Until the time of Henry VIII and the Reformation, virtually everyone in England and Wales was Catholic. After then everyone was supposed to be Anglican but in reality there were always people who didn’t conform to the established church, either openly or in secret.
Each group left different records depending on their beliefs and practices and how openly they were able to practice their faith. As tolerance of different religious groups waxed and waned with time and the changing political climate then so did the level of records which were kept.
This report provides information on how to identify Non-Conformist ancestors and how to locate their registers.