes, of which six were endowed as rectories the others as island curacies,while
the Island still remained part of the diocese of Barbados. Grenada and Tobago were to constitute the Archdeaconary of
Trinidad. Six rectories were constituted from seven of sixteen parishes. This Ordinance also laid down rules for the keeping
of Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths.
In 1844, at the time of the Ecclesiastical Ordinance, the parish of the Holy Trinity comprised the town of Port of Spain and
suburbs, with the Quarters of Laventille, Tragarete, St. Ann's and Maraval.
The foundation-stone of the Gothic All Saints Church in New Town, facing Queen's Park and close to the former red tram
terminus in Tranquillity was laid in 1844. The building when completed was consecrated by Bishop Parry of Barbados, as a
chapel-of-ease for Trinity. Some 40 years later, it was enlarged and restored by the exertions of the Rev. L. A. Taitt, and, at
the time, was reported to be the prettiest of all the Anglican churches.
The records indicate indicate that during the latter part of 1844, additional Anglican clergymen arrived, making a total of
nine in the island, the newcomers taking up position in St. Luke’s Parish in South Naparima and also in Pointe-a-Pierre
and in Oropouche.
In 1846, the Bishop of Barbados consecrated St. Mary’s Church in Tacarigua. A new minister was also appointed to
St Peter’s at Gasparillo in addition to the parish of St. Luke.
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in London provided funds to help the building of churches at Savanna
Grande (St. Stephen's), Diego Martin (St, Michael's), San Juan (St. John’s) and the enlargement of St. Paul’s in San
In 1848, expansion of the Anglican Church continued with appointments to the parishes of Arima (St. Jude) and Manzanilla
(St. Bartholomew). Here there was neither church nor rectory.
In 1887, it was reported that, excluding the bishop, there were 15 clergy, 33 churches and chapels, and 5 temporary places
of worship. The grant from the Trinidad Government was £3,576 and from the Imperial Treasury £250. Of the 33 churches,
16 had been built or re-built, and five enlarged, within the previous 10 years.
On June 29, 1872 Trinidad was separated from the diocese of Barbados and the independent Trinidad Anglican Church
Remember some 19th Century Anglican parishes have disappeared and are now included within ‘new’ parishes.