Family History and the Churchyard

Photo of the churchyard at St Mary Leake

St Mary’s Leake has been a parish church for centuries and incredibly we have an almost complete record of baptisms, weddings and burials dating from 1571!

If you are at all interested in history, then you will enjoy walking around our churchyard. We often hear from people who are researching their family history, who would like to visit the grave of a relative, or trace them in our records.

Most of our records are now held at North Yorkshire County Records Office in Northallerton. This includes the records of baptisms 1571-1980, marriages 1571-1970, marriage banns 1901-1956, burials 1571-1980 and service registers 1897-1979. There is a full list of the records that they hold for us here. There is much to see there – such as the record from 1690 of parishioners being fined for skipping church! They also hold the records for the neighbouring churches.

Are you looking for a particular burial? If so, a search of the burial records in the Records Office will tell you whether the burial was at Leake. Next, have a look through this comprehensive photographic catalogue of our headstones. If you can find a headstone listed, it is simply a case of having a walk round the churchyard until you find it – this isn’t usually difficult.

Historically is was not uncommon for people to be buried without a headstone, especially in poorer families. It is possible that we would still be able to find a record of the burial location, provided it took place after 1800 or so. Access to this information is via a volunteer doing a manual search of paper records, so it may take some time. If you would like us to help you to locate a burial, please get in touch and we will do our best.

St Mary's Church, Leake