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Benjamin Scott, Esq., F.R.A.S., 

Chamberlain of the City of London; First Chairman of the Surrey 

Congregational Union. 

















Nearly fifty years ago the Rev. John Waddington 
was asked by the newly-formed Surrey Congregational 
Union to prepare a history of its churches. Much 
history is made in half a century, especially in London 
and its vicinity, and for a long while it has been felt 
by the Union that the time had come to write anew the 
fascinating story. Three years ago the Executive 
entrusted the task into my hands. That task I have 
endeavoured to perform to the best of my ability. It 
has not been an easy work, but it has been a labour of 


Waddington in his preface refers to the great difficulty 
of obtaining full and authentic local information 
respecting our churches. I, too, have often found that 
only the baldest facts were accessible. But a greater 
difficulty still has been the task of selecting and con- 
densing within some four hundred and fifty pages 
material enough to fill half a dozen similar volumes. 
The tale of such a church as the Pilgrim Fathers' 
requires a volume to itself, and the same is true of such 
churches as Kingston, Guildford, Dorking, Mortlake 
and many others. 

One thing especially has been a matter of regret— that 
the limitations of space have made it impossible to give 


fuller reference to the laymen of our county. One 
cannot read the records of our churches without feeling 
intense admiration for the men who have in every 
generation done such noble work for Christ, none the 
less effective because it was quiet and unpretending. 
Though not called ministers, they have been ministers 
indeed. Again and again some family has been in 
the holy succession for several generations, and b}' 
staunch fidelity to conviction, and by devoted service, 
has made a church under the blessing of God a 
power in its neighbourhood. And that leads me to 
express the hope that one result of these and similar 
county histories may be to induce churches that have 
not already done so to search out and publish fuller 
records than can be attempted here. 

Unfortunately when this book was almost finished 
a complete breakdown in health laid the work aside. 
After more than a year it was taken up again to find 
that considerable condensation was necessary. In this 
I was assisted by the kind services of Rev. J. Alden 
Davies, of South Croydon, and Rev. J. H. Milnes, 
M.A., of Woking. Even then further condensation 
and revision was required, and in this the assistance 
was obtained of Rev. T. G. Crippen, of the Memorial 
Hall Library, who also kindly undertook to write the 
few remaining accounts (Hanover, Surrey Chapel, and 
some extinct churches), and see the work through the 
press. Mr. Crippen has also prepared the valuable map 
and appendices that accompany this volume. 

Acknowledgments are due to Principal E. Griffith- 


Jones for the account of Balham Church, and to Rev. 
Bernard Snell for that of Brixton, to Rev. W. Mottram 
for the sketch of Rev. Geo. Murphy, and to Mr. W. 
Chennell for the account of the Guildford stations. 

The illustrations of well-known ministers and laymen 
have been prepared from photos and engravings that 
appeared in the Year Books and Evangelical Magazine. 
It was thought best not to include the portraits of any 
living ministers, but an exception has been made in the 
case of that honoured veteran of Congregationalism, 
Dr. Guinness Rogers. The engravings of buildings are 
from blocks that have been kindly supplied by the 
churches whose names they bear, and in some instances 
by the Congregational Union of England and Wales, 
and from the British Congregationalism For the block 
of Mr. Rae we are indebted to the Surrey Times. 

The arrangement of the churches in this volume has 
been adopted after much consideration. It was felt 
that neither a purely alphabetical nor a chronological 
sequence was desirable. The county union divisions 
have therefore been taken, and within these areas the 
churches generally follow one another in the order in 
which they were founded. Mission stations follow the 
churches to which they belong. 

No one can write a book of this kind without being 
conscious of its deficiencies, but the greatest care has 
been taken to ensure accuracy. A list of authorities 
consulted appears upon another page. In addition to 
these I have in many cases been able to examine the 
church books and other documents. In most instances 



the MS. has been sent to someone best acquainted with 
the church's history for correction and remarks. In 
cases of conflicting accounts — and these are by no 
means rare — the best advice has been taken. 

In conclusion I desire to thank the many ministers 
and deacons who have so freely rendered valuable help, 
and to express a hope that the publication of this 
volume may lead to a deeper interest in the work of 
our churches, and the Union that binds them together. 


2, Vernon Road, 

East Sheen, S.W., 
March, 1908. 




Allbutt. — " History of Stockvvell Church." 

Allon.— " Life of Sherman." 

Anderson.—" History of Independent Dissenters at 

Bax — " Plundered Ministers of Surrey." 
Besse.— " Sufferings of the Quakers." 
Bogue and Bennett.—" History of Dissenters." 
Boyne. — " Token Coinages." 
Brayley. — " History of Surrey." 
Bright.—" History of Dorking." 
Brook. — " Lives of the Puritans." 
Caine, W. S., M.P., Biography of. 
Calamy.— " Nonconformists' Memorial," edited by 

S. Palmer. 
Christian World newspaper, file of. 
Church Magazines, Manuals, and Year Books, various. 
Congregational Historical Society, Transactions of. 
Congregational Year Books, Lists, Biographies, etc. 
Congregationalist, The. 
Dale. — " History of Congregationalism." 
Domestic State Papers in the Public Record Office. 
Evangelical Magazine. 
Farren. — "Jamaica Barn." 

" Ministry of Rev. Thos. Rosewell." 
Gentleman's Magazine. 


Hall, C. Newman. — Autobiography. 

Hanbury. — " Historical Research concerning the Most 
Ancient Congregational Church in England." 

Home Missionary Magazine. 

James. — " History of Litigation concerning Pres- 
byterian Chapels and Charities." 

Jerrold. — " Surrey." 

London Chapel Building Society Reports. 

London Congregational Union Reports. 

London Congregational Directory. 

Manning. — " History of Surrey." 

McCrie. — " Annals of English Presbyterianism." 

Monthly Repository. 

Morden. — " History of Tooting Graveney." 

MSS. (various) in Williams's Library. 

Neal. — " History of the Puritans." 

Pike.—" Dr. Parker and his Friends." 

Protestant Dissenters' 1 Magazine. 

Rogers, J. G. — Autobiography. 

Selden Society Papers. 

Shirley.—" Life of Rowland Hill." 

Simmonds.— " All about Battersea." 

Surrey Archaeological Society's Papers. 

Surrey Congregational Penny Magazine. 

Surrey Congregational Union Reports. 

Surrey Mission Reports. 

Waddington.— " Surrey Congregational History." 

Williamson, D.— Articles on Guildford Noncon- 
formity in Local Magazine. 

Wilson, Joshua.—" Life of Thomas Wilson." 

>> >> Papers in the Congregational 


Wilson, Walter.—" History of Dissenting Churches." 


The history of Surrey Congregationalism is for 
the most part told in the following records. But that 
history would not be entirely complete without some 
account of that organised Congregationalism that is 
outside any church, and yet holds them all in one 


Although not exclusively a Congregational society, 
the Surrey Mission has been so closely associated with 
our churches that it merits a reference in these pages. 

The Surrey Mission was formed in 1797 by Rev. 
James Bowden, of Tooting. Deeply concerned for the 
deplorably dark state of the county, he gathered together 
a number of ministers and Christian friends of various 
denominations with the object of propagating the 
gospel in those villages of the county where it was not 
preached. The first meeting was held at Tooting in 
June, 1797, when a committee was formed and prin- 
ciples and plans of work agreed upon. From the first 
it was resolved that the work should be purely evan- 
gelistic and undenominational. During the summer 
ministers of the county visited the villages, and in the 
winter the agents of the society were employed in 
house to house labours. Eventually chapels came to 
be established in various localities, which formed the 
centre of operations for surrounding villages. Amongst 
towns and villages worked at one time or another by the 
mission have been Epsom, Milford, Ash, Pain's Hill, 


Oxted, Shere, Gomshall, Felday, Haslemere, Addle- 
stone, Elstead, Sutton, Wormley, Normandy, Worp- 
lesdon, and many others. Some of these missions 
have developed into Congregational or Baptist churches, 
others are carried on as missions by neighbouring 

With the formation of the Surrey Union, and the 
growth of church life in the county, the special work of the 
mission became less needed, until to-day out of a slender 
endowment it only makes grants +o one or two stations 
in the county. But its record is a noble one. It 
was the pioneer of evangelistic work. Its agents have 
been amongst the most devoted men the county has 
known, and Nonconformity in many a rural district 
owes not only its strength, but its very existence, to the 
work of the Surrey Mission. 

After the Bicentenary Commemoration of St. Bar- 
tholomew's Day, 1662, that black day when some two 
thousand godly ministers of the Episcopal Church 
were deprived of their livings, it was felt that it would 
be a fitting memorial of the commemoration to form 
a Congregational Union for Surrey. For many years 
the Surrey Mission had been established, and had 
done splendid service in the evangelisation of the 
villages ; but this, as we have seen, was an unde- 
nominational effort, and confined itself necessarily to 
evangelistic work. It therefore left untouched important 
branches of Christian labour which in other counties 
were undertaken by Congregational associations. 

The want of such an organisation had long been felt. 
The isolation of many of the Congregational churches 
was a distinct source of weakness, and Nonconformity 
had made less progress in Surrey than any other 
county of England. It must be remembered, too, that 


at this time the London Union did not exist, so that 
the care of the weaker churches was a problem that 
called for immediate consideration. 

Accordingly a conference of representatives of the 
churches was held at Kingston in October, 1862, and 
again at York Road, Lambeth, on Tuesday, March 24, 
1863, when it was agreed that a Union should be 

The first meeting of the Union was held at Wey- 
bridge on June 9, 1863, at the house of Benjamin 
Scott, Esq., Chamberlain of the City of London. 
Eighty-two delegates attended, representing forty 
churches. A paper was read by Rev. R. \V. Betts, of 
Peckham, on " The Religious Condition of the Metro- 
politan District of the County," and Rev. A. E. Lord, 
of Hersham, dealt with the conditions of rural Surrey. 
The work that the Union might attempt was outlined 
by Rev. A. Mackennal, of Surbiton. Mr. Benjamin 
Scott was elected the first President, and Mr. J. W. 
Buckley, of Croydon, the first Treasurer. Revs. R. \Y. 
Betts and A. Mackennal, of Surbiton, were appointed 

For forty-five years the Union has pursued its way, 
endeavouring to carry out the work it assigned to 
itself "to promote the union and efficiency of the 
churches, and the spread of evangelical religion ; to 
advance the principles of Nonconformity ; and to 
uphold and enlarge civil and religious freedom." 

One important part of its work has been to aid the 
weaker churches of the county with grants of money. 
In this way new churches have been founded, young 
causes fostered and strengthened, and the work sus- 
tained in many districts where otherwise it would have 
been impossible. To-day the Union aids some twenty 

W. Marten Smith. Esq., 
Late Treasurer Surrey Congregational Union. 

Henry Jessey, M.A., 
Ejected Rector of St. George's, Southward 




This venerable church has long claimed to be the 
oldest representative of Congregationalism, not only in 
Surrey, but in England ; alleging an unbroken succes- 
sion from the closing years of the sixteentli century. 

The claim was first advanced, about 1820, by 
Benjamin Hanbury, the erudite compiler of " Historical 
Memorials of the Independents " ; and was strenuously 
maintained by the learned Dr. John Waddington. But 
a careful examination of documents unknown to those 
diligent investigators clearly shows that the origin of 
the church cannot be dated earlier than 1616 ; and that 
its historic continuity from that time to the present, 
though probable, cannot be regarded as altogether 
beyond dispute. It is proper, however, here to narrate 
in brief what may be accepted as certain about the 
genesis of Congregationalism in Southwark ; because, 
though continuity of organisation cannot be insisted 
on, moral and spiritual continuity are unquestionable. 

There were, in and about London, a considerable 
number of godly men and women who had been con- 
strained by conscience to separate from the communion 
of the " Church by Law Established " ; and, believing 



that the Church should be modelled on New Testament 
teaching, had formed a fellowship on something resem- 
bling Congregational lines at least as early as 1567. 
They met secretly in various places — in Islington, Gray's 
Inn Lane, near St. Bartholomew's Hospital, in Nicholas 
Lane in the city, at Deptford, Southwark, and St. 
George's Fields. Their leader, John Greenwood, was 
long imprisoned in the Fleet ; and during his temporary 
release, in 1592, a party of them assembled in the house 
of Roger Rippon in Southwark, organised a regular 
Congregational Church, and appointed elders and other 
officers. Persecution speedily thinned their ranks. Two 
of their number — Greenwood and Henry Barrowe — 
were put to death on April 6, 1593, and the saintly 
patriot, John Penry, on May 29 of the same year. 
Rippon and several others died in prison ; and of the 
remainder, the greater part found refuge in Holland. A 
few remaining, and some of these, still holding fellow- 
ship with the exiles, are heard of as late as 1632. 

Another Congregational Church was gathered by 
Henry Jacob in 1616. He had been educated at St. 
Mary Hall, Oxford, had held a Church living at 
Cheriton in Kent, had been persecuted and imprisoned 
for Puritanism, had migrated to Zealand, and had 
been at Leyden, where he had learned from that grand 
old Puritan, John Robinson, his beliefs as to Church 
government. In 1616 he returned to England with the 
design of forming a church upon the model of what he 
had seen in Holland. In Southwark he found the 
material to his hand, and laid the foundation of what is 
believed to be the oldest Independent Church in Eng- 
land. The brethren appointed a solemn day of fasting 
and prayer, for the blessing of God upon their under- 
taking; and, having made open confession of faith, with 


joined hands, solemnly covenanted with each other in 
the presence of Almighty God to walk in His ways and 
ordinances, as He had revealed, or should reveal unto 
them. Mr. Jacob was chosen pastor, and others were 
appointed to the office of deacon, with fasting and 
prayer, and imposition of hands. A few days after- 
wards they notified their proceedings to " the Brethren 
here of the Antient Church." Little is known of Mr. 
Jacob's pastorate, but it is interesting to remember that 
during this time the church provided the London con- 
tingent of the first passengers in the Mayflower, in 
1620, so earning its right to be called " The Church of 
the Pilgrim Fathers." Four years afterwards Mr. Jacob 
went to Virginia, where he shortly after died. 

Henry Jacob was succeeded by John Lothrop, or 
Lathrop, who had been a clergyman in Kent, but had 
renounced his orders. During his ministry the church 
was often disturbed ; and on one occasion, at the house 
of Humphrey Barnet, a brewer's clerk in Blackfriars, 
forty-two of the congregation were apprehended and 
only eighteen escaped, one of those arrested being the 
celebrated Praise-God Barbone. They were confined 
in various prisons, in one of which they had as com- 
panions two members of " the Antient Church," i.e., 
that of 1567 or 1592. 

They continued in prison about two years, and were 
then released on bail, except Mr. Lothrop, for whom no 
favour could be obtained. However, he petitioned King 
Charles for liberty to depart from the kingdom, and in 
1634 left for New England with about thirty of his 
people. The church had before this grown so numerous 
that the members could not safely meet in one place ; 
and some, differing from the rest on the subject of infant 
baptism, desired a friendly dismissal so as to form a new 

£ 2 


communion. This was given, and on September 12, 
1633, a Baptist Church was organised in Wapping 
under the pastorate of John Spilsbury. This is now 
represented by the church in Stoke Newington, which 
formerly met for many years in Devonshire Square. 

After this secession the remnant renewed their vows, 
and were so steadfast in their faith that in spite of perse- 
cution scarcely one of them deserted to the Established 

Both Neal, in his " History of the Puritans," and Dr. 
Waddington, in his " Surrey Congregational History," 
name, as Lothrop's successor, John Canne, the famous 
compiler of marginal references to the Bible. But this 
is now known to be a mistake ; Canne's connection was 
with another church to which we shall presently refer, 
and before Lothrop's departure he had removed to 
Holland. There are notices of him in two of his books, 
published in 1632 and 1634, as "Pastor of the Antient 
English Church at Amsterdam." 

Lothrop's successor was Henry Jessey, son of a York- 
shire minister. He had graduated at Cambridge, and 
held a benefice near York, but was displaced for refus- 
ing to use the prescribed ceremonies. Being in the 
neighbourhood of Uxbridge, he was earnestly importuned 
to remove to London and take charge of the separated 
congregation. About midsummer, 1637, " he answered 
their desires, came and joined himself to them," and 
laboured among them for twenty-five years. In 1639 ne 
visited Wales, and assisted in organising the church at 
Llanvaches, which still exists. Under the Long Parlia- 
ment he was appointed rector of St. George's, Southwark, 
where he preached in the morning, and to the " Gathered 
Church " in the evening. Where the latter then met is 
not known, but it has lately been ascertained that in 


1650 — 54 they met in Swan Alley, Coleman Street. 
Jessey also preached once a week at Ely House, and in 
the Savoy to the wounded soldiers. 

During Mr. Jessey's ministry, in 1638, another 
Baptist secession took place. A little later the congre- 
gation had again become too numerous to meet in one 
place ; so in May, 1640, they divided themselves equally 
and became two congregations, one continuing with 
Mr. Jessey, and the other joining themselves to Mr. 
Praise-God Barbone, who obtained such celebrity in 
Cromwell's Parliament. Five years after, Mr. Jessey 
himself became a convert to Baptist views, and was 
immersed. Some dissension ensued; but an advisory 
council decided that the case was one for mutual for- 
bearance. After the Restoration he was ejected from 
St. George's and twice imprisoned. Crosby says he 
died in prison, but Calamy gives his death as five or 
six months after his release. He lived a single life, and 
was among the most charitable of men. 

The course of events after the death of Jessey is 
difficult to trace. Part of the church reorganised 
themselves on strict Baptist lines, and in 1674 had a 
minister of that persuasion named James Fitten, who 
was assisted by Henry Forty. A few years later these 
are believed to have united with another Baptist 
Church, which subsequently coalesced with that in 
Devonshire Square. It has been asserted with some 
confidence that the paedobaptist remnant united with 
a church whose pastor was Stephen More, and that he 
was succeeded by Thomas Wadsworth. But recent 
investigations show that this could not have been the 
case. It will be convenient here briefly to sketch the 
history of More's fellowship. It was gathered in 1621, 
quite independently of Jacob's church, by one Hubbard, 


who was succeeded by John Canne, before referred to. 
He removed to Holland about 1632, afterwards 
ministered in Bristol as a Baptist and Fifth Monarchy 
Man, and was still living in 1664. After his removal 
the church chose Mr. Samuel How, said to have been 
a cobbler. Mr. How is believed to have been a 
member of Lothrop's church. He does not seem to 
have had any pretence to learning, and published a 
sermon under the title of " The sufficiency of the 
Spirit's teaching without human learning " ; but was 
evidentlv well stored with religious knowledge. One 
account of him says " His manner of studying on a 
text was, as he sat in his shop mending of shoes, his 
Bible lay by him, and when he thought fit, he looked 
therein and considered thereof." 

Some of the editions of Mr. How's discourse have 
the following lines in the title page : — 

'• What Hoiv ? how now ? hath How such learning found, 
To throw art's curious image to the ground ? 
Cambridge and Oxford may their glory now 
Vail to a Cobbler if they know but How. 
Though big with art, they cannot overtop 
The Spirit's teaching in a Cobbler's shop." 

Mr. How ministered to the congregation for seven years, 
but was at last cited to the courts and excommuni- 
cated. He died in prison about 1640, and not having 
received episcopal benediction was buried in the high- 
way near St. Agnes la Clair. 

The next to minister to the little flock was Stephen 
More, a citizen of good repute and a man of consider- 
able substance, who had for several years held the 
office of deacon. In January, 1641, they were disturbed 
by the Marshal of the King's Bench, and a number of 
them taken before Sir John Lenthall, who committed 


them to the Clink prison. It is said that six or seven 
of them were brought before the House of Lords, who 
ordered them to be admonished to repair to their 
several parish churches. Neal says that the Lords 
treated them courteously, and asked where their 
assembly was; and that the following day three or 
four of the peers went to the meeting contributed 
liberally to the collection, signified their satisfaction 
with what they had heard and seen, and their inclina- 
tion to come again. But the second visit was never 

Pa More's meeting-house was in Deadman's Place-so 
called from a burial ground in its vicinity-which forms 
part of what is now called Park Street. After the 
Restoration he was imprisoned, and his congregation 
scattered; but under the Indulgence of 1672 he was 
licensed (May 20) as an Independent teacher in the 
house of Barnabas Bloxon, in Winchester Yard near 
St Mary Overies. He died in 1684, and his church, 
having had in succession three other pastors, was dis- 
banded in 1705. . 

We now revert to the Church of the Pilgrims. As 
above stated, after the death of Jessey part of the 
society became a strict Baptist fellowship; and it is 
believed that the remainder constituted at least the 
nucleus of the church which, after the indulgence, 
enjoyed the ministry of Thomas Wadsworth. Wads- 
worth was a Southwark man, who, under the 
Commonwealth, occupied the sequestered rectory of 
Newington Butts. This, after the Restoration, he 
relinquished to the former incumbent, becoming curate 
at St. Lawrence Poulteney, from whence he was 
ejected by the Act of Uniformity. Thenceforward he 
resided chiefly at Theobalds, Herts, where he preached 


to a private congregation, and also ministered occasion- 
ally to his old parishioners at Newington. Before 
1669, however, he had built a wooden meeting house 
in Globe Alley, Maid Lane; which is mentioned in 
Sheldon's return of Conventicles in that year. His 
name does not appear among the Southwark licensees 
in 1672, probably because he resided elsewhere ; but 
there can be little doubt that " the house of George 
Ewen in Southwark " was the Maid Lane meeting 
house. There was also a licence to Andrew Parsons, 
the ejected minister of Wem, Salop, for his house in 
Deadman's Place " and any other licensed place." 
Now Ewen, so far as is known, was not a minister, 
while Wadsworth and Parsons are known to have been 
colleagues ; and we are distinctly told that after the 
Indulgence Wadsworth ceased his ministration at 
Newington Butts, and divided his labours between 
Theobalds and Southwark. Whether the meeting in 
Deadman's Place was in a private house, or in the 
building formerly occupied by More, is unknown ; or 
whether a new meeting house was built at that time, 
or subsequently. Certainly there was a substantial 
building with galleries there in 1690. Now, with 
regard to the historic continuity of the church, it is 
noteworthy that all the licensed meetings in South- 
wark can be accounted for except these two in Maid 
Lane and Deadman's Place. It is, therefore, not un- 
reasonable to suppose that one or both represented the 
paedobaptist section of Jessey's church, possibly sup- 
plemented by some adherents of Wadsworth from 
Newington Butts, and some members of More's 
scattered flock. It is no objection that both Wads- 
worth and Parsons were licensed as Presbyterians — 
descriptive terms in the licences are very unreliable ; 


More, for example, is licensed as an Independent, and 
his meeting-house as Presbyterian. 

Wadsworth is described as a man of unusual ability, 
judgment, and piety ; a strict Sabbatarian, and very 
charitable. He was accustomed to make collections 
for distressed ministers, both at Theobalds and South- 
wark. He had but feeble health, and died October 29, 
1676, at the age of forty-six. 

After Wadsworth's death, Parsons removed to Bridge 
Street, Covent Garden, and died in 1684. Whether 
the meeting in Deadman's Place was temporarily dis- 
continued we do not know. The celebrated Richard 
Baxter occupied the pulpit in Maid Lane for several 
months in 1676—77 : he was invited to the pastorate, 
but declined ; " however," he says, " I preached many 
months in peace, there being no justice willing to 
disturb us." 

The next pastor was James Lambert. Little is known 
of him, except that he was a popular preacher and had 
a large congregation. He was one of four ministers 
chosen in 1678 to preach an evening lecture at a coffee- 
house in Exchange Alley, Cornhill ; this lecture was 
supported by some of the most considerable merchants 
in London. Mr. Lambert died, at the age of forty-five, 
on August 9, 1689, and was buried in Bunhill Fields, 
where a long Latin inscription records his virtues. 

On the death of Mr. Lambert a division took place. 
Part of the congregation desired Nathaniel Oldfield, son 
of an ejected minister, as their pastor; while others pre- 
ferred Jonathan Owen (or Wowen), who had been 
chaplain to a nobleman, and refused a good benefice 
offered on condition of conformity. The former section 
continued to occupy the building in Maid Lane, and 
were regarded as Presbyterians, though as a matter of 


fact Independent. Mr. Oldfield ministered to them for 
six years, died in 1696, and was succeeded by Thomas 
Kentish, son of an ejected minister of the same name, 
who died in 1700. He was followed by Joshua 
Oldfield, D.D., brother of Nathaniel, who ministered 
till his death in 1729. He had several assistants, one 
of whom was Benjamin Grosvenor, afterwards the 
popular minister of Crosby Hall. Another was 
Obadiah Hughes, D.D., who became co-pastor in 1721, 
and at length succeeded to the sole pastorate. In 1743 
he removed to Westminster, after which the society fell 
on evil times ; one John Ward, chosen pastor in 1747, 
adopted Unitarian opinions and scattered the church, 
which was finally dispersed in 1752. 

The other section, with Mr. Owen, frankly professed 
Congregationalism. They met in Deadman's Place — 
either in a newly-built meeting house, or in that for- 
merly used by Parsons. Owen was a man of considerable 
wealth ; and about 1694 gave to the church the four 
silver communion cups which are still in use. For a 
short time he was assisted by Philip King, who died in 
1699. In 1702, owing to some disagreement, Mr. Owen 
resigned. He afterwards became a Baptist, and died 
at Bristol in 1725, aged 80. He was succeeded at 
Deadman's Place by John Killinghall, from Beccles, 
who remained with the church nearly forty years. He 
was one of the subscribing members of the Salters' 
Hall Assembly in 1719. He is described as a talented 
man and a good preacher, but his popularity declined ; 
and at his death, in January, 1740, the congregation 
was greatly diminished. Walter Wilson affirms that 
the church was dissolved, and that the Zoar Street 
congregation engaged the deserted building ; but 
Hanbury maintains that the two churches coalesced, 


which seems the more probable from the continuous 
use of Owen's communion cups. 

The Zoar Street Church originated with John Chester, 
ejected in 1662 from Wetherley, in Leicestershire. He 
ministered privately in Southwark from 1665, was 
licensed in 1672 as Presbyterian teacher at a house in 
Maid Lane, and built the meeting house in Zoar Street 
in 1687. He was one of the founders of the Protestant 
Dissenters' School in Gravel Lane. He died in 169b. 
Little is known of his successor, Henry Read, who 
was followed in 1698 by Samuel Palmer, famous for his 
defence of Dissenters' Academies against the attacks 
of Samuel Wesley of Epworth. In 1710, however, he 
conformed to the Established Church, to which his 
after-life brought no credit. His assistant from 1704, 
and successor, was the learned Dr.Zephaniah Marryatt, 
who, with his people, removed to Deadman's Place in 
1740 ; uniting, it is believed, with the feeble remnant of 
the Pilgrims' Church. 

Zoar Street Chapel, it may be remarked, was con- 
verted to secular uses ; and, having been turned into a 
workshop, was pulled down towards the middle of the 
nineteenth century. 

Dr. Marryatt presided over the united churches to the 
end of his life ; and from 1744 was one of the tutors of 
the Academy then located at Plasterers' Hall, but after- 
wards removed to Homerton. He died September 15, 
1754, only a few hours after preaching to his congrega- 
tion from the words " Casting all your care upon Him, 
for He careth for you." 

From 1755 to 1762 Timothy Lamb held the pastorate. 
He was a native of Wimborne, in Dorsetshire, where 
he first began to preach. He was invited to settle in 
that town, but declined, and shortly after accepted the 


invitation to Deadman's Place. He was one of the 
ministers who waited upon George III. with the address 
of the Dissenters upon his accession to the throne. His 
health failed and he retired to Dorchester, where he 
continued to preach with great acceptance till his 
death, August 21, 1771, at the age of thirty-nine years. 

In 1762 Dr. James Watson was called to the vacant 
pulpit. For several years he acted as secretary to the 
Board of Protestant Dissenting Ministers of the three 
denominations. He was well versed in all legal matters 
relating to Dissenters; and to his other abilities he 
seems to have added considerable skill in physic. 

Dr. John Humphries succeeded him, March 3, 1784. 
During this ministry the congregation severed their 
long connection with Deadman's Place, and removed 
to a chapel in Union Street, Borough, a good substantial 
brick building with three galleries. Dr. Humphries 
remained with the church for thirty-five years, re- 
peatedly declining invitations to important churches. 
However, in 1819 he accepted the head-mastership of 
Mill Hill Grammar School, and died in 1837. 

Rev. William Campbell Kidd was the next minister. 
His pastorate, which commenced February 2, 1820, 
was troubled and unhappy, and of no long continuance. 
He was followed, January 2g, 1823, by Rev. John 
Arundel, for many years the faithful and laborious 
Home Secretary of the London Missionary Society. 

Twenty years later, Rev. John Lyon was appointed 
co-pastor, and, on the resignation of Mr. Arundel in 
1845, became sole pastor of the Church. But in a few 
months he was invited to Hadleigh, in Suffolk. His 
retirement from Union Street seems to have caused 
great disappointment, although there appears no reason 
to blame Mr. Lyon. 

Rev John Waddington, D.D., Southwark. 


In 1846 Dr. Waddington, the well-known historian 
of Congregationalism, accepted the charge of the church. 
Things were then at a low ebb, financial difficulties 
harassed the members, and the lease of the premises 
had nearly expired. Many expected that when the 
lease ran out the Church must be dissolved. 

But Dr. Waddington's ministry put new heart into 
the people, and on September 2, 1850, it was resolved 
to secure the perpetuity of the church, and erect a 
memorial building in commemoration of the Pilgrim 

Although the avowed sympathy of Congregationalism 
was behind the scheme, there were great difficulties in 
the way. Dr. Waddington says : " There was no 
kindling of generous enthusiasm ; by many the design 
was scouted in ignorance as one of strange eccentricity, 
and by others it was covertly resented as a claim to 
invidious distinction." Every step of this enterprise 
was taken in the face of new difficulties. At one 
time the church was upon the verge of financial ruin, 
and only saved by a gift from a widow in humble 

On the expiration of the lease, November, 1855, the 
services were carried on at 37, Bridge House Place, 
Newington Causeway. One Sabbath morning, Octo- 
ber 19, 1856, the congregation found the door locked 
against them. They had to wait in the street, and it 
looked as though this historic church would there and 
then be finally dispersed. But in less than ten minutes 
shelter was offered in an adjoining house and the 
services resumed. 

On May 29, 1856, the foundation stone of the 
memorial building was laid by Alderman Wire; but 
money collected for the object was withheld, and the 


demand of the builder could not be met. Relief came 
unexpectedly from the United States, and the work 

It was decided to build first the Pilgrim Hall, which 
was commenced on October 29, 1856. Again the fund 
collected was not available, and the following spring 
the builder gave notice that the work would close, and 
served the minister and committee with a writ for £962. 
In their distress they took refuge in prayer. £200 was 
raised by the people themselves, and a second and 
larger instalment by William Armitage, of Manchester, 
a friend of the minister. 

Then some influential friends in London took up the 
case, and on January i, 1858, a statement was issued 
signed by Messrs. Apsley, Pellatt, Henry Ellington, 
Joshua Field, Samuel Morley, and Alderman Wire 
expressing sympathy with Dr. Waddington, and heading 
a special subscription. This, with funds obtained by 
Dr. Waddington in America, discharged all liabilities 
with the exception of £800, which was transferred from 
an endowment fund for the use of the minister, and 
used as a temporary loan. At this time Mr. Wire and 
Mr. Pellatt died, and again defeat seemed to threaten 
the enterprise. But a new friend was found in Mr. 
Benjamin Scott, who devoted himself to the comple- 
tion of the work. A new trust was formed for that 
purpose, consisting of Mr. Samuel Morley, Mr. William 
Armitage and Mr. Scott, and aided by the London 
Congregational Chapel Building Society the building of 
the Memorial Church was recommenced. The founda- 
tion stone was laid July 22, 1863, and the building 
opened for public worship May 25, 1864. 

Dr. Waddington retired in 1871, and died in 1880. 
He was succeeded by Rev. A. F. Barfield, minister of a 

Church of the Pilgrim Fathers, Southwar 

Opened 1864. 


church in Deverell Street, which had seceded from the 
Wesleyans in 1864, and now united with the Pilgrim 
Church. He removed to Walsall in 1879, an d was 
followed by Rev. Lloyd Harris. 

Mr. Harris did good service, largely on social lines, 
but the spiritual work was not forgotten. He died in 
1883, and his funeral was one of the most remarkable 
displays of public regard ever seen in the neighbourhood. 

Rev. F. Barclay was the next minister. He com- 
menced his work on June 29, 1884, and continued on 
the same lines. He was very generously assisted by 
Mr. W. J. Palmer, a wealthy member of the Society of 

In 1892, Rev. F. Docker succeeded. Mr. Docker had 
previously held pastorates at Solihull and West Brom- 
wich. For thirteen years he " held the fort " amid 
the ever increasing difficulties of South London Church 
life, but resigned the pastorate in 1905. The conditions 
at this time were very depressing, and fears were enter- 
tained as to the possible extinction of this historic 
church. But such dishonour to the memory of the 
Pilgrims was averted by timely aid from a few private 
sympathisers ; and after an interval of some months 
Rev. George Dent undertook the difficult but honourable 
post. Mr. Dent was a Cheshunt student, who had 
ministered for four years at Epping, but was fully 
acquainted with the conditions of life in working-class 
districts of South London. He took charge towards 
the end of 1906, and by the grace of God continues 
to this day. 

It may be convenient to exhibit in the form of a 
diagram the rather intricate history of the Pilgrim 
church, and those with which it has been historically 

"Brethren of the Separation," 1567. 

Fitz's Church, formed in 
Bridewell Prison, 1568. 

Meetings in Islington, 
Deptford, &c, 1576. 

Church formed in the house of 
Roger Rippon, 1592. 

Remnant of Ancient Church in 
London, last heard of 1632. 

Exiled Church in Amsterdam, 
1594, following. 

Church gathered by H. Jacob, 1616. 
J. Lothrop, 1624. 
Secession un»ler Spilsbury. 1633. 

H. Jessey, 1634. 
Further Baptist Secession, 1638. | 
Barbone, 1640. | 

Later history 

of this church 


(Jessey died, 1663.) 

W. Kiffin. I m _ Mr , I . 

Jas. Fitten and T. Wadsworth and 

H. Forty, 1674. A. Parsons, 1672. " 

Baptist I 

Church R- Baxter, 1676. 

in Petty, After 1678. I 

France. J. Lambert, 1677. 

Hubbard's Church, 1621. 

J. Canne. 


S. Howe, about 1633. 


S. More, 1640. 

(Church scattered, 
.1663; revived, 1672.) 

N. Oldfield, 1690. Jon. Owen, 1690. 

1 I 

T. Kentish, 1696. 

Josh. Oldfield, D.D., 1700. 

J. Killinghall, 1702. 

Obadiah Hughes, D.D., 1729. 

W. Bushnall, 1744. 

John Ward, 1747. 
Church dissolved, 1752. 

(Killinghall died, 1740.) 

(More died, 1684.) 





(Church dissolved, 1705.) 

Deverell Street : 

(Originally Wesleyan.) 

N. T. Langridge, 1864. 

R Seddon, 1865. 

G. O. Frost, 1866. 

A F. Barfield, 1870. 


Zoar Street : 
J. Chester, 1665. 

H. Read, 1694. 

S. Palmer, 1698. 


Z. Marryatt, 1710. 

T. Lamb, 1754. 
J. Watson, D.D., 1762. 

J. Humphries, 1784. 

W. C. Kidd, 1820. 

J. Arundel, 1823. 

J. Lyon, 1845. 


J. Waddington, D.D., 1846. 

(Retired 1871.) 

Lloyd Harris, 1880 

F. Barclay, 1884. 

F. Docker, 1892 

G. Dent, 1906. 


Note —The dotted lines indicate that the connection, though probable, is not absolutely certain. 




It is generally admitted that the founder of this 
cause was the Rev. John Maynard, M.A., who built the 
old meeting house in 1657. Mr. Maynard was a 
graduate of Queen's College, Oxford, a member of the 
Westminster Assembly, a preacher before the Long 
Parliament, and an assistant commissioner for 
removing scandalous ministers. In 1646 he was 
appointed to the sequestered vicarage of Camberwell. 
His Puritanism made him unpopular with some of his 
parishioners, who tried unsuccessfully to remove him 
on the ground that he had a living in Sussex. How- 
ever, according to local tradition he was " forced bv 
religious intolerance to resign the vicarage," and his 
successor was appointed in 1653. He then took up his 
residence in what is now called Meeting House Lane, 
where he preached in his own house, till the Old 
meeting house which gave its name to the thorough- 
fare was erected. We are not told when he left 
Peckham. The living in Sussex, already referred to, 
was Mayfield. He was appointed there in 1625, and 
ejected in 1662. Thither he returned on leaving 
Peckham, and died amongst his old parishioners, June 7, 
1665. He was buried in Mayfield Churchyard ; a Latin 
inscription on his tombstone speaks of him as " The 
Light and Ornament of the Parish for forty years." 

Waddington says that Maynard was followed by 
Rev. Bartholomew Ashwood, the ejected rector of 
Axminster in Devon. But from some ancient records 



of the church there, which were published in 1874, 
Ash wood appears to have organised a Congregational 
Church in Axminster, in 1660, and to have ministered 
there until his death in 1678. Probably he may have 
visited Peckham and preached there occasionally, or he 
may have been confounded with his son, John Ashwood, 
a subsequent minister of the church. The history of 
the church during the years tha*: followed Maynard's 
retirement is obscure. There is no mention of any 
meeting at Peckham or Camberwell in Sheldon's list of 
Conventicles, published in 1669, nor was any place 
licensed under the Indulgence of 1672. It would seem 
therefore that the meeting house was for a time dis- 
used, and if any Nonconformist worship was carried on, 
it must have been in secret. The next minister of 
whom we have any notice is Rev. Joseph Osborne, who 
had held the vicarage of Benenden in Kent. He was 
highly appreciated there, and after trial by Cromwell's 
commissioners his appointment was confirmed. At the 
Restoration he was strongly urged to conform ; and 
the patron of the living, a hearty Royalist, refused to 
present anyone in his place. But Osborne replied that 
" faith and a good conscience would stand him in more 
stead than a hundred livings." After his ejectment in 
1662 he still persisted in his Nonconformity, though 
the Dean of Rochester offered him a better benefice 
than that of which he had been deprived. After several 
removals he took up his abode at Brighton, where on 
May 8, 1672, he was licensed under the Indulgence as 
an Independent preacher, and ministered to a settled con- 
gregation for nine years. In 1681, being again harassed 
for his Nonconformity, he came to Peckham, where he 
continued to preach till 1689. He then removed to 
Ashford in Kent, and afterwards held pastorates at 


Tenterden and Barsted. From the latter he retired on 
account of infirmity, and ended his days at Staplehurst 
on December 28, 17 14, at the age of eighty-five. 

Rev. John Beaumont followed. He had been a 
student of Morton's Academy, Newington Green, and 
was privately ordained, with several other ministers, in 
1689. Soon afterwards he came to Peckham, where 
he remained till his removal to Battersea in 1698. 
Afterwards he went to Deptford, where he ministered 
till his death in 1736. 

His successor was the Rev. John Ashwood, son of 
Bartholomew Ashwood of Axminster. He was born in 
the same year in which the meeting house was built ; 
and studied under Theophilus Gale, in his Academy on 
Newington Green. For some time he was a school- 
master at Axminster and Chard. 

Ashwood was involved in the Duke of Monmouth's 
rebellion, and sentenced to death by Jeffreys, but " was 
saved from execution by the means usually employed 
in such cases at the needy court." After holding a 
pastorate at Exeter, and preaching in Hoxton and 
Spitalfields, he came to Peckham in 1698, where he 
died September 22, 1706, aged forty-nine. The only 
information that we have of the church during the next 
ten years is from the list of meeting houses in England, 
compiled by Dr. John Evans in 1717, where we learn 
that the pastorate was held by one George Davy, who 
removed to Moorfields in 1716. 

He was followed by the celebrated Dr. Samuel 
Chandler, who was the son of a minister at Hungerford 
(afterwards at Bath). He studied first under John 
Moore at Bridgwater, and afterwards under Samuel 
Jones at Gloucester. There he formed life-long friend- 
ships with two fellow-students named Butler and 

c 2 



Seeker, both of whom conformed to the Established 
Church, and became, one, Bishop of Durham, and 
author of the immortal " Analogy of Religion," and the 
other Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Chandler spent some time at the University of 
Leyden ; and in 1716 was chosen pastor of the Church 
in Peckham. The next year, the lease of the old 
meeting house having expired, the congregation 
removed to a new edifice on the site now occupied 
by Hanover Chapel. Three years later Mr. Chandler, 
having suffered seriously by the notorious " South Sea 
Bubble," endeavoured to supplement his rather meagre 
stipend by opening a bookseller's shop in the Poultry, 
which business he carried on, conjointly with his 
pastorate, for several years. During this time he was 
associated with Dr. Nathaniel Lardner in a weekly 
lecture at the Old Jewry meeting house on the 
Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion. 

From 1726 to 1729 he acted as assistant minister to 
Rev. Thomas Leavesley at Old Jewry, and in the latter 
year left Peckham altogether to become his co-pastor. 
Chandler was a man of great learning, and published 
many valuable works. He received diplomas of D.D. 
from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, was 
a Fellow of the Royal Society, and of the Society of 
Antiquaries. He died May 8, 1766, in the seventy-third 
year of his age, and was buried at Bunhill Fields. 

Rev. Thomas Hadfield, M.D., was the next minister. 
He was ordained as co-pastor in 1726, and when Dr. 
Chandler left in 1729 became full pastor. He died at 
the age of forty-six on February 21, 1741. 

He was followed by Rev. John Milner, D.D. He is 
believed to have been a Somerset man, and was 
educated under the Rev. John Moore, at Bridgwater. 


His wife was a daughter of one of the Taunton maids 
who, in 1685, under the direction of the patriotic 
schoolmistress, Miss Blake, embroidered the Monmouth 
banner. Fortunately for her she was removed from 
the school before the actual presentation. The loca- 
tion of Dr. Milner's first pastorate is not known, but in 
1722 he ministered to a congregation at Yeovil, where 
he also kept a grammar school. He came to Peckham 
on Dr. Hadfield's death, and set up a boarding school 
in Meeting House Lane. Amongst his ushers was 
Oliver Goldsmith. 

He was a man of scholarly attainments and a 
popular preacher, and gathered around him many 
persons of social standing and culture. Among them 
was Chief Justice Copeland, who contributed liberally 
to the enlargement of the meeting house. Dr. Milner 
died June 24, 1757, at the age of 69, and was buried in 
Camberwell churchyard. 

He was succeeded in August, 1758, by the Rev. 
Samuel Billingsley, son of Richard Billingsley, pastor 
at Whitchurch, Hants, and grandson of Nicholas 
Billingsley, who had been ejected by the Act of 
Uniformity from Weobly, Herefordshire. He was 
ordained at Marlborough in 1725 ; removed thence to 
Ashwick, Somerset, where he continued eighteen 
years ; thence to Bradford-on-Avon, where he minis- 
tered for ten years. At Peckham he was greatly 
beloved for his wisdom, zeal and kindness of heart. In 
1770 he retired to Bath, where he ended his days. 

After Mr. Billingsley removed to Bath, the pulpit 
was supplied by various preachers, but principally by 
the son of the late minister, and by Rev. Richard 
Jones, both of whom seem to have been candidates for 
the vacant position. Mr. Jones was invited and 


commenced his ministry February 13, 1770. He had 
been a pupil of Dr. Doddridge, and subsequently 
minister at Cambridge and Crosby Hall. He is 
described as a ripe scholar, a fine preacher, and a 
saintly man ; but he held Arian views, and his ministry 
on the whole was a failure. 

During his pastorate the freehold of the building was 
secured, the lease granted in 1717 having been only 
for sixty years ; and the property was put in trust. 
But the congregation steadily dwindled, and towards 
the end the members could be counted on one's 
fingers. Mr. Jones died on September 30, 1800, in the 
seventy-third year of his age. 

Soon after Mr. Jones's death the church officers, 
being disappointed of a supply, sent to Homerton 
College for a student. A young man of nineteen was 
sent, who, knowing that Arian teaching had long pre- 
vailed, preached a warm evangelical sermon. Much to 
his surprise, he was asked to repeat the visit, and 
ultimately was invited to the pastorate. Thus began 
the memorable ministry of William Bengo Collyer, 
which continued fifty-two years. He was ordained on 
November 17, 1801. At his first communion service, 
January, 1802, five new members were added to the 
ten who previously formed the entire fellowship. 
Thenceforth the growth of the church was rapid, and 
in a year's time the congregation numbered 500. 
Prayer meetings and a week-night lecture were initi- 
ated ; a Sunday school was commenced in 1804, and two 
years later a day school on the Lancasterian plan. In 
1807 M r « Collyer preached a series of sermons on 
" Scripture Facts," which, being published, formed the 
first of seven volumes (the latest of them in 1823), 
which together constitute a valuable course of Christian 


Apologetic. These sermons attracted much attention, 
and in the lists of subscribers appear the names of two 
princes, a lord chancellor, several peers, and at least 
six bishops. 

In 1808 Mr. Collyer, then only twenty-six years old, 
received from the University of Edinburgh a diploma 
of D.D., which is said to have come "through the 
hands of H.R.H. the Duke of Kent." About this time 
commenced that acquaintance with members of the 
royal family, the origin of which has never been clearly 
explained, which grew into a warm personal friendship 
with the Dukes of Kent and Sussex, especially the 
former. Of this friendship many apocryphal stories 
are told, but it is certain that the two princes frequently 
attended Dr. Collyer's ministry, and there is some 
authority for the statement that in her early childhood 
Queen Victoria was an occasional playmate of his only 

In 1812 Dr. Collyer published a collection of hymns, 
nearly a thousand in number, including about sixty of 
his own compositions. The book was one of unusual 
merit for its day, and a few of the original hymns are 
still in common use. In January, 1814, he undertook 
the Sunday afternoon services at Salters' Hall, an 
ancient Presbyterian Church where, under Arian and 
Unitarian teaching, the congregation had dwindled to a 
handful. Here, as at Peckham, Dr. Collyer's ministry 
led to both numerical and spiritual revival. But in 
June, 1825, he found it necessary to restrict his labours 
to Peckham ; Salters' Hall again declined, and in a few 
years was closed. 

In 1817 the Peckham meeting house, built just a 
hundred years before, gave place to the present more 
commodious structure. " Hanover Chapel," so named 


in compliment to the royal family, was opened on 
June 17, Dr. Collyer preaching in the morning, and 
W. Joy, of Bath, in the evening. The Duke of Sussex 
was present at both services. The organ is said to have 
been given by the Duke of Kent. 

Up to this time the Peckham dissenters had always 
been reputed Presbyterians, though practically Inde- 
pendent. Dr. Collyer was an Independent by conviction, 
but scarcely a Congregationalist. He was somewhat 
autocratic, and had no liking for Church meetings. If 
he would have conformed to the Established Church 
the highest dignities would have been within his reach ; 
but notwithstanding courtly associations he steadily 
adhered to the principles of Evangelical Noncon- 

In later years Dr. Collyer became weary of popularity, 
considering that God's work was best advanced by 
steady, regular, organised labour. Though by no means 
free from personal vanity, he was kind and gentle to an 
extreme, " his heart and purse ever open to the cry of 
the needy." Latterly he published little except occa- 
sional sermons ; but in 1838, when the Dissenters' 
Marriage Act was passed, he issued a useful manual of 
liturgical forms for marriage, baptism, burial, &c, 
with about ninety original hymns for sacramental 
and ceremonial occasions, and for the use of the 
sick. In 1846, increasing feebleness necessitated an 
assistant, who was found in the person of Rev. H. 
Gamble, from Margate. He was installed as co-pastor 
on November 8 of that year, and rendered valuable 
service for about six years, after which he removed to 

On entering on the fiftieth year of his ministry, Dr. 
Collyer preached a remarkable sermon from Acts xxvi. 

Rev. Wm. Bengo Collyer, D.D., LL.D., Peckiiam. 


22-3, in which he solemnly appealed to all who had 
ever heard him whether he had at any time swerved 
from the doctrine laid down, and the profession made, 
at his ordination. About this time he received from the 
church, as a mark of esteem and affection, a portrait 
of himself painted by H. W. Pickersgill, R.A. 

On May 1, 1853, Rev. R. W. Betts, from New College, 
entered on the duties of assistant minister ; and for the 
few months that ensued the most affectionate relations 
obtained between him and his venerable senior. Dr. 
Collyer preached his last sermon on December 11, 1853, 
and died on Sunday, January 8, 1854, in his seventy- 
second year. He is buried in Nunhead cemetery. 

Mr. Betts, who now succeeded to the pastorate, was 
a native of Portsea. He was an effective open-air 
preacher, a form of Christian service in which he greatly 
delighted. He was a leading promoter of the united 
mission services which have ever since been held on 
Peckham Rye. Early in the course of his pastorate the 
church was regularly organised on Congregational 
lines, and deacons first appointed. Difficulties arose in 
the church from personal jealousies and antagonisms, 
which were finally solved by the withdrawal of some 
members " who might not have profited so well had 
they remained." 

The school accommodation being very defective, 
Mr. Betts proposed a building which should serve 
for school and social purposes, and at the same time 
be a memorial of his revered predecessor. The plan 
was realised, and in 1862 " Collyer Hall " was opened 
and paid for. Another enterprise was less success- 
ful. A small chapel in Hatcham was rented in hope 
that it might become the nucleus of a new church. 
The mission was carried on with varying fortunes and 


many disappointments, and was finally abandoned 
in 1906. 

Mr. Betts was active in the initiation of the Surrey 
Congregational Union. His labours were more than 
once interrupted by failure of health, and he died, after 
much suffering, on December 1, 1868, in his forty-fourth 

Rev. G. B. Ryley, who succeeded, was a Cheshunt 
student, and had held a four years' pastorate at Booking, 
Essex. His labours at Peckham, from 1870 to 1889, 
were abundant and fruitful. The character of the 
neighbourhood was steadily changing, and new forms 
of Christian work were demanded, to which Mr. Ryley 
devoted himself energetically, being especially the friend 
of the poor. For some years he did valuable service as a 
member of the London School Board. During his 
pastorate Collyer Hall was improved by the addition of 
a gallery, class-room, &c, at a cost of £"1,100. After 
about nineteen years Mr. Ryley removed to Christ 
Church, Addiscombe. 

Three short pastorates followed in quick succession. 
Rev. Henry Barron, a student of New College, had, 
in the course of fourteen years, ministered at Ports- 
mouth, Basingstoke, and Batley (Yorkshire), in all which 
he had done valuable service. He accepted a call to 
Peckham in 1890, but the situation proved uncongenial, 
and he only remained about a year. He afterwards 
ministered at Tooting. Rev. John Wills, from Hands- 
worth Wesleyan College, followed from 1892 to 1894, 
and then removed to West Croydon. He was succeeded 
by Rev. J. W. Bowman, M.A., B.D., a student of 
Lancashire College, who had laboured for five years at 
Newcastle. He came to Peckham in 1895, and resigned 
in 1900. He has since ministered in the North of 


England. It was by this time recognised that new 
conditions required new methods. The chapel was 
renovated, the electric light introduced, and "evenings 
for the people" instituted, where secular topics were 
treated in a religious spirit. In 1901 the pastorate was 
undertaken by Rev. John James Pool, B.D., who had 
ministered for six years at Union chapel, Calcutta, and 
for ten years at the English Congregational Church, 
Rheims. Under his guidance measures were adopted 
to increase the spiritual efficiency of the church 
by work on social lines ; in which valuable aid was 
rendered by Mr. Walter J. J. Franks, formerly a lay 
preacher in the Methodist New Connexion, who in 
1906 became assistant minister. The result was seen 
in numerous additions to the church, especially of 
young people. But a few months later the health of 
Mr. Pool completely broke down, and, a period of rest 
and a sea voyage having failed to restore it, he resigned 
the pastorate from June, 1907. He is now in America. 

The 250th anniversary of the church was celebrated 
on April 14, 1907, and following days. Memorial 
sermons were preached by the venerable J. G. Rogers, 
D.D., and a series of enthusiastic meetings were held on 
several successive evenings, followed somewhat later 
by a bazaar, by which outstanding debts were cleared. 
An invitation was subsequently given to Rev. J. Hugh 
Edwards, of Duhvich Grove, who, on the first Sunday 
of 1908, intimated his acceptance of the same, Mr. 
Franks resuming the post of assistant minister. 

At least three members of the Hanover Church have 
gone forth, under the auspices of the London Missionary 
Society, to preach the Gospel in the dark places of the 
earth. Miss Anne Keet in 1823 became the wife of 
Rev. W* Campbell, of Bangalore. Rev. Charles Thomas 


Price, after a course of study at Cheshunt College, 
laboured in Madagascar from 1875 to 1882, and has 
since held pastorates at Lenham, Buckingham, and 
Ross; and Rev. Benjamin Thomas Butcher, also a 
Cheshunt student, was appointed in 1904 to New 
Guinea, where he is still labouring. The distinguished 
philanthropist, Thomas Thompson (founder of the first 
Sailors' Home, and for forty years treasurer of the Home 
Missionary Society), and his daughter, known in every 
Sunday School as Jemima Luke, were also in Dr. 
Collyer's time members of the congregation. 



Soon after the middle of the seventeenth century, 
when Bermondsey was a pleasant stretch of gardens, 
and orchards and fields, James Janeway was a student 
of Christ Church, Oxford. He was born at Lilley, in 
Hertfordshire, in 1636. At eight years of age he 
removed to Harpenden, and afterwards settled at 
Kelshall, where his father was minister. He was of a 
weak constitution ; his four brothers all like himself 
entered the ministry, and all like himself were destined 
to an early grave. 

Being driven from the University by persecution, 
Janeway resided for some time at Windsor, as private 
tutor, and then removed to Bermondsey. Close by the 
house where he lived, in Salisbury Place, stood a large . 

Rev. James Janeway, Bermondsey. 


building known as the Jamaica Barn, capable, it is said, 
of holding 2,000 persons. It must have required no 
little faith and courage for a delicate young man of 
twenty-six to venture on so large a building ; but 
Janeway took the barn and opened it as a meeting 
house. The results justified him, for Calamy says that 
he had a very numerous auditory, and a great reforma- 
tion was wrought amongst many. 

But this only enraged the anti-puritan party, and 
several attempts were made upon his life. On one 
occasion he was shot at, but the bullet went through 
his hat and did him no harm. On another occasion a 
party of troopers entered the meeting house to seize 
him, and Janeway only escaped by someone throwing a 
coloured coat over him and putting a white hat on his 
head, in which disguise he got away safely. Another 
time he was preaching at a gardener's house, when 
several soldiers came in ; he escaped by lying on the 
ground and being covered with cabbage leaves. Mis- 
taking the preacher for a heap of garden refuse the 
troopers passed by. 

Until the year 1670, a very successful work was 
carried on by the young preacher in the old barn, 
assisted by Richard Kentish, who afterwards became 
minister of the Weigh House Chapel. But in that 
year the Act against Conventicles was renewed with 
greater severity than before. Christopher Wren, of 
St. Paul's Cathedral fame, the surveyor-general of His 
Majesty's works, was according to the records of the 
Privy Council "authorised and requested forthwith, in 
His Majesty's name, and to his use, to seize and enter 
upon all houses in and about the cities of London and 
Westminster, and liberties and suburbs thereof, and 
borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent, and shut 


up such houses in such manner as that no assemblies 
be from henceforth kept therein." A subsequent in- 
struction, dated July 22, 1670, after a long preamble, 
required him to cause the barn to be pulled down and 
utterly demolished, which was accordingly done, and 
the congregation left homeless. But not for long : 
another building was at once erected, and it says some- 
thing for the success of the young minister that a larger 
place of worship was required to accommodate the 
crowds that came. 

In 1672 the King granted an Indulgence to Conven- 
ticles. The document contains a remarkable admission 
of the futility of persecution. It says: " It is evident 
by the sad experience of twelve years that there is very 
little fruit of all these forcible courses." Amongst the 
many who applied for an Indulgence was Mr. Janeway. 
There are two entries amongst the State Papers : — 

" April 11, 1672. Request by Janeway at a place near 
Salisbury Street. 

" April 14. Licence granted to James Janeway at his 
house in Salisbury Street, Bermondsey." 

Janeway did not long live to enjoy the freedom of 
worship. Three at least of his brothers were dead, 
and ere long the successful preacher of "The Barn" 
followed them. He was ready ; not long before his 
death he said he could now as easily die as shut his 
eyes. He died March 16, 1674. His funeral sermons 
were preached by Mr. Nathaniel Vincent, of Southwark, 
and Mr. Ryther, of Wapping. He was buried near his 
father in St. Mary's Church, Aldermanbury. Several of 
his publications, especially his " Token for Children," 
were long popular. 

Mr. Janeway was succeeded by the famous Thomas 
Rosewell, who was introduced to the church by a 


neighbouring minister, Mr. Parsons, of Deadman's 
Place. Mr. Rosewell was born at Dunkerton, near 
Bath, and educated in that city. He had a somewhat 
varied career, serving first as an accountant, and then 
as a silkman in Cheapside. Later he inclined to the 
ministry, and entered Pembroke College, Oxford, in 
1647. On leaving college he became tutor at Ware, 
near Bideford, and soon after was presented by Lady 
Hungerford to the rectory of Rhode, Somerset. In 
1657 he removed to Sutton Mandeville, from which 
place he was ejected in 1662. 

Upon his ejectment Lady Hungerford again befriended 
him, and invited him to accept the position of chaplain 
in her family. A story is told that whilst with Lady 
Hungerford, Mr. Rosewell had occasion to remonstrate 
with her for some failings ; this he did in so prudent and 
effectual a way that she retired to pray, and when she 
came forth it was with £100, which she presented to 
Mr. Rosewell in token of her esteem at his faithfulness, 
to be used one half for himself and one half for the poor. 
Later he acted as chaplain to Lord Wharton, from whose 
house he removed to Bermondsey. 

At the funeral of Janeway, he was seen in earnest 
conversation with Mr. Parsons, and shortly afterwards 
there came an almost unanimous invitation to accept 
the charge of the vacant church. It was not wholly 
unanimous, but later the dissentients, headed by a 
Mr. Atkinson, came and told Mr. Rosewell that they 
had given their votes to another, but as it was the 
general wish of the church that he should be their 
minister, they had come to request him to accede, and 
to own him as their pastor. Would that all church 
differences could be settled in as gracious a spirit. 

For some years Mr. Rosewell laboured in peace, but 


subsequently determined efforts were made to prevent 
his preaching and to break up his church. On one 
occasion his house was rifled and his goods sold at the 
door, and the Justice took what he pleased for himself. 
Being prevented from preaching in the meeting house, 
he held services in private houses, which he did twice 
on the Lord's Day, in spite of all opposition. 

On September 14, 1684, he preached from Genesis xx., 
concerning Abraham and Abimelech. Two women 
spies got into the meeting, and so shamefully wrested 
some words he used, that he was accused of treason. 
A few days later he was apprehended in his own house 
and taken before Judge Jeffreys. Jeffreys asked him 
where he preached on September 14, whereupon 
Rosewell, on account of the other persons, answered 
him in Latin. Jeffreys sneered that he supposed he 
could not speak another sentence in Latin if it were to 
save his neck. Rosewell gave him an answer in Greek, 
on which the Judge, in a rage, ordered him to be taken 
away. A true bill was found against him at the next 
quarter sessions at Kingston, and he was tried before 
the Court of the King's Bench, November 18, 1684. 
Although the evidence was of the flimsiest character, 
and several persons who were present testified that 
Rosewell never used the words charged against him, 
Jeffreys urged the jury to convict, and a verdict of 
"guilty" was returned. The jury were ashamed of 
their verdict, and petitioned that it might be set aside. 
A strong feeling was aroused in Rosewell' s favour, and 
Sir John Talbot, who was present at the trial, although 
not a friend to dissenters, told the King "that he had 
seen the life of a person, who appeared to be a gentle- 
man and a scholar, in danger upon such evidence as he 
would not hang a dog on " ; adding, " if your Majesty 


suffers this man to die, we are none of us safe in our 
houses." The end of it was that Rosewell was granted 
a royal pardon, and was discharged on bail. 

Mr. Rosewell outlived his trial seven years. He died 
February 14, 1692, in the sixty-second year of his age, 
and was buried in Bunhill Fields, where a long Latin 
inscription tells of his eminent piety and learning and 
many sufferings for Christ's sake. 

Mr. Rosewell was followed by Rev. Samuel Stancliff, 
M.A., who was ejected from Stanmore Magna. He 
was a native of Halifax, and was educated at the free 
school of that town. In consequence of a gift of £100, 
a column is erected in the school-house to his memory. 
Calamy speaks of him as a man of no party, an eminent 
divine, and having an admirable gift in prayer. Ill 
health at length compelled him to resign his charge at 
Bermondsey. He died at Hoxton, December 12, 1705, 
at the age of seventy-five. 

In that same year John Radcliffe accepted the 
pastorate. He is principally known as a great advocate 
of catechetical instruction for the young, in which work 
he had remarkable success. He is said to have 
thoroughly instructed no less than ten thousand persons 
in the Assembly's Catechism, and to have spent from 
£400 to £500 annually in Bibles or other books given 
as rewards. He passed to his rest on February 16, 
1728, in the fifty-first year of his age. 

Jamaica Row suffered severely from the wave of 
Arianism that passed over the country in the eighteenth 
century. We are told that the next minister, Thomas 
Mole, taught the people " another Gospel " to the growing 
injury of the congregation. His successor, Dr. Flexman 
(1747 — 83), pursued the same course. Though an able 
man and of great learning, we read that he devoted his 



extensive learning to the work of undermining the faith 
of the Gospel. As a result, all activity and spiritual 
life died down, and when he left the cause was almost 
extinct. Indeed, such was the state of affairs that the 
managers sold the lease of the Chapel, and presented 
the proceeds to the minister. They had no Charity 
Commissioners in those days. Dr. Flexman lived twelve 
years after his retirement. 

Various attempts were made to revive the work, but 
without permanent success. Amongst other things, the 
experiment of a liturgy was tried, but with no good 
result. At last the Rev. John Townsend, who was 
leaving Kingston-on-Thames, was invited to try and 
restore the shattered fortunes of the church. Between 
thirty and forty members gathered ; the church, for- 
merly accounted Presbyterian, was reorganised on 
Congregational lines, and on October 28, 1784, Mr. 
Townsend was publicly recognised as pastor. 

The old Arian contentions and the mixed character 
of his congregation at first made his work by no means 
easy. After this heresy had died down, he says "we 
were disturbed by an antinomian spirit." At first he 
thought of resigning, but wisely reflected that " this 
would have left the Church a prey to these mistaken 
and disputatious men," so he rather urged upon the 
discontented the propriety of their leaving a church, 
the doctrine of whose minister they had forsaken. 
They seem to have seen the wisdom of this course, for 
twelve or fourteen withdrew, and left the Church in 
comfort and peace. 

Mr. Townsend died February 7, 1826, in the sixty- 
ninth year of his age. He was a man of large experience, 
sound sense, and active zeal. He founded the Asylum 
for the Deaf and Dumb, and the Congregational School 


at Lewisham (now at Caterham), and took a prominent 
part in establishing several of the religious institutions 
that were called into existence about that time. He 
left a charge to his people to be read after his death, 
containing some excellent advice as to the choice of a 
successor. Amongst other things, he urged them to 
have only one candidate at a time, a wise counsel which 
churches would do well to follow. 

Mr. Townsend was succeeded by Rev. George Rose. 
He was a Londoner by birth ; his early religious 
impressions had been received under the preaching of 
Rev. W. Gurney at the Episcopal Chapel, West Street, 
Soho ; but it was under the pastorate of Rev. Matthew 
Wilks that he decided to enter the ministry. He wished 
to become a missionary, but was overruled, and at the 
advice of Mr. Wilks offered himself for ministerial work 
in Ireland. He laboured for several years at Bray, 
Wexford, and other places; and then returning to 
England, was introduced by his old pastor to Jamaica 
Row. On Mr. Townsend's death, he occupied the 
pulpit for three months, with such acceptance that he 
was invited to become pastor. He was ordained in 
November, 1826, when the charge was given by 
Dr. Collyer, of Hanover Chapel, Peckham. For more 
than forty years Mr. Rose exercised a peculiarly gracious 
ministry which endeared him to a large circle of friends. 
He was for some years Secretary of the Congregational 
Board, and also of the Irish Evangelical Society, and 
for more than twenty years Secretary of the Congrega- 
tional School, Lewisham. He was a faithful minister 
and an attractive preacher ; a man of ready wit, and inno- 
cent fun, his presence was always welcome in social life. 

During the pastorate of Mr. Rose a new church was 
built. The claims of an increasing neighbourhood and 

D 2 


large Sunday school rendered more accommodation 
absolutely necessary. The old building was found to 
be unsuitable for enlargement, and the timber of the 
roof so decayed that it was a matter of thankfulness no 
accident had occurred. The new building was opened 
on Thursday, December 6, 1849. 

Through advancing age Mr. Rose resigned in 1867. 
He retired to Beckenham on an annuity raised by the 
church, and died July 13, 1869, at the age of 71. 

In May, 1865, Rev. John Farren, a student of 
Hackney College, was invited to become co-pastor with 
Mr. Rose. During his ministry, in 1879, Janeway 
Hall was erected at a cost of £3,600, and opened free 
of debt. For twenty-eight years he sustained a faithful 
and successful ministry until, owing to failing health, he 
retired in June, 1893. He subsequently held a charge 
at East Brighton, and is living to-day at Norwood. 

In January, 1894, Rev. Heber Rosier accepted an 
invitation to the church. He retired in September, 
1901, to take the pastorate at Erith. 

He was followed by Rev. W. J. Rowlands, who 
commenced his labours in January, 1904. Mr. Row- 
lands was educated at Bala College, Bangor. His first 
charge was at Exeter, where he remained two years. 
From the beauties of a Devonshire town to the squalor 
of Bermondsey was a great change, but Mr. Rowlands 
set himself to appeal to the non-church-going public by 
an Institute for young men, and a Guild for young 
women. The church has to face great and increasing 
difficulties owing to the exodus of the wealthier classes 
to the suburbs, but it is manfully holding on its way. 
Mr. Rowlands removed in 1906 to Hirwain, Glamorgan 
and the church is now supplied by a " lay pastor," Mr. 
H. N. Gardiner. 




Waddington tells us that " Croydon is mentioned as 
one of the places in which a Christian Society was 
formed by the remarkable efforts of Francis Holcroft, 
M.A., Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, who 
suffered an imprisonment of twelve years for his 

Mr. Holcroft was a man of prodigious labours, and 
one would not be surprised at anything he did in the 
way of planting churches ; but we can find no record 
of his connection with Croydon. According to Calamy, 
the historian of the ejectment, Holcroft's labours 
appear to have been mostly confined to Cambridge- 
shire. There he was looked upon as pastor of all the 
churches of the county. And there certainly could not 
have been much time for work in Croydon, though he 
lived twenty years after his ejectment, considering how 
many of them were spent in gaol. 

The first Nonconformist preacher in Croydon of 
whom we have any record is Thomas Taylor. He was 
born at Seaming in Norfolk, and educated at 
Wymondham and Cambridge. His father took him 
away from the University for fear of his becoming a 
Puritan ; but the effect of his training there must have 
influenced him in after years, for we find him ejected 
from a living at Bury St. Edmunds, and imprisoned 
twelve months for his Nonconformity. After his 
release he went to London and became a tobacco 
merchant, but still preached occasionally, sometimes 


in the City, and sometimes at Croydon. After the 
Indulgence he went to Cambridge, and succeeded Mr. 
Holcroft. He preached there till November, 1700, 
when he died at the age of 70. 

Other Nonconformist meetings must have existed in 
Croydon at this early date, for we read of three 
licences granted in 1672 ; one to the house of John 
Worrell, Presbyterian ; another to Francis Smith, in a 
room formerly a malt house, in the west part of 
Croydon, Anabaptist ; and a third licence to Edward 
Baker, in the house of Nathaniel Read, Congrega- 
tional. But concerning these we know nothing. 

The records of the next half-century are very scanty 
and vague. Richard Conder is given as pastor from 
1689 to 1718 ; although in the list of Nonconformist 
churches made in 1715, John Davy is returned as 
minister for Croydon. Then we have a Mr. Dixie, and 
after him Jabez Conder, who entered on the charge in 
1725, and remained a year. Waddington adds " The 
church is said to have been scattered by a minister who 
became a Baptist." 

The next pastor was Joshua Stopford, a student of 
Hoxton Academy, who was ordained July 9, 1755- 
He removed, seven years later, to Enfield. He must 
have made some friends in Croydon, for we read that a 
gentleman there left him a handsome fortune. Upon 
this he returned to his former pastorate in 1770, lived 
in a retired manner, and preached once a day. Henry 
Taylor, a student from Daventry, was probably his 

About 1765 the congregation removed from the old 
meeting house in Park Lane, or Back Lane, as it was 
then called, to a little chapel on the site of the present 
one in George Street. 


The next minister was Mr. Rainsfore. He was 
ordained in 1783, and held the pastorate five years. 

In 1790, Mr. Golding succeeded to the pulpit. A 
note of his ordination in the Evangelical Magazine tells 
us, in the quaint wording of those times, that Mr. 
Hamilton began the service by prayer, Mr. Brooksbank 
" introduced the work, asked the questions and received 
the answers and confession." Mr. Barber prayed the 
ordination prayer, Mr. Winter, of Painswick, delivered 
the charge, and Mr. Humphreys prayed before the ser- 
mon, which was preached by Mr. Bowden, of Tooting, 
from 2 Sam. xviii. 27. In the evening Rev. William 
Jay, of Bath, preached a lecture. 

Mr. Golding resigned the charge in 1797, and was 
followed two years later by Rev. J. Sabine, a student 
from Hoxton Academy. During his ministry, one of 
the first Sunday schools, if not the first, in Croydon, 
was formed, nineteen years after Robert Raikes had 
commenced his work in Gloucester. At the same time 
a small building was opened for preaching at Thornton 
Heath, and a school started there. 

Mr. Sabine, after a very useful ministry, resigned his 
charge in 1806, and went to America. 

In 1808 the Rev. Benjamin Kent accepted the pas- 
torate. He was born at Rendham, in Suffolk, in 1783, 
and was trained at Hackney College. He laboured at 
Croydon with success until 1815, when he removed to 
Trowbridge. He afterwards went to Barnstaple, where 
he died November 4, 1848, in his sixty-fifth year. It is 
recorded of him that "his consistent, courteous char- 
acter secured for him the respect of even those of his 
fellow townsmen who had no sympathy with his dissent." 
After Mr. Kent's removal the pulpit was filled by 
supplies until 1820, when Rev. E. H. May, from 


Rochford, became the pastor. Under his ministry the 
congregations greatly increased, and an enlargement 
became necessary. Till this time the chapel would 
only hold 200 persons. The improvement was carried 
out at a cost of £700. The chapel was reopened on 
Tuesday, June 3, 1823. For ten years longer Mr. May 
ministered at George Street, but in 1833 he resigned, 
and, like Mr. Sabine, left for America. 

The next two pastors, Rev. John Barling and Rev. 
James Drummond, only remained a few months. 

In 1835, Rev. John Bunter accepted a call to the 
vacant pulpit. Mr. Bunter was a native of West 
Monkton, near Taunton, where he was born August 18, 
1792. Whilst a young man he went on a voyage to 
Jamaica. The vessel was wrecked and he was with 
difficulty saved. This led to his conversion, and shortly 
after he entered Hoxton Academy. His first charge was 
Finchingfield, Essex, which he accepted in 1824. After 
eight years' service, an affection of the eyes compelled 
him to resign. On his recovery three years later he 
settled at Croydon. He ministered here for four years, 
when again failing health compelled him to resign. 
Two years later, the Rev. William Campbell, formerly 
missionary in Bangalore, entered upon the charge, July, 
1841. During Mr. Campbell's ministry a new chapel 
was built at a cost of £2,400. 

The next minister was Rev. Joseph Steer. He was 
born at Plymouth, November 22, 1819, where he entered 
upon a mercantile career. On removing to London in 
1840 he decided to enter the ministry, and set himself 
to prepare for Highbury College. Overwork brought 
on a severe illness, and a college career was absolutely 
forbidden. He then studied quietly with his uncle, 
Rev. Samuel Steer, of Castle Hedingham, until 1844, 


when he accepted an invitation to Torpoint. In 1846 
he removed to Batter Street, Plymouth, and in 185 1 to 
Croydon. During Mr. Steer's ministry the chapel was 
enlarged by the erection of side galleries, and the entire 
debt cleared off. About this time the church at London 
Road was formed ; eight members withdrawing from 
George Street for that purpose. After seven years' 
successful ministry, Mr. Steer's health again gave way, 
and he was compelled to rest for a while, and subse- 
quently to seek a less onerous charge. 

He removed to Sudbury, where he was spared to 
labour for nineteen years longer. In 1877, he accepted 
the charge of Tottenham High Cross Church. Eight 
years later his health failed once more, and he returned 
to Chingford, where he died April 24, 1892. 

After Mr. Steer's removal, the church passed through 
a period of severe trial, and was for several years with- 
out a pastor, till in 1864 Rev. Samuel Parkinson, from 
Cheshunt College, entered into the work. The church 
was so convinced that Mr. Parkinson was the right man 
that it waited a year until he had finished his college 
course. He was ordained October 13, 1864. 

Under Mr. Parkinson's able guidance and earnest 
work, the church speedily regained its former position, 
and the membership increased beyond any earlier record. 
A large number of Visitors and Evangelists were em- 
ployed ; and three Sunday schools were sustained. 

Mr. Parkinson remained till 1872, when he removed 
to Halstead, whence he retired in 1907. 

On July 4, 1873, Rev. N. L. Parky n, from Western 
College, was ordained. Within a few years it was found 
necessary again to build, and the present spacious and 
handsome church in George Street was erected. The 
Memorial Stones were laid on Tuesday, May 15, 1877, 


by Mr. J. Spicer. Twelve months later the church was 
opened ; Dr. Dale preached at noon from I Tim. ii. 5, 
and Dr. J. G. Rogers in the evening. The total cost 
of the building was £12,000, towards which upwards 
of £2,000 was realised at the services. The church 
will hold 1,000 persons, and an equal number of 
scholars can be accommodated in the schoolroom in 
the basement. 

Mr. Parkyn resigned in 1878, and several members 
of the congregation withdrew at the same time. The 
pastorate remained vacant for three years, until its 
acceptance, in 1881, by Rev. William Park. Mr. Park, 
who was educated at Glasgow University and Theolo- 
gical Hall, had held pastorates at Windermere, South- 
port, and Tollington Park, London. In 1883 a success- 
ful effort was made to clear off the debt of £4,000 that 
remained as a heavy burden upon the church. That it 
was successful was due in large measure to the efforts 
of Mr. L. A. Johns, who for twenty years had been a 
deacon of the church. Mr. Johns died in 1890, and a 
brass was placed in the church to his memory. Mr. 
Park held the pastorate until June, 1900. On his 
resignation he was presented with a cheque for £610. 

Rev. R. Baldwin Brindley, from Nottingham (the 
present minister), was then invited. His recognition 
took place on Wednesday, May 15, 1901. 



Nonconformity in Epsom dates from the year i( 
when a congregation met under the pastoral care of 

George Street Church, Croydon, 1878. 


Mr. Ewell in an old building which was afterwards 
turned into a dwelling-house. 

The next minister we hear of was Benoni Rowe, the 
younger brother of Thomas Rowe, a man of consider- 
able reputation among the Independents of that day. 
He was born in London about 1658. His father, John 
Rowe, was minister of a Congregational Church that 
met during the Commonwealth in Westminster Abbey. 
Rowe seems to have for some years preached in London, 
though his services were frequently interrupted. About 
the time of the Revolution, in 1688, he settled at Epsom, 
where he remained eleven years. In 1699 he succeeded 
Stephen Lobb at Fetter Lane, where he remained till 
his death on March 30, 1706, in the forty-ninth year of 
his age. W. Wilson says of him : " He possessed an 
accurate judgment, and a considerable stock of useful 
learning, to which he joined excellent talents for preach- 
ing and a most lively and engaging conversation. But 
though well qualified for ministerial service, and useful 
in his day, he was not popular." 

On Mr. Rowe's removal Thomas Valentine settled 
here, probably the following year. He held the pastor- 
ate for the unusually long term of fifty-six years. The 
old meeting house was built for him. During his 
pastorate we have also the name of John Southwell as 
preaching to the congregation in 1738. Probably he 
was Mr. Valentine's assistant. Mr. Valentine died on 
March 29, 1756, in the eightieth year of his age. The 
inscription on his tomb in the parish churchyard says : 
" He was descended from an ancient family in the 
County Palatine of Lancaster, was fifty-six years 
minister of the Dissenting Congregation in this place, 
where it was well known that with great fidelity and 
moderation he discharged that sacred office." 


The history of this church for many years is exceed- 
ingly obscure. William Hoghton was minister in 
1764, and continued till 1771, when he gave up the 
ministry for the law. 

William Sutton is mentioned as minister in 1772 ; 
after that we hear no more of the old church — which 
was reputed Presbyterian — till 1805, save for a reference 
in the life of Thomas Wilson. There we learn that the 
meeting had for many years been attended by persons 
of opulence and their families, but that the congregation 
became so reduced that the doors had to be closed. 

The chapel had been closed for twenty years when 
Mr. Wilson made an unsuccessful attempt to obtain it. 
But a year or two later, in 1805, another gentleman 
managed to secure it, and after putting it in repair, 
conveyed it to trustees. It was then reopened with a 
sermon by Rev. Geo. Clayton, of Walworth. 

For some time the church was supplied from Hoxton 
Academy. Then Rev. John Atkinson went to live in 
the neighbourhood and preached regularly till 1820, 
when he removed from the town. 

After his removal the building again fell into decay, 
and the roof became unsafe. Then, by the aid of 
several friends who felt the need of spiritual provision 
for Epsom, £100 was raised for the support of a 
minister, and the chapel was again repaired. It was 
reopened for public worship on January 28, 1825. 

For a while Hoxton Academy supplied the preachers; 
later in the year John Harris, a student of the Academy, 
accepted the pastorate. 

John Harris was born on March 8, 1802, at Ugborough, 
a village of Devon. He was a sedate, thoughtful child, 
and this won for him the nickname of " Little Parson 
Harris." At the age of thirteen the family removed to 


Bristol. His parents belonged to the Established 
Church, and used to attend the Cathedral, but a heavy 
shower one Sunday sent them into the Tabernacle near 
by. This led to their joining the society there, and 
young Harris attending the school. When fourteen 
years old he composed a poem on " The Perfections of 
God." This brought him under the notice of Mr. Wills, 
who had the piece printed in a Bristol paper. As a boy 
he preached for the Itinerant Society of that city, and 
later Mr. Wills introduced him to the notice of Mr. 
Thomas Wilson. After a year of private study he 
entered Hoxton, and after a distinguished career 
accepted the invitation to Epsom. 

Mr. Harris remained at Epsom thirteen years. His 
health was far from good, but he was able to do a quiet 
useful work, and at the same time prepare himself for 
the important position he was afterwards to hold. 

In 1838 he was invited to become Theological Tutor 
and President of Cheshunt College ; and that same 
year his scholarship received recognition by a diploma 
of D.D. from Brown University, U.S.A. In 1848, he 
suffered from partial blindness, but a winter in Italy 
did much to restore him, and he again took up his 
work at Cheshunt. Two years later when New College 
was formed by the amalgamation of Coward, Highbury 
and Homerton, Dr. Harris was chosen for the first 
Principal, and held that post till his death, December 

21, 1856. 

On Dr. Harris' removal from Epsom, Rev. Wm. 
Jackson was chosen pastor. He was born at Brixton 
in 18 1 2, and entered Highbury College at the age of 
twenty-two. He was ordained Tuesday, November 27, 
1838. Rev. George Clayton took part in the service, 
and Dr. Harris gave a combined charge and farewell 


to the Church. The charge to the minister was given 
by his father. 

Mr. Jackson remained till 1842, when he removed to 
Melksham. He afterwards held pastorates at Bungay 
and Eltham, where he laboured till his death in 1856. 
He is described as a man of high principle, and of 
catholic spirit, conscientious even in trifles. 

He was succeeded by Rev. T. Lea, whose ordination 
took place October 31, 1843. In 1855 a number of 
members who found some difficulty in working with Mr. 
Lea, withdrew from the Church, and commenced 
services in a large room connected with the " King's 
Head Hotel." Soon after, a site was obtained in the 
" Parade" where a wooden structure was erected. The 
first minister was Rev. Elliott, who was followed 
successively by Rev. J. Redford, — Boardman, and C. 

Epsom was Mr. Lea's only pastorate. In 1878, after 
thirty-five years' faithful service, he resigned under 
medical advice, and gave himself to agricultural pur- 
suits. He died at Epsom after great suffering, on 
February 24, 1893. 

After his retirement the divided churches, acting on 
the advice of the Surrey Congregational Union, 
amalgamated, when Rev. Charles Harrison took the 
oversight for about twelve months. The union took 
place on the first Sunday in August, 1878. 

The next minister, James Thorpe, held the pastorate 
for one year, 1879—1880. He left Epsom for Albion 
Chapel, Nottingham. 

During the pastoral vacancy, new schools, etc., 
costing about £2,800, were erected on a freehold site 
given by Mr. Thomas Norman. The foundation stones 
were laid on July 27, 1882, by Mr. Evan Spicer, Mr. 


Horace Marshall, and Mr. Norman. The building was 
opened in the early part of the following year. 

In 1883, the church called Rev. William Summers to 
the vacant pulpit. Mr. Summers had been a Hackney 
College student, and had already done good service at 
Southminster, Mere, and Ringwood. His coming to 
Epsom was the beginning of a general revival of 
interest. For twenty years he conducted a faithful 
ministry, in the course of which he received 560 per- 
sons into Church Fellowship. During his pastorate 
the old church was remodelled and a new organ 

In 1905 a new and beautiful church was erected 
upon the site of the old building. It cost £4,000, and 
is capable of seating 500 persons. Mr. Summers 
resigned his ministry in April, 1906. Rev. Henry 
Atkinson, of the Adelphi Chapel, Hackney Road, has 
recently settled, and commences his ministry with 
every prospect of success. 


back street, afterwards neckinger road 


Neckinger Road Church and the church which still 
flourishes near the Tower Bridge are both branches of 
a society which originated in I7ii,the history of which 
we proceed briefly to narrate. 

The earliest mention of Nonconformity in Horsley- 
down is in the list of conventicles prepared for Arch- 
bishop Sheldon in 1669. Two are there reported : one 


in a warehouse, about ioo in number, the other in a 
house built for the purpose, 200 or 300 in number. 

Horsleydown also appears among the places licensed 
under the Act of Indulgence; May 2, 1672, license 
granted to Jeremiah Baines, Presbyterian. Of these 
earlier meetings we have no further record. 

At the close of the seventeenth century, a Mr. 
Jacobs, formerly of the Roytd Life Guards, preached 
in Parish Street. Jacobs was an eccentric character 
who strove to realise his ideal of a perfect church in a 
narrowly exclusive fellowship, with a very rigid disci- 
pline. This ere long broke up, and many of the 
adherents went to a building at Dockhead, which had 
been used as a chapel-of-ease to the parish church of 
Bermondsey. Here, in 1711, they called as their 
minister John Sladen, a man of considerable ability 
and high reputation. The congregation so increased 
that a new meeting house was built in Back Street, 
Horsleydown, in 1729. It was a good brick building 
of moderate size, with three galleries, and was soon 
well filled. At the same time the church purchased a 
piece of land in Long Lane as a burying ground, " not 
as adjoined to any meeting-house or place of worship, 
but the Church wherever assembling." 

John Sladen was born in London about the year 1687, 
and educated at Jollie's Academy, Sheffield. In 1711 
he was ordained as pastor at Dockhead, and soon 
proved himself an able and diligent minister. Witty 
and vivacious, he was an agreeable companion ; indeed 
his wit sometimes exposed him to censure, though it 
was never employed on sacred things. 

Mr. Sladen took an active part, on the orthodox 
side, in the Trinitarian controversy ; and was one of 
the ministers selected to preach the lectures in Lime 


Street upon the most important doctrines of the 
Gospel, his topic being " Particular Election." He 
died October 19, 1733, in the forty-sixth year of his 
age, and was buried in Long Lane. 

John Halford, a native of Northampton, who had 
previously held pastorates at Bishop's Stortford and 
Market Harborough, followed him. He was set apart 
for the work at Back Street on October 24, 1734, when 
Dr. Guyse preached the sermon. Although not trained 
for the ministry he was a man of good natural talents 
and a respectable amount of learning ; but through 
awkwardness in his delivery his congregation and his 
income fell off in the latter years of his ministry. 
However, having some private means, he retained the 
pastorate till his death on May 22, 1763. 

He was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Pitts, who had 
been associated with him as co-pastor since 1758. Mr. 
Pitts was born at Exeter in 1702, and came of a good 
Nonconformist family. His first charge was at Hitchin, 
in Herts, where he was pastor nearly ten years. Sub- 
sequently he ministered at Braintree, Essex, where his 
preaching did not prove acceptable, and at New 
Court, where he assisted Mr. Bradbury. 

Mr. Pitts remained at Back Street about thirteen 
years. He is said to have possessed but slender abili- 
ties, and not to have been popular as a preacher. He 
was of economical habits and amassed considerable 
wealth. On his retirement, about 1771, he removed to 
Taunton, in Somerset, where he died December 5, 1788, 
aged 86. The pastorate was vacant several years. 

William Dunn, the next minister, was educated 
under the Countess of Huntingdon's patronage, and for 
some time preached in her Connexion. The date of 
his accepting the pastorate at Back Street is not given. 



He was not here long, but retired in 1785 to Bradford, 
in Wilts, where he died in May, 1805, at the age of 
forty-five. He was an acceptable preacher, and 
exemplified his preaching in his life and conversation. 

John Batten succeeded him in 1786. He is said to 
have been a young man of good abilities, and a sensible 
preacher. The date of his removal is not stated. 

From various causes the pastorate of his successor, 
John Holmes, was not a happy one. He resigned in 
1797, and was followed by John Randall, who was 
ordained May 17, 1798. His ministry at first excited 
great interest, but a reaction followed, and two years 
later he relinquished the charge. 

After these unsuccessful pastorates it was rather an 
experiment to offer the charge to an old man of seventy- 
five. That, however, was the age of Henry Hunt when 
called to the pulpit of Back Street. But his ministry 
was crowned with success, and though with advancing 
years the interest somewhat declined, he sustained his 
position with honour until his eighty-eighth year. He 
died June 26, 1815, at ninety years of age, having been 
sixty years a minister of Jesus Christ. 

John Bodington, his successor, first occupied the 
pulpit as co-pastor. His history is an interesting one. 
He was born at Spitalfields, January 6, 1794. His 
parents were members of an Arian congregation which 
met at Salters' Hall. When thirteen years old he 
became connected with the Church at Moorfields 
Tabernacle under Rev. Thos. Hyatt. His father was 
mucn incensed, and on a snowy night turned the lad 
into the streets. Not long after he was again driven 
into the street for going to an early morning lecture by 
Dr. Winter at Camomile Street. However, Dr. Win- 
ter and Matthew Wilks interested themselves in him 


and introduced him to Mr. Thomas Wilson, through 
whom, after preparatory instruction by Mr. Thornton, 
of Billericay, he entered Hoxton Academy. 

He was ordained at Back Street on October 20, 
1813, when less than twenty years old, and on Mr. 
Hunt's retirement became sole pastor of the church. 

Mr. Bodington was an earnest and faithful minister, 
taking great interest in the young, for whom he held a 
class in his vestry each week. He had a slight impedi- 
ment in his speech, but this did not detract from his 
usefulness as a preacher. 

For the first seven years his ministry proceeded 
harmoniously, but in 1822 a difference arose between 
the minister and some of the members of the church. 
Mr. Townsend, of Jamaica Row, and Mr. Hutchins 
were called in to mediate ; but as the matter could not 
be arranged they advised an amicable separation. 
Accordingly a number of members withdrew and 
formed a separate church. 

Mr. Bodington continued with the remnant in the 
old meeting house until the expiration of the last 
lease in 1829, exactly a hundred years from the date it 
was first occupied by the church. Then they purchased 
a smaller chapel in Neckinger Road, Bermondsey, 
which had been built for a young minister who preached 
in it only for a short time. Galleries were added and 
other improvements made, and the building was re- 
opened for worship on October 7, 1829. Dr. Fletcher, 
of Stepney, preached in the morning, and Rev. George 
Clayton, of Walworth, in the evening. 

Here Mr. Bodington ministered for nearly thirty 
years, until, on December 26, 1858, the infirmities of 
age compelled him to lay down his beloved charge. 
He did not long survive his retirement. On October 

e 2 


21, 1859, after a few days' illness, he passed to his 

He was followed by Rev. G. H. White, who had 
previously laboured in the Wesleyan ministry. At first 
the work was very successful, but the improvement did 
not last. Dr. Waddington says the growth of the 
Church proved too rapid for its constitution, and trials 
arose, by reason of which Mr. White withdrew in 1863. 
He subsequently exercised an honourable and useful 
ministry in several places. His latest charge was at 
Longham, near Bournemouth, where he acted as 
assistant minister to Rev. J. Ossian Davies, and after- 
wards to Rev. J. D. Jones. He now lives in well- 
earned retirement at Longfleet, Poole. 

The same experience seems to have been repeated 
under the next minister, Rev. Robert H. Craig. Con- 
siderable progress was made for a while, a testimonial 
was presented to the pastor, and even the idea of a 
new church was entertained. But " consolidation and 
stability were wanting, and Mr. Craig relinquished his 
post in a few months." 

Rev. W. D. Corken held the charge from 1866 to 
1868, and H. Pepper from 1873—4. But the demon of 
discord was busy, which brought the place into such 
disrepute that with difficulty the incidental expenses 
were met. The Baptist element, which had now 
assumed large proportions, made overtures to the 
trustees to accept a Baptist minister and to change the 
name to the Congregational-Baptist Chapel, Ber- 
mondsey. Correspondence ensued between the London 
Congregational Union, the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, and the 
Baptist Association ; who practically admitted the right 
of the Congregationalists to the property. A conference 
was held with Dr. Clifford and Rev. J. T. Wigner. 


Eventually it was decided that the Baptists should 
retain the use of the property and pay a nominal rental 
of 5s. a year to the London Union. 


(I7II — 1822) 

The early history of this church is that of Back 
Street ; from which an amicable separation was arranged, 
as before narrated, in 1822. 

On Thursday, December 5 of that year, the seceding 
members held a meeting in the Dockhead Sunday 
Schoolroom, for the purpose of constituting a new 
church. A president, two secretaries, and a committee 
were appointed, and the Union Chapel Building Fund 
started. A sub-committee was also appointed to secure 
a site for a place of worship. 

Services were commenced on the following Sabbath 
at 41, Crucifix Lane. A prayer meeting was held in 
the morning, and as there was no preacher, one of the 
members read a sermon in the evening from Luke xv. 2. 
Worship was continued here for some time, and after- 
wards in the British School, White's Grounds, where 
the church was organised. Active steps were now taken 
to erect a permanent building. The foundation stone 
was laid July, 1823, by Mr. Joseph Irons, Camberwell, 
and on November 14 of the same year, a Chapel to 
seat 900 persons was opened. Revs. Griffith Williams, 
S. Curwen, Denton, Seaton, Popplewell, Dr. Styles, and 
G. C. Smith took part. 

Three years passed before any attempt was made to 


find a pastor. William Deering was the first minister. 
He held the charge till February 22, 1830. 

James Cooper followed him. He was born at 
Walsall, January 1, 1782, and trained at Rotherham 
College. In 1807 he accepted a call to Wirksworth, 
Derbyshire ; but the following year removed to West 
Bromwich, where he laboured for twenty years. After 
a period of rest in Norwich, he accepted an invitation 
to Horsleydown and was publicly recognised on May 3, 
1833. The following year, for some cause, he resigned, 
much against the wish of the majority of the people. 
He subsequently held pastorates at Middlewich and 
Heacham, in Norfolk, and died May 27, 1863. 

John Young was the next minister. He was invited 
on January 28, 1835. His stay, too, was short, for we 
read that after a year of great depression, both to 
minister and people, their mutual relation was dissolved 
on January 6, 1836. 

But better times were at hand. In May, 1836, 
Rev. John Adey succeeded to the vacant pulpit. 
Mr. Adey was a native of Painswick, Gloucestershire, 
where he was born May 15, 1793. He was one of the 
earliest Sunday school workers, and with a few other 
young men, amid great difficulties, commenced the first 
voluntary (i.e., unpaid) Sunday school in the city of 
Gloucester. Later he removed to Winslow, and again 
founded a Sunday school in the neighbouring village of 
Great Horwood. 

Having given up business and prepared for the 
ministry under Dr. Harris, of Kingston, he was ordained 
at Great Horwood in 1820, and subsequently held 
pastorates at Cranbrook and Ramsgate. 

At Horsleydown he soon gathered a large congrega- 
tion. In his preaching he was fond of peculiar subjects, 


which drew many hearers out of curiosity. He attracted 
much attention at one time by preaching to different 
trades. To hatters from Daniel iii. 21, " their hats ' ; 
to tanners from "one Simon, a tanner." On the death 
by accident of a carman in his congregation, he dis- 
coursed on " O wheel." But his ministry was greatly 
blessed, hundreds were brought into the church, and 
many young men introduced to the ministry. 

One useful work was to establish a Sunday school in 
direct connection with the church, in place of one 
under the control of the Southwark Sunday School 
Society, of Surrey Chapel. Mr. Adey rented a room, 
and opened it in March, 1838. Later the freehold was 
purchased, and in 1843 a new school was built behind 
the Church, which, however, left a considerable debt. 

This and the exodus of many influential families to 
the suburbs so increased the difficulties of the Church 
that Mr. Adey felt he had not strength to grapple with 
the situation. After twenty-two years of devoted ser- 
vice, he resigned on January 31, 1858, and accepted an 
invitation to Bexley Heath, where he laboured success- 
fully for ten years longer ; and after a short retirement, 
died on December 16, 1869. 

On June 14, 1858, Rev. John Hopkins was invited to 
the pastorate. He, however, only held the charge for 
one year, and resigned July 1, 1859. 

Rev. James Frame, of the Evangelical Union, 
succeeded him July 15, i860. His first effort was to 
remove the debt, and with the help of Mr. C. Curling, 
the London Chapel Building Society, and some other 
friends, the £800 was entirely swept away. On 
December 10 of the year in which Mr. Frame entered 
his pastorate, a public meeting was held to celebrate 
the extinction of the debt. Mr. Frame was the author 


of several theological works. He continued in the pas- 
torate till 1868, when he accepted an invitation to Erith. 

The next minister at Union Chapel is one whose 
gifts in preaching and especially lecturing, whose 
gracious wit and general ability demand more than 
a passing notice. John De Kewer Williams was a 
Hackney man, born in 1817. His father was a pros- 
perous estate agent and a member of the Common 
Council of London. 

Originally intended for the profession of medicine, he 
soon discovered his gifts lay in other directions. On 
one early occasion he is said so to have impressed a 
member of his audience by his address, that the good 
man prayed, " Lord, thou hast opened the mouth of 
this young brother, may it never be shut again." That 
prayer was answered ; it never was shut, but continued 
to speak for the glory of God and the delight and help 
of man for many a long year. After spending some 
time in preparation at the house of Rev. John Dukes, 
of Yeovil, Mr. Williams went to Highbury College, 
where he had for fellow-students Newman Hall and 
J. Baldwin Brown. His first charge was at Limerick, 
where he did some good work, especially amongst )'oung 
men. He said "it made him a young man's man." 
From his class there went into the ministry some half- 
dozen men, amongst others, Alexander Murray and 
Julius Benn, father of Sir J. Williams Benn, M.P. 

In 1848 he removed to Tottenham, where he did 
good service for ten years. After leaving Tottenham, 
he tried to establish, at the Marylebone Institution, a 
new cause, " in which there would be no Order of 
Service, but ever varied Services, and the devotions 
would be as thoughtful and interesting as the medita- 
tions." About this time he became widely known as a 

Rev. Johx De Kewer Williams, Horsleydown and 

H \('KNEY. 


lecturer. He worked also at Brentford and Camberwell, 
and would have built a chapel at the latter place had 
not the Chapel Building Society disapproved. In 
1868 he went to Horsleydown. One of the deacons 
suggested that as he could not build up a new cause, 
he might try and revive an old one. Here he laboured 
for six years, till he went to Old Gravel Pit Church, 
Hackney, where perhaps the best work of his life was 

In 1874 Rev. Arthur Wickson, M.A., LL.D., accepted 
the pastorate. Dr. Wickson had been Tutor and 
Registrar of the University College, Toronto. He 
remained at Horsleydown till 1877, when he accepted 
the secretaryship of the Christian Instruction Society. 
He now lives retired at Maida Vale. 

In 1878 we find the pulpit occupied by Richard 
Winch, a Wesleyan. 

He was followed by Rev. James Samuel Tamatoa 
Williams Smith. His name explains itself. His father 
was a colleague of John Williams, and in the house of 
that martyred servant of God, at Raiatea, young Smith 
was born, June 11, 1831. He came to England when 
a youth and settled at Hexham, where he became the 
close friend of a lad destined to occupy the foremost 
place amongst English preachers, Joseph Parker. 
Mr. Smith began life as a chemist, and was one of the 
founders of the Pharmaceutical Society. He attended 
classes at Nottingham Institute, and in 1874 succeeded 
his father in the pastorate of Haydon Bridge. After a 
short ministry at Wardour Street, Soho, he removed in 
1880 to Horsleydown, where he laboured seven years, 
resigning at last through ill health. He died at the 
residence of his son September 5, 1902. 

Rev. G. Ernest Thorn, from Hackney College, 


followed in 1888, and remained till 1892, when he 
removed to Lower Edmonton. He was succeeded by 
Rev. W. A. Linnington, who had held several country 
pastorates during the preceding twenty-four years, and 
ministered at Horsleydown from 1892 to 1902. The 
site of the chapel being required by the South Eastern 
Railway Company, it was sold to them in 1897, the 
price awarded for compulsory acquisition being £10,500. 
For some time services were held in various halls, 
temporarily hired for the purpose ; but an excellent 
freehold site for a new church was secured near the 
Tower Bridge. The church was opened in June, 1902, 
with a sermon by Rev. C. S. Home ; Dr. Horton and 
others taking part in the dedicatory services. The 
building provides accommodation for 625 hearers, and 
the school premises for 500 children. The whole cost 
was defrayed, except a small debt of £50. 

Mr. Linnington retired about this time, and is living 
at Tunbridge Wells. 

The first (and present) minister of the new church is 
Rev. John Jameson, who had held the pastorate of 
Arundel Square Church, Barnsbury, for six years, and 
afterwards laboured five years as a mission preacher in 
Yorkshire. He entered on the charge in 1904, and in 
less than two years had not only cleared the debt, but 
built a new organ at a cost of £350, and made other 
improvements. The building is now entirely free from 



collier's rents 


Collier's Rents, formerly called Angel Alley and 
Bridewell Alley, is a narrow passage behind St. George's 
Church, winding its way from High Street, Borough, 
to White Street. There, in 1726, a wooden meeting 
house was erected for a mixed congregation of Inde- 
pendents and Baptists. On December 26 of that 
year thirty-four persons signed a Church Covenant 
embodying certain articles of faith, and installed Rev. 
Clendon Dawkes as their pastor. He remained four 
years, and was followed on March 4, 1731, by Rev. 
John Phillips. He, however, left them in May of the 
following year in consequence of having adopted more 
rigid views as to " believers' baptism." The next 
minister, Rev. Daniel Stevens, was invited on Feb- 
ruary 11, 1733, and remained about ten years. The 
church was then, or soon afterwards, in a very depres- 
sed condition ; but a pleasing change took place under 
the ministry of Rev. John Rogers, said to have been 
a descendant of the martyr of the same name. He 
entered on the pastorate on January 30, 1745, and 
continued nearly forty-six years. 

In 1762 Mr. Dorset, a benevolent but eccentric 
worshipper in one of the city congregations, bequeathed 
stock of the nominal value of £9,000 to nine Congrega- 
tional churches, of which Collier's Rents was one. 
The terms of the bequest were that the nine churches 
should share equally the dividends, the portion of 
each being assigned half to the minister and half to 


the poor. A church would retain its endowment not- 
withstanding removal ; but if any church should be 
dissolved, its portion should be shared among the 


In 1776 the Bridge House Company having renewed 
the lease for sixty years, the wooden meeting house 
was pulled down and a brick edifice erected on the 
site. Mrs. Mary Haddon laid the foundation of both 
buildings. Mr. Rogers died on September 2, 1790. 

In 1791 Rev. James Knight was called to the 
pastorate and ordained on June 29. He was the son 
of Titus Knight, the friend of Whitefield, and first 
Congregational minister at Halifax. He was a man 
of extensive learning, and in the earlier years of his 
ministry supplemented his income by keeping a select 
school at Walworth, where Rev. George Clayton was 
one of his first pupils. In 1800 he was invited to the 
divinity chair at Homerton College, which, however, 
he only occupied about two years. He ministered 
with acceptance at Collier's Rents till 1833, when 
failing health compelled him to retire. He died at 
Clapham on September 24, 1851, aged eighty-two. 

Rev. R. T. Hunt, a Hoxton student, late of Kenning- 
ton Chapel, was pastor from 1835 to 1840. He com- 
piled a hymn book, which was used in both congrega- 
tions and contained some original hymns of respect- 
able merit. He died at Camberwell in 1861, aged 

After Mr. Hunt's retirement the church seems to 
have been greatly depressed. Dr. Waddington gives 
no details, but hints that the case was a frightful 
example of the evil of endowments, of which he — like 
several of his prominent contemporaries, disapproved. 
However the church was almost extinct when Rev. 


Robert Littler took charge in 1845. He was born 
at Holywell, February 7, 1796, trained at Hoxton 
College, and had ministered successively at Darwen 
and Matlock Bank. He is said to have done valuable 
work at Collier's Rents, but owing probably to local 
conditions the congregation did not greatly improve. 
He resigned in 1849. 

The next pastor was Rev. T. K. de Verdon, M.A., 
of Trinity College, Dublin. He had formerly minis- 
tered at Clare, Sudbury, and Eltham. He was at 
Collier's Rents from 1850 to 1854, when domestic 
affliction rendered change desirable, and he volun- 
teered as a missionary in Turkey during the Crimean 
War. After his return he assisted Rev. Newman Hall 
at Surrey Chapel for about a year ; and closed his 
ministry at Nayland, Suffolk. He died at Berkhamp- 
stead June 25, 1882, aged eighty-two. 

After Mr. de Verdon's removal the record of Collier's 
Rents is blank for 1855 and 1856. The lease expired, 
and the building having been sold to the incumbent 
of St. George's was used as a chapel-of-ease or perhaps 
a mission chapel. In 1857 Mr. Littler resumed the 
pastorate, the congregation having now removed to 
a chapel (formerly Baptist) in Cole Street, near Horse- 
monger Lane Gaol. There Mr. Littler continued to 
minister till his death, which occurred on October 27, 
1870, in his seventy-fifth year. 

During 1871 and 1872 Cole Street is reported 
" supplied." In 1873 one T. R. Smithson — of whom 
we have no further knowledge — is mentioned as 
minister. For the next three years the report is 
again " supplied." Then in 1877 Rev. G. Littlemore, 
from Curry Rivel, Somerset, a Cotton End student, 
became pastor. The church about this time removed 


from Cole Street to 93, New Kent Road. In 1879 
Mr. Littlemore resigned and went to Sydenham. The 
following year the pulpit was reported vacant, and 
in 1881 the case was taken in hand by Rev. J. H. 
Wilson, D.D., the energetic Secretary of the Home 
Missionary Society. It was his earnest desire to 
provide a permanent home where the decayed church 
might renew its youth, and he acquired an eligible 
site in Gurney Street, New Kent Road, where a com- 
modious school-chapel was built, with provision for 
extension in the future. Here in 1890 to 1891 Dr. 
Wilson was assisted for a few months by Rev. W. 
Davidson, from Fordham, Essex, who afterwards 
removed to Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. Dr. Wilson 
retired in 1892, and it was his wish that the church 
should then unite with the Borough Road Mission 
under Rev. W. Mottram, they being at that time 
under the necessity of finding new accommodation. 
But a portion of the church would not assent, and 
chose as their pastor a Mr. Fairbairn, described as 
a Baptist lay preacher. In a few months it was found 
impracticable to meet the charges on the new building 
in addition to current expenses, and a division took 
place. Some united with Mr. Mottram's people, who 
in 1894 took possession of the building, now named 
the " Murphy Memorial Hall;" the rest, with Mr. Fair- 
bairn, removed to a house, 15, Great Dover Street. 
These endeavoured to make good their claim to the 
Dorset Endowment, but were disqualified, it being 
adjudged that the original church was actually dis- 
solved. The endowment, therefore, fell to be shared 
by the other beneficiaries, and the company at 
15, Great Dover Street soon dispersed. 

The building in Collier's Rents was acquired in 


1893 by the London Congregational Union as the 
headquarters of their philanthropic work in the district. 
It has ever since been a centre of active beneficence 
and is now being rebuilt with a view to more abundant 



In the year 1780, when Camberwell was a village 
outside London, the Rev. W. Smith, M.A., a Presby- 
terian minister, came to live in a house known as the 
Mansion House, and opened an academy for young 
men. As he was some distance from the nearest dis- 
senting place of worship, he resolved to erect a chapel 
in his own garden. With the assistance of some 
friends this was done, and Mr. Smith preached there 
till his removal in 1799. 

After Mr. Smith left a church was formed, and the 
Rev. Wm. Berry, of Warminster, elected the first 
pastor. He resigned from ill health in 1812, and the 
Rev. John Boutet Innes, of Trowbridge, succeeded 
him. During Mr. Innes' pastorate the chapel was 
enlarged. It was reopened Thursday, December 12, 
1816, the preachers being Rev. W. Jay, of Bath, and 
Rev. Dr. Waugh. 

Mr. Innes removed to Weymouth in 1824. He 
remained there two years and then settled at Norwich, 
where he died in 1837 at the age of fifty-four. 

Rev. Wm. Orme, of Perth, was the next minister. 
He was a man of great power, an accomplished 


scholar, an eloquent preacher, and a writer of no mean 
repute. His biographical works are still held in high 
esteem. During his pastorate at Camberwell he also 
served as Secretary of the London Missionary Society. 

Mr. Orme died, universally regretted, on May 8, 
1830, and was succeeded by a man of no less ability 
and force of character — John Burnet. 

This eminent minister was born at Perth, April 13, 
1789. We are told that as a boy he was remarkable 
for physical energy, great independence of character, 
and thirst for knowledge. He was educated at the 
Perth Academy, and afterwards at the Edinburgh High 
School. In his early days he attended the ministry of 
Mr. Orme, at Perth. When a young man he enlisted 
as a soldier and served for some time, but after a while 
took his discharge and offered his services to the Irish 
Evangelical Society. His first pastorate was Cork. 
About this a curious tale is told. The Society had 
arranged for Burnet to go to Limerick, and another 
young minister to go to Cork. But Burnet's place was 
taken by mistake in the Cork coach, and the other 
man's in the Limerick conveyance. They agreed to 
abide by their mistake, and the young Scotchman's 
services proved so acceptable that he was invited to 
settle in Cork. He remained there until his removal 
to London, fifteen years later. On September 12, 1830, 
he commenced his ministry at Camberwell. 

Mr. Burnet was a strong politician and social 
reformer. During his early ministry in Cork he gave 
evidence on the state of Ireland before a Committee of 
the House of Lords. He took part in the struggle for 
the abolition of colonial slavery, and worked hard in 
the cause of popular education and religious liberty. 
It was said that if there was a deputation to the 

*~~^,w^ >^_y .: 

Rev. John Burnet, Camberwell. 


Government on any grievance, John Burnet was sure 
not only to be a member but to be the spokesman. 
The Peace Society found in him a warm friend, and 
indeed any organisation that had for its object the 
removal of privilege and abuse, the spread of freedom, 
and the advocacy of great principles was sure of the 
support of the popular minister of Camberwell Green. 
Few men have been so richly and variously gifted as 
John Burnet. He was a powerful speaker, of com- 
manding presence and genial disposition. He could 
tell a good story, debate, speak, or preach equally well. 
Although his public services made great demands on 
his time, his work at Camberwell was not neglected. 
He was a diligent student of the word of God. Wad- 
dington says, " He delighted in continuous exposition, 
and it was his happiness to have a congregation follow 
him through the entire field of revelation. He met the 
congregation periodically in private circles for free and 
earnest discussion, and they found in his mind a shrine 
of perpetual illumination." 

After Mr. Burnet had been twenty-two years at 
Camberwell it was resolved to build a new church. 
The first stone was laid on December 15, 1852. Mr. 
Burnet left the entire arrangements with his people, 
who raised £8,000 for the work. 

On attaining his twenty-fifth anniversary, in 1855, 
the congregation presented him with a purse of £500. 
Six years later Rev. John Pillans, of Perth, was invited 
to become co-pastor with Mr. Burnet. The recognition 
service was held on Friday, February 22, 1861. 

The aged minister did not live long afterwards. He 

preached his last sermon on his seventy-third birthday, 

rom Psalm viii., 3 and 4, and died June 10, 1862, in 

the seventy-fourth year of his age. He was buried 



in Norwood Cemetery amid widespread tokens of 

Mr. Pillans continued pastor of the church till 1873, 
when he accepted an invitation to Huntly. He was suc- 
ceeded by Rev. Clement Clemance, B.A., D.D., who for 
fifteen years had maintained an influential ministry at 
Castle Gate, Nottingham. Soon after Dr. Clemance's 
settlement a scheme was set on foot to erect new schools. 
The site and a donation of £100 was presented by Mr. G. 
Whitley, and the treasurer of the fund, Mr. G. Keen, 
gave the handsome donation of £1,000. The memorial 
stones were laid on October 6, 1877, by Mr. Whitley, 
and the building was opened on the following April. 

Mr. Keen again showed his great interest in the 
church by the gift of an organ in 1SS0. At the same 
time some alterations were made in the building during 
which services were held in the Lecture Hall. The 
reopening took place on Thursday, September 1, 1880. 

After a pastorate of nearly fifteen years, Dr. Clemance 
resigned his charge through ill health. At the farewell 
service he was presented with an illuminated address 
and cheque for £456. He did not seek another charge 
but lived retired at Croydon and Stamford Hill till his 
death in 1895. 

The Church then gave an invitation to Rev. Thomas 
Hooper of Kingsland. Mr. Hooper, like his predecessor, 
was a student of the Western College. His first settle- 
ment was at Princess Street, Devonport, where he 
ministered from 1877 to 1886. During the interval 
after Dr. Clemance's resignation the Church was 
renovated, and reopened with the commencement of 
Mr. Hooper's ministry on April 13, 1890. 

In 1898 Mr. Hooper was called to the important 
pastorate of Albion Chapel, Ashton-under-Lyne. After 

Rev. Clement Clemance, D.D., Camberwell 


an interval of eighteen months the church invited 
Rev. Thomas Stephens, B.A., of Wellingborough. Mr. 
Stephens was educated at Brecon, and St. John's College, 

His first pastorate was at Ross ; then from 1885 to 
1889 he ministered at Argyle Chapel, Bath; for the next 
eleven years he exercised a ministry at Wellingborough 
that secured for him a high reputation throughout the 
churches. He commenced his ministry at Camberwell 
in May, 1900, and under his effective guidance the 
church fully maintains its reputation as a centre of 
beneficent Christian activity. 

In 1882 it became possible to acquire the freehold of 
a mission room in Waterloo Street, which had pre- 
viously been held on lease. The purchase price was 
£600, and an additional expenditure of £1,750 provided 
a large hall with infants' room, four other class rooms 
and rooms for a working men's club and other meetings. 
The new premises were opened in 1886, and arc now a 
centre of active Christian work, comprising mission 
services, temperance organisations, a social guild, and 
a Sunday school of 450 children. 



According to Dr. Waddington this church traces its 
origin to a prayer meeting in the house of a Mrs. 
Arnold. Some of those who took part in that meeting- 
resolved to build a chapel and to found a fellowship 

F 2 


on Congregational lines. According to the Church 
Book, Richard Hollert of Denmark Hill, John Leathly 
of Dover Place, Kent Road, John Flint, Richard Smales, 
and Thomas Powis of Walworth, erected what was at 
first called Lock's Field Meeting House, which was 
begun in September, 1789, and opened June 13, 1790. 
The building of the chapel was superintended free of 
expense by Mr. Flint, who also executed much of the 
work at cost price, the other gentlemen defraying the 
remaining expense of the building. 

Preaching was carried on for two years and a half by 
various ministers ; and the Church was formed on 
April 14, 1793, when the Lord's Supper was adminis- 
tered to the newly constituted members by Rev. James 

The first pastor was Philip Mills. He was ordained 
May 29, 1793, and held the pastorate till his death, 
January 12, 1796. 

Rev. George Burden of Coventry declined an invita- 
tion to succeed him ; and for nearly four years the 
church was without a minister, till Edmund Denham 
was ordained October 23, 1799. His pastorate, too, 
was very brief. He died November 12, 1800, and was 
buried in the ground adjoining the chapel, where his 
predecessor also rests. 

For almost four years longer the church was without 
a pastor, and then one was called to the pulpit whose 
name will ever be inseparably connected with Walworth. 
George Clayton, son of the well-known minister of the 
Weigh House Chapel, was born in London, 1783. It 
is said that John Wesley put his hand on his head and 
his brother's, and gave them the blessing of Jacob, 
" The Angel which redeemed me from all evil bless the 
lads." When quite a youth he commenced his study 

Rev. George Clayton, Walworth. 


for the ministry under Dr. Valpy of Reading, and 
subsequently entered Hoxton Academy. In 1802 he 
went to Southampton, where he remained two years. 
Efforts were made to get him to Camden Town, but 
without success ; and in 1804, when not twenty-one 
years of age, he became minister at Walworth. 

Among the baptisms recorded in the Chapel Register 
in the year 1812 is that of Robert Browning; who 
here through his boyhood and youth listened Sunday 
after Sunday to lessons in heavenly things, which 
helped to train one of the greatest poets and spiritual 
teachers of the age. 

George Clayton was pre-eminently a divine of the 
old school. Perhaps the picture that his successor, 
Rev. P. J. Turquand, has drawn of him will best 
describe the man. 

" It was his practice on a Sabbath morning to walk 
from his residence in Manor Place to the chapel in 
York St., arrayed in his pulpit robes . . . wearing 
lavender kid gloves. He treated each woman, what- 
ever her status, as a lady, and every man as a gentle- 
man ... He loved children dearly. Baptisms were 
great occasions. One day holding a babe in his arms 
and speaking of its ancestors through three generations, 
whom he had known, he was interrupted by the cries 
of the many infants who were around him. Pausing 
he said, ' The bleating of the lambs drowns the 
shepherd's voice.' 

" Like the old Puritans, he often chose a text which 
was a 'word in season.' . . . On the Sunday on which 
he admitted a husband, wife, and three daughters to 
the table of the Lord, his text was ' Come thou and all 
thy house into the Ark.' A robbery occurred in the 
chapel, next Sabbath the text was ' Let him that stole 


steal no more.' And on one occasion, when a good 
deal of talk had gone on with regard to a personal and 
private matter, his text was ' What is that to thee ? ' 

Mr. Clayton died in 1862. An appreciation of him 
in the Evangelical Magazine of that year says he 
believed in Dr. Chalmers' maxim, " A house-going 
minister makes a church-going people." He was in 
great demand as a special preacher, and was always 
ready to help. He was warmly attached to Puritan 
theology, and had little or no sympathy with modern 
forms of thought. 

During Mr. Clayton's ministry the chapel was con- 
siderably enlarged; and when in 1854 ms jubilee was 
celebrated the event was marked by a handsome pre- 
sentation, and by the erection of the Clayton Memorial 
Schools, which would hold 750 children. 

The year before this it was decided to find a co- 
pastor for Mr. Clayton, and Rev. Paul J. Turquand 
was chosen. Mr. Turquand was born in 1826, at 
Milford in Hants, where his father was the Baptist 
minister. After completing a course of preparation at 
Homerton and New Colleges, he was sent one Sunday 
in March, 1853, to supply at Walworth. 

Mr. Clayton received his services very kindly, asked 
him much about himself, advised him to decline the 
invitation he had already received, and offered him his 
own pulpit on probation. Mr. Turquand accepted, and 
was ordained on June 8 of that same year. 

For thirty-seven years Mr. Turquand worthily sus- 
tained this his only pastorate. He had not altogether 
an easy task to follow a man of Mr. Clayton's power, 
and to minister to a congregation that had grown old 
with its pastor. But gradually innovations were intro- 
duced, a new organ was built, monthly church meetings 

Rev. Paul J. Turquand, Walworth. 


took the place of those that had been held at rare 
intervals, and various movements were started that 
added much to the usefulness of the church. 

In 1875 the chapel, which was exceptionally dark 
and ugly, was renovated and altogether transformed at 
a cost of £2,000. 

For twenty-one years Mr. Turquand, in addition to 
the work of his own church, served the county as 
secretary of the Surrey Congregational Union ; and 
for several years was financial secretary of the London 
Congregational Board. But as time went on great and 
depressing changes took place in the neighbourhood, 
and Walworth was transformed — or deformed — out of 
recognition. Deserted by almost all who were able to 
live elsewhere, the whole district was occupied by a 
densely crowded working-class population " with a 
high standard of indifference and a low standard of 
morality." To these Mr. Turquand's ministry pre- 
sented no attraction ; and in 1890, after the centenary 
of the chapel, he resigned the pastorate, receiving many 
substantial tokens of appreciation and esteem. 

After his retirement Mr. Turquand resided at Clapham, 
still continuing his services to the County Union. He 
resigned the secretaryship shortly after the death of his 
wife, which occurred in October, 1900. The shock of 
this bereavement he never fully overcame. He died 
suddenly, while reading in his study chair, August 12, 

On the retirement of Mr. Turquand, many who had 
loyally supported him at York Street felt no longer 
bound to the place, and formed other associations. 
Moreover, so impoverished was the district that if the 
building had been filled with a purely local congrega- 
tion, its work could not have been carried on without 


external aid. Under these circumstances the London 
Congregational Union adopted York Street as one of 
their own missions. The chapel, somewhat altered 
with a view to new methods, was re-named " Browning 
Hall," the name being cordially approved by the only 
son of the illustrious poet whom it commemorates. 
The Mission was placed under the superintendence of 
Rev. T. H. Darlow, M.A., from Crosby, Liverpool, who 
early in 1901 accepted a call to the pastorate. A 
vigorous beginning was made of many sided social 
service; but difficulties arose owing to misunder- 
standings between the London Union and the local 
committee, which resulted in Mr. Darlow's resignation 
in the summer of 1902. 

There was some danger lest the difficulties just 
referred to should bring the whole enterprise to an 
end ; but a reconstructed committee resolved that 
this calamity should not befall. The Committee 
included Revs. Dr. Horton, C. S. Home, and G. S. 
Macgregor, Dr. McClure of Mill Hill School, W. T. 
Stead, Esq., the eminent journalist, and others. It was 
found that progress on lines suited to the locality was 
hindered by the terms of the trust, and after much 
negotiation the difficulty was solved by the trustees 
selling the entire church property to the Committee. 
This was effected on July 4, 1894. The Mission was 
reconstituted as a social settlement, under the direc- 
tion of Rev. F. Herbert Stead, M.A., as Warden, and 
was inaugurated by a devotional service on December 
13, 1894. Public work commenced on the first Sunday 
of 1895, and is still continued by Mr. Stead and many 
voluntary helpers. The forms of Christian and social 
service which have their centre at Browning Hall are 
many and various ; but at the heart of the settlement 


a fellowship of believers in unbroken continuity with 
the old Congregational Church in York Street. 


Little can be learned of this congregation. In a list 
dated 1811, it is described as " Calvinist," services 
three times on Sunday and on Thursday, ministers 
various. It is not mentioned in the lists of 1827 and 
1832. In 1843 — 6 it is described as Congregational, 
with J. O. Bridgeman as pastor ; and thenceforward to 
1855 the minister is J. Wood, described as a Cheshunt 
student. The next two years it is reported vacant, and 
then disappeared from the lists. Mr. Wood died at 
Bath in 1866, aged 71. 



The earliest record of direct evangelistic effort in 
Sutton is in association with the name of William 
Romaine, who, concerned for the spiritual destitution 
of the village, preached in the kitchen of a private 
house. Some time later, in 1798, John Hudson, after- 
wards minister at West Bromwich, but then living at 
Mitcham, had his attention directed to the village, and 
began to preach in the open air, not without con- 
siderable opposition. He was assisted in this work by 


his friend Thomas Lewis, who afterwards became 
minister of Union Chapel, Islington. 

Amongst those who gladly heard the young preachers 
and encouraged them in their work was Mr. Wall, a 
member of the church at Barbican, London, who had 
retired from business, and come to live at Sutton. 
He invited the preachers to his house and fitted up a 
room for their services. 

This soon became insufficient for the congregations 
that gathered, and Mr. Wall erected, at his own 
expense, a small chapel close to his own house. This 
was opened in 1799. 

After Mr. Wall's death the congregations still con- 
tinued to increase, and enlargement became necessary, 
especially as Sutton stood in the midst of a number of 
villages which were unsupplied with any Nonconfor- 
mist place of worship. 

Half the sum required was speedily raised, and on 
September 30, 1819, the enlarged chapel was opened 
with sermons by Revs. George Clayton and G. Collison. 
The pulpit was supplied by students from Hoxton 
College and neighbouring ministers, and a small legacy 
left by Mr. Wall helped to support the work. 

This hopeful time seems to have been succeeded by 
a long period of depression. Ultimately the church 
came under the oversight of the Surrey Mission, whose 
agents supplied the pulpit in connection with Ewell. 

In 1839, at the instance of Mr. Lewis, who still 
retained a deep interest in the village, Rev. Thomas 
Kennerley, of Mitcham, took the oversight of the work. 
For some time he preached on Sabbath afternoons and 
week evenings ; and the chapel was repaired and made 
more commodious and inviting. A nephew of Mr. 
Wall, the late Mr. Betts, of Oxford Street, generously 


contributed to the alterations, and to the regular 
support of the ministry. 

In 1848 the building, which was previously private 
property, was transferred to trustees on behalf of the 

The following year, Rev. Isaac Jacob began to preach 
at Sutton. Mr. Jacob was born at Debenham, Suffolk, 
where his father was parish clerk, July 31, 1808. For 
a time he was tutor in the Grammar School at Wood- 
bridge ; and at the early age of twenty-one opened a 
private school at Maldon in Essex. The baptism of 
his first child led him to Nonconformity. He felt a 
strong objection to the baptismal service of the Prayer 
Book. Finally he determined to enter the Noncon- 
formist ministry ; and was ordained at Great Wakering, 
Essex, on July 7, 1837. He still carried on his school, 
till 1848, when he removed to Tooting, and opened a 
larger establishment. Whilst here he was introduced 
to the church at Sutton. At first his services were 
only intended to be occasional, but finding they were 
acceptable to the people, he took permanent charge of 
the work. For ten years he walked to and fro from 
Tooting, a distance of five miles. Shortly after 
Mr. Jacob's acceptance of the pastorate, it was found 
desirable to reorganise the church ; which was done 
under the superintendence of Messrs. Steer (of Croydon), 
and Kennerley. 

So successful was Mr. Jacob's ministry that a new 
building was found necessary. A freehold site in Benhill 
Street was secured, and a church erected to seat 
300 persons, with school room, vestry and class rooms. 
The first stone was laid on April 21, 1859, by 
Mr. J. H. Townend ; and the building was opened for 
worship August 9, when Rev. H. Allon (Mr. Lewis's 


successor), preached in the morning and Rev. Joshua 
Harrison in the evening. The building cost £1,250. 

Mr. Jacob now came to reside in Sutton, as the work 
demanded the whole of his attention. In 1864, the 
further success of his work made a new gallery neces- 

Towards the end of his ministry Mr. Jacob partly 
lost his sight through cataract. He resigned his pasto- 
rate in March, 1877, after twenty-eight years' faithful 
service, which was recognised by a testimonial of £550. 
The closing years of his life were spent at Brixton, 
where he died March 30, 1881, at the age of seventy- 

In September, 1878, Rev. John Barnes accepted the 
invitation of the church to the pulpit that had been 
vacant for eighteen months. Mr. Barnes was educated 
at Cheshunt, and had held the pastorate of Fareham 
for six years. 

In 1880 a new church was resolved on in a more 
convenient location. A plot of land was purchased on 
the Sutton Court estate, for £625. The cost of this 
was defrayed by Mr. A. Dyet, a member of the Building 
Committee ; and promises of £1,500 were made towards 
the building. 

Meanwhile a temporary iron chapel was erected in 
1883, and opened on January 24 of that year. 

Four years later, Mr. Waters, a member of the con- 
gregation, gave the adjoining plot of land. Here it 
was decided to build a church suitable to the needs of 
the locality, for Sutton was no longer a little village, 
but a well-to-do residential suburb of the great city. 
The foundation stone was laid by Mr. Dyet on July 
20, 1889. 

Shortly before this Mr. Barnes resigned the pastorate. 


He closed his ministry in January, 1889, and still lives 
retired in Sutton. 

In September, 1889, the Rev. James Chadburn com- 
menced his ministry here. He had previously been pastor 
at Middlesbrough-on-Tees, and at Trinity Church, 
Poplar. The following February the new church was 
opened, the preacher being Rev. R. F. Horton, D.D., of 

The old church in Benhill Street was reopened, and 
Sunday evening services carried on with much encour- 
agement. The iron temporary church was arranged 
as a model Sunday school. About £"1,000 was left 
as a debt on the new buildings, but this was greatly 
reduced by a successful bazaar later in the year, 
which realised £700. A deaconess has recently been 
appointed, whose services are much appreciated. 

Mr. Chadburn resigned in 1892. He, like his prede- 
cessor, lives retired in Sutton. 

The following year, Rev. Joseph Jones, the present 
minister, accepted the pastorate. Mr. Jones was 
educated at Brecon, and graduated M.A. at Glasgow. 
He was for two years at Airdrie (1885 — 7) and then 
for six years at Hope Chapel, Wigan (1887—93). He 
has now for thirteen years exercised a cultured and 
energetic ministry at Sutton ; besides doing good 
services among the churches of the county and the 
neighbouring city. 

The centenary of the church was celebrated in 




Several Welsh congregations were gathered in 
London about the beginning of the nineteenth century. 
For one of these a meeting house was erected in Guild- 
ford Street, Southwark, " near the Park," which was 
opened on January 5, 1807. Six sermons were 
preached on the day of opening, three in Welsh and 
three in English. 

Our information about this church is very incom- 
plete. For some years the pulpit was occupied by a 
succession of ministers from Wales, usually for three 
months at a time. The first settled minister of whom 
we find any record is Rev. David Davies, a Carmarthen 
student, who was already settled in 1S41, and remained 
till 1867. For several years alter his departure the 
pulpit is reported ' ; supplied" or " vacant." 

A new chapel in Southwark Bridge Road was opened 
on February 23, 1873 ; the dimensions are given as 
42 by 33-0- feet, the accommodation 500, and the cost 
as £2,000 without the site. 

In 1875 Rev. R. L. Thomas, from Llanon, accepted 
the pastorate. He was a Brecon student ; he ministered 
here about twelve years, and died January 4, 1888. 
After nearly two years' vacancy Rev. D. C. Jones, 
another Brecon student, was invited from Bethesda 
Chapel, Merthyr Tydfil. He had formerly ministered 
at Defy nock. He still holds the pastorate, which 
appears to have been highly successful, as the church 
reports 315 members. 



This, which is described as " Calvinist " and " Inde- 
pendent," must have been near the New Kent Road. 
All we can learn of it is that a Mr. Helmsworth was 
minister there in 181 1, E. Mitchell in 1827, and T. 
Bradshaw in 1832. 


(1806— 1820) 

The work at West Norwood was commenced about 
a hundred years ago in connection with the London 
Itinerant Society. A small chapel was opened on 
August 18, 1806. We are told that the occasion was 
one of great interest. More friends came from London 
and the surrounding villages than the little chapel 
would hold, and the service had to be conducted in the 
open air. The fact that £84 was collected testifies to 
the success of the day. 

For twelve years the work was carried on by the 
preachers of the Itinerant Society, and afterwards 
students from Hoxton supplied the pulpit. By the 
year 1820 the chapel had become too small to accom- 
modate the increasing congregations, and on Wednes- 
day, July 28, the foundation stone of a new sanctuary 
was laid. Rev. John Clayton preached and Rev. 
Thomas Jackson, of Stockwell, concluded the service. 

The following year William Low, a Hoxton 
student, was called to the pastorate and ordained on 
June 13, 1821. He was succeeded by Rev. John 


Richards, who commenced his ministry in 1825. Mr. 
Richards was born at Gloucester on May 10, 1778. He 
would be a lad in that city when Robert Raikes was 
carrying on his Sunday school, and probably would 
see something of the commencement of that movement 
destined to grow to such vast extent. Some years later 
his parents removed to Deptford, where he joined the 
church under Rev. Mr. Barker. His first efforts at 
preaching were in the villages around, often accom- 
panied by another young man, destined in after years 
to become a famous minister, William Bengo Collyer. 
His first pastorate was at Stourbridge. He resigned 
at Norwood in 1830, and afterward laboured at Birming- 
ham and Wordsley. He died at Stourbridge, where 
his son was minister, on Sunday, April 23, 1854. ^ ev - 
John Wooldridge was the next minister. He laboured 
here from June, 1833, to August, 1834. He afterwards 
went to Jamaica, where he died in 1840. 

In November, 1834, the Church gave an invitation 
to Rev. Chas. Nice Davies. Mr. Davies was the son 
of a sergeant in the Guards. He was brought up as a 
soldier, and became an ensign at the age of twelve. 
Two years later he went to India. He served in the 
Peninsular War, and after Waterloo was the second 
Englishman to enter Paris. Returning to England he 
settled in Kent. Up till this time he had led a gay and 
frivolous life, but one day, lighting upon Dr. Bryne's 
" Essay on the New Testament," he read it and became 
first an anxious enquirer and then a disciple of Christ. 
He joined the Independent Church at Milton, and 
afterwards removed to Uxbridge, where he studied for 
the ministry. His first charge was at Queensborough, 
in the Isle of Sheppey. He remained at Norwood till 
December, 1839, when he removed to become tutor of 


the Independent College at Brecon. He was not per- 
mitted long to serve the church in that capacity, 
but died January 22, 1842, at the early age of 
forty- eight. 

The next pastor was Rev. B. L. Kent, son of Rev. 
Benjamin Kent, of Barnstaple. He was born at Trow- 
bridge June 1, 1817. He studied at Edinburgh, and 
gained the first prize for Greek at seventeen years of 
age. He received his ministerial training at Coward 
College. Glastonbury was his first charge, where he 
remained twelve months. He removed to Norwood in 
1840, and was ordained on September 4 in that year. 
During his ministry the church and congregation 
steadily grew. Three galleries were erected in the 
chapel, and an infant school and large British school 
were established. The cost of these, together with a 
Mechanics' Institute, was defrayed by two members of 
the congregation. The church was also able to sustain 
a missionary in one of the neglected districts of the 
county. Mr. Kent died in 1866. His biographer in 
the Year Book bears high tribute to his character. He 
is described as blending the genius and piety of the old 
Puritan with the urbanity of the modern pastor. He 
was a man of prayer and of essentially benevolent 
spirit. Added to this, he was one of the most accom- 
plished scholars in the denomination. 

Mr. Kent was followed by Rev. W. Knibb Lea, a 
nephew of William Knibb, the eminent Baptist mis- 
sionary. Mr. Lea had been for eight years an active 
missionary at Amoy. His earnestness and thoughtful 
preaching so endeared him to the people at Norwood 
that for a whole year they refused to accept his resigna- 
tion, when he was seriously invalided. He retired, 
however, in 1878, after a pastorate of twelve years. 



His strength never returned, and he died at Brighton 
in January, 1881. 

His successor was Rev. J. McCann, D.D., F.G.S., 
who had seceded from the Episcopal Church. His 
ministry continued from 1879 to 1886, when he returned 
to his former ecclesiastical associations. 

The church next invited Rev. Samuel King, of Isle- 
worth. He ministered from 1886 to 1890, when he 
accepted an invitation to Westgate-on-Sea. In 1899 
he removed to Maidstone, where he now labours. 

Rev. Walter Baxendale then accepted the pastorate. 
He had been a student of Hackney College, and had 
ministered at Claremont (Pentonville Road), Hammer- 
smith and Limerick. He held the pastorate at Norwood 
till 1904, and still lives in the neighbourhood. 

The Church, after a short interval, called the present 
pastor, Rev. W. P. Tucker (from East Knoyle, Wilts.) 
to its oversight. Mr. Tucker commenced his ministry 
here in 1905. 


(1812 — 1900) 

Oxted is a parish and village ten miles south-east of 
Croydon, almost on the border of Kent. Here Jeremy 
Bentham lived in the early years of the nineteenth 
century, and the same house was subsequently occupied 
by George Grote, the historian, who often had for a visitor 
John Stuart Mill. 

Nonconformity in Oxted is of no recent date, for we 
find among the licences granted for worship in 1672, 
one in this village to the house of Thomas Stone, 


Presbyterian. Probably no church was formed, or if 
there was it soon ceased to exist, for not until 130 years 
later have we any record of Nonconformist services. 

The attention of the Surrey Mission had been drawn 
to the neighbourhood some years before, but for a long 
time all efforts to obtain a room were fruitless. At 
length a farmer offered a room in his house, here 
services were carried on, and the firstfruit of the mission 
was the conversion of his own daughter. The work so 
prospered that a chapel became absolutely necessary. 
On June 5, 1811, what the Evangelical Magazine calls 
"a small neat chapel" was opened, capable of seating 
some two hundred persons. 

This was one of the first stations occupied by the 
society. In 1812, Rev. S. A. Dubourg was placed 
over this and some neighbouring villages, and many of 
the early reports of the mission speak of his zeal and 

In 1813 a church was formed of fifteen members, and 
eight years later this had increased to forty-six. 

During Mr. Dubourg's ministry services were held at 
Pain's Hill (in Limpsfield parish), sometimes in the open 
air, and sometimes in a farm-house kitchen, into which 
as many as ninety persons have been crowded. At 
length a chapel was built to hold 150, and opened on 
August 6, 1822. 

In 1828 Mr. Dubourg found it necessary, from the 
state of his health, to seek a less laborious pastorate. 
He removed to Marden in Kent, and afterwards to 
Clapham, where he died in 1852. He was succeeded by 
Rev. Edward Nicholls, a student from Hackney. 

In 1853 Mr. Nicholls was laid aside by a severe attack 
of fever, and two years later resigned after an efficient 
service of twenty-seven years. 

G 2 


He was succeeded in 1855 by Mr. Henson, a town 
missionary from Gravesend, who laboured till 1862. 
On January 1, 1S63, Mr. Cockerton was appointed, and 
continued the oversight of the church till 187 1 when 
the Surrev Mission, owing to lack of funds, was com- 
pelled to withdraw their Evangelist. 

In 1893, the Surrey Congregational Union repaired 
the little chapel at Pain's Hill and recommenced 
services there. 

At length, through the efforts of friends from 
George Street, Croydon, and Caterham Churches, a site 
was secured at Oxted and the present building erected. 
The new church was opened on Thursday, July 12, 
1900 ; memorial stones were " fixed " by Mr. J. Carvell 
Williams, M.P., and Mr. G. H. Leeson. The cost of the 
new building was £"1,300, of which about £700 remained 
to be paid. 

The same year Rev. B. Vaughan Pryce, M.A., LL.B. 
(of New College, and Trinity College, Cambridge), was 
invited to take charge of the church. Mr. Pryce 
accepted the invitation and spent three years of happy 
and useful work at Oxted till, in 1903, he removed to 
Clifton Down, where he now labours. 

After a short interval an invitation was given to Rev. 
J. Halsey, who had just resigned the pastorate at 
Anerley, and was seeking a less arduous sphere of 
service. Mr. Halsey accepted the pastorate and com- 
menced his ministry early in 1904. 

Shortly afterwards steps were taken towards erect- 
ing a still more suitable building for this increasing 

Oxted had changed from a little Surrey village into 
a high class residential neighbourhood, one of the out- 
lying suburbs of the great city. A site was secured in 


Blue House Lane, and designs were prepared for a 
beautiful building that would cost £5,000. 

A bazaar was held in February, 1905, when £473 was 

Toward the close of that year Mr. Halsey resigned 
the pastorate, and an invitation was soon afterwards 
sent to Mr. Sydney Berry, B.A., of Clare College, 
Cambridge, and Mansfield College, Oxford, son of the 
late Dr. Charles Berry of Wolverhampton. Mr. Berry 
accepted the invitation and commenced his ministry on 
July 15, 1906. 

Pain's Hill continues to be worked as a mission in 
connection with Oxted Church. 



Towards the end of the eighteenth century some 
ministers associated with George Whitfield preached 
in a little building that had been prepared for them in 
this village. 

Amongst those who afterwards rendered occasional 
service were Matthew Wilks, Rowland Hill, Thomas 
Jackson of Stockwell, and John Sibree of Frome. 
Other ministers preached more regularly. At first the 
attendance was encouraging, but later the congregation 
declined and the chapel was closed. 

In 1S16 another effort was made to evangelise the 
village, and on November 27 in that year a little 
chapel was opened by Revs. Rowland Hill, E. J. Jones, 
and R. Stodhart. 


Shortly afterwards Rev. Thomas Williams, formerly 
of Trowbridge, accepted an invitation to supply the 
pulpit for twelve months, during which time the place 
became so crowded that the necessity was strongly felt 
for erecting a new chapel. 

A good site was procured, and with the strong 
recommendation of such men as those we have men- 
tioned, with Dr. Collyer, Thomas Lewis of Islington, 
and indeed all the neighbouring ministers, the case 
for Mitcham was laid before the public. 

On April 28, 1819, a commodious chapel called 
Zion Chapel was opened. It was built to accommodate 
300 persons, but provision was made for a gallery 
which would seat an additional 200. The opening 
services were conducted by Revs. G. Mudie, Dr. 
Collyer, and Thomas Jackson. The Evangelical Maga- 
zine tells us that the attendance was numerous and 
respectable, and the collections liberal, but a debt of 
over £700 remained. 

Mr. Williams did not remain long after the opening 
of the new chapel. In September, 1820, he accepted 
an invitation to become co-pastor with Rev. Timothy 
East at Birmingham. 

On January 17, 1821, a church was formed by 
Rev. Samuel Hackett of London; and Hoxton students 
ministered to the little fellowship till July, 1823, when 
one of their number, Rev. John Varty, was ordained 

John Varty was a Londoner, born November 29, 1798. 
He remained at Mitcham fifteen years, and in 1839 
removed to Fareham, where he ministered for twenty- 
three years. He afterwards held a pastorate at Aston 
Tirrold, Berks, and after a short residence at Northamp- 
ton died rather suddenly in London, April 16, 1873. 


Thomas Kennerley, of Burton-on-Trent, was the 
next minister. He, too, was born in the great city, and 
as a youth attended Surrey Chapel. He studied for 
the ministry at Newport Pagnell, and on leaving settled 
at Burton. Soon after his removal to Mitcham a front 
gallery was erected, and on Sunday, January 12, 1840, 
the chapel was reopened. Two years later a large 
room was built for the Sunday school and with a 
view to establishing a day school. 

In 1854 Mr. Thomas Pratt, a deacon of the church, 
bequeathed £20 per annum for the support of the 
ministry, and £90 per annum for the support of 
day schools. A British school was opened on 
July 20, 1857, in which 200 boys and girls received 

During Mr. Kennerley's pastorate at Mitcham he 
was for some years one of the joint secretaries of the 
Surrey Mission. In 1856 failing health compelled him 
to resign. For a time he preached at Eltham, but was 
never again strong. He lived for a while in retirement 
at Gravesend, and died July 12, 1870. 

A few months after Mr. Kennerley's resignation 
Rev. George Stewart, of Hastings, accepted the vacant 
charge. He remained till 1862, when he removed 
to Newcastle-on-Tyne. He has since held pastorates 
at Glasgow, Kilburn, Reading, and Bexhill, and now 
lives retired at Woodford Green. 

Mr. Stewart was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Orr. 
He was born in 1823 at Annandale, near Kilmarnock, 
and was educated for the law. He was making con- 
siderable headway in his profession, but removing 
to Glasgow, under the influence of Dr. Morrison and 
Dr. Guthrie, he gave up his career to enter the 
ministry. After a course at Edinburgh University 


he settled at Ayr in 1852, and then removed to 
Mitcham, where he was recognised June 23, 1863. 

For six years and a half Mr. Orr exercised a faithful 
and helpful ministry at Mitcham. In 1869 he removed 
to Poole, and four years later to Windsor, where he 
laboured for twenty years. He died at Crouch End 
September 30, 1895, in the seventy-first year of his age. 

In 1870 Rev. George William Joyce, a student of 
Hackney College, accepted the pastorate. He remained 
two years and removed to Tavistock in Devon. 

The next minister was Rev. J. F. Poulter, B.A. Mr. 
Poulter was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, 
where he graduated B.A. For twenty-six years he 
had laboured at Wellingborough. Mr. Poulter's pas- 
torate at Mitcham extended from June 20, 1872 to 
December 27, 1874. He has not sought another 
charge, and is spending the evening of his long life at 

In 1875 Mr. H. W. Mote, of Hackney College, 
accepted the vacant pulpit. His recognition took 
place on August 3, but he was not ordained until 
October, 1876. Mr. Mote only remained another 
year. He resigned in 1877, and was followed by Rev. 
W. H. Belchem, whose pastorate was also short, 
lasting from October, 1877, to June 29, 1879. 

In 1880 Rev. Robert Richman accepted an invita- 
tion to the vacant charge and commenced his ministry 
on August 1. 

Mr. Richman found a membership of only thirty, 
but it has since largely increased. The neighbouring 
population is rapidly growing, and there is every 
reason to expect for the church a prosperous future. 
In 1886 the chapel was refurnished and decorated. 
For some years there had been friction between the 


church and the day school, but at last the trouble 
was settled, the church receiving £10 a year for the 
use of the school-room. Now the school has a reputa- 
tion for efficiency and good work which is acknowledged 
by all religious parties. 

The tomb of Rev. Ingram Cobbin, M.A., author 
of a once popular Bible Commentary, who died in 1851, 
is in the burial ground adjoining the church. 


(1825— 1864) 

There was a Nonconformist cause in Ewell as far 
back as 1669, for we read that a conventicle was 
detected that year in the house of Mr. Cutler, a brewer, 
and another in the house of Mrs. Holmes, a widow. 
Here about fifty Presbyterians gathered and listened to 
the instructions of Mr. Symonds, from Wimbledon ; 
Mr. Batho, of London, and Mr. King, late of Ashtead. 
We have no record of any of these ministers, save that 
Mr. King was ejected from Ashtead, and Mr. Batho 
from Ewell. 

How long this cause continued we are not told. It is 
not until the eighteenth century that we again find a 
dissenting community in this town. 

The story of this new cause is one of the most 
remarkable that we have ever read. We extract the 
account from an article by Mrs. J. A. Owen, in a book 
published some years ago. Mary Wallis was the 
daughter of a poor but respectable couple in Ewell. 
When nine years old she entered on domestic service ; 


and early in life showed her intense zeal for the things 
of God. She attended a little chapel at Epsom, and 
one night walking home the idea occurred to her " what 
if God could strengthen my hands, so that I could 
build Him a little chapel." She was so possessed with 
the thought that she knelt in the stillness midway 
across Epsom Downs, and prayed, and vowed to devote 
her savings and earnings, except what was absolutely 
necessary for her use, to this object. Her wages were 
only £8 a year ; but she at once commenced to lay by 
some portion. Her family tried to dissuade her from 
so mad a scheme, but she would not give it up. 

A year passed away ; and one day she heard that an 
itinerant preacher had come to stay in Ewell. At once 
she set herself to find a room where services could be 
held till her own little chapel was ready. 

The only place she could get was a slaughter-house. 
Unsavoury as the place was she set to work to make it 
decent. It needed much sweetening, but she white- 
washed the walls and roof, and bought some seats, and 
soon turned it into a tolerable room. Unfortunately 
she could only have the use of it for one year. At the 
expiration of that time a second room was offered her, 
where her little congregation met for five years. Then 
the owner died, and she could rent it no longer. Her 
wages were now £10 a year, besides occasional 
presents. One day her master asked her if she 
knew how much she possessed ; and informed her 
that by judicious investment her savings had reached 
£100. At the same time he advised her to give up the 
folly of thinking to build a chapel. Friends said she 
ought to support her mother first with the money, so 
she agreed to give her mother 2s. 6d. a week, and for 
six years paid that amount regularly and cheerfully. 


But she was not to be dissuaded from her scheme, 
and after a while the chapel was commenced. The 
£100 was soon gone ; and there came a day when 
the builder refused to go on with the work until he had 
£20 more. That night the family heard Mary explain- 
ing the matter to God in prayer and asking for help. 
Shortly after, while she was out, two ladies called. 
Their names were never known, but they asked for the 
servant, and left a parcel. Mary opened it, and found 
£21 and a new gown. 

As the day for opening drew near, she decided to ask 
Rowland Hill to open her little chapel ; and went up 
to town alone to beg this favour of the great preacher. 
When she told Rowland Hill that she was a domestic 
servant in a churchman's family, he thought her crazy, 
and sent her away disappointed. But her master wrote 
to Mr. Hill, and told him the whole tale, which so 
moved his heart that he at once promised to come. 
Such was the state of things in Ewell at that time that 
no one could be found to entertain even so celebrated a 
personage as Rowland Hill ; so Mary had to provide 
him refreshments in the vestry. She tells an amusing 
story of how she bought some eggs, and a bottle of 
good port ; and made some drink. The old preacher 
was a bit suspicious and declined it. However, when 
Mary was out of the room, he tasted the concoction, and 
finding it very good finished the glass. " Mary," said 
he, when he was going, "could you make me another of 
those good drinks you made me just now ? " 

The little chapel was opened in 1825 ; and here the 
services were held for eight years. Mary kept the 
chapel in good condition, paid the preachers, and often 
entertained them from Saturday to Monday, having the 
vestry fitted up for their comfort. 


Then, through the machinations of some enemies, 
who had misled her as to the tenure, she lost the whole. 

It seems to have passed into the hands of the vicar 
of the parish, who bought the chapel. He brought 
Mary £5, but she says in her narrative, " I could not 
say anything to him at that, knowing that everything 
that did not belong to the landholder belonged to 
me. I remember the pews and forms, and all the 
things in the chapel, cost between £20 and £30, 
also a little vestry fitted up complete with every 
convenience, to accommodate a minister, from Satur- 
day to Monday." 

The chapel was dismantled, and the pews and the 
pulpit sold by auction. It was feared that the pulpit 
would be sent up to the racecourse, to put a man in to 
sell racing cards. Mary could not endure that, so she 
collected some money, and bought the pulpit back. 
One day the Vicar called on the good woman, who was 
now living in a cottage belonging to her master's family, 
which she was allowed to occupy for her life. She told 
him she wished she could run up a little room in her 
garden for a day school; and put her pulpit in a corner, 
so that she might again hear a sermon from it before 
she died. The Vicar offered to take the pulpit, and 
lend her the use of a school-room. But Mary held to 
her own idea, got another small room built, and the 
first day it was opened there was a congregation of 
seventy people. Here services were continued for five 
years, when, through her illness they were dropped for 
two years; then a minister promised to give a sermon 
weekly, and it was opened again. Mary died in 
February, 1870, aged ninety ; and on her death-bed 
gave her pastor the Bible which Rowland Hill used 
when he opened the new chapel. 


In 1864 Mr. J. C. Sharpe, of Ewell, exerted his 
influence to procure a suitable chapel for what was 
now a town of over 2,000 inhabitants. A freehold site 
was secured, at a cost of £550. The memorial stone 
was laid by Mr. Sharpe on July 30 ; and in February, 
1865, a building to seat 320 persons was opened. The 
total cost was under £2,000, of which £700 was 
contributed locally. 

In July of the following year Mr. James Ellis, a 
student of Western College, was called to the pastorate. 
Mr. Ellis remained till 1868, when he accepted an 
invitation to New Tabernacle, Old Street. He has 
since held, for twenty-two years, a pastorate in 
Barnsbury, and is now minister at Point-in-View, in 

Mr. Ellis was succeeded, in February, 1869, by Rev. 
Joseph Shaw. 

When Mr. Shaw accepted the pastorate the diffi- 
culties of the position at Ewell were considerable ; but, 
full of energy and determination, he took up the task of 
making Nonconformity a power in the town. Years of 
hard work followed, not in the chapel alone, but in the 
open air, in " The Grove" and other places, until 
success gradually followed his efforts, and the chapel 
was full to overflowing. He took an especial interest 
in working men. On Monday, December 14, 1874, a 
modest bill, written in a large, round hand, invited the 
working men to a free tea and entertainment ; and this 
was the forerunner of a long series of meetings for their 
especial benefit. After four years it was found necessary 
to build a lecture hall. A freehold site was obtained, 
and on Wednesday, July 24, 1878, Mr. Shaw had the 
pleasure of welcoming the Earl of Rosebery to lay the 
foundation stone of a hall to seat 400 persons. Here 


Mr. Shaw laid himself out for the intellectual and social 
welfare of the neighbourhood. He recognised the 
importance of technical education long before the 
county councils took it up, and promoted three most 
successful technical exhibitions in the hall. 

In addition to his pastoral labours Mr. Shaw did 
useful service on the board of guardians and on the 
rural district council, of which latter he was for two 
years chairman ; and subsequently represented Ewell 
and Banstead on the county council. 

In 1902, after thirty-four years' service, Mr. Shaw 
resigned the pastorate of Ewell, his only charge in the 
Congregational ministry. He still lives in well-earned 
retirement, amid the affection and esteem of his people. 
The following year an invitation was given to the 
present minister, Rev. Arthur Platts, B.A.,of Mansfield 
College, Oxford. He was ordained in June, 1903. 



In 1829 a chapel belonging to a society of Hunting- 
tonian Baptists was first hired, and afterwards bought 
by some friends of Rev. G. Rogers, who desired to 
secure his ministry among them. Mr. Rogers had 
formerly been assistant minister at the Old Weigh 
House Chapel. He commenced to preach in Camberwell 
in August, 1829, but it was not till June, 1835, that a 
church was organised. Over this Mr. Rogers continued 
to preside for nearly thirty years. In 1856 he accepted 


the invitation of Rev. C. H. Spurgeon to become 
divinity tutor in the new Pastors' College, which office 
he filled with abundant usefulness for eleven years — 
notwithstanding diversity of opinion on the single 
question of baptism. He retired from the pastorate 
in 1864, and died, at the age of ninety-three, on 
September 12, 1892. He was to the last a firm ad- 
herent of the old Puritan theology; and at the time 
of his death was, with one exception, the oldest 
Congregational minister in the world. 

After Mr. Rogers's retirement the pulpit was occupied 
from 1864 to 1867 by Rev. J. de Kewer Williams. 
There was then a vacancy of two years, when Rev. J. 
Bruce, from the Bristol Institute, was invited to the 
pastorate. He ministered from 1870 to 1873, and then 
removed to Bradford. The next pastor was Rev. R. 
Wearmouth, from Brentford, who in 188 1 removed to 
Odiham, Hants. The next year Rev. J. Bryant French, 
from Stourport, Worcestershire, was invited, and 
ministered about twelve years. In 1887 the lease 
expired, and an iron chapel was erected on a new site 
— unhappily encumbered with a mortgage. In 1893 
dissensions arose, which issued in Mr. French's resigna- 
tion. Further difficulties about a legacy involved legal 
proceedings ; and meanwhile the church became con- 
nected with the " Old Baptist Union," and the pulpit 
was occupied by a Baptist minister. In a short time 
the mortgagee foreclosed ; the site was sold, and after 
efforts on the part of the London Congregational 
Union to acquire it proved fruitless. 



Of all the great highways from London, not one has 
a more romantic history than the Old Kent Road — a 
history that runs further back, perhaps, than that of any 
road in Britain. Before the Roman occupation, when 
London was but a collection of huts on the banks of the 
Thames, a causeway was made across the swamps to 
connect it with the road that wound through Kent to 
Dover, making the shortest connection between the city 
and the continent. Later, when Canterbury reared its 
shrine upon the road, it became the track of pilgrims, 
and the highway of priests, prelates, and kings. To 
tell the tale of those who have trod this way would be 
to recount in no small part the history of our land. 

Even in the eighteenth century, the Old Kent Road 
must have been a busy thoroughfare, when, as Sir 
Walter Besant tells us, 143 stage coaches, besides 
wagons, carts, and caravans, came and went from the 
Borough, most of which would pass along this road. At 
the beginning of the nineteenth century it had begun to 
lose something of its rural aspect, although there are 
men living who can recall the time when they went 
into the Old Kent Road for a country walk. But by 
this time a population of three or four thousand had 
sprung up, for whom the neighbourhood afforded no 
spiritual provision. 

This fact seems to have lain heavily upon the hearts 
of some Christian people. They met for conference 
and prayer in a house in East Lane, and formed 


themselves into a committee of fifteen. The movement 
appears to have been quite undenominational, for the 
committee included not only Dr. Collyer, of Hanover 
Chapel, and George Clayton, of Walworth, but also 
Dr. Steane, the Baptist minister of Camberwell. 

Work was commenced in a cooperage belonging to 
Mr. Weemys, a deacon of Collier's Rents. It is an 
interesting fact that this building must have been 
situated very near the spot where, years before, the 
martyr John Penry suffered for his Nonconformity. A 
Sunday school was first started, and then Mr. Weemys, 
with Mr. R. Devey, of Surrey Square, engaged students 
from Highbury College for a service on Sunday 

After some difficulty a site was procured ; and 
toward the end of 1826 the committee were able to 
announce that the Corporation had consented to the 
erection of a chapel on part of their ground in Marl- 
borough Place, and that an agreement for a lease had 
been completed. The lease was not held direct from 
the city, but a sub-lease with a ground rent of £30 was 
taken up until its termination. No time was lost in 
utilising the site ; a tent was erected, and services 
immediately begun. 

On November 14, 1826, the first stone was laid by 
Mr. Thomas Wilson, the treasurer of Highbury College, 
and an address was given by Dr. Collyer, some five 
hundred persons being present. The following August 
the chapel was opened. Rev. Dr. Bennett, of Rother- 
ham College, preached in the morning from Acts xvi. 13, 
" And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river 
side, where prayer was wont to be made." The preacher 
was evidently a little mixed in his ideas as to the exact 
situation of the church. He seems to have had the 



impression that the Old Kent Road was actually on the 
bank of the Thames, for he says, " It is out of the 
city of Philippi, just as this chapel is out of London ; it 
is by the river side, as near as we may be to the banks 
of the Thames." However, says Dr. Waddington, 
"the theology of the Doctor was more exact than his 
topography," and in the course of an hour and a half 
he preached a sermon that fills an octavo pamphlet of 
thirty-two pages, and contains no less than eight 
thousand words. 

The undenominational character of the movement 
seems to have been at first sustained. At the end of a 
year the committee were able to report that there was 
" a most respectable congregation of attentive hearers." 
For the next six years no attempt was made to organise 
a church or find a pastor. The friends at Marlborough 
evidently proceeded with caution, as Dr. Waddington 
says, " Time was given to test the principles and charac- 
ter of the new comers." Meanwhile the services were 
conducted by supplies. One of these, Rev. George 
Rogers, afterwards became the first theological tutor 
of the Pastors' College ; a man whom Spurgeon described 
as "of Puritanical stamp, deeply learned, orthodox in 
doctrine, and judicious, witty, devout, earnest, liberal 
in spirit, and withal juvenile in heart, to an extent most 
remarkable in one of his years." 

At last, on September 12, 1833, an Independent 
Church was formed, consisting of eighteen members 
who had been dismissed from neighbouring churches 
to form the new fellowship. Dr. Bennett presided, and 
after a discourse from 1 Cor. iii. 11 — 15, the members, 
at his request, gave to each other the right hand of 
fellowship. Messrs. John Chambers and Benjamin 
Hogsflesh were then chosen as the first deacons. 


The church, when formed, was not long in rinding a 
minister. On October n, Thomas Hughes, a student 
of Cheshunt College, who had already exercised a three 
months' ministry with much acceptance, was by a 
unanimous vote invited to become the first pastor. 
He was ordained on November 27, 1833, Revs. James 
Stratton, George Clayton, Andrew Reed, and George 
Rose taking part in the service. The spacious chapel 
was filled to excess, and no less than fifty ministers 
were present. 

Mr. Hughes was not long spared to minister to his 
people. As early as the following April a minute of 
the church records his absence owing to very severe 
indisposition, and a message is sent by the church to 
their sick pastor at Ponder's End, full of affection, and 
praying that " all sorrows may, like the flowing waters 
of Jordan, give way before the Ark." Margate was 
tried for the benefit of the sea air, but a letter received 
September 4, 1834, gives faint hope of his recovery, and 
on the 15th of the same month he passed to his rest. 

Twelve months went by before the church selected 
a second pastor. Then a man was chosen who was 
destined in after years to play a prominent part in the 
history of Nonconformity and as an apostle of peace. 
Henry Richard was born on April 3, 1812, at Tregaron, 
a little town in the very heart of Wales. His father 
was a preacher among the Calvinistic Methodists, and 
his mother a woman of saintly character. The boy 
received a good education at a neighbouring Grammar 
School, and was subsequently apprenticed to a draper 
in Carmarthen. But his desire early turned to the 
work of the ministry. He entered Highbury College, 
and was soon regarded as an acceptable supply. His 
great chum was David Thomas, afterwards of Highbury 

h 2 


Chapel, Bristol. David was very tall, Henry was not, 
and their fellow students dubbed them David and 

David Thomas seems to have preached at Marlborough 
on probation, but was not elected to the vacant pasto- 
rate. A minute of the church, July 23, records that 
" Henry Richard having supplied the pulpit with so 
much acceptance it was carried unanimously that he 
be further invited for the month of August with a view 
to the pastoral office." This soon ripened into an 
invitation, and on Sunday, September 20, 1835, the 
young minister began his career. 

At this time a debt of £1,800 still remained upon the 
church, and seriously crippled the pastor's work, and 
not until seven years later was it finally cleared away. 

For several years the Sunday school was carried on 
in the gallery over the front entrance. The chapel also 
was the only place for week-night meetings of all 
kinds, and the need of additional accommodation was 
severely felt. In June, 1838, Mr. Grafftey offered to 
advance the money to build a large vestry behind the 
chapel, which might be utilised for the school, the 
money to be repaid without interest by an annual 
collection. The offer was gratefully accepted, and on 
Thursday, January 10, 1839, the new room, accommo- 
dating 200, was opened. 

Mr. Richard had already begun to take active interest 
in great national questions, and mainly to him belongs 
the credit of building the British School, which stood 
in Oakley Place, Old Kent Road. On being superseded 
by the London School Board the building was sold, 
and the price, according to the Trust Deed, paid to 
the British and Foreign School Society. 

As a preacher, Mr. Richard does not seem to have 

Henkv Richard. M.P, 


fulfilled the promise of his earlier years. In his most 
interesting and exhaustive " History Notes of Marl- 
borough," the Rev. W. A. Essery says, " He read his 
sermons, and Marlborough tradition is that they were 
long, argumentative, prosy and dry." It became 
increasingly evident that the platform was his sphere. 
From the time of his opposition to Sir James Graham's 
Factory Education Bill (1843), he was a prominent 
public speaker, especially as the advocate of civil and 
religious liberty. Still, spiritual work was not neglected, 
and during his ministry 269 members were received into 
church fellowship. 

In 1848 he accepted the important post of " Secre- 
tary to the Society for the Promotion of Permanent and 
Universal Peace," and on May 24, 1850, resigned his 
position as pastor of Marlborough. Henceforward as 
journalist, secretary, platform speaker, and Member of 
Parliament, he lived a life of strenuous toil, closed only 
by his death on August 9, 1888. He was chairman of 
the Congregational Union of England and Wales in 

Shortly after Mr. Richard's retirement, Rev. J. Gage 
Pigg, B.A., of Wymondham, was asked to preach, on 
the recommendation of Rev. J. H. Godwin, one of the 
professors of New College, and after supplying the 
pulpit for three Sundays was unanimously invited to 
succeed Mr. Richard. The records of this pastorate 
are somewhat scanty. Financial difficulties seem to 
have still troubled the church, but several new efforts 
were launched, and a branch Sunday school in the 
British Schoolroom was started in January, 1856. 
Tradition speaks of Mr. Pigg as " a man reticent, 
refined, tender of heart, but he had not the gift of 
carrying away an audience by his own burning fervour, 


nor of skilfully ruling a meeting. He was a gentle, 
good man, whose charming character attracted private 
friendship, but the talent of organisation and leadership 
had not been entrusted to him." 

About Christmas, 1858, Mr. Pigg's health failed. 
Although he spent some months at the seaside, recovery 
was seen to be hopeless. On December 5, i860, he 
passed away. 

In June, i860, Mr. W. A. Essery, a student of 
Cheshunt College, preached as a supply. Mr. Pigg 
was ill at the time, and the church needed its pulpit 
filled for some months. Mr. Essery was appreciated 
so much that he was asked to preach for twelve Sun- 
days out of the thirteen in the summer vacation. The 
engagement proved a great success, the chapel was 
crowded, and when in December Mr. Pigg died the 
church unanimously called Mr. Essery to the vacant 

Mr. Essery was born in the ancient city of Bristol. 
His parents were Wesleyans, and he was brought up 
amid the influences of that body, amongst whom he 
began to preach when only seventeen years old. But 
in the year 1849, siding with the Reformers in Methodism 
he left the Society and joined the Independents. The 
Bristol Itinerant Society gave him full scope for his 
power as a preacher in the surrounding villages ; and 
in October, 1856, he entered Cheshunt College. 

A notable ministry followed Mr. Essery's settlement 
at Marlborough. One of his first efforts was to improve 
the psalmody of the church. In i860 the sum of 
£400 was spent upon chapel improvements, and in 
1861 it was resolved to build new schoolrooms for the 
work in Oakley Place. On July 16, 1863, the memorial 
stones of the new buildings were laid by Mr. Samuel 


Morley. The schools were opened the following 
November, and soon the entire cost was raised. 

In July, 1871, the leases of Marlborough Chapel and 
some adjoining property were put up to auction and 
purchased by the church. Some years later an attempt 
was made to purchase the freehold. A committee was 
appointed to carry forward the enterprise, and a con- 
siderable sum was raised, when it was found that 
the Corporation of London, with all others, was 
prohibited by law from selling sites for Nonconformist 
places of worship. The only solution was to alter 
the law. Mr. Essery determined, with his usual 
thoroughness, to bring this about ; and assisted by 
Mr. Henry Richard, M.P., the former pastor, he suc- 
ceeded in 1883 in obtaining an Act which empowered 
corporations and others to grant sites for places of 
worship, residences for ministers, and burial grounds. 
The work now proceeded with vigour, and by the end 
of the year 1883 the Freehold Site Fund stood at 
£2,203 4 s - llc l- 

Meanwhile the strain of work had told upon the 
pastor's health. In 1879 he broke down and passed 
the spring and early summer in retirement. Another 
breakdown occurred in 1880 which led the church 
to invite the Rev. W. Tubb, from Sheerness, to the 
co-pastorate. In that year Mr. Essery took another 
prolonged rest, and in 1881 went for a tour in Ceylon. 
But his health still continuing unsatisfactory he resigned 
his charge at the end of 1883. Mr. Tubb's ministry 
ended at the same time. He is described as a man 
of sound experience, genial temper, willing zeal, and 
sympathetic heart. 

Six years after his retirement, on November 21, 1889, 
Mr. Essery presided over a meeting to celebrate the 


purchase and enfranchisement of Marlborough Chapel. 
This had been effected at a cost of £"2,000. 

In 1893 Mr. Essery offered his services to the Com- 
mittee of the Bible Lands Missions Aid Society as 
secretary. This position he held till his death. The 
Society had sunk to a low ebb, but his earnest labours 
soon restored it to a condition of great efficiency. 

His death was tragic in its suddenness. On Feb- 
ruary 28, 1904, he had been to visit a dear and intimate 
friend, Rev. D. A. Herschell, and on returning home 
suddenly expired on Vauxhall railway platform. 

Mr. Essery was followed by Rev. H. E. Arkell, from 
Luton. He commenced his pastorate on July 13, 
1884, and remained till 189 1, when he removed to 

In 1892 Rev. J. Wilkins became pastor. He con- 
tinued till 1900, when he accepted the call of a church 
at Auckland, New Zealand ; this charge he has lately 
resigned, to return to England. 

The following year the church invited Rev. R. Bond 
Thomas, a student of New College. After five years 
of useful service Mr. Thomas removed to Pembroke 
Dock. He was succeeded in 1907 by Rev. G. O. 
Bainton, from Blackpool, the present minister. 



This chapel was built for Dr. Edward Andrews, 
who, however, never lived to see it opened. 

Dr. Andrews was in his day one of the most popular 


preachers in London. He first appeared as a candi- 
date for the pulpit of Camden Chapel, Camberwell, 
where his preaching excited extraordinary interest. 
The congregation desired him for their pastor, but 
their choice was vetoed by the trustees. Some of the 
people, however, refused to abide by the decision, and 
rallying round Dr. Andrews, built for him Beresford 
Chapel, Walworth. 

Here his popularity was so great that the chapel 
soon became too small for the crowds that flocked 
to hear him. It was enlarged and adorned at a heavy 
cost, and in a manner far beyond what was usual 
in Nonconformist buildings of that period. No collec- 
tion or appeal was made ; part of the money was paid 
by Dr. Andrews himself, but a large amount was 
borrowed on mortgage and subsequently led to serious 
embarrassment. Ultimately the doors were closed 
against him by order of the mortgagee, and the church 
worshipped for some months in the large assembly 
room of the Montpelier Tavern, until the new Suther- 
land Chapel was built. Before it could be opened, 
however, Dr. Andrews died, leaving the church in an 
exceedingly difficult position. 

Dr. Andrews was not only a popular preacher, but 
a man of considerable ability in many directions, as 
poet, musician, linguist and dramatist. He was con- 
sidered one of the first Greek scholars of the day, 
and is said to have derived an income of £"1,000 a year 
from teaching the sons of the nobility. 

His preaching was of the ornate style common in 
those days. Amongst those who listened to his flowing 
periods was John Ruskin, and Coventry Patmore's 
"Angel in the House" is said to have been his 
daughter. But like many men of genius, he was far 


from practical, and his simplicity in money matters 
led to many a difficulty. 

Dr. Andrews died suddenly on October ig, 1841. 
His funeral took place at Norwood Cemetery on 
Tuesday, October 26, and was largely attended. 

The following Sunday Beresford Chapel was open to 
his congregation for the last time. The mortgagee, Mrs. 
Kirwain, kindly permitted its use that funeral sermons 
might be preached for the man who had built it. 

Meanwhile the new chapel in Walworth Road went 
slowly on to completion, and on March 15, 1842, was 
opened for public worship. It obtained its name 
" Sutherland " doubtless from the ducal family who 
owned so much of the property around. 

The first minister was Rev. John Wood, of Malvern. 
Mr. Wood had spent fifteen years in that beautiful 
town, leaving with the love and affection of his people. 
Unfortunately the same experience did not follow at 
Sutherland. At first things went happily enough, but 
by and by trouble arose which culminated in a very 
peculiar proceeding. One Sunday in 1846 the pastor 
announced to the congregation that in future all pew 
rents must be paid to one of the deacons instead of 
to the trustees as before. Whereupon the clerk or 
precentor, who sat just under the pulpit and was 
a trustee, intimated that it would be well to follow the 
old practice. The following Sunday the worshippers 
found wooden barriers erected across the chapel and 
men in charge who would allow none to pass till they 
had shown their pew rent receipts for the current 
quarter. Of course the minister resigned. With a 
number of his people he migrated to Penrose Street 
(formerly West Street), where the pulpit was vacant, 
and ministered there happily for several years. 


He seems, however, to have always regretted leaving 
Malvern, and at length returned thither. He finally 
retired to Bath, where he died in 1866, aged seventy-one. 
He is spoken of as a close and earnest student, though 
somewhat heavy as a preacher, a spiritually-minded 
man, affectionate and beloved. 

The next pastor at Sutherland was the Rev. Hugh 
Sanderson Seaborne, who had previously been minister 
of a church at Soho. He was a candidate for the 
pulpit when the church was first opened and many 
were drawn to him then. He took charge of the 
church at a troublesome period, which he safely tided 
over. During his ministry the management of affairs 
was taken out of the hands of the trustees, and one of 
the deacons was appointed treasurer, another acting 
as minute secretary. 

But further trouble was in store, the exact nature of 
which is not clear. On September 24, 1855, Mr. Sea- 
borne resigned, and formed a separate church, which 
met in a house directly opposite the chapel. Upon his 
retirement a resolution of sympathy was passed ; but at 
a subsequent meeting held November 1, 1855, it was 
formally rescinded. Thus amid trouble and strife 
closed another pastorate. 

The church does not appear to have been long 
in finding another minister. On January 1, 1856, 
Rev. Edward Bewlay succeeded to the vacant pulpit. 
Mr. Bewlay was born in Birmingham on January 20, 
1811. His parents were members of the Church of 
England. He received his early religious impressions 
among the Wesleyans, with whom he became a local 
preacher. Difference of opinion as to doctrine and 
church government led him to throw in his lot with 
the Congregationalists, and he entered Highbury 


College. Before coming to Walworth he had held pasto- 
rates at March and Sunderland. With his coming an 
era of prosperity commenced, which lasted some years. 

The secession cause did not meet with great success. 
By the end of 1857 it had become extinct, and several 
of the members had returned and were re-admitted into 
fellowship at Sutherland. 

At the close of 1858 a change was made in the 
government of the church by the appointment of 
elders in the place of deacons. Four elders were 
ordained to serve the church, and in 1862 this number 
was increased to six. 

The Sunday school of Sutherland Chapel was 
always a vigorous institution. In the first year of 
the church's history there were 104 scholars on 
the books, many having come with the church from 
Beresford Street. For some years the school met in 
the chapel, until a small room was erected behind to 
accommodate the increasing number of scholars. This 
at length became insufficient and in January, 1864, a 
Building Committee was formed to arrange for the 
erection of a new schoolroom. Within two years this 
was completed at a cost of £850. 

Mr. Bewlay resigned his pastorate on November 24, 
1868. He opened a private school at Brixton, where he 
met with considerable success. After an illness lasting 
several months he passed to his rest, September 23, 

The Rev. Thomas Jeffreys, late of New College, was 
invited to fill the vacant pulpit. Mr. Jeffreys had been 
trained as a schoolmaster at Bangor, but changing his 
purpose in life he went to New College to prepare for 
the ministry. He was ordained at Sutherland in 1870, 
and for four years laboured there with acceptance, 


gaining the affection and esteem of all who knew him. 
During his pastorate an extensive scheme of visitation 
and tract distribution was carried out, the whole 
neighbourhood being mapped out into districts for that 

Mr. Jeffreys held the charge till June 29, 1874, when 
he accepted a call to Watling Street, Canterbury. 
He afterwards removed to Stowmarket, where he died 
May 20, 1883, at the early age of thirty-nine. 

The next minister was Rev. Joseph Henderson, of 
Honley, near Huddersfield, who commenced his 
ministry the first Sunday in March, 1875. With his 
advent came new life and vigour to the church. The 
Sutherland Chapel District Mission was instituted with 
Mr. Coote as secretary. A room was engaged in 
Chapter Place, and mission work was for some time 
energetically carried on. Open-air preaching was also 
commenced on Sunday evenings in front of the chapel 
and carried on through the summer of 1876. 

On March 1, 1877, the people decided to alter 
and renovate the chapel at a cost of £1,500. This was 
done and the building was reopened Sunday, Novem- 
ber 16, but a heavy debt remained. 

After six and a half years of energetic work 
Mr. Henderson resigned on August 8, 1881, and was 
succeeded in January, 1882, by Rev. C. Chandler, who 
had previously held pastorates at Chorley, Marden, and 
King's Cross. During the summer of this year the 
chapel and school was again renovated at a cost of 
£160, which was raised by various means. Many 
changes are recorded at this time, and severe losses 
were sustained by the removal of the church secretary, the 
superintendent of the Sunday school, and other faithful 
Christian workers. In spite of losses and increasing 


difficulties in the neighbourhood, there was a steady 
growth in membership. But the chapel did not fill 
and the debt only increased. 

Much to the regret of his people Mr. Chandler, early 
in 1887, announced his intention to accept the pastorate 
of Berkeley Street Church, Liverpool. In March he 
left with many tokens of affection and esteem. In his 
letter of resignation he gives th? financial difficulties as 
one reason of his retirement. " Every year," says he, 
" we are from £50 to £60 behind. That is our present 
position after having exhausted all our means of raising 
money. From all that I can see this deficit must be 
added to the debt owing to the Treasurer, and I shrink 
from the responsibility of increasing that debt, which is 
already much too large." 

It wanted some courage under these circumstances 
for another man to face the situation, but that man was 
found in Rev. G. W. Keesey, of Salem Chapel, 

Mr. Keesey, who was born in Birmingham, was 
educated at Bristol, and had already proved his worth 
in a different sphere at Croydon. He accepted the call 
to Sutherland, and entered upon his work on October 2, 
1887. For fifteen years he fought a courageous fight 
amid increasing difficulties, assisted by his wife, who is 
a splendid Christian worker, and a band of devoted 
and intelligent helpers. The membership increased, 
and the church soon became a perfect hive of spiritual 
and social industry. 

In 1888 Mr. Vickridge (a principal creditor, and one 
of the most earnest church workers) generously 
remitted £500 from the old debt ; and this, with some 
special efforts, reduced it to £1,000. In 1891 the church 
celebrated its jubilee, when Mr. Keesey wrote a very 


full and interesting history of the church from which 
this short record is mainly taken. 

Mr. Keesey's energies were by no means exclusively 
confined to Sutherland. As Guardian of the Poor, and 
Manager under the London School Board, he rendered 
splendid local service, and did much in the general 
interest of Congregationalism in South London. 

In 1902, after fifteen years' exhausting service, 
Mr. Keesey exchanged his urban pastorate for a quieter 
sphere at Leigh, Kent ; and was succeeded in June of 
the same year by Rev. S. J. Cox, B.A., of New College 
(now of Bangalore), as temporary pastor, while awaiting 
an appointment in the foreign mission field. He 
resigned his charge at Midsummer, 1903, and sub- 
sequently the pulpit was supplied for some time by the 
London Congregational Union. But the changed 
character of the neighbourhood rendered successful 
work on the old lines quite hopeless; and efforts to 
obtain the ground required for necessary improvements 
and adaptations were futile. In consequence the 
building was closed on October 16, 1904, and the 
church was dissolved. 



Among the churches enumerated in 1832 as "Calvin- 
istic Methodist " is that in Camberwell Grove, where 
for many years Joseph Irons was a popular preacher. 
The church still flourishes as an illustration of ultra- 


Independency, associated with High Calvinistic preach- 
ing, but has never been included in any Congregational 
Union or Association. 

On the death of Mr. Irons in 1852 there was much 
unrest, which issued in the separation of above thirty 
members, who fitted up for worship a schoolroom 
in Waterloo Street. Here a Congregational Church 
was formed on September 4, 1853, under the presi- 
dency of Rev. W. P. Tiddy. The following April 
Mr. Tiddy accepted the pastorate, and shortly after- 
wards the congregation removed to the old Mansion 
House Chapel, vacated by Rev. John Burnet on the 
opening of his new church in Wren Road. 

Mr. Tiddy and his people, however, resolved to 
erect a new church for themselves in Camberwell 
New Road, which was opened in October, 1856. The 
cost was £3,600, the raising of which was more difficult 
because the fundamental principle had been adopted 
of mutual tolerance on disputed questions about bap- 
tism, which precluded aid from any of the Chapel 
Building Societies. Mr. Tiddy had been an agent 
of the Bible Society on the continent, and had for 
some years ministered to an English congregation 
at Brussels. While at Camberwell Road he still 
laboured on behalf of the Society, and in 1864 visited 
Portugal, where he printed the first vernacular edition 
of the New Testament. He retired from the pastorate 
in 1884 and died on April 29, 1890, at the age of 

He was succeeded by Rev. W. Tubb, previously 
assistant minister at Marlborough Chapel. In 1894 
he removed to Odiham, Hants, where he died in 1905. 

During two years the church was variously supplied. 
In 1896 the pastorate was undertaken by Rev. W. 


Le Pla, from Tetsworth, Oxon., who resigned in 1899, 
and the place was closed. It is now occupied by a 
Baptist congregation. 



In June, 1855, a secession took place from Midway 
Place Baptist Chapel. A room was hired in Paradise 
Row, in which the seceders worshipped for a few 
months and then removed to another room near the 
" Red Lion " Inn. Rev. C. C. Smith was called to the 
pastorate, and on June 18, 1857, John Locke, Esq., M.P. 
laid the first stone of a chapel in Maynard Road, which 
was opened on September 20 following. 

Mr. Smith resigned in November, 1862, and after 
a short experience of various supplies, the services 
of Hackney students were enlisted. The building, 
which seated 260, was encumbered with debt, but 
there seemed a promising field for Christian service, 
and aid was promised by the Surrey Union. Rev. 
D. B. Morris, from Glasgow University, accepted the 
pastoral charge, and was ordained November 8, 1864. 
He only remained till 1866, and was succeeded in 
1867 by Rev. Pierce Jones, from Paignton. He minis- 
tered here till 1876, when he proceeded to Hong Kong 
as an agent of the London Missionary Society. The 
next pastor was Rev. A. E. Harbourn, who came the 
same year from Caistor, and in 1880 removed to 
Finsbury Chapel. Then in 1881 came Rev. J. H. 
Ridette, from Burslem, who after two years accepted 



a call to Crescent Chapel, Liverpool. Rev. J. 
Holway, M.A., from America, followed from 1883 to 
1886, and after his departure there was a vacancy 
for two years. From 1888 to 1891 Mr. J. Grinyear 
occupied the pulpit as " lay-pastor," then in 1892 and 
1893 the report is " supplied." Another " lay pastor," 
Mr. E. Philips, appears from 1894 to 1896, since when 
the uniform record is " supplied." 



The founding of this church is due to the exertions 
of the Rev. T. C. Hine, pastor of the Congregational 
Church at Sydenham. 

A few friends resident about Anerley and Penge 
were called together on June 6, 1855. Mr. Hine 
presided, and Mr. Baker made a statement as to the 
need for some Nonconformist place of worship in the 
neighbourhood. A suitable site in the Maple Road 
had been offered by Mr. Benjamin Scott at the cost 
price of £120. A resolution was passed pledging the 
meeting to secure the site or some other equally 
eligible, and Messrs. Baker, Base, Hine, Hailes, Stan- 
bourn and Thorp were appointed a committee to give 
effect to the same. 

Mr. Hine then approached the Chapel Building 
Society, and pointed out that there were in Penge 
and Beckenham 2,500 persons without any religious 
accommodation. The society at first declined to help, 
on the ground that there was no prospect of sufficient 


population for some years to come, but in the following 
October a grant of £200 was recommended. 

A small chapel was built and opened October 7, 1856. 
The area is now contained within the pillars of the 
lecture hall. It accommodated 200 worshippers, and 
cost £1,100. 

The following year a fellowship was formed, under 
the presidency of Rev. T. C. Hine. It consisted of 
twenty-one persons, mostly transferred from his own 
church. A committee of ten was appointed to manage 
the affairs of the newly formed society. They held 
office until November, 1861, when three deacons — 
Messrs. Charlton, Harbridge, and Stevenson — were 
chosen. For some years the pulpit was occupied by 
various ministers from London. Amongst these was 
Dr. Massie, the well-known secretary of the Home 
Missionary Society. His services extended over twelve 
months, terminating in January, i860. 

The first settled minister was Rev. W. Hickman Smith 
(now W. H. Smith Aubrey, D.D.), previously pastor of 
the church at Sheerness, who commenced his ministry 
on June 1, 1862. Mr. Smith's labours at Anerley ter- 
minated in 1866. Since then he has held the pastorates 
at Wimbledon, Thornton Heath, and Collier's Rents. 
He served the Surrey Union as secretary from 1872 to 

In January, 1867, an invitation was given to Mr. 
Joseph Halsey, a student in Hackney College. He 
commenced his ministry on August 4, and was ordained 
October 3. Amongst those who took part in the service 
were Revs. Dr. Spence, A. Mackennal, S. McAll, and 
John Kennedy. 

In 1868 additions were made to the premises. An 
infant classroom was built, and the church considerably 

1 2 


enlarged. The two undertakings cost £1,500, and by 
1 87 1 the debt was cleared. But so rapid was the 
growth of the congregation that by 1874 ^ was again 
necessary to consider the question of accommoda- 
tion. It was decided to have a new church, and the 
present building was erected. 

On October 8 the foundation stone was laid by 
Mr. Samuel Morley, who contributed £500 towards the 
building fund. The church was opened on January 20, 
1876. No less than £800 was raised at the opening, 
including the children's purses, which yielded nearly 
£100. The total cost of church, vestries, organ, etc., 
amounted to £16,500, the whole of which has now been 

Mr. Halsey resigned his charge in 1904, and removed 
to Oxted, where for a short time he took the oversight 
of the church in that growing neighbourhood. He has 
since retired from the active ministry. 

In 1905 the church gave an invitation to Rev. Hugh 
Wallace, of Bristol, with Rev. J. Warschauer, M.A., 
Ph.D., as his co-pastor. Mr. Wallace was a student of 
Harley College, and held pastorates at Burnley and 
David Thomas Memorial Church, Bristol ; and Dr. 
Warschauer had been pastor of the Unitarian Church, 
Oakfield Road, Clifton. 

The present ministers have excited public attention 
as exponents of theological views differing considerably 
from those usually prevalent in Congregational churches. 
A secession took place in 1907, the prospects of which 
it is still too early to estimate. 




In the year 1857 a little company of Christians, some 
twelve persons in all, formed themselves into a church 
in a small proprietary chapel in Portland Road. 
Afterwards they met in a room in High Street, where 
Mr. Baker, of Anerley, generally preached on the first 
Sunday in the month, and administered the Lord's 
Supper. This cause, however, only lasted for a year 
or two. 

The present church was formed in 1870, and first 
met in the Public Hall, Station Road, under the pasto- 
rate of Rev. A. H. New, who had ministered at 
Leamington, Barnsbury, and other places. He resigned 
in 1872. 

The work was continued by Rev. J. Corbin and 
other supplies till 1873, when, through the efforts of 
Mr. Joseph Whittaker and Mr. A. C. Collins, both of 
whom had recently come into the neighbourhood, a 
suitable site was obtained near Norwood Junction 
Station, on which a commodious iron church and 
schoolroom was erected at a cost of £3,000. 

The schoolroom was completed in November, 1873, 
and services were conducted there until the rest of the 
buildings were finished. On Thursday, March 12, 1874, 
the church was opened, and Rev. G. T. Coster, late of 
Hull, was recognised the same day as pastor. In 
June, 1878, Mr. Coster resigned, much to the regret of 
the congregation, and the following January Rev. James 
Anderson, of Elgin, N.B., was appointed. Mr. Anderson 


held the pastorate till May, 1882, when he returned to 
Scotland as a Presbyterian minister. On November ig 
following, Rev. March Timson, from Bradford, Yorks, 
was recognised as pastor. Mr. Timson successfully 
carried on the work till June 24, 1888. In May, 1889, 
Rev. F. W. Turner, who had previously laboured at 
Ripley and Halstead, accepted the charge. For over 
eleven years he ministered to the needs of the church, 
earning much esteem not only in the church, but 
throughout the district, where he acted as local Secre- 
tary of the London Union. After leaving South Nor- 
wood, he took charge for a while of the newly-formed 
church at Purley, and then left England for work in 
British Guiana, where he died August 31, 1907. For 
over twelve months the church was without a minister, 
when by a singular providence it secured as pastor 
Rev. Wm. Henry Morton, who had previously held 
charges in the United States. His recognition service 
was held on January 23, 1902. Under Mr. Morton's 
ministry the church increased and progressed in every 
direction, and the congregation has undertaken the 
erection of a new church, suitable for the needs of this 
growing neighbourhood. 



In the year 1851, the Rev. D. Nimmo, of Bolton, was 
appointed by the Home Missionary Society to labour 

South Norwood Congregational Church and Schools. 


in Peckham, a district that had been somewhat over- 
looked. Mr. Nimmo was born at Portsmouth on 
November 23, 1814 ; he was, however, the son of 
Scottish parents. His first pastorate, which he under- 
took in 1836, was at Bolton, where he remained thirteen 
years. So successful was his ministry in that town, 
that Dr. Massie, then Secretary of the Home Missionary 
Society, urged him to take up the work in Peckham. 
He commenced in a small hall in Arthur Street, with a 
congregation of seven persons, not one of whom was 
disposed to join in the movement. 

Mr. Nimmo was not discouraged. He gathered 
around him a few earnest friends, and after much con- 
ference and prayer, they determined to erect a new 
place of worship. Difficulties beset their path from 
the commencement. Another scheme of work was 
suggested to supersede their efforts, and when later 
they applied for help to an association organised to pro- 
mote such objects, aid was refused on the ground that 
they had a settled pastor. Mr. Nimmo proposed that 
this difficulty should be met by his retirement, but the 
Home Missionary Society very properly would not 
hear of such a course. 

Then an offer of £300 was made on condition that 
Mr. Nimmo raised £800. He worked hard to do this, 
but could only reach £600 ; and as those who made 
the promise would not alter their conditions, the minister 
resolved to go to Australia, and made the needful 

A meeting was called, and the people were informed 
of his intention. But he had so won the hearts of his 
congregation that they prevailed upon him to stay, and 
promised to renew their efforts to reach the desired sum. 

At length the difficulties were overcome, and the 


foundation stone of the new church was laid by Mr. 
Samuel Morley on April 4, 1859. The dedication 
service followed on October 26. Rev. Samuel Martin 
preached in the morning from Is. lxi. 3, and Rev. John 
Graham, of Craven Chapel, in the evening from 
Matt. xxv. 21. The total cost of the new building 
amounted to £1,800, of which £1,400 was secured by 
the opening day. The church accommodated 400 on 
the ground floor and 100 in the gallery. 

With the opening of the church the congregation 
considerably increased. Soon schoolrooms were 
required, and on Wednesday, October 23, 1861, these 
were opened. 

Mr. Nimmo remained at Peckham until 1867, and 
then once more decided to go to Australia. The 
delicate health of his wife seems to have determined 
him on this occasion. At the farewell meeting on 
November 15, over which Rev. J. G. Rogers presided, 
a purse of £75 was presented to him as a mark of the 
esteem in which he was held. 

He took the pastorate of Victoria Parade Church, 
Melbourne, where he remained five years. In 1872, he 
returned to England, and two years later settled at 
Monmouth, where he also laboured five years. He 
retired from the ministry in 1880, and died December 
20, 1898, at the age of eighty-four. 

Mr. Nimmo was succeeded by Rev. A. Buzacott. He 
was born at Tahiti on October 19, 1827. At the age 
of twelve years he came to England, and entered the 
Mission School at Walthamstow. He resolved to 
become a missionary, and with that purpose in his 
heart went to Cheshunt, and subsequently to New 
College. However, he settled at Debenham in 1852, 
and after twelve months' ministry there, removed to 


Fetter Lane. In June, 1856, he was ordained at Long 
Sutton, in Lincolnshire, and the next year removed to 
Romford. After a pastorate of seven years, he accepted 
a call to Pentonville Road. He came to Peckham in 
1868, and laboured here till 1877. During his pastorate 
he held for three years the secretaryship of the Surrey 
Congregational Union. He resigned the charge at 
Peckham to become secretary of the Anti-Slavery 
Society. He died October 9, 1881. 

Mr. Buzacott was followed by Rev. H. J. Perkins, a 
student of Hackney College. His ordination took place 
on November 13, 1877, when Professors G. Lyon 
Turner, M.A., and S. McAll, with Revs. P. J. Turquand, 
J. C. Postans, and G. B. Ryley, took part. 

During Mr. Perkins' ministry, new schools and lecture 
hall were built. The foundation stone was laid on 
January 25, 1882, by Mr. Evan Spicer, and the build- 
ings were opened on July 24, when Dr. Monro Gibson 
preached. The cost was £1,650, and, within £50, this 
was obtained before the opening day. An appeal was 
made at the meeting for the remainder. This was 
readily responded to, and the building declared open 
and free of debt. 

In 1884 a mission hall was opened in Meeting House 
Lane, and in the same year it became necessary to 
enlarge the church. The memorial stone of the exten- 
sion was laid by Mr. Evan Spicer on July 2. Over 
300 new sittings were provided by this enlargement at 
a cost of £2,400. 

In 1887 the church lost by death Mr. Joseph Bell, 
who for thirty-five years had been one of the most 
zealous supporters, and for the greater part of that time 
had served as deacon. A tablet was erected to his 


Mr. Perkins remained at Peckham until 1895, when 
he left to undertake the pastorate at Albion Church, 
Southampton. He held the charge at Southampton 
till 1903, when he accepted a call to Tollington Park, 
where he now labours. 

Rev. Allan D. Jeffery was the next minister. He 
was educated for the ministry at the Yorkshire United 
College, and had been for four years minister at Bath 
Lane, Newcastle-on-Tyne. He commenced his ministry 
at Peckham on Sunday, December 1, 1895, and a 
meeting was held to welcome him the following day. 
During his pastorate the church was renovated and a 
new organ installed, at a cost of nearly £900. 

On April 3, 1899, there passed away Mr. W. H. 
Elliott, who for nearly twenty years had acted as 
church secretary, and who for thirty years had been 
superintendent of the Sunday school. 

On June 10, 1900, Mr. Jeffery closed his ministry at 
Peckham to take the oversight of Park Church, Halifax, 
whence in 1906 he removed to Haslemere. At the fare- 
well meeting the retiring pastor received from the 
church many proofs of their appreciation of his ener- 
getic and faithful ministry. Amongst those who took 
part was the vicar of the neighbouring established 
church of St. Jude. 

The church then gave a hearty invitation to Rev. 
G. Ernest Thorn, of Edmonton. 

Mr. Thorn received his ministerial training at 
Hackney College. His first charge was at Horsley- 
down, which he held from 1888 to 1891, after which he 
did good service at Edmonton for nine years; being 
widely known not only as a preacher, but also as a 
temperance advocate of great originality and power. 
He still holds the pastorate at Clifton, and in addition 


carries on an earnest evangelistic work on unconventional 
lines. He at first held meetings, after the usual Sunday 
evening service, in the Town Hall, which soon proved 
too small to accommodate his hearers. In January, 
1901, the Crown Theatre was taken ; and ever since 
that huge building has been filled, Sunday after Sunday, 
with eager listeners to the story of the love of God in 
Jesus Christ. 



With the rapid growth of London in this direction, 
the need was felt for a Congregational church, and in 
1856 a site was obtained by the London Chapel Build- 
ing Society in the Cemetery Road, now called Linden 
Grove. Within a few months a beautiful Gothic 
design was selected by the committee, and the building 

On May 5, 1857, the church was opened, Rev. James 
Sherman being the preacher. The entire cost was 
£2,550, and accommodation was provided for 450 

Shortly after the opening, an invitation was given to 
Rev. J. Hiles Hitchens, a student of Western College, 
to take the oversight of the newly formed church. He 
was set apart to the work on March 31, 1858, Revs. 
R. W. Betts, James Sherman, and others assisting in the 

Mr. Hitchens was a native of Bath, where he was 


born August 13, 1835. He engaged in Christian work 
at an early age, and his preaching power led friends to 
advise him to enter the ministry. He went to Western 
College at the age of eighteen, and remained there four 

His early years at Linden Grove were beset with 
difficulties, owing to the instability of some adherents 
who wavered under the trials incident to a new enter- 
prise. These difficulties, however, were soon surmounted, 
and Mr. Hitchens speedily met with appreciation, and 
became widely known, not only for his preaching, but 
also as a lecturer. His historical and biographical 
lectures drew large audiences in London and the pro- 
vinces. In 1863 he was elected Fellow of the Royal 
Society of Literature; and some years later received the 
degree of D.D. from Adrian College, Michigan, U.S.A. 

In 1863 a new lecture hall and schoolroom was built. 
Two years later Mr. Hitchens accepted an invitation to 
Luton, where he remained till 1871, when he returned 
to London to take charge of the church at Eccleston 
Square. Here he laboured until his death December 21, 

On Mr. Hitchens' removal, in 1865, the church 
invited Rev. Louis Herschell to the vacant pastorate. 
Mr. Herschell was born at Strzelno, Prussia, on 
June 26, 1821. He was the son of distinguished Jewish 
parents, his mother being a daughter of Rabbi Hillel. 
Of her eight sons five embraced Christianity. Early in 
life Mr. Herschell came to England, and was converted 
through the instrumentality of his brother. He held 
pastorates at Ware, Horsham and New North Road. 
He remained at Linden Grove till 1871, when under 
medical advice he resigned to take a period of rest. He 
afterwards became Deputation Agent to the Society for 

J. C. Postans, Linden Grove, Peckham. 


the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, which 
post he held for sixteen years. He died January n, 
1890, aged sixty-nine. Rev. John Chetwode Postans 
was the next minister. He was born at Leamington on 
October 15, 1833. Early in life he was connected with 
the Established Church, to which all his kindred 
belonged. For some years he acted as lay reader at 
Aston, Birmingham, intending to take orders. But his 
attachment to the Episcopal Church weakened, and he 
became a member of Carr's Lane Church under Rev. 
John Angell James. His first pastorate was at Old- 
bury, Staffs, where he remained two years. In 1862 
he was invited to Kingsbridge, Devon, where he 
ministered six years. Then he removed to Sid mouth 
in the same county, and in 1872 accepted the invitation 
to Linden Grove. Here for nearly thirty years he 
exercised a faithful ministry. During these years the 
chapel was enlarged and improved in 1876 ; new 
schoolrooms built in 1878 ; and six years later a mis- 
sion hall was opened in the Evelina Road, Nunhead. 
In 1892 this gave place to a mission chapel in How- 
bury Road — a working-class district in the neighbour- 
hood. Evangelistic, temperance, and social work has 
ever since been carried on with very fluctuating success. 
The building has lately been put in trust, but is heavily 
burdened with debt. 

Mr. Postans was ever a brother beloved, a man of 
gentle spirit, and deeply spiritual life. In September 
1901, failing health compelled him to resign the 
pastorate, and his few remaining years were spent in 
the neighbourhood where his life's work was done. 
The love and gratitude of his people found some expres- 
sion at his retirement, in a presentation of 300 guineas. 
He passed to his rest Sunday, September 3, 1905. 


On Mr. Postans' retirement an invitation was given 
to Rev. C. Escritt, who had ministered in South Africa 
in connection with the Wesleyan Church. He was an 
attractive preacher ; but from various causes the settle- 
ment was not happy, and in May, 1906, Mr. Escritt 
removed to the North of England. After eighteen 
months' vacancy the pastorate was undertaken by 
Rev. J.J. Matson Hillary, from Hackney College. His 
ordination took place on November 7, 1907 ; Rev. 
Geo. Hooper, President of the Local Free Church 
Council, Dr. P. T. Forsyth, Dr. W. H. Bennett, 
Professor H. T. Andrews, and other ministers taking 
part in the service. The prospects of the church are 
more hopeful than for several years past. 



In the year 1800, the Greenland Dock was situated 
by the Thames at Rotherhithe and was used by the 
fleet engaged in the Greenland whale fishery. Even at 
that early date the district was populous, and many men 
of substance had their houses in the neighbourhood. To 
meet the need of this population a chapel, called Green- 
land Independent Chapel, was built in 1811. 

In course of time the Greenland Dock was 
absorbed in the larger Commercial Dock, and the name 
of the chapel was changed into the Commercial Dock 
Chapel. It was a small building, with seating accom- 
modation for 300 people ; but the congregation was 
able to sustain a minister, and here for many years 
laboured Rev. Thomas Muscutt. 


Mr. Muscutt was born in 1787, and trained at 
Hackney College, which he entered in 1816. His first 
charge was at East Bergholt, in Suffolk. After seven- 
teen months' service there, he accepted an invitation to 
Commercial Dock Chapel, where he remained till 
1857, living afterward in retirement with his son at 
Deptford. He was an ardent supporter of the British 
and Foreign Bible Society almost from the commence- 
ment of its history ; and was able to retain the local 
secretaryship till his death, which occurred in May, 
1873, at the age of eighty-six. 

By the close of Mr. Muscutt's ministry the neigh- 
bourhood had greatly changed, and in spite of strenuous 
efforts the little church had become almost extinct. 

In 1872, Dr. F. A. Billing undertook the oversight 
for several months, and with such success that he 
remained as honorary pastor. The building was 
repaired, a mortgage paid off, and two houses which hid 
the chapel from view were pulled down. 

The congregation had considerably increased, when a 
chapel, which had been built a few years before for the 
Baptists, was offered for sale. Acting on the advice of 
many friends, and by the unanimous desire of the church, 
the chapel was bought ; the old building being sold, 
for a third of the cost required, to a society that carried 
on a mission among seamen. The remainder of the 
money was advanced by Dr. Billing, and James Godwin, 
one of the deacons. After some alterations the new 
chapel was opened in January, 1874, as the Southwark 
Park Congregational Church, a debt of £1,400 remain- 
ing. Here Dr. Billing laboured for over thirty years, 
giving his services without stipend. At the close 
of 1880, the entire debt was liquidated, without the 
grant of a shilling from any Congregational institution 


In 1883, it was decided to enlarge the chapel, and 
build a much-needed schoolroom with class rooms and 
vestry on the vacant ground by the side. These addi- 
tions cost £"2,500, of which £1,700 has been met. But 
for years the health of the pastor has been very pre- 
carious, and in 1906 he felt constrained on that account 
to retire. 

The pulpit is now occupied by Mr. H. F. Morris. 



The work here was commenced in 1862 by a Mr. 
Brown, who had recently come to reside in the neigh- 
bourhood. We are told that a church was formed at 
Hope Villas, Dagnall Park. 

The following year a small wooden building was 
opened for worship, and here services were conducted 
for four years. On Mr. Brown's removal the move- 
ment seemed likely to collapse, but Rev. J. Wager came 
forward, and with much self-sacrifice devoted his 
energies and property to preserve it. Almost on his 
own responsibility, he undertook the erection of a new 

Financial difficulties, however, proved too heavy, and 
the London Chapel Building Society stepped in. A 
local committee was formed and many promises of 
help obtained, Mr. Samuel Morley coming forward with 
a generous donation of £500. 

The foundation stone was laid on October 9, 1865, 


by E. W. Madams, Esq. ; the Right Hon. Lord Teynham 
and others took part in the ceremony. The church 
was opened on August 29, 1867, with sermons by Rev. 
S. Martin and Dr. George Smith. The cost of the 
church, which would accommodate 460 people, was 
£2,500, exclusive of the site. 

Mr. Wager continued in the pastorate till 1868, when 
he removed to Hereford. The church then invited the 
Rev. N. T. Langridge, who remained till 1872, and was 
succeeded the following year by Rev. Elvery Dothie, 
B.A. Mr. Dothie was born at Ipswich, November 19, 
1836. In 1858 he entered New College, and in 1863 
was ordained to the pastorate at Highbury Chapel, 
Portsmouth. He removed from thence to Lancaster, 
from which place he was called to Selhurst. During 
Mr. Dothie's pastorate, the building underwent renova- 
tion and extensive alteration. The re-opening took 
place on August 29, 1875. His ministry at Selhurst 
lasted till 1876. His last pastorate was at Wolver- 
hampton. After this he was on the staff of the Daily 
Telegraph at Greenock, and subsequently conducted a 
newspaper at Brighton, though constantly engaged in 
preaching. He passed to his rest December 2, 1897. 

Mr. G. A. Brock, B.A., a student of Cheshunt, was 
then invited to the pastorate. He commenced his 
ministry on September 22, 1878, and remained till 

During Mr. Brock's ministry, the schools, classroom, 
and vestry were built at a cost of £2,200. The memorial 
stones were laid on Saturday, June 4, 1887, by Horace B. 
Marshall, Esq., J. P., of Croydon. The proceeds of the 
day amounted to £282. 

In 1892 Mr. Brock accepted an invitation to 
Waterloo Church, Liverpool, where he still labours. 



He was succeeded, early in 1893, by the present 
minister, Rev. Arthur George Bridge. Mr. Bridge had 
been trained for the ministry at Cheshunt, and had for 
twelve months held the charge of the church at 
St. Helens, Lancashire. In 1898 the church was 
re-decorated and improved at a cost of £400. 




In the year i860 Thornton Heath was a very small 
hamlet, having no place of worship in the neighbour- 
hood. About that time, Mr. Matthias Medwin, of Tulse 
Hill, became interested in the locality, and bought some 
land in Beulah Road, upon which he built a school- 
house, sufficient space being left on this land for the 
purpose of erecting a chapel. He placed the building 
at the disposal of the committee of the Surrey Union 
for three years at a nominal rental of a shilling per 
annum. In this room a children's day school was 
carried on, and subsequently Sunday services were 
commenced on January 24, 1866. The pulpit was 
supplied by various ministers until the appointment, in 
the same year, of Rev. Henry Lee, from Daventry, as 
the regular pastor. 

Meanwhile, Thornton Heath continued to increase in 
population ; and to provide for its spiritual needs Messrs. 
Edwin and Alfred Davis erected the present Congrega- 
tional Church in Bensham Road. The former gentleman 
was the architect. The memorial stones were laid by 
Mrs. E. and Mrs. A. Davis on December 11, 1867. 


The church (at first called St. John's) was opened on 
July 31, 1868. It is in the early Gothic style, and will 
seat 500 persons. Here Mr. Lee conducted the services 
for a considerable time with fair success, after the order 
of the Established Church in the morning, and of Non- 
conformists in the evening. This double order of service 
was observed, as at that time the parish church (St. 
Paul's) had not been built. The Rev. Henry Lee con- 
tinued as the minister of St. John's until 1872, when he 
accepted a pastorate at Roydon. Shortly afterwards 
Messrs. Edwin and Alfred Davis, who had been among 
the principal supporters of the church, left the neigh- 
bourhood. Mr. Medwin, however, still retained his 
interest in the locality, and he purchased the church 
from the former gentleman at a cost of £3,000. It was 
Mr. Medwin's desire, however, that the church should 
be Congregational, and he offered the building to the 
congregation for £2,000. In addition to this, he offered 
to contribute £500, and arranged for the conduct of the 
services, making himself responsible for the expense 

This work was carried on, in spite of many difficulties, 
until 1875, when Rev. W. J. Jupp, late of Exeter, was 
invited to be the pastor. He commenced his ministry 
September 24. Under his guidance, the church was 
reconstituted at a meeting held on November 10, 

In February, 1876, a church committee of seven 
gentlemen was formed to manage the church affairs. 

In 1878 a new organ was placed in the church, and 
the need of a schoolroom was much felt, as it was 
found inconvenient for the children to meet in the 
church. Mr. Medwin again came forward and pro- 
mised to add £25 to every £75 raised by other friends 

K 2 


towards the cost of a schoolroom. Prompted by this 
generous offer, the matter was taken in hand, and in 
1881 the school in Seneca Road was opened. The 
church was thus enabled to extend its work, and to 
start many useful auxiliaries. 

In 1890 the Rev. W. J. Jupp resigned the pastorate 
after a ministry of nearly fifteen years, during which 
time the influence of his life and character had made 
for him many friends. By the poorer members of the 
church he was especially beloved. 

In April, 1891, the Rev. F. E. J. Bird, of Spa Fields 
Chapel, Clerkenwell, was requested to become minister 
of the church. The invitation was accepted, and Mr. Bird 
commenced his ministry on June 7, 1891. His recogni- 
tion service took place on October 12, when Dr. Reynolds, 
of Cheshunt College (where Mr. Bird was trained for the 
ministry), delivered a masterly address on the relation of 
the church to the minister. 

At the time when Mr. Bird accepted the pastorate, 
the members were very few, but under his able and 
vigorous leadership the church has steadily grown year 
by year. 



About 1858 eight members were dismissed from 
George Street to form a church in London Road. This 
appears to have been constituted on " Undenomi- 
national " lines ; but in 1862, when Rev. F. Stephens 
undertook the pastorate, a considerable proportion of 


the members desired that it should be remodelled on 
distinctly Congregational principles. The Trust Deed, 
however, made this impracticable ; and it was resolved 
to build a new church. One friend promised £1,000, 
another £1,000 was guaranteed before the opening, the 
Chapel Building Society granted £500, and a further 
oan of the same amount, free of interest. A con- 
venient site was obtained in Dingwall Road ; and on 
September 14, 1863, the foundation stone was laid by 
J. Abbis, Esq., Alderman of the City of London. 

The total cost was £5,500, toward which Wm. 
Sharp, Esq., contributed £1,200; Saml. Morley, Esq., 
M.P., Mr. Eusebius Smith, of London, and Messrs. 
John Gray and W. J. Lewis, of Croydon, gave sub- 
stantial assistance ; and by the day of opening only 
£1,500 remained to be raised. 

The opening services were held on June 8, 1864 ; 
Dr. John Stoughton and Dr. Henry Allon being the 
preachers. A pleasing feature was the presence of 
representatives of the church at St. James's, Newcastle- 
on-Tyne, where Mr. Stephens had formerly ministered, 
who came to manifest their regard for their late pastor, 
and to present him with £100 as a token of grateful and 
affectionate remembrance. 

The new building was named "Trinity Church." Soon 
after its opening the persons who had migrated from 
London Road, with others, were duly constituted a 
Congregational Church, and Mr. Stephens was formally 
chosen as pastor. He resigned the charge in 1870, and 
the following year accepted a call to Steelhouse Lane 
Church, Birmingham, in which city he long rendered 
fruitful service. He is now living in retirement at 

Mr, Stephens was followed by Rev. William Clarkson ? 


from Bideford. He was born in Salisbury, and was 
brought up a member of the Established Church. Early 
in life he adopted Nonconformist views, and joined 
the church at Orange Street, London. He entered 
Homerton College, and devoting himself to missionary 
work, went to India. Here his health broke down, and 
he returned to England. 

He held pastorates at Ipswich and Folkestone. In 
1870 he accepted a hearty invitation to Croydon, where 
he remained for thirteen years. He wrote extensively 
on missions, and some of his works have had a large 

Soon after Mr. Clarkson began his work, in 1872, a 
Sunday School was commenced. A small room in the 
Leslie Park Road was taken for three years. Mr. J. 
Jewell was appointed superintendent, and held this 
office for seventeen years. In 1876 the school removed 
to new and larger buildings, which had been erected in 
Leslie Grove, at a cost of £1,100. 

In 1873 the roof of the chapel showed signs of 
collapse. It was decided to put the building into 
thorough repair. Services were held in the Public Hall, 
and the church was re-roofed and decorated at a cost 
of £1,200. 

In 1879, Rev. John Brierley, B.A., from Leytonstone 
(a student of New College), was appointed assistant- 
pastor. The same year the organ was removed from 
the gallery, and the present organ, choir seats and 
pulpit were erected. 

In 1883 Mr. Clarkson resigned, Mr. Brierley having 
previously accepted an invitation to Balham. 
Mr. Clarkson removed to Tunbridge Wells, where 
he died December 14, 1897. 

Rev. Herbert Arnold, from Hull (a student of 


Hackney College), was the next minister. He sus- 
tained the charge of the church from 1883 till 1886, 
when he removed to Lavender Hill. 

He was followed by Rev. J. Foster Lepine, son of 
Rev. S. Lepine, who for fifty years was Congregational 
minister at Abingdon. Mr. Lepine had previously 
been a student at New College, and had laboured for 
many years at Hadleigh, in Suffolk. He accepted the 
invitation to Croydon in 1887, where he remained eight 
years. During his pastorate the lecture hall and 
church parlour were built, and the church redecorated, 
involving an outlay of £1,600. Mr. Lepine carried on 
an energetic ministry; Choral, Literary and Christian 
Endeavour Societies were formed ; and a great effort 
was made toward the evangelisation of the district 
round Wilford Road, a neighbourhood which for years 
had earned an unenviable reputation in Croydon. 

In 1895 Mr. Lepine and others conformed to 
the Established Church ; and the following Easter 
Rev. Howard E. Holmes (of New College), who had 
previously held pastorates at Lenham (Kent) and 
Bideford, was appointed minister. 

In 1897 the " Pleasant Sunday Afternoon" meetings 
were commenced ; and a successful endeavour was 
made to clear off the debt that remained on the 
church. Over £1,200 was collected, partly as a 
memorial to Mrs. Chambers, wife of the senior deacon. 
A Twentieth Century Fund was opened in 1900, and 
applied to various purposes in the church. 

In October, 1902, Mr. Holmes resigned. The 
present minister, Rev. W. J. Palmer, was trained at 
Nottingham Institute. His first charge was at Cran- 
brook. He accepted the invitation to Croydon in 
1903, and soon initiated some vigorous work, 


After the removal of Rev. F. Stephens, with part of 
the congregation from London Road in 1864, the 
remnant did not immediately disband, but — feeling, 
no doubt, that they had a special mission — called to 
the pastorate Rev. E. Waite, M.A., late of Leather- 
head. He resigned in 1871, after which we find no 
further record of the society. 



For nearly fifty years there was in this part of 
Croydon a preaching station connected with George 
Street and known as Broad Green Chapel. 

In 1864 Mr. James Dryland generously gave a 
valuable site at the corner of the Campbell and London 
Roads. Here, aided by Mr. Samuel Morley, Mr. Sar- 
good, and the London Congregational Union with 
some other friends, a temporary chapel and schoolroom 
was built, at a cost of £1,000. This was opened on 
Tuesday, November 14, 1865. 

The first pastor of the new church was a man whose 
name will ever be linked with the history of Congrega- 
tionalism — Rev. Alexander Hannay. He was born at 
Kirkcudbright on February 27, 1822. Early in life he 
showed his natural talent for leadership. In boyhood 
he was an ardent politician, and one of his earliest 
recollections was standing upon a form, and making a 
speech in favour of the Reform Bill. He was appren- 
ticed to a printer and publisher, and here gained an 

Rev. Alex. Hannay, D.D. 


insight into business that was of no small value to him 
in after-life. 

Dr. Hannay always regarded the day he took the 
temperance pledge as the turning point of his life, and 
attributed to that act any service he afterwards 
rendered to the cause of temperance and truth. He 
received his training at Glasgow University and the 
Theological Hall of the Scottish Congregationalists. 
In 1846 he took charge of the Congregational Church 
at Princess Street, Dundee. Sixteen years later he 
came to London, to the pastorate of City Road Chapel. 
In 1866 he accepted the call to West Croydon. His 
exceptional gifts of organisation and leadership, how- 
ever, soon marked him out for even more important 
work, and when the secretaryship of the Congregational 
Union of England and Wales became vacant in 1870, 
he was with one voice called to that office. 

The story of his judicious conduct in that onerous 
position does not belong to these pages. He held the 
office till his death, which occurred after a short illness 
on November 12, 1890. In the memoir from which 
this short notice is taken, it is said of him, " His 
associates and helpers in the churches will testify that 
no braver man ever lived, that he was their ready 
counsellor in perplexity and their staunch friend in 
times of difficulty and misapprehension." 

Dr. Hannay was succeeded in 1871 by Rev. Thomas 
Gilfillan, who for a few years had been a missionary in 
China, and afterwards had held pastorates at Erith 
and Aberdeen. 

In 1883, Mr. Gilfillan resigned, and was followed by 
Rev. J. P. Wilson. 

Mr. Wilson was born at Beverley, in Yorkshire, 
October 1, 1849. He received his theological training 


at Airedale College, and afterwards settled at Bamford, 
Rochdale, where he remained two years. He subse- 
quently held charges at Huddersfield and Bishop's 
Stortford. In 1884 he removed to West Croydon. 
Towards the close of his ministry the present beautiful 
church was built, the old building being converted into 
schoolrooms for Sunday School work. 

On Monday, September 7, 1885, amid drenching 
showers, the memorial stones vvere laid by Sir Robert 
Fowler, M.P., Lord Mayor of London, Mr. John 
Cooper, Jun., Mayor of Croydon, and Miss Peacock, of 
Thornton Heath. In spite of the weather there was a 
large attendance. Over £900 was realized during the day. 

A brilliant summer day greeted the opening of the 
church on July 6 of the following year. Dr. Joseph 
Parker preached the opening sermon from Job xvii. 15. 
Luncheon and an organ recital followed, and the 
evening sermon was preached by Rev. G. S. Barrett, 
of Norwich. The church cost altogether £16,000, and 
has accommodation for 1,000 people. With its lofty 
tower and steeple, it is considered one of the finest 
churches in Surre)^. One unusual feature is its peal 
of bells and chiming clock. Its beautiful pulpit of 
Caen stone with shafts of Mexican onyx was, with the 
large west window and another window in the south 
aisle, a gift from the family of the late Mr. P. A. 
Peacock, of Thornton Heath, who for many years 
was a generous donor to the funds of the church. 

Mr. Wilson was not long spared to minister in this 
beautiful sanctuary. The darkness of mental derange- 
ment fell upon him at the noontide of his life, and 
continued till his death, July 13, 1893. 

In 1894, Rev. John Wills, of Hanover Chapel, Peck- 
ham, accepted the charge. His induction took place 


in February, 1S95. During Mr. Wills' pastorate the 
debt on the church was reduced to £"850, the member- 
ship increased, and the numerous agencies connected 
with the church were in a flourishing condition. 

Mr. Wills removed to Southsea in 1906, and the 
pastorate is still vacant. 



On December 2, 1861, a meeting was held at Westow 
Hill, under the presidency of Mr. Sheriff Cockerell, to 
promote a Congregational Church for Upper Norwood. 
At this meeting a statement was made by Rev. B. Kent, 
of Lower Norwood, that St. Aubyns Church had been 
purchased by the London Congregational Chapel 
Building Society. It seems that the attention of the 
Society had been called to the needs of Norwood by 
Miss A. Blower, who took an active interest in the 

St. Aubyns Church was originally the property of 
the Corporation of London, and had been erected for 
the use of their training schools. It was a spacious 
structure situated in a central position, and could easily 
be adapted for the purpose of congregational worship. 
A local committee was formed, and under the direction 
of the Chapel Building Society, who assumed the entire 
responsibility, the building was transformed into a very 
convenient Congregational Church. The entire cost, 
with the purchase of the freehold, was £4,000. Towards 
this the Society contributed £500, with a like sum lent 


without interest, and local friends brought up the 
amount to nearly £2,000. 

The church was opened for public worship on 
October 21, 1862, when sermons were preached by 
Rev. Samuel Martin and Dr. Spence. The entire con- 
trol was taken by the Chapel Building Society, who 
appointed the preachers. 

The first minister, Rev. Richard Lewis, of Lowestoft, 
was appointed by the society. He entered on his 
work May 8, 1864, and on November 23, a church of 
nineteen members was formed, several of them being 
transferred from Lower Norwood. These at once 
heartily confirmed the appointment of the society, and 
formally called Mr. Lewis to the pastorate. During 
the same year the Sunday School was established. 
Other institutions followed, amongst them a branch 
Sunday School called " Paxton School," in Hamilton 
Road, which was carried on in connection with the 
church for several years. 

In 1867, the Chapel Building Society was paid off, 
and the whole of the property placed in trust for the 
church, " upon the basis of a deed, one of the broadest 
in the kingdom." During the next ten years, the 
lecture hall was built and paid for, the front gallery 
erected, and the church renovated, the tower com- 
pleted, and the remainder of the original debt of 
£2,500 wiped off. The total cost represented by these 
undertakings amounted to over £5,000. 

In 1880, the church passed through a time of 
trouble. Rev. Richard Lewis resigned in shattered 
health. Many left, and the numbers both of the 
church and congregation were greatly reduced. 

For some time no steps were taken to fill the vacancy, 
but the services of well-known ministers were obtained 


as supplies. Then the eyes of the people turned towards 
Rev. George Martin, whose successful ministry for twenty 
years at Lewisham High Road had made his name 
widely known among the churches. The whole of 
the circumstances were laid before him, together with 
a unanimous and earnest call, which he accepted. 

He commenced his ministry on the first Sunday in 
October, 1881. A new era now opened for the church. 
With Mr. Martin's coming, by God's goodness and 
grace, came new hope and enthusiasm. The pastor 
was greatly helped in this work, as he had been in his 
former pastorates, by his loving and devoted wife. 
Within six years the membership had increased from 
ninety to nearly three hundred, and within twelve 
months the finances of the church had improved, and 
all liabilities had been cleared away. 

During the year 1885 extensive alterations and 
improvements were made. The interior was com- 
pletely transformed. Spacious galleries, new vestries and 
classrooms were erected, and the Lecture Hall renovated. 
The whole scheme involved an outlay of £4,700. 

The church was re-opened on November 29, 1885, 
by the Rev. Edward White (of Kentish Town) and the 

A debt of over £3,000 remained after the building 
was complete, but this was greatly reduced by a bazaar 
the following year and brought down to £850 in 1888. 
Two years later the debt was finally wiped away. 

At the anniversary meeting, November, 1900, with 
Sir (then Mr.) George Williams in the chair, a collec- 
tion was made early in the evening at his suggestion 
which turned the little adverse balance into a nucleus 
of another Restoration Fund. That further renovation 
took place in 1892, when over £600 was again expended. 


,3, caretaker's rooms were built over the vestries 
and the cost more than defrayed by a bazaar in 1S94. 

Years later, after an honoured pastorate of nearly 
fifteen years, Mr. Martin received an invitation to the 
Vr per Clapton, which he felt it his duty to 
accept. He bade his Norwood congregation far 
on Sunday, Febr. - - -- still labours, beloved 

and esteemed, at Clapton in his third long London 
pastorate, and in the fifty-fourth year of his service as 
a faithful minister of Jesus Chi -:. 

In 1S97 the Rev. William Houghton was called to 
the vacant pulpit. Mr. Houghton was a student of 
Airedale College, and had held pastorates at Bradford 
(Yorksj. Christchurch (Hants), and Guildford. The 
church still prospers under his ministry, and in 1907, 
M. E. Finnis, from Cheshunt College, was 
introduced as assistant minister. 



The work in this district was commenced by the 
Surrey Congregational Union in 1S64. A large swim- 
ming bath connected with the Bermondsey Baths and 
Wash-houses was granted by the Commissioners to the 
Union without charge for a series of special Sunday 
afternoon and evening services. These lasted from the 
first Sunday in January till the last in March. At the 
close of the special services, a committee was formed 
for the purpose of securing a site. A suitable position 
was found at the corner of Alexander and Macks Roads, 


and taken for five years. On this site an iron chapel, 
with 440 sittings, was erected. It was opened for 
public worship on Sunday, November 13, 1864. One- 
half the total cost, viz., £361, was given by Mr. Samuel 
Morlev, Mr. J. Remington Mills gave £250, and other 
subscriptions made up the entire amount required. 

The committee then invited Rev. Gilbert McAll to 
take the oversight of the mission. He began his work on 
Easter Sunday, April 16, 1S65. Under his ministry, the 
congregations steadily increased, and a Sunday school 
was established, with 150 scholars and fourteen teachers, 
Mr. McAll himself taking the superintendence. 

The following year a church was formed, which soon 
numbered over fifty members. Other societies followed, 
and before long, under Mr. Mc All's energetic guidance, 
a vigorous cause made its presence felt in this populous 

By 1869 the need was urgently felt for a permanent 
building. The membership had increased to 130, and 
over 500 children had been gathered in the Sunday 
school. The friends were able to do without a grant 
from the Union, and had £3.000 in hand towards the 
new church. 

The memorial stone was laid on Thursday, Novem- 
ber n, 1869, by William McArthur, Esq.. M.P. On 
February 8, 187 1, the new church, which cost over 
£5,000, was opened by a sermon from Dr. Parker. 
Mr. McAll continued in the pastorate until 1887. 

He was succeeded by Rev. J. Thorpe, of Nottingham. 
Mr. Thorpe was born near Sheffield on January S, 1S33; 
and after some training at the Nottingham Institute, 
settled at Wendover, Bucks, in 1869. Thence he re- 
moved to Shrubland Road, Dalston. He subsequently 
held pastorates at Epsom and Nottingham. In i88fl 


he removed to Rouel Road, and was recognised the 
following January. He only stayed two years, and 
then retired from active service, though he often did 
mission work, especially in Liverpool, where he preached 
in theatres and public halls. He died October 16, 

The next minister was Rev. W. Daniel. His recogni- 
tion service took place on May 30, 1891. Mr. Daniel 
had held pastorates at Box Lane, Herts, and Milton 
Hall, Battersea. He remained at Rouel Road till 
1896, when he removed to Coverdale Church, Lime- 
house. In 1898 he accepted the charge of Victoria 
Road, Southsea. This he resigned in 1903, and now 
lives retired in Bermondsey. 

In 1896 the remaining debt upon the church was 
extinguished. This debt had proved a heavy burden, 
and several attempts were made to reduce it. When 
it was finally wiped out, a sermon by the Rev. F. B. 
Meyer and a public meeting celebrated the event. 
Rev. Nigel MacNeil was the next pastor (1897 — 98). 
He was followed by Rev. George Sadler. 

During these recent years the difficulties of the 
church greatly increased, owing to the growing poverty 
of the neighbourhood and the removal to the suburbs 
of those better able to support the cause. Mr. Sadler 
did a courageous work for nearly four years, and in 
1902 exchanged the difficulties of Bermondsey for 
another uphill task at Edith Grove, Chelsea, where he 
still labours. 

On Mr. Sadler's retirement, the church was closed. 
It has since been renovated throughout, and adapted 
for mission work, which is carried on under the auspices 
of the London Congregational Union. The pulpit is 
now vacant. 




The story of this church is very brief. The chapel, 
which was private property, was occupied by the 
Wesleyans. The congregation seceded, in connection 
with the " Wesleyan Reform " movement ; and in 1864 
their minister, Rev. N. T. Langridge, resigned, to enter 
on a Congregational pastorate elsewhere. His successor, 
Rev. Reuben Seddon, undertook the charge, on the 
understanding that the church should adopt the Con- 
gregational order. The next year, 1866, he removed 
to Victoria Park, and was followed by Rev. G. O. Frost, 
from Woodbridge, Suffolk. After four years, he removed 
to Horsham ; and the church invited Rev. A. F. Barfield, 
from Haslingden, Lancashire. On the retirement of 
Rev. Dr. Waddington, in 1871, Mr. Barfield was chosen 
as his successor ; and the church, accompanying him, 
was amalgamated with the Pilgrim Fathers' Church. 



The Church of Christ founded at Surrey Chapel in 
1783 by the Rev. Rowland Hill, M.A., and served by a 
succession of devoted ministers, has been the mother 
of many Christian and philanthropic agencies of 



far-reaching power and beneficent influence. In 1856 
Rev. Newman Hall, LL.B., then the pastor, was led 
to feel that the neighbourhood around Surrey Chapel 
required some more elastic, aggressive missionary 
effort than could be supplied under the limits of the 
London City Mission. To secure this object, an 
organisation was founded called " The Southwark 
mission for the Elevation of the Working Classes." 
Out of this effort grew the Borough Road Congrega- 
tional Church. An agent was required for the Southwark 
mission, who could initiate new forms of work, could 
get into touch with the non-church-going people, and 
would not be daunted by accumulating difficulties. The 
Rev. John Angell James, of Birmingham, strongly 
recommended Mr. George M. Murphy as the person 
needed for such an enterprise. 

Entering on his new sphere of labour, Mr. Murphy 
at once realised that his mission was to the godless 
multitudes who crowded the streets, courts, and slums, 
branching right and left from the Blackfriars Road. 
He had no organised band of helpers, no mission hall, 
no apparatus or machinery. Single-handed he must 
enter on his work, assured of the sympathy of his 
pastor, and the blessing of God. Into the thronged 
thoroughfare of the New Cut Mr. Murphy plunged, to 
prove his mission among the promiscuous crowds that 
surged in that ill-famed neighbourhood. 

He took with him gospel and temperance tracts, with 
illustrated booklets, which he gave to the children, and 
the adult passers-by as well. He would enter into con- 
versation with any who would listen to his words. Then 
when he had gathered a cluster around him, he would 
preach to them at some street corner, with that imper- 
turbable good humour, sound sense, and honest, homely 


talk, which ever characterised his ministry. The success 
of the street preaching soon created the necessity for an 
indoor meeting place, and Hawkstone Hall, near to the 
Waterloo Railway terminus, was engaged by the society 
as the sphere of his operations. To secure a congrega- 
tion, Mr. Murphy once more addressed himself to the 
children in the streets, and with them and the adults 
he had more or less attracted, the hall was soon filled. 
The services were of the most unconventional and 
homely character ; no hymn-books were provided, but 
monthly printed sheets, containing selections of hymns 
and melodies, some of them original and set to popular 
tunes, were used by the congregations, each sheet 
announcing services, lectures, and entertainments. 
Mr. Murphy's unique mission came to be talked about, 
and was successful in a high degree. 

This did not satisfy his eager soul. On the other 
side of the Blackfriars Road was Great Guildford 
Street. Here was a mission hall, the property of the 
Baptist Church in New Park Street, the scene of the 
Rev. C. H. Spurgeon's early London ministry. The 
partial use of this room was granted to Mr. Murphy, 
who commenced therein a series of lectures with such 
topics as these : " The History of an Apple Dumpling," 
" The History of a Tenpenny Nail," " The Travels of 
a Knob of Coal," &c. These addresses were so success- 
ful, that a series of popular lectures was inaugurated at 
Surrey Chapel, the first being given by the pastor, the 
Rev. Newman Hall, on the Italian patriot, Garibaldi. 
Mr. Murphy was always planning some new effort, and 
during the winter of i860 — 1861 he conducted popular 
services on Sunday mornings in the Royal Victoria 
Theatre (the " Old Vic," as it was then called), situated 
in the Waterloo Road. To his intense mortification, 

L 2 


this building was refused to him after one happy winter's 
services therein. The hall in Great Guildford Street 
was also required for other purposes. In this dilemma 
Mr. Murphy cast his eyes on a great establishment 
known as the Lambeth Baths, in Westminster Bridge 
Road, with an entrance in the New Cut. He became 
the tenant of the first class swimming bath at a rental 
of £4 a week. He could only occupy the building 
from October to April, because all the summer it was 
used for its original purpose. Mr. S. Morley, M.P., 
became responsible for the rent, which either he or his 
excellent sons continued to pay during the thirty-eight 
years that the meetings were held. Here Mr. Murphy 
was a pioneer, and built better than he knew. In all 
the boroughs around there are now municipal swimming 
baths, which in the winter season are converted into 
most commodious and useful municipal assembly rooms. 
Mr. Murphy was also a pioneer in the establishment 
of popular evenings for the people. Prior to this, Canon 
Fleming had inaugurated, first at Norwich, and then 
in Bath, his wonderful Penny Readings. Such efforts 
had a great rage of popularity for a while, though they 
have now become obsolete. Mr. Murphy's great Satur- 
day evenings for the people proceeded on a plan which, 
on so large a scale, had never been tried before. First 
there was his own personality. He always presided — 
that meant great things for the movement ; his sparkling 
humour, his fine bonhomie, his quick repartee, his 
genuine enthusiasm, his human sympathy — all told on 
the multitudes who gathered around him. He called 
to his aid music and song in many attractive forms, 
hired bands and orchestras, engaged singing men and 
singing women, enlisted a whole army of reciters and 
speakers, gave racy comments on public events, induced 


men and women to sign the temperance pledge, and 
laid himself out daily for the good of all with whom he 
came into contact. Every day of the week there was 
some meeting or other. Temperance meetings were 
held, lectures and debates on secular subjects were 
arranged, and besides this, the ordinary work of a 

In the last report he wrote for his church members' 
year-book, he gives the list of meetings in the Lambeth 
Baths for the preceding season in the following words : 
" Two hundred and three meetings have been arranged 
for and held. Gospel temperance and experience 
meetings, 116; concerts and entertainments, 38; Satur- 
day night social gatherings, 23 ; lectures, addresses^ 
readings and meetings, 20 ; Christian Evidence Society 
lectures, 6. The aggregate attendance has reached 
100,000, 1,000 of whom have signed the pledge." By 
this time the Lambeth Baths apostle could justly make 
this claim : " It is matter for great encouragement and 
thankfulness that converts from the Lambeth Baths 
meetings are found everywhere in the gospel and 
temperance field, and are living for goodness and 

The Lambeth Baths mission, however, was only one 
branch of Mr. Murphy's work. He was preaching and 
lecturing at the Hawkstone Hall till the end of 1865, 
when this building became no longer available for his 
services. The Southwark Mission Committee then 
hired for him the chapel in Borough Road, formerly 
occupied by a famous hyper-Calvinistic Baptist minister 
— the Rev. James Wells. Here at the end of 1866 it 
was resolved to form a church of the Congregational 
order, with Mr. Murphy as the pastor. With this view 
ninety-eight members were transferred from Surrey 


Chapel, and a fellowship was organised which at the 
commencement numbered 215 souls. Several interesting 
features marked this unique church. It was almost 
exclusively composed of the wage-earning classes, and 
included many who had been the slaves of strong drink. 
It was a church trained to benevolence, for it was 
resolved never to meet without an offering. Hence the 
weeknight service had its collection, which was found 
of much assistance as a means 01 subscribing to outside 
charities. Very speedily there were established a Tem- 
perance Society, a Sunday School, Band of Hope for 
juniors, then one for seniors, a Benevolent Fund, a 
Penny Bank, and other like institutions. The double 
work of the church and the Lambeth Baths mission 
entailed enormous labour and great expense, but the 
needful financial aid was generally forthcoming. 

Its generous supporters in 1886 were Mr. Samuel 
Morley, M.P., Mr. W. J. Palmer, of Reading, Mr. 
George Palmer, M.P., Mr. A. Cohen, M.P., Mr. John 
Southgate, of Streatham, and many others. The people 
themselves contributed nobly. The whole expenditure 
of the church and mission would average -£1,200 a 
year. The success achieved was a great spiritual 
triumph. Its fruits were varied and abundant. 

Mr. Murphy's activities were boundless. For many 
years he was a laborious member of the London School 
Board ; he was the indefatigable Secretary of the Con- 
gregational Total Abstinence Association ; he was also 
a frequent deputation for the United Kingdom Band of 
Hope Union, National Temperance League, and other 
societies. For thirty-one years these herculean labours 
were carried on, until one Sunday morning in July, 1887, 
as he was in the act of dressing in his bedroom, in a 
moment he fell back dead. His great exertions had 

Rev. G. M. Murphy, Southwark 


overstrained the heart, and he died at the age of sixty- 
two from syncope. A public funeral, such as is seldom 
seen in London, testified to the universal esteem in 
which Mr. Murphy was held by vast numbers of the 

After his death the Rev. W. Mottram carried on the 
work for nine years, 1887 — 95, and only resigned it 
because the strain of so great a mission had overtaxed 
his nervous energy to such a degree that his medical 
advisers insisted on his retirement from it. The Lam- 
beth Baths meetings were still in full swing, many of 
them being as popular as ever they had been at any 
period. The church numbered over 300 members, and 
the various institutions were still active and flourishing. 
The church had by this time migrated from Borough 
Road, where the dingy old chapel had become unsafe 
and quite unfit for use ; moreover, the lease had run 
out, and the terms of renewal were far too onerous and 
costly. At the corner where Gurney Street joins the 
New Kent Road, the Rev. Dr. James S. Wilson had 
secured a site and erected a school-chapel for the old 
church from Collier's Rents. This church had now 
become extinct, and the premises became the home of 
the Borough Road church in 1893. 

Mr. Mottram retired in 1895. The work of his 
successor was for some time encouraging, but after a 
while there were symptoms of decline. The meetings 
at Lambeth Baths were discontinued in 1900, and in 
1904 a sad scandal would have brought the whole move- 
ment to an unhonoured end but for the intervention of 
the London Congregational Union. Their vigorous 
action averted the threatened calamity. 

A fine Hall and Institute have since been erected at 
a great cost, and the work originated by Mr. Murphy 


in 1856, as the home missionary of Surrey Chapel, is at 
present being carried on under the auspices of the 
London Congregational Union, as its South London 
Mission, the Superintendent (since 1905) being the 
Rev. H. Kenward, formerly of Norwich. It is to have 
all the appliances of an institutional Church, and there 
is good reason to hope that a success like that which 
has already marked the other central missions of the 
London Union will attend this effort also. 



In the year 1863 Mr. and Mrs. Garland Soper came 
to reside at Caterham. Congregationalists themselves 
they found no other Nonconformist family residing in or 
near the village, and no Nonconformist church of any 
size for seven miles around. There was only the parish 
church, a small building, in the old village, some 
distance from the Valley, and that had no service on 
Sunday evenings. So it seemed to Mr. Soper, who was 
a lay preacher, that there was a clear opportunity and a 
distinct call to preach to the people amongst whom he 
had come to live. A large carpenter's shop was rented 
at his own expense, and Sunday evening services were 
conducted. The first services were held on October 11, 
1863, and they were well sustained till March 6, 1864. 

At that time family circumstances led to Mr. Soper's 
removal from Caterham, and the services came to a 
close. But there had come to reside in the neighbour- 
hood Rev. Dr. Hoby, a retired Baptist minister, who 


after Mr. Soper had left conducted services in the hall 
of the house of his son-in-law, Mr. Thomas Bradbury- 
Winter, and although the house was some distance 
away on the top of the hills, large numbers gathered 
for worship. 

Other Nonconformist families came to live in the 
neighbourhood, and it was felt the time had come to 
erect a suitable building for public worship. 

Joint action was first contemplated, but this was 
abandoned when Mr. George Davis, the father of 
Mrs. Soper, announced his intention to build a small 
chapel at his own cost. This edifice, capable of 
accommodating some 200 persons, was erected in 
the Waller Road, and was opened November 26, 

The chapel was made over as a free gift by Mr. Davis 
to his son-in-law, Mr. Soper. A committee of manage- 
ment was appointed, the members of which soon felt 
the need of one competent person to take the oversight 
of the incipient cause. Mr. Soper, who was then 
residing at Wanstead, was invited to return and under- 
take the general charge of the pulpit. He complied 
with the request, and conducted the services with the 
assistance of Dr. Hoby, and occasionally of ministers 
from a distance. 

At length the question arose whether the time had not 
come for securing the services of a settled minister. In 
1867 Mr. Soper offered, in the event of a pastor being 
elected, to put the building in trust for the benefit of 
the church that should be formed, such trust to continue 
till another and a larger place of worship should be 

To this the committee agreed, and the following year 
Rev. James Branwhite French, of Richmond, was 


invited to take the pastorate. Mr. French commenced 
his ministry on June 28, 1868, and the following August 
a church was formed. Mr. French resigned on 
August 29, 1872, and was followed by Rev. Robert Davey, 
who commenced his ministry the following January. 
Mr. Davey was a Homerton student, and had held 
pastorates at Ripley, Olney, and Foulmire. Soon 
after Mr. Davey's settlement steps were taken to secure 
a new building. A site was purchased, and on June 9, 
1874, memorial stones were laid by Mr. W. G. Soper. 
The new church was opened on April 6 of the following 
year. Sermons were preached by Revs. Dr. Parker 
and Joshua C. Harrison. The total cost of the building 
amounted to £6,000. The whole of this was raised by 
the opening day, and a surplus was left towards a 
proposed lecture hall and schools. At the same time 
Mrs. Soper presented an organ to the church, at a cost 
of £250. 

In March, 1877, Mr. Davey resigned on account of 
ill health. He afterwards took charge of the church at 
Queen Street, Dover, where he remained ten years. In 
1889 he retired from the active work of the ministry, 
and is now spending the close of his long and useful 
life at Streatham. 

In October, 1877, steps were taken to complete the 
pile of buildings by the erection of a lecture hall and 
class rooms. Mr. W. G. Soper laid the stones on 
October 2. The opening services took place on June 4, 
1878. Rev. J. Baldwin Brown, B.A., preached. Of the 
entire cost, £4,300, no less than £2,000 was received on 
the opening day, only £1,000 remaining to be raised. 

Just before the lecture hall was opened, Rev. James 
Legge, M. A., of Hanley, was elected pastor. He remained 
until September, 1883, when he accepted an invitatio 


to Headingley, Leeds, where he still lives in 

Mr. Legge was followed by Rev. Wm. Heather, M.A., 
a student of Cheshunt College. He commenced his 
ministry in August, 1884, and remained until 1894, 
when he removed to Beccles, where he still labours. 
The church then invited Rev. Arthur Pringle, of Maid- 
stone, to the vacant pulpit. Mr. Pringle commenced 
his ministry on May 19, 1895, and resigned in 1903. 
He has since accepted the charge of the church at 
Purley, where he now ministers. 

In 1901 Rev. L. K. Fletcher, M.A., of Lincoln and 
Mansfield Colleges, was called from Bilston to act as 
assistant-minister. He resigned this position in 1904, 
and is now Secretary of Tettenhall School, Stafford- 

In June, 1904, Rev. Sydney Millege, the present 
minister, accepted the pastorate. Mr. Millege was a 
student of Cheshunt College, and has held pastorates at 
Broadstairs, Kilvedon and Victoria Road, Cambridge. 

In recording the history of Caterham Church, men- 
tion should be made of the School for the Sons of 
Congregational Ministers, which was founded at Lewi- 
sham in 1811, and removed hither in 1884. The school, 
which occupies a pleasant position at the head of the 
beautiful valley, accommodates about 150 boys. The 
headmaster is Rev. Horace E. Hall, M.A. The boys 
attend divine service at the Congregational Church, the 
gallery being reserved for their use. 

Upper Caterham Mission Hall was first opened in 
1876, about a mile from the church. Later it was 
moved about half a mile further off, to a more densely 
populated part of the village ; and in October, 1892, a 
permanent building was erected on the same site. 

156 Congregationalism in surrey 



In 1729 a small chapel was erected for the Baptists 
in a narrow alley called Pump-Pail. Being vacated in 
1866, it was bought by Rev. John Nelson, who had 
already spent forty-seven years in the gospel ministry, 
first as a Wesleyan missionary, then as a circuit 
minister, and lately — from 1858 to 1864 — as pastor of 
Park Crescent Congregational Church, Clapham. In 
this unattractive location he resumed his active 
ministry, purely as a labour of love. Here he con- 
tinued to minister till the last Sunday of his life, 
May 24, 1873. On that day he exchanged pulpits with 
Rev. J. W. Rolls, who was assisting the pastor of South 
Croydon church. The next day he died suddenly, at 
the age of seventy-five. Mr. Rolls being at liberty, he 
was invited by the people at " Pump-Pail," now called 
Salem Chapel, to succeed their deceased pastor. He was 
a Cotton End student, and since 1843 held pastorates at 
Sutton in Herefordshire, Hawes, Kirby Moorside, and 
Union Croft in Yorkshire, and Roxton in Bedford- 
shire. He accepted the call, collected over £600, 
single-handed, to purchase and renovate the building, 
and laboured in the pastorate for seven years, when he 
was compelled by paralysis to retire. After great 
suffering, he died on June 21, 1889. He was followed 
at Salem Chapel, in 1881, by Rev. G. W. Keesey, from 
the Bristol Institute. He remained till 1887, when he 
removed to Sutherland Chapel, Walworth. Rev. C. 
Potter, from Lytchett Minster, Dorset, occupied the 
pulpit in 1888; but from 1890 it was reported " sup- 
plied," until in 1899 it was affiliated to George Street. 




In July, 1863, religious services were commenced by 
the Presbyterian Church of England in the Public Hall, 
Croydon, and shortly afterwards Rev. Samuel Kennedy, 
being obliged to seek a milder climate than Scotland 
afforded, was sent here by the Synod to conduct them. 
He gathered a congregation with so much success that 
when the Synod wished to remove him, both he and 
his people refused, and agreed to unite as an indepen- 
dent congregation. Accordingly, in September, 1865 
they accepted the congregational form of government, 
and were so recognised by the churches of the county. 
Shortly after they erected an iron church in Parker 
Road, South Croydon. This building was opened 
September 20, 1865, Dr. Raleigh preaching in the 
morning, and Rev. H. Allon at night. 

In 1868 Mr. Kennedy removed to Newport, Mon- 
mouthshire, and Rev. Joseph Whiting, who had re- 
signed the church at Stroud through illness, and was 
residing in Croydon, was invited to the vacant pulpit. 
He accepted, and commenced his ministry May 2, 

Under Mr. Whiting a church was formed of twenty- 
three members, with eight others recognised as com- 

The time had now come for better accommodation 
than the iron church afforded. A convenient site was 
obtained in the Aberdeen Road, and on December 5, 
1870, the foundation stone was laid in a snowstorm by 
Henry Wright, Esq., J. P., of Kensington. The church 


was designed in French Gothic of the thirteenth 
century, with nave and transepts, organ chamber, and 
minister's vestry. It was built to seat 400 persons, and 
the cost, including site, was £2,600. 

The opening services were held on April 25, 1871. 
At the end of 1873 the adjoining plot of land was taken 
on lease, and a plain but serviceable schoolroom was 
built at a cost of £400. Led by the strenuous and 
self-denying efforts of their minister, the congregation 
soon reduced the debt on the church to a comparatively 
small amount, and in May, 1874, an organ was sub- 
scribed for as a mark of their appreciation of Mr. 
Whiting's labours. 

Mr. Whiting's ministry was closed by his death, 
October 14, 1875. On the last Sunday of that year, 
Rev. J. Alden Davies occupied the pulpit. Some 
members of the congregation knew something of Mr. 
Davies' work at Edge Hill, Liverpool, and he was 
invited again in February. He subsequently received 
a call to the pastorate, and was recognised on June 19, 

During the first twelve months Mr. Davies set him- 
self to reduce the debt on the church, and through the 
generosity of the Chapel Building Society, and the 
efforts of the congregation, this was achieved, only a 
mortgage of £250 remaining. In 1879 the freehold of 
the schoolroom was purchased, and considerable 
additions were made to the building. Owing to the 
resignation of some of the trustees, the trust was now 
renewed. In the following year another attempt was 
made to clear the debt remaining upon the church, and, 
aided by £50 from the Surrey Union, the mortgage was 
entirely wiped out. 

The progress of the Sunday School having rendered 


extension ecessary, two large rooms and five class 
rooms were erected in 1885, at a cost of £538. These 
were opened on Tuesday, October 20. 

Towards the end of 1887, efforts were made to raise 
funds for a new organ ; by means of a Sale of Work 
and other methods £"400 was raised, and in August, 
1888, an efficient instrument was opened free of debt. 

One great feature of this church has always been its 
interest in missionary work, and it has had the privilege 
of sending out one of its members, Miss Clara Gilfillan, 
as a missionary to the foreign field. It has also sent 
into the home ministry Rev. Albert E. Hooper, who 
was ordained in June, 1897, and now labours at St. 
Ives, Hunts. 

In 1897, Rev. J. Alden Davies attained the twenty- 
first anniversary of his pastorate, and the opportunity 
was taken by his people to express their loving appre- 
ciation of his ministry. In 1898 the increasing ill 
health of the minister's wife rendered a long stay 
abroad necessary, and the church made generous 
arrangements for the pastor's absence for six months. 

The church entered heartily into the " Twentieth 
Century Scheme," and although sorely needing money 
for improvements and additions, it raised £100 and 
decided that all should go to the Central Fund. 

In 1900, the trustees being reduced to three, the 
trust was renewed, and the full number, eight, appointed. 
The same year a scheme for new class rooms, vestry, 
etc., was adopted, and over £800 was raised, but un- 
fortunately the work had to be laid aside for two or 
three years. 

Mr. Davies was now the oldest Congregational 
minister having a charge in Surrey, and his advancing 
years and the continued ill health of his wife led him to 


feel that the time had come to lay down the work he 
had stedfastly sustained for nearly twenty-seven years. 
He resigned the responsibilities of the pastorate in 
1902, but though retired he still continues serving the 
churches and the union of Surrey. 

In May, 1904, Rev. Alexander Sandison was ap- 
pointed pastor. Mr. Sandison was educated at Ches- 
hunt, and held the pastorate of King's Weigh House 
Chapel from 1880 to 1901. Since then the interest 
has been sustained and fresh work developed, one new 
institution being a men's social, which has already 
borne spiritual fruit. 



No part of London so near to the City has so long 
retained its rural character as Dulwich. Even now, 
though one of the inner suburbs, the extensive grounds 
of Dulwich College, and other open spaces, with the 
wide well-kept roads, give one the impression of the 
surroundings of a country town, rather than of the 
metropolis. As far back as 1875 a few Congrega- 
tionalists, resident in the neighbourhood, began to feel 
the necessity for a Congregational Church, but it was 
not until 1877 that the initiative was taken by Mr. 
W. F. Leeson, a deacon of Cambridge Heath Church, 
Hackney, who had lately removed to Dulwich from 
that neighbourhood. A site was purchased in Dulwich 
Grove, at a cost of £800. Plans were prepared by Mr. 
James Cubitt ; and a complete scheme for church and 
schools was decided upon. 


It was resolved to proceed with the lecture hall and 
classrooms first, at a cost of £1,750. During 1878 the 
memorial stone was laid by S. Figgis, Esq., the Chair- 
man of the Surrey Union. Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Clemance, 
Revs. G. B. Ryley, J. P. Gledstone, P. J. Turquand and 
H. J. Perkins, took part in the proceedings. The sub- 
scriptions for the day amounted to £230. 

The hall was consecrated at a prayer-meeting on 
Wednesday, July 9, 1879, and the opening sermon was 
preached the following afternoon by Dr. Hannay. A 
public meeting was held in the evening, when Mr. 
Albert Spicer presided. Revs. Dr. Clemance, Andrew 
Mearns, H. J. Tressider and Mr. Samuel Figgis with 
other friends were present to show their interest in the 

The first minister was Rev. S. G. Kelly, B.A. Mr. 
Kelly began life as a pupil teacher in a Wesleyan day- 
school in Bristol. He entered New College to prepare 
for the ministry, and had a very successful academic 
course, taking honours in the first and second B.A. 
examinations. His first settlement was at Erith, in 
Kent ; and after three years' service there he accepted 
the invitation to Dulwich Grove. Mr. Kelly's ministry 
was not of long duration. He was troubled by intellectual 
difficulties, and felt it his duty after only a year's service 
to resign the pastorate. He closed his ministry on the 
second Sunday in January, 1881. For a time he sup- 
ported himself by private tuition, but subsequently saw 
his way to accepting the charge of a church in Dundee. 

His death was very sad ; he was climbing a mountain 
near Balmoral, lost his way, and was overcome by cold 
and fatigue. His body was found by some shepherds 
within sight of a place where he might have obtained 



Mr. Kelly was a man of great mental power and high 
promise. He added to his attainments the blessing of 
a simple and affectionate disposition. 

After Mr. Kelly's resignation, a proposal was mooted 
to affiliate with Hanover Chapel, Peckham. Hanover 
Church agreed on certain conditions, but the scheme 
did not take effect. 

During 1882-3, R ev - W. C. Preston, from Hull, 
carried on the work. The necessity for further 
accommodation was keenly felt ; but the heavy debt of 
£2,200 which still remained on the buildings prevented 
any further outlay. 

The following year, an attempt was made to remove 
this burden. A grant of £500 was made by the Church 
Extension Committee, and £250 by the Chapel Build- 
ing Society, on condition that £1,000 was raised by the 
people themselves before building. About £850 of this 
was soon promised. 

Early in 1884 Mr. Preston removed to Gunnersbury. 
Only in 1885 steps were taken to secure a settled pastor, 
and in June Rev. D. Alexander commenced his 
ministry. Good progress was made, but soon after 
Mr. Alexander's settlement he was laid aside by serious 
illness. However, by the aid of neighbouring ministers 
the church kept well together ; and an energetic effort 
was made to secure funds for the erection of the new 
building. By 1888, out of £4,000 required, £2,000 had 
been paid or promised. 

Mr. Alexander died in 1888, and the following year 
Rev. H. J. Haffer was appointed to the pastorate. Mr. 
Haffer had been a student of Western College, and had 
held pastorates at Kingstown and Wrexham. Under 
his guidance the work soon made progress, and on 
July 12, 1889, the memorial stones of the new church 


were laid by Mr. H. B. Marshall, jun., and Mr. John 
Taylor. Revs. H. J. Haffer, J. H. Hopkins and A. A. 
Ramsey took part in the ceremonial. The contribu- 
tions placed on the stones amounted to £240. The 
evening meeting was presided over by Mr. Walter 
Hitchcock and addressed by Rev. Colmer B. Symes, of 
Leytonstone. On June 11, 1890, the building was 
opened with a dedication service preceded by luncheon. 

The congregations soon increased, new institutions 
were started, open-air and mission work was energetic- 
ally carried on, and by 1893 it was necessary to add a 
gallery at the north end of the church ; whilst so large 
was the increase of the school that an iron room had to 
be purchased for further accommodation. 

In 1899, Mr. Haffer accepted an invitation to 
Harpenden, Herts, where he still labours. He was 
followed by Rev. Albert Swift, under whose ministry 
the membership was largely increased. 

In 1901 the church was enlarged so as to provide 
340 more sittings, and the schools to admit 200 
additional scholars. Vestries and a chancel for organ 
and choir were included in the scheme. Memorial 
stones were laid by Mr. Geo. Hardy, L.C.C., Mr. F. T. 
Bullen and Rev. H. J. Haffer. The church was 
reopened March 3, 1902 ; sermons being preached by 
Rev. C. T. Home and Mr. S. Figgis. 

In 1904, Rev. G. Campbell Morgan, D.D., having 
undertaken the task of resuscitating the decayed 
interest at Westminster Chapel, desired Mr, Swift to 
become his colleague. Mr. Swift accepted the respon- 
sible position, and has ably seconded Dr. Morgan in 
his splendidly successful work. The Dulwich church 
then invited Rev. John Hugh Edwards, of Newtown, 
Montgomeryshire, to become its pastor. Mr. Edwards 

M 2 


entered on the charge in 1905, and exercised a success- 
ful ministry till the end of 1907. A variety of circum- 
stances, however, led him to the conviction that he 
might hope for greater usefulness in other surroundings, 
and at the commencement of 1908 he accepted a call 
to Hanover Chapel, Peckham. 
The pastorate is now vacant. 



When in January, 1878, Rev. N. L. Parkyn retired 
from the Congregational Church in George Street, a 
number of the congregation left with him. These 
united with a church at Havelock Road, which had 
been gathered a couple of years before, under the 
ministry of Rev. A. H. New. Mr. New then retired, 
and Mr. Parkyn was elected sole pastor. At first the 
building in which they worshipped was rented from 
Mr. New, to whom the property belonged ; and later 
the freehold was purchased. 

As the congregation increased, the building became 
unsuitable for carrying on the work, and the erection 
of a new church in a more central position was con- 
templated. After many difficulties the site in Canning 
Road was secured. Designs were submitted by Mr. J. 
Sulman, who was appointed architect, and the work 
was carried out by Messrs. Bowyer. On May 31, 1881, 
the foundation stones were laid by Mr. Samuel Morley, 
who generously promised £400, if another £2,000 was 


raised. This was more than accomplished during the 
day, one friend giving £500. 

The opening services were held on January 18, 1882. 
Dr. Parker preached in the morning, and Rev. Newman 
Hall in the evening. 

The church is a beautiful structure of red brick in 
the Gothic style, with nave, aisles and chancel. The 
interior is of red brick, which with the dark wood of the 
roof produces a soft and harmonious effect. The 
pulpit is of white marble and alabaster and affords a 
striking relief to the warm tones of the building. The 
church was originally built to seat 650 persons, and 
the total cost, including the freehold site, organ and 
furniture, was £7,800. Of this £1,150 was obtained by 
the sale of the old premises in Havelock Road. 

On August 8, 1883, Rev. N. Parkyn resigned; and 
Rev. D. Bloomfield James, of Swansea, was chosen his 
successor. In May, 1886, the foundation stone of a 
new schoolroom at the rear of the church was laid by 
Mr. R. V. Barrow, J. P., Mayor of Croydon. The 
schoolroom was opened on Saturday, November 27. 
The whole cost of the building was £2,000, which was 
covered by the opening day. 

Early in 1889, Mr. James resigned his charge to take 
the oversight of the church at Wimbledon. Rev. 
G. B. Ryley, of Hanover Chapel, Peckham, was the 
next minister. He commenced his duties on July 7, 
1889, and held the pastorate until September 27, 1893, 
when he removed to Harley Street, Bow. He has 
since entered the Established Church. During Mr. 
Ryley's ministry the debt upon the church was 
completely extinguished. 

In 1894, Rev. J. Benson Evans, of Ramsgate, was 
nvited to the pastorate. Mr. Evans was born at 


Nevern, Pembrokeshire, and was educated at Cardiff 
and Brecon Colleges. His first charge was at Haver- 
fordwest ; thence, in 1885, he went to Ramsgate, and 
after eight and a half years of useful service there, 
accepted the call to Addiscombe. 

Since the building of the church an end gallery has 
been added by Sir J. Compton Rickett, in memory of 
his father-in-law, Rev. H. J. Gamble. In 1901 a 
memorial window to the late Mr. Edward Goddard, 
superintendent of the Sunday school, was placed in 
the church, and much adds to the beauty of the 

Under Mr. Evans' thoughtful preaching and genial 
ministry the church at Addiscombe has grown 
considerably. Only recently at one time nearly fifty 
persons, mostly men, were gathered into fellowship. 
Surrounded by a band of earnest workers, the church is 
quietly but efficiently serving this favoured district of 
Croydon in the gospel of Jesus Christ. 



In 1879 the committee of the London Congregational 
Union purchased a site in Barry Road, Dulwich. An 
iron chapel had been erected on the ground, and 
services held for some months by Rev. S. Barnes. 
After his retirement the work was carried on by the 
London Congregational Union, with the aid of Camber- 
well Green Church. In 1882, new vestries were added 


to the iron building, and the church was re-opened by 
Dr. Clemance on September 3. 

The following year, Rev. Thomas Anthony, B.A., of 
Moseley, was invited to undertake the charge. A 
church of seventy-two members was formally con- 
stituted, and for a while some success attended the 
enterprise. A building committee was formed to erect 
a new church, and promises of help obtained, but 
difficulties ensued. At Michaelmas, 1886, after a pasto- 
rate of three years, Mr. Anthony resigned, and the 
church was disbanded. 

Again the London Union took the case in hand. 
The iron building had been closed for repairs, and 
remained closed for over twelve months. But in 1888, 
Rev. Adam Averell Ramsey was invited to take the 
oversight of the work, and with his advent the real 
history of Emmanuel Church begins. 

Mr. Ramsey was educated at Belfast, and had already 
done good service in Ireland, and afterwards at 
Gloucester, Hackney, and Dewsbury. In coming to 
Dulwich, he undertook a labour of no small difficulty. 
He found a dilapidated building, in which the regular 
attendants could be counted on the fingers ; but he set 
himself to the task with steady determination and 
strong faith, and soon had the joy of seeing his hopes 
abundantly fulfilled. 

The first step was to organise a church fellowship. 
This was done on January 1, 1889, when twenty-eight 
persons gave in their names to form the new church. 
Two days later a building fund was started. Progress 
was quickly made. Meanwhile the congregation grew, 
and the iron building soon needed extension. By 
October additional accommodation was provided for 
150 people. 


On March 29, 1890, the freehold of the site was con- 
veyed to trustees chosen by the church, and a few 
days later, at the early hour of 7 a.m., the pastor cut 
the first sod for the erection of a new sanctuary. On 
June 5 the memorial stones were laid by Mark Oldroyd, 
Esq., M.P., and Evan Spicer, Esq., alderman of the 
London County Council. During the service Mr. 
Ramsey read a statement describing the growth of the 
work. Dr. J. G. Rogers followed with an inspiring 
address, and then purses to the value of £300 were laid 
upon the stones. One interesting gift was a stone 
pulpit from Rev. C. Wilson's church at Blackheath, 
formerly used by Rev. James Sherman. After tea a 
largely attended meeting was held in the iron church, 
when Revs. H. J. Haffer, J. P. Gledstone, T. Hooper 
and others took part. The collection brought up the 
day's proceeds to £516. 

In October the first deacons were elected, the busi- 
ness up to this time having been transacted by a 
church committee. 

Wednesday, June 10, 1891, was a memorable day in 
the annals of Dulwich Congregationalism. The spacious 
and beautiful building, which now crowns the summit 
of Barry Road, was opened, and dedicated to the 
worship of God. In the absence through illness of 
Dr. R. W. Dale, Rev. Dr. Mackennal, of Bowden, 
preached on "The Healing of the Impotent Man at 
Bethesda, as symbolical of Christ's Dealing with Moral 
and Spiritual Disease." Afterwards about 250 visitors 
sat down to luncheon in the old iron building close by. 
It was stated that the total cost of the new church was 
estimated at £9,496, towards which £4,013 had been 
paid or promised, including generous contributions 
from the churches at Camberwell Green, Lewisham 


High Road, Anerley, Trinity, Brixton, and George 
Street, Croydon. In the evening a sermon was preached 
by Rev. Dr. Fairbairn, of Oxford. 

The building thus opened was designed by Mr. W. D. 
Church. It is in early Gothic style, faced externally 
with Kentish rag stone and Bath stone dressings. The 
columns are of polished Aberdeen granite with richly- 
carved capitals. The roof is panelled and moulded in 
pitch pine. The seating accommodation is for 800. 

The subsequent record of the church is one of steady 
growth and ever widening activity. A few months 
after the opening of the new building it was found 
possible to dispense with the financial aid of the London 
Union. In less than seven years it became necessary 
to erect a lecture hall and classrooms. The memorial 
stone of this extension was laid on February 12, 1898, 
by Mr. Edwin Jones, J. P., L.C.C., and the dedication 
services were held on September 27 following, Rev. Dr. 
Horton, of Hampstead, giving the inaugural address. 
The cost was estimated at £4,000, of which half was 
promised before the opening, including £500 from 
Mr. Evan Spicer, and £300 from Mr. Higgins. The 
collections and promises on the opening day amounted 
to £450. 

In 1900 a ''Twentieth Century Fund" was com- 
menced, with the object of materially reducing the 
debt. So successful was this effort that when the fund 
was closed, March 31, 1901, a thousand guineas had 
been raised. In 1902 a new organ, costing about £600, 
was placed in the church. This was opened free of 

In 1906 Mr. Ramsey felt the need of assistance in his 
labours, and Rev. Herber Austin Evans, B.A., of 
Exeter and Mansfield Colleges, Oxford, was appointed 


assistant minister. This arrangement, however, lasted 
only till the summer of 1907, when Mr. Ramsey was 
constrained by the infirmities of advancing age to retire 
from the active duties of the ministry, which he had 
faithfully and fruitfully sustained for fifty years. Mr. 
Evans thereupon removed to a church at Aberdeen. 

Although one of the youngest churches in South 
London, Emmanuel ranks as one of the most vigorous. 
Nearly all the foremost preachers of every Evangelical 
denomination have occupied its pulpit, and written 
their names in the pulpit register which is preserved in 
the vestry. Up to December, 1905, no less than 1,138 
names had been entered on the church-roll, and the 
present membership stands at 437. The pastorate is 
now vacant. 



The church at Purley is the outcome of temperance 
work that was initiated there about eighteen years ago. 
Messrs. Leggatter, Cooper, Parker, Robertson, Gorringe, 
Bashford, and a number of others, having carried on 
that work with considerable success, approached Mr. 
Henry Sell in 1891, and asked him to join with them 
in erecting a building in which they might hold their 
meetings. In consequence of their joint efforts an iron 
structure to accommodate 150 persons was built in 
1892 ; services were commenced on Sunday evenings, 
and subsequently in the mornings also, with a school in 
the afternoon. The pulpit was supplied by lay preachers, 
who often came considerable distances and gave their 
services freely. Amongst them were Messrs. Wilks, 

New Congregational Church, Purley, 1904. 

Purley Congregational Church (Interior). 



Halsey, Priestly, Sly, Couchman, Hanscombe, Parker, 
and Revs. Edwin Corbold and John Thornberry. 

After a while, it was felt by many of the congrega- 
tion that they ought to unite with some Nonconformist 
body, and Mr. Sell strongly recommended that they 
should throw in their lot with the Congregationalists. 
They approached the church at George Street, Croydon, 
and Mr. Arnold Pye-Smith, J. P., came over with other 
gentlemen, and explained the principles of Congrega- 
tionalism, with the result that a Congregational church 
was formed. 

In October, 1896, Rev. H. J. Hay ward was invited 
to take charge for one year, after which, as the finances 
were small, the church was supplied by local friends 
and students. 

In 1901 the Rev. F. W. Turner, who had previously 
laboured for eleven years at South Norwood, accepted 
the pastorate for one year, which was afterwards 
extended to a second. At the end of this period, he 
left England to take up work in British Guiana. After 
a short interval, the Rev. Arthur Pringle, late of Cater- 
ham, consented in March, 1904, to act as minister-in- 
charge for twelve months. 

In 1903. in consequence of the rapid extension of the 
neighbourhood, it was felt that the time had come to build 
a new church, and a capital site in the main Brighton 
Road was secured from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. 
Mr. Sell and other friends threw themselves into the 
work with such energy that soon £2,000 (one-third of the 
necessary amount) was secured, and the committee felt 
justified in beginning to build. It was decided to erect 
first the main body of the church at a cost of £3,700, 
retaining the iron building as a Sunday school. On 
Thursday, October 15, 1903, the memorial stone of the 


new building was laid by Alderman Evan Spicer, J. P., 
L.C.C. ; and on September 22, 1904, the long-cherished 
hopes of the friends were fulfilled, as the door of the 
new church was opened by Mr. Gaius Idiens, in the 
presence of a large number of ministers and other well- 
wishers. By the time of opening, the subscriptions 
(including collections on that day) amounted to £3,000. 
On November 23 Rev. A. Pringle was invited, and 
accepted the invitation to become the permanent 
minister of this most promising field of labour. 



The rapid development of this residential district 
rendered the establishment of a Congregational church 
highly desirable. The neighbouring church at Camber- 
well Green warmly supported the project, which was 
aided by the London Congregational Union with a 
building grant of £1,000. In the spring of 1902 intro- 
ductory services were commenced at " Casino House," 
under the direction of Rev. W. Farren, and were well 
attended. A church was organised in 1904, and on 
June 11 of the same year a beautiful church edifice was 
opened with a sermon by Rev. G. Campbell Morgan, 
D.D. The building seats 450, and is capable of exten- 
sion ; the cost was about £8,300, of which a large 
portion was given by Miss Keen, of Streatham Hill. The 
site is held on a lease of 500 years from the governors 
of Dulwich College, at a nominal ground rent. 

In September, 1905, Rev. A. C. Turberville, from 
Cheltenham, undertook the pastorate, which he still 

Grafton Square Church, Clapham, 1S52. 




There are few parts of London so near to the centre 
that present more desirable features for residence than 
Clapham. Situated on the southern heights, near to 
the city, with its open common, and substantial houses, 
it has preserved its suburban character while districts 
more remote have become congested and squalid. Few 
places have been more identified with Evangelical 
religion than Clapham. To enumerate the philanthro- 
pists and influential men and women who have lived 
here would take space far beyond the limits of this 
volume. Wilberforce, Macaulay, Thornton, Henry 
Venn, and Fowell Buxton are just a few that occur to 
one's mind. It was only to be expected that this 
district would become a stronghold of Nonconformity 
and that its history would commence with the history 
of Nonconformity itself. 

No less than eight of the ejected ministers resided 
here at one time or another. John Arthur, D.D., 
ejected from his living in this parish, was one, spoken of 
by Calamy as a very considerable man, and a moderate 

Richard Jennings came after his ejectment from 


Combes in Suffolk, and spent here the latter part of 
his life. He was a man of unaffected piety and a 
considerable scholar. It is said of him that he retained 
his juvenile learning to an advanced age, and was able 
to preach without notes at 92 ; he passed through the 
world without noise or ostentation, and without ever 
appearing in print. 

Here also lived Henry Wilkinson, once Canon of 
Christchurch and Senior Fellow of Magdalen College, 
and Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford. After his 
ejectment he is reported to have ministered at All- 
hallows, Lombard Street, and subsequently to have 
kept an open meeting at Clapham, where he died June, 
1675. He was a member of the Westminster Assembly, 
a good scholar, a close student, and an excellent preacher. 

Another ejected minister was John Hutchinson, M.A., 
ejected from the fellowship of Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge. After practising as a doctor at Hitchin for 
nearly 30 years, he lived two years at Clapham, where 
he practised physic with great success. He afterwards 
removed to Hackney, where he kept a boarding school 
and died February 9, 17 15. 

Thomas Lye was for some time minister of Chard in 
Somersetshire, and one of the Triers of ministers in 
those parts. He was chosen by the parishioners of 
Allhallows, Lombard Street, as their minister, and was 
much esteemed for his skill in catechising the young. 
Calamy makes no mention of his residing in Clapham, 
but the State papers show that on April 11, 1672, he 
applied for a licence for his house and person at 
Clapham. This was at first refused, but subsequently 
granted April 30. 

Onesiphorus Rood, ejected from Westminster New 
Chapel, also lived here, and preached frequently in the 


time of William III. He had been Chaplain to the 
House of Lords after the Bishops were expelled. 

It is said that a church was formed in Clapham as 
early as between 1640 and 1650 by William Bridge, 
M.A., of Yarmouth ; but there is no authentic informa- 
tion on the subject, and Calamy does not mention it. 
The earliest records are the licences. In addition to 
the one for Thomas Lye already referred to, a licence 
was granted in April, 1672, to Henry Wilkinson, 
Presbyterian, for his house or the schoolroom ; and in 
September of the same year to William Hughes, 
Presbyterian, at his house. 

In these private houses, then, the early church met. 

Philip Lamb appears to have been the next minister. 
Before his ejectment he had been pastor at Bere Regis 
in Dorset, where he began his ministry at twenty-one 
years of age. After the indulgence he continued to 
preach in Dorset, but when the licences were called in, 
Mr. Lamb removed with his family to Clapham, where 
he spent the rest of his days. During his pastorate the 
church met in the house of Madame Gould. He died 
March 25, 1689, aged 67. 

Edward Grace was the next minister. He succeeded 
Mr. Lamb in 1690, and died in 1714. In 1697 there 
was also an afternoon preacher, Edward Batson. 

Moses Lowman then held the pastorate. Born in 
London in 1680, he was originally intended for the Bar, 
and entered the Middle Temple in 1697, but he relin- 
quished it to study for the Dissenting ministry. With 
this view he went to Holland in 1699, where he studied 
at Utrecht and Leyden. On his return to England in 
1710 he was chosen assistant to Mr. Grace. After- 
wards, in 1714, he was ordained sole pastor, and held 
the charge till his death, May 3, 1752. He was a 


greater writer than preacher. His style was rugged 
and awkward, and little calculated to attract the 
attention of an audience. One man of intelligence who 
continually heard him used to declare that he never 
could understand him. He was the author of a learned 
book on Jewish antiquities. 

Dr. Philip Furneaux was the next minister. He 
was born in 1726 at Totnes. Before coming to 
Clapham he was for three years assistant at St. 
Thomas', Southwark. During his pastorate he 
preached at Salter's Hall alternately with Dr. Price for 
many years. He was a man of great ability and took a 
prominent part in public affairs, especially as a champion 
of religious liberty ; but, like many others in the 
eighteenth century, he seems to have failed in his 
presentation of Evangelical truth. 

Till this time the congregation had worshipped first in 
a wooden building in Nag's Head Lane, and then in a 
small brick building in the same locality ; but in 1762, 
a substantial church was built in Clapham Old Town. 
Dr. Furneaux held the pastorate from about 1754 till 
1778. Over-taxed by literary work, his mind at 
last gave way, and he died in a private asylum at the 
comparatively early age of 57, November 23, 1783. 

During Dr. Furneaux's pastorate, the rules which 
guided the church for more than half a century were 
drawn up. They provide, amongst other things, that 
the minister and clerk be chosen by subscribers, but 
only those are entitled to vote who have paid their 
subscription for twelve months before the commence- 
ment of the vacancy. Lady subscribers are allowed to 
vote by proxy. No mention is made of church members 
— apparently the church member in the modern sense 
was unrecognised. Rules were drawn up also for the 


allotment of pews, unhappily they are not extant, but 
it would appear that a pew once allotted was a kind of 
freehold, and any alteration was a serious matter. 

On September 7, 1778, the name of Thomas Urwick 
was placed before the church for the vacant pastorate. 
The voting was by ballot. He obtained 27 votes out 
of 28, and accordingly became minister. Mr. Urwick, 
who was born at Shrewsbury, had been a student under 
Dr. Doddridge. According to a writer in the Gentleman's 
Magazine, Mr. Urwick had an ungraceful manner of 
delivery which prevented him from becoming a popular 
preacher, though his originality of character rendered 
him a most entertaining companion. Under his 
ministry, however, the congregation so improved that 
it became necessary to erect two new galleries. 

In 1791 the question of a co-pastor was mooted. 
Nothing seems, however, to have been settled till April 
27, 1795, when the Rev. B. Carpenter, of Stourbridge, 
was elected to the office. His views were decidedly 
Unitarian. He commenced his ministry the following 
Christmas and continued till January 26, 1800. Mr. 
Urwick, who appears to have retired somewhat earlier, 
died in 1807, aged 81. 

Some of the old records of these days are very inte- 
resting. In 1781 they desired to ventilate the chapel, 
so they resolved " that an aperture be made in the 
ceiling of three foot diameter." Simple, but whether 
efficacious is not recorded. In 1795 it was decided to 
warm the chapel. A certain Mr. Moyser was com- 
missioned to put in a stove at a cost of £40, on condition 
— no cure, no pay. This condition led, three or four 
years later, to a lawsuit. 

On August 10, 1800, Rev. James Phillips, of Haver- 
fordwest, was elected pastor. He was a man of amiable 



disposition and universally beloved. He died in 1824, 
regretted by the church and the whole neighbourhood. 

The same year Rev. George Brown became pastor. 
After sixteen years he re-igned to take the Secretaryship 
of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Mr. Edward 
Miller, of Putney, became his assistant in 1835. 

Mr. Brown was followed in February, 1839, by Rev. 
William Bean, but he resigned the following Michaelmas. 

Rev. James Hill was the next pastor. He was a 
native of Stafford, where he was born May 17, 1795. 
He was encouraged to give himself to the ministry by 
Rev. John Angel James, of whose church he was a 
member. His ambition was to be a missionary, and 
after studying the gospel he went to Calcutta, where he 
laboured for thirteen years at Union Chapel. Then, 
through failure of health, he returned to England. 

On his return home he undertook the pastorate of 
George Lane, Oxford, for four years, and subsequently 
removed to Salford, where he remained two years. 
On Mr. Bean's retirement he was called to Clapham, 
and commenced his ministry January, 1841. For 
twenty-one years he laboured devotedly in this 
important position, and with the able co-operation 
of such men as Messrs. J. Kemp-Welch, Sturt, 
George F. White, Edward Colman and others, 
raised at a cost of £11,000 the noble structure in 
Grafton Square which was opened September, 1852. 

In i860 he was called to the chair of the Congre- 
gational Union. He also acted on the committee 
appointed by the Union to prepare the New Congre- 
gational Hymn Book. 

Failing health compelled his retirement in 1862. He 
removed to Hove, Brighton, where he ministered for 
three years, and died on Wednesday, January 12, 1870. 

Rev. J. Guinness Rogers, B.A., D.D. 


Mr. Hill's abilities were of a high order; he was " a 
useful and earnest expositor of God's Word, a helper 
of the devotional spirit, ... the comforter of many in 
the chambers of affliction, and the guide of others 
from a state of ignorance and sin, to the happiness 
which springs from faith in Christ Jesus." 

It is impossible to compress any adequate account of 
the ministry that followed within the limits allowed by 
this volume. A ministry almost national in its charac- 
ter, so crowded in incident, and so close to us still, 
demands what it has received, a volume to itself. 

James Guinness Rogers was born at Enniskillen on 
December 29, 1822. His father was an agent of the 
Irish Evangelical Society, but later accepted an invita- 
tion to a Congregational Church at Prescot near 
Liverpool. In this town almost the whole of his 
early life was passed. He received his training at 
Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A., 
and afterwards at Lancashire Independent College,' 
where Alexander Raleigh and Enoch Mellor were 
among his fellow students. He was barely twenty- 
three years of age when called to St. James's Chapel, 
Newcastle, and not quite twenty-nine when his minis- 
try there closed. But even in that period of life he 
had been placed in the important position of Secretary 
of the County Union. In 1851 he removed to Albion 
Chapel, Ashton-under-Lyne, where, in addition to his 
pastoral labours he was thrown largely into the impor- 
tant aggressive work of that great county. 

Dr. Rogers tells in his "Autobiography" how on 
one occasion when visiting London he passed along 
the road near Clapham Junction and saw the spire of 
Grafton Square Church looking down upon a bright 
and cheery landscape. "Ah," said he, "if I was to 

N 2 


move, that is the very place that would be likely to 
tempt me." Two years later it did successfully tempt 
him, although at that time he had no idea of leaving 

In 1865 he was invited to succeed Mr. Hill. A four 
years' vacancy had sorely tried the cause, the numbers 
had sadly fallen off, and although a considerable nucleus 
of strong men remained, a great work of restoration 
had to be accomplished. 

Clapham even in those days was still in the country. 
Stately mansions, standing in their own grounds, lined 
the common, and fields stretched where now there is 
a waste of bricks and mortar. It was the home of 
well-to-do city men, and those who had retired from 
active life to spend the evening of their days. But even 
then the change had begun, and during Dr. Rogers's 
pastorate it was to be transformed from a rural retreat 
into a modern suburb. 

For thirty years Dr. Rogers maintained a most success- 
ful ministry, gathering around him men of culture and 
position, but never forgetting the gospel to the poor. 
During his pastorate the church at Stormont Road 
(Lavender Hill) was built, and the first members and 
workers supplied by the Clapham Church. Two Sun- 
day school buildings were erected, one in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Grafton Square, and the other in a 
different district more adapted for mission purposes. 

On the wider ministry that Dr. Rogers has rendered 
to his denomination, to the church at large, and to the 
nation, it is impossible here to dwell. He has been for 
many years a foremost representative of Nonconformity. 
In the great controversies of the Victorian era he has 
been the champion of its rights and liberties. He has 
been the sturdy opponent of privilege and the unsparing 


denouncer of wrong. His voice and pen have been 
eloquent for progress and religious equality. 

More than thirty years ago (1874) he passed to the 
chair of the Congregational Union, and later the 
University of Edinburgh conferred upon him the degree 
of Doctor of Divinity. 

Earl)' in 1900 Dr. Rogers closed his ministry at 
Clapham, but his ministry to the churches still 

In 1902 the present minister, Rev. Edward William 
Lewis, M.A., was invited to the vacant pastorate. 
Mr. Lewis was a student of Lancashire College. He 
had previously held charges in Hamilton Square Church, 
Birkenhead, and Swanhill, Shrewsbury. 


(1662— 1775) 

No town in Surrey has a longer or more interesting 
history than the ancient county town of Kingston. 
Many traces of Roman occupation have been found in 
the neighbourhood, and some historians affirm that 
here Caesar forded the Thames after defeating Cassi- 
velaunus and the Britons, though others place the 
actual crossing some miles further up the river. It 
was certainly a place of importance in Anglo-Saxon 
times ; here Ethelwulf (or, as some say, Egbert) sum- 
moned his Witenagemote in 838, and here, in the tenth 
century, no fewer than seven Saxon kings are said to 
have been crowned on the old stone which is still pre- 
served as a public monument. About four of them 


there is no doubt. Athelstan in 924, Eadred in 946, 
Edwy in 955, and Ethelred in 978. In the Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle the town is named Cyningestun, and 
in Domesday Book Chingestune. Among the local 
archives is a charter granted by King John in 1209. 
Here, in 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt crossed the river in his 
chivalrous but ill-advised effort to replace Queen Jane 
upon the throne. And in the market place of Kingston, 
early in 1642, the first attempt was made to gather an 
armed force for King Charles against the liberties of 
the nation. 

Kingston is intimately associated with one of the 
pioneers of Evangelical Nonconformity. John Udal, a 
man of great learning and genuine piety, held the 
parochial benefice for several years, until some of his 
hearers, displeased at his faithful teaching, complained 
of him to the authorities. He had written a dialogue 
on " The State of the Church of England," and " A 
Demonstration of the Truth of that Discipline which 
Christ hath presented ... for the Government of His 
Church." The discipline which he advocated was 
substantially Presbyterianism, for which, in 1588, he 
was deorived and imprisoned. Released through the 
influence of the Countess of Warwick and others, he 
went to Newcastle, but in 1590 he was summoned to 
London and tried for what was alleged to be a seditious 
publication. He was actually condemned to death, 
not, it would seem, with any intention of executing 
the sentence, but to terrify him into a recantation. His 
punishment was commuted to exile, but while arrange- 
ments were being made to send him abroad, he died in 
prison in 1592. Udal was the author of the first 
Hebrew Grammar in the English language. 

Rev. Edmund Staunton, D.D., son of Sir Francis 


Staunton, of Woburn, was vicar of Kingston during 
the Civil War. He was a member of the Westminster 
Assembly. In 1648 he was made President of Corpus 
Christi College, Oxford, from which he was ejected in 
1660. He then removed to Bovington, Herts, where 
he preached in private until his death in 1671. 

But the continuous history of Nonconformity in 
Kingston begins with Richard Mayo. He was born 
about 1630, entered on the ministry while very young, 
and after the removal of Dr. Staunton became vicar of 
Kingston. While resident here he preached a weekly 
lecture at Whitechapel, where multitudes thronged to 
hear him ; this he continued for some years. 

Mayo was ejected from his vicarage by the Act of 
Uniformity in 1662, after which he preached to a little 
company of the faithful in private houses. Whether 
he actually organised a church is uncertain, but in the 
list of conventicles obtained by Archbishop Sheldon in 
1669 we find two reported from Kingston. One was in 
a house called Downhall, having about 100 mixed 
adherents, with Mr. Mayo and others as teachers ; the 
other consisted of about forty Quakers. 

Among the licences granted under the Indulgence in 
1672 are three for Kingston ; one of them is granted to 
Richard Mayo, at the house of John Pigot. 

On leaving Kingston, Mayo went to London. He 
first preached at Buckingham House, College Hill ; 
afterwards the celebrated meeting house adjoining 
Salters' Hall was built for him. Here he had a large 
and flourishing congregation. He died September 8, 
1695, leaving two sons in the ministry ; one was a 
Conformist, of the other we shall hear later as Non- 
conformist pastor at Kingston. 

After Richard Mayo's removal, Francis Keeling 


preached to the little flock. He had been ejected from 
Cogshot, or Cockshutt, in Shropshire. He had married 
a woman of good family, and was greatly exercised in 
mind as to his duty in prospect of the Act of Unifor- 
mity. But his wife bade him " Satisfy God and his 
own conscience, though it exposed her to bread and 
water." He appears to have suffered some persecution, 
though he was not imprisoned. After his ejectment he 
lived successively at Wrexham, Shrewsbury, and 
London, and settled at Kingston under King James's 
Indulgence, 1687. He died there on April 14, 1690. 

Mr. Keeling was succeeded by John Goffe, of whom 
little is known. He published a discourse on " Self- 
examination," which is still extant. He was assisted 
by John Mottershead, who was afterwards assistant at 
Monkwell Street, and later pastor at Ratcliffe. 

The next pastor was Daniel Mayo, M.A., son of the 
ejected vicar. He had been educated at Glasgow and 
Leyden, and lived for some years in Holland. His 
first charge was at Westminster, as assistant to Vincent 
Alsop ; he did not remain long there, but accepted the 
charge of Kingston in 1698. Sixteen years later he was 
chosen pastor at Hackney in succession to Matthew 
Henry, but continued his ministry at Kingston, spend- 
ing the Lord's Day at the two places alternately. In 
1723 he left Hackney for Silver Street, still retaining 
his pastorate at Kingston. He also lectured at Prince's 
Street, Westminster. He had two assistants, George 
Smith and Samuel Bruce. He died June 13, 1733. 

Mr. Mayo was a somewhat copious author. He 
insisted strongly on " The Necessity of a Regular 
Mission to the Ministry," and just as strongly com- 
bated the alleged exclusive validity of Episcopal 


He was followed by Rev. George Wightwick, from 
Lowestoft, who was chosen July 13, 1733- During his 
pastorate, William Plomer, a draper in Leadenhall 
Street, bequeathed (subject to the life-interest of his 
wife) £1,000 to be invested for the use of the Dissenting 
congregation at Kingston, for the minister's income 
and support. Mr. Wightwick died in 1760, and his 
successor, W. Medcalfe, or Metcalfe, resigned in 1774. 
During the eighteenth century, but especially under 
Mr. Medcalfe's ministry, the church suffered severely 
from the Arian blight, which at that time so widely 
affected the " Old Dissent." The usual result followed, 
and the congregation dwindled almost to the point of 
extinction. What immediately followed is but imper- 
fectly recorded, and not easy to understand. 

It seems evident that the church had until now been 
what was called " Presbyterian," that is, Independent, 
but not Congregational, all its affairs being managed 
by the minister and officials. In 1775 there must have 
been a separation. In that year a Dr. Luke Moody 
was ordained at Kingston ; and an entry in the church 
book, dated November 21, 1775, gives a list of those 
"who, having first given themselves to the Lord, are 
desirous ... of joining themselves to the Lord's 
people, and to have sweet communion and fellowship 
with them in the holy ordinance of the Lord's Supper." 
Evidently a church was then constituted on Congrega- 
tional lines. The old Presbyterian society, however, 
continued to linger in a moribund condition till 1806. 

Dr. Moody held the pastorate for about five years, 
and was succeeded by John Townsend, who on June 1, 
178 1, "was ordained as pastor of the Independent 
Church at Kingston, having the[ir] consent to model 
it according to the usual order of that denomination." 


From the first Mr. Townsend was opposed by the 
notorious Antinomian leader, William Huntington and 
his followers. This man (who lived in Kingston, and 
preached weekly at Richmond and Thames Ditton) 
attended the ordination, and criticised every part of the 
service. Mr. Townsend writes : " Every effort was 
made by the party that could be devised to inculcate 
the whole church and congregation with their unscrip- 
tural sentiments, and with their more mischievous 
temper. Every new book written by their oracle, Mr. 
H., was circulated with the utmost avidity, and the 
most uncandid and illiberal construction was put on 
every sermon I preached ; and some even of the most 
eminent of my hearers, in seriousness of spirit, and 
holiness of life, were maligned as Arminians and enemies 
of the Gospel." So violent was the hostility of the 
party that Mr. Townsend had to appeal to the magis- 
trates for personal protection. The end of it was that 
he was driven from the town, and in 1784 accepted an 
invitation to Jamaica Row, Bermondsey. There, too, 
he was assailed by the Antinomians, but eventually 
succeeded in inducing them to withdraw from the 

For some years after Mr. Townsend's removal, the 
church at Kingston was in an unhappy condition. 
There was no settled pastor, but the pulpit was supplied 
by preachers from London. One of these, a Mr. Abbott, 
advocated " believers' baptism," which led to a Baptist 
secession. The Huntingtonians tried to get control of the 
church, but were checked by the firmness of one or two 
faithful friends. Gradually the interest declined, until 
the whole support depended on two or three individuals. 
One of these, a Mr. Pratt, is mentioned as improving 
the chapel. At length, in 1798, advice and assistance 


was sought from some London ministers. Acting on 
that advice, the church was supplied for some time by 
students from Hoxton Academy ; their services proved 
acceptable, and the congregation increased. 

In March, 1799, the church was again reorganised. 
A weekly meeting was appointed for prayer and con- 
sultation, and a pastor was sought. A Hoxton student, 
Mr. William Harris, was invited to spend the summer 
vacation in Kingston, and three months later was called 
to the pastorate. He was ordained on April 8, 1801, 
on which occasion Rev. Rowland Hill preached from 
Acts ix. 31. 

The church at this time worshipped in a meeting 
house in Brick Lane, belonging to one of the members, 
a Mrs. Russell. On her death, it passed into other 
hands, and the congregation had notice to leave in six 
months. On June 10, 1802, it was resolved to build a 
new chapel, which was opened by Revs. Messrs. Hughes 
and J. Clayton on Tuesday, July 12, 1803. The con- 
tract price was £996 16s. 

In 1808 Mr. Harris removed to Cambridge. He 
afterwards became principal of Highbury College, and 
died in 1830. He was succeeded at Kingston by Rev. 
James Knight, the son of a military man, born at Fort 
George, near Cromarty, on June 1, 1780. He was 
educated at Aberdeen and Hoxton, and was for a short 
time classical tutor in the last-named academy. 

Mr. Knight was ordained on November 8, 1808, 
Revs. Yockney, Townsend, Hughes, and Dr. A. C. 
Simpson taking part in the service. He laboured suc- 
cessfully at Kingston for twenty-two years, and in 
addition to his pastoral work he prepared young men 
for the ministry and for other callings. 

The bequest of Mr. Plomer, before mentioned, was 


administered according to his will until 1806, when the 
old Presbyterian meeting became so reduced as to be 
unable to support a minister, and the meeting house 
was closed. In 1816 the lease expired, the ground was 
sold by the owner, and the building pulled down. The 
original " dissenting congregation " being thus extinct, 
a friendly suit in Chancery was instituted in 1818, to 
decide on the application of the Plomer endowment. 
The Master of the Rolls enquired if there were any dis- 
senting congregation in Kingston to which the dividends 
could be applied ; and it was reported that the congrega- 
tion, of which Rev. James Knight was pastor, fulfilled the 
conditions. An order of Court was made to this effect ; 
and after payment of costs the sum of £439 9s. 4^. was 
handed over. 

In 1830 Mr. Knight removed to Sandwich, and 
thirteen years later to Rye. He retired from the latter 
pastorate in 1846, and settled in Deal, where he died on 
March 31, 1864. 

His successor at Kingston was Rev. W. Crowe, who 
was publicly recognised on November 23, 1830. The 
following year a new vestry, etc., was erected, at a cost 
of nearly £500, furnishing accommodation for the 
Sunday school, and week-night services. Mr. Crowe 
resigned in 1838 ; and after a long interval Rev. John 
Edwards accepted the pastorate on February 25, 1840. 
In August, 1846, he tendered his resignation, but at the 
wish of the people withdrew it and remained four 
years longer. During his ministry there was encouraging, 
though not rapid, progress. 

The next pastor was Rev. Lawrence H. Byrnes, 
whose life-story, as told at his ordination, was remark- 
able. He was born of Roman Catholic parents, at 
Swaffham in Norfolk, in 1822. In his boyhood they 


removed to Wisbech, where there was no Catholic chapel. 
They had a great dislike to the Established Church ; 
but having an idea that the Independents were "less 
bigoted " they allowed the boy to go to the Indepen- 
dent Sunday school, and themselves occasionally 
attended the services. The first time the mother did 
so she was greatly displeased with a hymn in which was 

the line : 

" Nor fear the wrath of Rome and Hell," 

but as young Lawrence had become attached to the 
Sunday school he was allowed to remain. His teacher 
was George Wilkinson (afterwards minister at Chelms- 
ford), by whom he was led to decision, and ere long 
was engaged in Christian work in the surrounding 
villages. He entered Cheshunt College in September, 
1845, and was ordained at Kingston on May 22, 1851, 
the officiating ministers being Dr. W. H. Stowell, Dr. 
John Harris, Revs. G. Wood, of Bristol, T. W. Aveling, 
of Kingsland, and D. T. Archer. 

Kingston was now rapidly becoming a residential 
suburb of the great city. A more commodious place of 
worship was evidently desirable, and aid was sought 
from the London Chapel Building Society. A new 
church, with accommodation for 750 persons, was 
opened in July, 1856. The design was completed a few 
years later ; the finished edifice being reopened on 
November 8, 1863. The entire cost of £"4,550 was met 
within eight years of the commencement of the work. 
The erection of the church at Surbiton was also due to 
Mr. Byrnes's initiative. 

For eighteen years the earnest and cultured ministry 
of Mr. Byrnes continued to edify the church, and his 
gracious and gentle character is still held in grateful 
remembrance. In 1869, however, the delicate health 


of his wife compelled him to remove to Clifton, where 
he succeeded Rev. Samuel Luke at Pembroke Chapel. 
There he ministered till 1890, and after a period of 
retirement passed amidst universal esteem and affection, 
died on July 4, 1902. 

In 1870 Mr. George Blinkhorn, of New College, 
accepted the pastorate. During his ministry of about 
four years the church declined ; and in 1874 he con- 
formed to the Established Church. 

He was followed by Rev. John Pate, another New 
College student, who for three years had held the 
neighbouring pastorate of Isleworth. He was recog- 
nised as pastor on October 6, 1874. The following 
year the church was renovated ; during the alterations 
the services were held in the Assize Court. The 
centenary of the church was celebrated on December 
13, 1875, sermons being preached by Rev. Dr. Halley. 
In 1881 Mr. Pate removed to Leeds, and subsequently 
to Newbury and Sheffield, in which city he still 


He was succeeded by Rev. John Onley of Bristol, 
formerly of Wednesbury, who had received his theo- 
logical training at Spring Hill College, Birmingham. 
Under his care the church grew rapidly in numbers and 
in influence. The Sunday school became so crowded 
that enlargement was necessary, and a new infants' class- 
room was built. Mr. Onley took an active part in the 
affairs of the town, and was the first president of the 
Free Church Council, the formation of which he had 
actively promoted. He was also president of the 
Surrey Congregational Union in 1903. In the summer 
of 1900 failing health made it desirable that he should 
have some assistance. For two years this was afforded 
by Rev. A. E. Snashall, from New College, who in 


1902 left to become pastor at Milton-next-Sittingbourne. 
He was followed by Rev. D. L. Nichol, from Hackney 
College, who remained till Mr. Onley's retirement, and 
then accepted a call to Port Elizabeth, in Cape Colony. 

On June 25, 1905, Mr. Onley closed his faithful 
ministry of twenty-four years, amid many substantial 
expressions of appreciation from the congregation and 
townsfolk. He still lives in Kingston, in honoured 

The present pastor is Rev. J. C. Harris, formerly 
minister at Cape Town, Johannesburg and Bognor. 
Mr. Harris, who commenced his ministry here in 1906, 
is working with much energy and promise of success. 


(1662— 1813) 

On the banks of the Thames, some eight miles from 
Charing Cross, lies the old village of Mortlake, 
which Fuller calls Moreclack, and another old writer, 

In this village the Archbishops of Canterbury lived 
for some centuries, till Cranmer made over the 
residence to Henry VIII. In the sixteenth century 
Mortlake was famous for its art tapestries. It is said 
that King James I. gave £2,000 to Sir Francis Crane to 
build a house at Moreclack for their production, this 
being the first attempt of the kind in the country. It 
was not, however, a success, and although afterwards 
carried on by the King it came to an end during the 

These tapestry works are interesting, as in 1702 the 


Surveyor-General reported that at the top part of the 
tapestry building in the High Street, there was a 
chapel. " No doubt," says one historian, " this had 
been fitted up soon after the works were erected, about 
1619, where foreigners, including Dutchmen, were 
employed, then most likely of the faith of the Reformed 
Continental Churches, and therefore exempt under the 
Act from persecution. This shows without doubt the 
existence of Dissenters from that early date. At one 
time the parish register had separate pages for all 
entries relating to Dissenters' marriages, etc." The 
church at Mortlake, however, dates from the ejectment 
in 1662, when Rev. David Clarkson, B.D., vicar of the 
parish, refused to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity. 
David Clarkson was born at Bradford, in Yorkshire, in 
1622, and was educated at Cambridge. He was fellow 
of Clare Hall, and at one time tutor of Archbishop 
Tillotson, who retained a sincere regard for him as long 
as he lived. 

After his ejectment Clarkson seems to have remained 
some years at Mortlake, devoting himself to study, 
writing controversial works against Episcopacy and 
Liturgies which are still deemed valuable, and preach- 
ing to the few folk he gathered around him. Indepen- 
dency must have rapidly increased, as the Domestic 
State Papers in 1664 give an account of thirteen fanatics 
at East Sheen, where conventicles abound. 

On the issue of the Indulgence in 1672 Clarkson 
obtained a licence to preach in the house of John 
Beamish, in High Street, Mortlake. His letter of 
application, addressed to Mr. Matthew Shepherd, in 
Clement's Lane, and still preserved among the State 
Papers, contains the following noteworthy sentence : — 
" It is much desired the license may be for the use of 

David Clarkson, B.D. 


such as are of the persuasion both Presbyterian and 
Congregational, for the meeting consists of both, as you 
know, and both are at the charge." 

How long Mr. Clarkson continued to teach in 
Beamish's house we do not know. He can be traced 
in the Mortlake Register as far as July 4, 1672, when 
his daughter Katherine and his second wife Elizabeth 
were baptised. (This suggests that the parents of the 
latter were Baptists or Quakers.) Then we lose sight 
of him till 1682, when he was chosen co-pastor with 
Dr. John Owen over the Independent Church in 
Leadenhall Street (afterwards in St. Mary Axe). In 
the meantime, according to Neal, he shifted from one 
place of obscurity to another, till the times suffered him 
to appear openly. On Dr. Owen's death in 1683 he 
became sole pastor, until his own death on June 14, 
1686. Dr. Bates in his funeral sermon speaks of him 
as a man of sincere godliness and true holiness, and 
Mr. Baxter says, " He was a divine of extraordinary 
worth for solid judgment, healing, moderate principles, 
acquaintance with the fathers, great ministerial abilities, 
and a godly upright life." 

Cotemporary with Mr. Clarkson was Rev. Richard 
Byfield, M.A., the oldest minister in Surrey, who was 
ejected from Long Ditton. Mr. Byfield was born at 
Stratford-on-Avon, where his father was vicar in Shake- 
speare's time. He was a man who evidently had the 
courage of his convictions. At Ditton he had attacked 
what he considered to be the superstitions of the church, 
by plucking up the steps leading to the altar and 
denying the sacrament to his parishioners, and even to 
his patron, unless they would take it otherwise than 
kneeling. Calamy says, " He was one of the assembly, 
a great covenanter, an eager preacher against bishops, 



ceremonies, etc." At Mortlake he preached twice every 
Lord's-day in his own family, and probably assisted 
Mr. Clarkson. He seems to have had a premonition of 
his death some days before it happened. On Tuesday, 
December 26, 1664, he had been speaking on Rev. viii. 1, 
when he was seized with an apoplectic fit and passed 
away. He was buried in Mortlake Parish Church, 
where a small tablet testifies that for thirty-five years 
he painfully and constantly taught and kept the word 
of God. 

The next minister was also one of the two thousand, 
Rev. Edmund Moore, M.A., who was ejected from 
Trinity College, Cambridge, particularly for refusing to 
wear the surplice. After his ejectment he acted as 
chaplain to Serjeant Maynard, with whom he remained 
till his marriage. Here he gained some knowledge of 
law which became useful after he removed to East 
Sheen. His goods on one occasion were illegally seized, 
but as he bade the people buy them at their peril they 
met with no purchasers and were subsequently restored. 
He was a man of great sincerity, had good skill in 
music and played the bass viol. He died in 1689. 

Another ejected minister, mentioned in connection 
with Mortlake, is Rev. Robert Park, of East Levant, 
Sussex. Very little is known about him. Calamy 
says, " He was Congregational in his judgment but a 
lover of peace." 

Tradition also associates Dr. Thomas Jacomb, the 
ejected rector of St. Martin's, Ludgate, with Mortlake, 
but Calamy knows nothing of this. However, his 
family seem to have resided here. 

Of "Mr. Clark" nothing can be gathered, except 
that he is mentioned as a minister of Mortlake in 1715, 
in which year he died. 

Old Chapel, Mortlake. 

New Congregational Church, Mortlake. 


In 1716 Rev. William Jacomb, grandson of Dr. 
Thomas Jacomb, succeeded Mr. Clark. At his own 
cost he built the old Independent Chapel in Sheen 
Lane, a quaint old building that lasted long enough to 
become the oldest Congregational Chapel in the London 
district. Plain and bare as it seems to us to-day, it 
was once spoken of as an "elegant and substantial 
chapel." After holding the pastorate for four years, 
Mr. Jacomb removed to Maidstone, and was followed 
in 1719 by Rev. Samuel Highmore, who was minister 
for thirty-six years until his death in 1755. 

On Mr. Highmore's death his family claimed the 
chapel as private property, and let it as a dwelling 
house. What immediately followed is not clear, but 
a remnant of the congregation is said to have held 
together, though for nearly half a century they had no 
home, and for nearly sixty years no settled pastor. At 
some time between 1766 and 1776 Dr. Wilton, of Tooting 
(anticipating the aims of the " Surrey Mission " nearly 
thirty years later) organised some efforts to supply the 
spiritual needs of villages where a minister could not 
be sustained, one of which was Mortlake. Services 
were conducted first in the open air, and afterwards in 
the house of Mr. Lowe, at the east end of the High 
Street, who fitted up a room and entertained the 
preachers. At first Dr. Wilton himself occasionally 
preached on Sunday evenings, and among those who 
assisted in the work later the celebrated Rowland Hill 
is mentioned. From the formation of the Surrey 
Mission in 1797, Mortlake was one of its stations. 

In 1802 an attempt was made to regain possession 
of the old chapel, but this being unsuccessful, a piece 
of leasehold ground was obtained at the corner of Sheen 
Lane and St. Leonard's Road, where a small building 

o 2 


was erected. According to the Evangelical Magazine 
this was done under the patronage of the London 
Itinerant Society. This building was twice enlarged. 
In 1813, after being without a minister for fifty-eight 
years, the church was able to call Rev. W. Field to 
the pastoral office. He held this position till his death 
in 1816. 

Five years again elapsed before another minister was 
appointed. The Rev. J. Blackburn became pastor 
September 9, 1826. He resigned in 1827. 

For another six years the church was served by 
supplies, till in June, 1834, Rev. Charles Riggs undertook 
the pastorate. 

Two years later an opportunity occurred for pur- 
chasing the lease of the old chapel in Sheen Lane. 
One hundred and fifty pounds was required, and the 
money was found by Mr. Wm. Pocock, a market 
gardener near Kew, who took over the second chapel 
for his money, and converted it into four cottages. On 
Wednesday, June 15, 1836, after eighty-one years' 
waiting, amid great rejoicing the congregation returned 
to its old abode. Rev. Dr. Leifchild preached in the 
morning from Psalm ii. 6. Rev. Thomas Binney 
followed in the evening with an impressive sermon 
from Luke xvi. 25, " Son, remember." Twenty ministers 
by their presence showed their sympathy with the 
rejoicing church, and a collection of £43 was taken. 
After the morning service 120 dined in the building 
they had just given up. 

In 1840 Rev. C. Riggs resigned, and the Rev. Charles 
G. Townley, LL.D., accepted the charge in March, 

Dr. Townley had been an advocate of civil law, and 
had held a temporary commission as Judge Advocate 


in Malta. He was somewhat sceptical in his tendencies, 
and this was not improved by what he saw of priest- 
craft on the continent. His conversion was due to his 
brother Henry, then a proctor in Doctor's Commons, 
and afterwards a missionary to Calcutta. Henry lent 
him books on Christian Evidences. Dr. Townley 
naturally wished to see what the other side had to say, 
so his brother lent him Paine's "Age of Reason." He 
read it carefully and exclaimed, " If this is all the 
infidels can say for themselves, theirs is a sorry case 
indeed." Both brothers abandoned their professions 
and studied for some time at Hoxton. 

Afterwards Dr. Townley settled at Limerick, where 
he translated large portions of the Scriptures into the 
Irish language. On his settlement at Mortlake he 
cleared the mortgage debt left on the chapel, and built 
the British schoolroom in Worple Way, which was 
opened January 30, 1843. This schoolroom has also 
been used for the Sunday school of the church, and for 
a large number of religious and social agencies. A 
burial ground behind the schoolroom was also secured, 
and is still used for that purpose. 

Dr. Townley resigned in 1846. He was succeeded 
in 1847 by Rev. Thomas A. Hall. He also had been 
designated for the legal profession, but feeling called to 
the ministry he entered Hackney College. He supplied 
at Mortlake for a year, and was encouraged in his work ; 
but as the people were unable to afford him adequate 
support, he accepted a call to Godalming. He was 
followed by Rev. S. J. Le Blond, from Highbury College, 
who resigned in 1851. 

Several distinguished men have occupied the Mort- 
lake pulpit, but none perhaps more so than the next 
pastor, Rev. Dr. Ebenezer Henderson. 


Dr. Henderson was the youngest son of an agricul- 
tural labourer, and was born at Linn, near Dunferm- 
line, on November 17, 1784. On the completion of his 
college course at Glasgow, he was ordained to mission 
service in India with Dr. Patterson. For some reason 
he did not get further than Copenhagen, where he 
circulated tracts among the Danes and preached to the 
English. Struck by the great scarcity of the Scriptures, 
he arranged with the British and Foreign Bible Society 
to become their agent. The next few years he spent 
in travelling through the northern countries of Europe, 
forming Bible Auxiliaries. On his return to England 
in 1826, he was asked to fill Dr. Bogue's place at the 
Gosport Mission college, and afterwards removed with 
that institution to Hoxton. In 1830 Dr. Henderson 
was invited to Highbury College, with which place his 
name will always be associated. Here he remained 
nineteen years, devoting his leisure to the production 
of many important works. When the three London 
Colleges were united he felt he was too far advanced 
in years to undertake the important position of Principal, 
so he looked for a small charge where he might still do 
good service, and accepted a call from Mortlake in July, 
1852. But the following year he felt compelled to 
resign. He stood up to preach one Sabbath evening 
when his ideas became confused ; he went through the 
sermon somewhat incoherently, each sentence complete 
in itself, but in rambling order, and with unusual 
repetition. After a few weeks rest, he tried again to 
preach, but the attacks were repeated and he had to 
give up altogether. But he still attended the House of 
God, and visited his people, bearing his affliction with 
exemplary resignation. He died on May 15, 1858. 
Dr. Henderson took a firm stand with regard to 


church rates. On one occasion the churchwardens 
distrained and took a Bible, which they subsequently 
offered to return. He told them to " keep it and read 

One prominent worker at this time was Mr. John 
Doulton, eldest son of the founder of the great pottery 
firm at Lambeth. Through him an organ was placed 
in the gallery as a memorial to Dr. Henderson. For 
years Mr. Doulton was deacon and superintendent of 
the Sunday school. Another worker to whom the church 
owes much was John Williams Newby. 

After Dr. Henderson's resignation Rev. T. Clarke 
was appointed minister. Little is known of his pasto- 
rate. He resigned in i860, after which the church was 
supplied with preachers from Hackney College till 
1863, when Rev. W. Ritchie took the pastorate, 
resigning nineteen months later. 

In 1865 Rev. Frederick Brown, of Hackney, was 
invited, and for twenty-four years sustained a faithful 
ministry, notwithstanding circumstances compelled 
him to live at a distance. Under his guidance the 
church prospered, the power of the Holy Spirit was 
felt, worshippers increased, the Sunday school was 
revived, and the membership rose in a few years from 
twenty to eighty. 

During Mr. Brown's ministry the trust of the British 
schoolroom and burial ground was renewed, the free- 
hold of the chapel was secured, and a new trust 
appointed. In 1868 the interior of the chapel was 
renovated at a cost of £"75. After twenty-four years 
of service Mr. Brown felt he was no longer equal in 
physical strength to the growing demands of the work, 
and on Sunday, September 8, 1889, he preached his 
farewell sermons. 


In October, 1890, Rev. F. Baron, who had recently 
resigned the pastorate at Weybridge, and whose story 
is told in connection with that church, was invited to 
Mortlake and was recognised in January, 1891. In the 
autumn of the following year a Sunday Evening Gospel 
Service was started in the British schoolroom, and 
continues until this day. 

In 1897 the Sunday school held its centenary, and 
decided to commemorate the event by building a new 
church. Mortlake had by this time become a growing 
suburb of London, and the old building in Sheen Lane 
was utterly inadequate to the needs of the district. A 
site was obtained in Vernon Road, East Sheen, and 
two years later the purchase of the land was completed. 
Mr. Baron was, however, not permitted to see the work 
accomplished. His health failed about this time and 
it soon became evident that his work was done. On 
Monday, August 21, 1899, at the age of seventy-six 
years, he entered into rest. 

After an interval of six months, an invitation was 
given to Rev. Edward Edney Cleal, of South Hackney, 
to become minister. Mr. Cleal, who was trained at 
Bristol Theological Institute and University College, 
Bristol, had previously held pastorates at Wimborne 
and Winton (Bournemouth). 

Under the new minister's guidance the work of the 
church vigorously developed, and the need for a new 
building became each week more pressing. 

In 1901 an offer was made for the old chapel in 
Sheen Lane, and the friends were able, with the help 
of the London Congregational Union, Mr. R. D. Doul- 
ton, Mr. H. L. Doulton, and other generous contri- 
butors, to commence the new building. On June 26, 
foundation stones were laid by Mr. George Newby, of 


Wandsworth (whose father had been for many years a 
devoted friend of the cause), Mr. John Newby, and 
Mr. C. W. Toms. 

On the last night of 1901, after the Watch Night 
Service, a little crowd stood in Sheen Lane outside 
the old chapel which nearly two centuries before had 
first been opened for the worship of God. The door 
was locked by Mr. John Newby, senior deacon and 
Sunday School superintendent, to whose long and 
faithful service much of the prosperity of the church 
was due. Then under the midnight sky the Doxology 
was sung, and the Benediction by the minister closed 
the history of the oldest chapel in Surrey. 

The following March the doors of the new church 
were opened by Mrs. Ronald Doulton, and there the 
old historic cause of Mortlake has renewed its youth. 



One of the most delightful riverside towns that lie on 
the banks of the Thames is Chertsey. The town owed 
its earliest importance to the Benedictine Abbey, which 
was founded in 666. Here Henry VI. was buried 
before his final interment at Windsor. Here the poet 
Cowley lived and died, and close by, at St. Anne's Hill, 
was the residence of Charles James Fox. Here, too, at 
Anningsley Park, lived Thomas Day, the eccentric 
author of that once popular book for children, 
" Sandford and Merton." 

The first reference to Nonconformity in Chertsey 
appears in the licences granted under the Indulgence 


of 1672, one to Arthur Squibb for his house, where a 
Baptist fellowship met, and one to William Burnett at 
the house of William Longhurst, Anabaptist. But 
nothing further is known, either of the meetings or the 
men. A local account of the Chertsey church states 
that a clergyman ejected from Walton-on-Thames 
came to Chertsey, and in all probability to him belongs 
the honour of having formed the Congregational Church 
of this town. 

The minister ejected from Walton was David Ander- 
son. Calamy makes no mention of his going to 
Chertsey, but says that being apprehensive of a return 
of Popery, soon after his ejectment he went with his 
family to Zeeland, and settled at Middleburgh. 

Brayley, in his History of Surrey, says a Presbyterian 
Chapel was founded at Chertsey somewhere about 
1668, by Mr. Edward Chapman, draper, but the location 
is not specified. 

However, it seems pretty certain that a number of 
Christians met for worship in private houses, one 
authority says " for forty years, being like the chosen 
people of old." If, as is claimed, the chapel was built 
in 1704, this would bring us back virtually to the 
ejectment. Another date given for the erection of the 
old chapel is 1710. Forty years back from this would 
bring us to 1670, the date assigned in the Year Book. 

The first known pastor was Jacob Kuffeler, who 
lived in one of the red houses on the north side of 
Windsor Street, a house afterwards inhabited by Sir 
William Perkins, founder of the town schools. Kuffeler 
retained the charge for thirty years, and died Septem- 
ber 1, 1723. He is spoken of as a man of great wisdom 
and untiring devotedness. Two years after Mr. Kuffe- 
ler's death the chapel was put in trust, and conveyed 


to John Benson, Richard Chapman, Thomas Wade, 
John Merlott, William Cornish, and William Atwick. 

Much anxiety was felt that a suitable man should be 
found to succeed Mr. Kuffeler. Daniel Mayo in his 
funeral sermon makes especial reference to this solici- 
tude and the discouragements that attended it. How- 
ever, an efficient successor was found in John Benson, 
the grandson of the minister of that name ejected from 
Little Leighs, in Essex, and son of a dissenting minister 
at Sandwich, Kent. Mr. Benson ministered to the 
church for eighteen years, and during his pastorate the 
chapel was enlarged and the present burial ground put 
in trust. 

Henry Knight was the next minister. He is known 
as the author of a book, published in 1747, on " The 
Being and Attributes of God." He remained ten 
years. He was followed at an uncertain date by John 
Stantial, who continued pastor for seventeen years. 
His health failed, and he passed to his rest January 20, 
1780. A Mr. Rees is also found here in 1777; either 
he was co-pastor with Mr. Stantial, which was very 
common in those days, or Mr. Stantial had by that 
date resigned. 

In 1783 Rev. Richard Lane became acting pastor, 
but was not ordained till 1789. The reason for this 
delay seems to have been caution on the part of the 
church, for by the old Trust Deed the pastor once 
elected was elected for life. (This does not apply to 
the present Deed.) At the Ordination Service, Rev. 
John Clayton, of the King's Weigh House Chapel, 
delivered the charge to the pastor, and Rev. John 
Townsend, of Rotherhithe, preached to the people. 

During the ministry of Mr. Lane the Parish Church 
was rebuilt. The old building had been condemned as 


unsafe, so it was pulled down, excepting the tower and 
chancel. An interesting and unique event then took 
place which speaks well for the religious harmony of 
those days, at any rate in Chertsey. For three years, 
1804 — 6, the congregation of the Parish Church met in 
the old chapel on Sunday mornings and afternoons, 
and the dissenters used it in the evenings. The 
Chertsey records still contain a resolution of thanks, 
passed at the dinner to celebrate the opening of the 
new church, to Mr. Lane and the deacons for the use 
of the chapel during three years. Some years later the 
fact came to the knowledge of a gentleman at Hampton 
Court Palace, and in appreciation he generously gave 
the chapel an organ. It had the royal arms on it, and 
was said to be the organ Queen Caroline played when 
living at the palace. But the royal arms is now all that 
remains of it. 

Mr. Lane resigned in 1818. A paragraph in the 
" Life of Thomas Wilson" tells us that this generous 
supporter of churches made an application to the 
trustees of an old meeting house at Chertsey, that the 
endowment should be secured for the remainder of his 
life to an aged minister whose preaching had ceased to 
be efficient, on condition that he resigned his charge. 

Rev. Thomas Stratten was the next minister. He 
seems to have preached here occasionally for several 
years whilst a student at Hoxton, and then regularly 
for two years, 1818 — 20, but would not accept the per- 
manent pastorate, to the great sorrow of the people. 
His short ministry at Chertsey was greatly blessed. He 
accepted a call to Sunderland, and afterwards settled 
at Hull, where the great work of his life was done. In 
1847 he was invited to become Theological Tutor at 
Hackney College, but declined. He died in 1854. 


Thomas Schofield succeeded him. The local record 
says he came in 1823 and was ordained in 1835. This 
long interval of twelve years before his ordination may 
probably be explained as in the case of Mr. Lane. Mr. 
Schofield's career was a peculiar one. He was formerly 
a member of John Clayton's church in Camomile 
Street, through whose influence he entered Homerton 
College, then under the guidance of Dr. J. Pye-Smith. 
After a few months at college young Schofield had the 
temerity to accuse Dr. Pye-Smith of heterodoxy, with 
the result that he left college. He then tried in vain to 
enter the Hoxton Academy, and finished his studies 
under the private tuition of Rev. W. Hordle and Mr. 
Turnbull. But an early marriage frustrated his hopes 
of a regular pastorate, whereupon he went to London 
and opened an academy for young men. This he 
carried on successfully for some years, until, in 1823, 
Mr. Thomas Wilson introduced him to Chertsey. 

During his pastorate, in 1833, the chapel was 
repaired and enlarged. But if we may believe his 
biographer in the Year Book " It cannot be said that 
his ministry was a success ; owing to a very sensitive 
and impetuous nature he often came into unpleasant 
collision with his people, and breaches were made 
which were never healed." In 1865, after 42 years' 
service, he retired on the small endowment belonging 
to the church together with an annuity that was 
bought for him. He died January 1, 1870, at the age 
of 77. 

On Mr. Schofield's retirement, Rev. W. F. Revell, 
of South Petherton, Somerset (a Hackney student) was 
called to the pastorate, which he held till 1874. 

Things were much depressed when, in 1874, Rev. 
Wm. Cleare was asked to supply the pulpit for a year. 


Mr. Cleare was born in London on April n, 1851. 
Part of his youth was spent in India, where the claims 
of the ministry first strongly laid hold on him. He 
entered Cheshunt College, but through ill health was 
compelled to leave before the completion of his course. 
Chertsey was his first charge ; the congregation was 
small, the Sunday school had been discontinued, and 
the general state of things was unsatisfactory. But in 
a few weeks the attendance improved, the Sunday 
school was re-established, and the church was re- 
organised. At the end of twelve months Mr. Cleare 
accepted a call to the permanent pastorate, and at once 
undertook the task of erecting a new church building. 
The old chapel, situated at the end of a narrow blind 
lane, was unsightly, incommodious, and incapable of 
improvement. A freehold site in the main street was 
secured for £"450, and on September 7, 1876, in the 
midst of a heavy storm of rain and thunder, the 
memorial stone was laid by Mr. W. G. Soper, Chairman 
of the Surrey Union. The church was opened on 
Tuesday, April 10, 1877, the preachers being in the 
morning Rev. G. S. Barrett, of Norwich, and in the 
evening Rev. C. Newman Hall. 

About a year later Mr. Cleare removed to East 
Dereham, Norfolk, closing his ministry at Chertsey on 
July 14, 1878. He was not spared long to his new 
pastorate. Two unusually severe winters broke down 
his health ; and though he left Dereham for a more 
genial climate he gradually declined and passed peace- 
fully away on May 30, 1880. 

After Mr. Cleare's removal from Chertsey the 
church, with a small membership and a heavy debt, 
decided for the present to obtain supplies from New 
College. In July, 1879, an effort was made to reduce 

Congregational Church, Chertsey, 1877. 


the debt ; and with generous aid from friends outside it 
was brought down to £1,000. Mr. W. Marten Smith, 
of Clapham, Treasurer of the Surrey Union, then 
offered £25 a year towards the interest on the remain- 
ing debt for two years after the settlement of the new 
pastor. Thus encouraged, the church in December, 
1879, invited Mr. I. J. Chalkley, a student of Hackney 
College. His pastorate continued till May, 1885, when, 
to the great sorrow of the people, serious illness com- 
pelled his resignation. He died on June 24 of the 
same year, and was buried in the old chapel graveyard. 

On the first Sunday of 1886 Mr. J. de B. Brewin, a 
student of Rotherham College, occupied the pulpit, 
and was unanimously invited to the pastorate. Mr. 
Brewin spent fifteen happy and useful years in Chertsey ; 
the church increased, the debt was entirely cleared, a 
new organ was installed and a larger schoolroom built ; 
the memorial stone being laid by Mr. Bartholomew, the 
senior deacon. Mr. Bartholomew had come to Chertsey 
in 1832. Two years later he opened the first Sunday 
school in the town. In 1836 he removed to Walton, 
where he worked with Rev. A. E. Lord for several 
years. In 1849 he returned to Chertsey, but for some 
time retained his connection with the Hersham church. 
He held various offices in the two churches for upwards 
of 50 years, and was largely instrumental (with Mr. 
Cleare) in erecting the new church building. He died 
July 14, 1896. 

In December, 1901, Mr. Brewin was taken suddenly 
ill ; and the following May, on the advice of his medical 
attendant, he resigned the pastorate. He happily 
recovered, and was able three years later to undertake 
the charge of a new church at Hampton Hill, 


Soon after Mr. Brewin's resignation, in August, 1902, 
Rev. Martin C. Taylor, of Ringwood (a student of 
Western College), accepted the call of the church, and 
still ministers with many evidences of usefulness. 

It may be interesting to mention that in one of the 
windows of the old chapel there is a device in stained 
glass, believed to be a relic of the old Chertsey Abbey, 
suppressed in 1538. It is said to bear the arms of 
Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour. 



In the year 1688 a number of Nonconformists formed 
a congregation, and met for worship in a private house 
in this village. One of the principal leaders was Joshua 
Gearing, the maternal grandfather of Calamy the 
historian, who lived in a house facing the village green. 
Gearing seems to have been an uncompromising 
dissenter. In 167 1 he was " elected churchwarden ; he 
declined to serve, and paid £3 towards the repairs of 
the church, and was discharged from serving the office 
till his turn comes again." 

Tradition says that Daniel Defoe was the prime 
mover in the formation of this cause, and the gates of 
an old house near Tooting Junction long bore the 
legend " Daniel Defoe lived here." Lee, in his " Life 
of Defoe," says : " When the Revolution took place, 
probably some little time before, Defoe was a resident 
at Tooting in Surrey, where he was the first person who 
attempted to form the dissenters of the neighbourhood 


into a regular congregation." But it is disputed 
whether Defoe ever resided in Tooting. Morden, in 
his "History of Tooting Graveny," says, "a careful 
search through all the parish books from the date of his 
birth, in 1661, to that of his death in 1731, has failed 
to bring to light any record of his having resided in the 
parish." He has also ascertained that the house in 
which Defoe is said to have lived in 1688, was not built 
till nearly a century later. He thinks that the illustrious 
Daniel might have been at some time a visitor to 
Gearing, and that in this way the connection of that 
famous man with Tooting came about. 

Still, it must be admitted that this evidence is 
entirely negative, and that it is hardly likely a tradition 
would have obtained such a firm hold upon a locality 
unless there were in the first instance some basis for it. 

The first minister of this church was Dr. Joshua 
Oldfield, second son of Rev. John Oldfield who was 
ejected from Carsington in Derbyshire. Joshua was 
born in 1656. There were four brothers, the eldest 
conformed, the other three went out. He was educated 
at Christ's College, Cambridge, and was afterwards 
tutor to a son of the Speaker of the House of Commons, 
who offered him a living of £200 a year, but he would 
not conform. His first charge was a co-pastorate at 
Leather Lane. He came to Tooting in 1686, and 
remained here till 1691. He subsequently held charges 
at Oxford, Coventry, and South vvark, and died November 
8, 1729, at the age of 73. He published several works, 
taught in various schools, held one or two private 
chaplaincies, was a skilled mathematician, and received 
his degree of D.D. from Edinburgh in 1709. 

Isaac Maudit was the next pastor. He also was the 
son of an eiected minister at Anstey, in Devonshire. 



In his early years he suffered much from persecution, 
shifting from place to place. He succeeded Dr. Old- 
field in 1692, and held the pastorate till 1696, when he 
left for Bermondsey. During his stay at Tooting he 
published a discourse on the Trinity, which attained 
some renown. He is spoken of as " never dry nor 
pumping, but always full and glowing .... a solid 
divine and a good disputant." At Bermondsey he had 
a very successful ministry and a full congregation to the 
time of his death, which occurred in 1717. 

In 1696, Francis Freeman accepted the pastorate, 
and continued here till his death, November 17, 1726. 

In this year, by the will of Elizabeth Wilmot, dated 
June 28, 1726, an annual sum of £10, charged upon 
certain property in the parish, was left upon trust for 
such Protestant dissenting minister, as for the time 
being should officiate at or in the congregation of 
Presbyterian or Independent dissenters, at or in 
Tooting, for his use and benefit. In case there should 
be no such congregation, the said charge to cease. 

Mr. Freeman was succeeded by Dr. Henry Miles, 
F.R.S., a man of great literary celebrity. He was born 
at Stroud in Gloucestershire on June 2, 1698. His 
parents were members of the Established Church, but 
a perusal of some works of the great Puritans, influenced 
him towards dissent. His early education was limited, 
but on deciding to enter the ministry he became a very 
diligent student. He accepted the pastorate in 1726, 
but although repeatedly urged he was not ordained till 
1731. For some years of his ministry at Tooting he 
assisted Dr. Chandler at the English Presbyterian 
Church, Old Jewry. He was a skilled linguist, with a 
taste for natural history, botany and experimental 
philosophy, which procured him a Fellowship of the 


Royal Society in 1743. He received his degree the 
following year from the University of Aberdeen. Many 
efforts were made to induce him to remove to a larger 
congregation, but he preferred the retirement of 
Tooting. During the closing years of his ministry, he 
was assisted by the Rev. John Beesley, until his death, 
February 19, 1763, at the age of 65. 

During this ministry another bequest was made to 
the church by Benjamin Bond. He gave £300 South 
Sea Stock, to pay the interest to the minister, as long as 
the meeting house was used as a place for the worship 
of God by Protestant dissenters. 

After the death of Dr. Miles the church was supplied 
for some months by occasional preachers, until the 
beginning of 1764. Rev. W. Kingsbury then took charge 
of the pulpit for a year, excepting for the second Sunday 
in each month, when Mr. Thawyer officiated and 
administered the Lord's Supper. At the close of this 
period Mr. Kingsbury removed to Southampton. He 
was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Wilton, D.D. Mr. 
Wilton was born in 1744. His father was a well-known 
hosier in Newgate Street. He was educated at Christ 
Church Hospital Grammar School, under the Rev. Mr. 
Townley. He began his ministry at Tooting by 
preaching two Sabbaths in each month, providing 
supplies for the remainder. 

Under the new oversight, the church so increased 
that the little timber meeting house was found too 
small, and Mrs. Emma Miles, the widow of the former 
minister, a lady of considerable fortune, erected a sub- 
stantial brick building, which she conveyed to the 
congregation. At the same time she put in trust £500, 
the interest of which was to be applied for the main- 
tenance of the minister. 

P 2 


The new chapel was opened April 20, 1766, and in 
the following June, Dr. Wilton was ordained. 

He was a hard-working pastor and a friend of the 
poor, and his ministry was highly successful. 

In 1776, he accepted an invitation to the Weigh 
House Chapel, but overwork undermined his strength 
and he died April 3, two years later, aged 34. 

Rev. James Bowden succeeded. He was a native of 
Warminster, where he was born December 3, 1745. 
His parents and ancestors were persons of distinguished 
piety. He joined the church at Warminster, when 
fifteen years of age. Subsequently he studied at 
Bridport under Rev. Samuel Rooker. His first charge 
was at Fareham, in Hants, where he stayed eight years ; 
but the place was unsuited to the condition of his 
health, so he removed from Fareham. 

A sermon which he had preached at Tooting some- 
time before, as a casual supply, had given great satisfac- 
tion, and on Dr. Wilton's removal he was invited to the 
pastorate. On August 25, 1776, he publicly accepted 
the call. 

Mr. Bowden is deserving of especial mention as the 
originator of the Surrey Mission. The London Missionary 
Society had just been established, and whilst warmly 
espousing the cause of the heathen abroad, Mr. Bowden 
felt no less keenly the deplorable state of the heathen 
in our villages at home. He took the work up with 
great zeal, and formed a Society, composed of ministers 
and Christians of all denominations, to propagate 
the gospel in the villages of this county. It was 
founded at Tooting in 1797, and called " The Surrey 
Mission Society." Ministers gave their services for 
places within reach, and two evangelists were engaged 
for the more distant localities. 


About the year 1810, after thirty-five years' ministry, 
Mr. Bowden was sorely tried by internal dissension in 
the church. Finding that a church meeting was 
called by the deacons, unknown to him, he resigned, 
and preached his last sermon on February 23, 18 12. 
During the next two months he preached in various 
parts of the country, and on April 5 was preaching at 
Hammersmith. Towards the end of his sermon, he 
was seized with paralysis and supported out of the 
pulpit. He died the next morning. By a strange 
coincidence he had intended in the afternoon to preach 
from the text, Gen. xxv. 32, " Behold I am at the 
point to die." 

In February, 1813, Rev. J. Tozer was appointed to 
the vacant pulpit, and held the pastorate a few years. 
He died in 1822. 

Rev. William W. Henry was the next minister. He 
was born at Kirkintilloch, near Glasgow, April 22, 1784. 
His father was a deacon of the Independent Church in 
that town. He was educated at Glasgow and sub- 
sequently held pastorates at Stirling and Leith. In 
1822 he accepted the pastorate of the Tooting Church, 
and remained with them till his death, March 8, 1839. 
For many years he was corresponding secretary to the 
Home Missionary Society. In 1830, he was attacked 
with a severe illness from which he really never 
recovered. He is buried in the burial ground behind 
the chapel. 

J. Taylor was the next pastor. He accepted the 
charge in 1840, and resigned in 1842. 

Thomas Waraker was ordained to the pastoral 
charge of the church, on Thursday, May 19, 1842. He 
held the pastorate till 1852, and was succeeded by Rev. 
F. Fox Thomas, of Whitchurch, Hants. Mr. Thomas 


was born at Margate, October 23, 1824. He studied 
at Narberth, Pembrokeshire, and went from there to 
one of the London colleges. 

Whitchurch was his first charge, and he remained 
there five years. He commenced his ministry at Toot- 
ing on the first Sabbath of April, 1852. After nine 
years of strenuous work he removed to Abbey Road, 
Torquay, and subsequently laboured at Harrogate. On 
leaving Harrogate he retired from pastoral work, and 
died at Reigate on October 29, 1901. 

The next minister was Rev. Wm. Anderson, D.D. 
He came from a good old Presbyterian family, at 
Skene, in Aberdeenshire. After a distinguished course 
at the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow, he 
engaged for a while in literary work. In 1852 he was 
ordained minister at Sorn. He commenced his labours 
at Tooting on the second Sunday in August, 1861. 
Under his ministry the church for some time made 
steady progress. 

In 1874 a committee was formed for the purpose of 
erecting a " Defoe Memorial Manse." Some funds for 
this purpose had been collected by Rev. Fox Thomas, 
and placed in the hands of trustees. The money thus 
collected was paid into Lambeth County Court, under 
legal advice, and in 1875 Dr. Anderson and five others 
presented a petition to have the money paid over to 
them. The remainder of the money was collected by 
Dr. Anderson, and the manse was erected on a freehold 
site, in an excellent position. The rector of the parish, 
Rev. John Congreve, M.A., and Dean Stanley, of 
Westminster Abbey, co-operated in this movement. 

Soon after this, an attempt was made by Dr. Ander 
son and some members of the church to hand the 
property over to the Presbyterian body. At a church 


meeting held December 10, 1879, attended by fourteen 
members (out of a total of seventy-five) it was resolved 
that, "believing the doctrine and polity of the Presby- 
terian Church of England are in harmony with the 
word of God, and knowing that real and personal pro- 
perty connected with the church at Tooting are of 
Presbyterian origin, the members apply to the London 
Presbytery for admission to the fellowship of the 
Presbyterian Church of England." Ten voted for this 
resolution, three against, one did not vote. 

The application of Dr. Anderson was at first declined 
by the Presbytery, but, notwithstanding this decision, 
he had the name on the chapel notice board altered to 
"Defoe Presbyterian Church," and otherwise announced 
it as such. 

A second application was successful, and on April 28, 
1 881, by a very large majority, the Presbytery of 
London was instructed to receive the Tooting congre- 

Meanwhile the trustees of the Endowment Fund had 
refused to pay Dr. Anderson any further portion of the 
income arising from endowments, and the matter had 
been reported to the London Congregational Union, 
who, "after making unsuccessful representations to the 
London Presbytery, prepared a case for counsel. The 
opinion of counsel was generally in favour of the 
London Union. Negotiations between the two bodies 
dragged on for seven years, the London Congregational 
Union using every possible means to obtain an amicable 
settlement. At length it was found that no other 
course was possible than to take the case into court. 
This was rendered the more necessary by the fact that 
a number of churches, which had once been Congre- 
gational, especially in the North of England, had been 


at various times carried over to the Presbyterian body, 
and that a much larger number connected with the 
Independents were in a similar position to Tooting. 
Lists of these had appeared in Presbyterian publica- 
tions, which asserted their claims to them. The 
chapel at Tooting was therefore typical, and the 
decision of the court would affect many others. The 
case was opened in the Chancery Division of the High 
Court of Justice, before Mr. Justice Kekewich, on 
February 23, 1888, and lasted five days. Mr. Cozens- 
Hardy, Q.C. (now Lord Justice), Mr. Aspland, Q.C., 
and Mr. Lemon, appeared for the London Congrega- 
tional Union, and Mr. Gainsford Bruce, Q.C, and Mr. 
Pownall, for the defendants. Amongst the witnesses 
examined were Dr. Hannay, Dr. Donald Fraser, Dr. 
Sadler, and Dr. Anderson. The judgment of the court 
was unequivocal and decisive. The court declared 
" That it was not competent to the meeting of Feb- 
ruary 14, 1881, to subject the trust property to the 
control of the body styled the Presbyterian Church of 
England, but that the same ought to be held, used, and 
enjoyed by the Protestant Dissenters of the Presbyterian 
or Independent denomination worshipping therein, as 
if no such meeting had been held, and no resolution 
for an admission to the fellowship of the Presbyterian 
Church of England had then or at any time been 

Accordingly, Dr. Anderson gave up the church and 
manse and removed the portion of the congregation 
who sympathised with him to the Vestry Hall, where 
he continued until his death in 1895. Meanwhile the 
original church continued in the old chapel, under the 
oversight of the Rev. Andrew Mearns, Secretary of the 
London Congregational Union. In April, 1893, after 


an interval of six years, Rev. Bevill Allen was called to 
the pastorate. Mr. Allen received his ministerial train- 
ing at Hackney College, and after an assistant pastorate 
at Mile End, New Town, had held charges at Kilburn, 
Tonbridge Chapel (King's Cross), and York Road, 

Of late years the social condition of Tooting has 
greatly changed. The village of some 5,000 inhabi- 
tants has grown to a densely-populated district of 
30,000, and a new church became absolutely necessary. 
An eligible freehold site in the Mitcham Road was 
obtained for £825, and in 1902 the Primitive Methodists 
offered to purchase the old chapel. The offer was 
accepted, and the congregation removed temporarily to 
Broadwater Schools, generously built for and lent to 
them by a benevolent lady member of the Established 
Church, who resides in the neighbourhood. 

The new church, which is octagonal in form and 
seats 800 persons, was built at a cost of £6,000. It 
was opened by Rev. C. Sylvester Home on Wednesday, 
July 1 1, 1906. 


(1782— 1876) 

Though not, strictly speaking, a Congregational 
Church, Surrey Chapel has been too closely associated 
with the inception of Congregational Churches in the 
county to be passed without notice. Only a sketch is 


possible within our limits ; an adequate history would 
require a volume. 

Rowland Hill, born at Hawkstone, Salop, on August 
23, 1745, was a younger son of a county family which 
has been traced back to the beginning of the fourteenth 
century. His eldest brother, Sir Richard Hill, Bart., 
represented his native county in six successive Parlia- 
ments, and was at all times a zealous advocate of evan- 
gelical religion and humanity. Lord Hill, honourably 
distinguished in the Peninsular war and at Waterloo, 
was one of his many nephews. While still a school- 
boy at Eton young Rowland experienced a spiritual 
awakening, and in 1766, while an undergraduate at 
Cambridge, he began to preach in the neighbouring 
villages. For this irregularity, and his avowed resolve 
to continue the same, he was refused " orders" by no 
fewer than six bishops. However, after leaving the 
university, he itinerated extensively, especially in the 
West of England, preaching in meeting houses and in 
the open air, wherever he could gather a congregation, 
and leading many into the way of Life. Having gradu- 
ated M.A., he was granted "deacon's orders" by the 
bishop of Bath and Wells on June 6, 1773 ; but as he 
persisted in preaching alike in church, tabernacle, or 
field, the Archbishop of York intervened to prevent him 
from being admitted to " full orders." A few years 
later he determined to erect, " in one of the most 
depraved districts of the metropolis," a chapel wherein 
the services should be " according to the ritual of the 
Church of England," but of which "the pulpit should 
be open to pious ministers of all denominations and of 
every country." The site selected was in Blackfriars 
Road, half-way between the bridge and the Obelisk ; 
and there Mr. Hill laid the first stone of Surrey Chapel 


on June 24, 1782. Among the contributors to the 
building fund were the Countess of Huntingdon and 
the eccentric Lord George Gordon. The cost was 
about £5,000. 

The chapel was opened for worship on June 8, 1783. 
Mr. Hill preached in the morning, and a Mr. Piercy in 
the evening. During the later service a panic was 
occasioned by a false alarm that the building was falling, 
and many persons were injured. The building was 
polygonal in plan, approaching a circle, with gallery 
all round — whence its popular nicknames of "The 
Roundhouse " and " The Oven." There were desks 
for reader and clerk, and behind the pulpit a very fine 

Mr. Hill's love to the Established Church was not 
diminished by the unworthy treatment he experienced 
from its rulers ; and though, in his frequent absence, 
the pulpit of Surrey Chapel was occupied by ministers 
of various denominations, his chief delight was in 
getting it occupied by Evangelical clergymen, such as 
Berridge, T. Scott, Venn, etc. He long cherished the —«? 
hope that his successor might be some episcopally 
ordained minister, desirous of greater freedom than 
could be found in the State church. 

The management of Surrey Chapel was entirely in 
the hands of the trustees, who were empowered to 
depose Mr. Hill from the oversight and appointment of 
supplies if he should not "preach agreeably to the 
doctrinal articles of the Church of England." The 
communicants were enrolled as members of a " society " 
which met for devotion and conference on Monday, 
evenings. Great attention was paid to the musical 
department of the service, which was directed by the^ 
accomplished organist, Mr. B. Jacobs. On special 


occasions hymn-anthems, such as " Denmark," "Trum- 
pet," " Fotheringay," etc., were sung ; but voluntaries 
were strictly excluded. Mr. Hill compiled a hymn book 
containing several striking original hymns, of which a 
few are still in use. One such hymn, sung by a con- 
gregation of volunteers on December 4, 1803, to the 
tune of " Rule, Britannia," was long remembered. 

Surrey Chapel soon became a perfect hive of Chris- 
tian and philanthropic activities. One of the earliest 
of these, begun in 1784, was the Benevolent Society. 
The Sunday school was the first in London, and the 
society managed no less than thirteen schools, con- 
taining above 3,000 children. There was also a Dorcas 
Society, a School of Industry for twenty-four poor girls, 
and almshouses for the same number of poor women. 
The congregation, besides meeting its own expenses, 
contributed about £2,000 a year to various religious 
and philanthropic objects. The foundation of the 
London Missionary Society excited Mr. Hill's warmest 
enthusiasm. At its •first general meeting on September 
25, 1795, he preached to a congregation estimated at 
3,000 persons ; and thenceforward, till it ceased to be 
used for worship, Surrey Chapel was the usual place 
for the annual sermons of the society. 

In 1816 an attempt was made to levy rates upon the 
chapel, which Mr. Hill successfully resisted. This was 
a leading case, and his pamphlets on the subject have 
some historic interest. 

Rowland Hill, like his elder contemporary, John 
Wesley, would never acknowledge himself a Dissenter. 
More liberal than Wesley in his political views, he 
clung to the last to a vain hope that, soon or late, the 
Established Church would recognise the ministrations 
of Evangelical Nonconformists. He laboured, amidst 


increasing infirmities, to the venerable age of nearly 
eighty-eight, preached his last sermon on March 31, 
1833, died eleven days later, and was buried on April 19, 
beneath the pulpit of the Surrey Chapel. 

Among the ministers who occasionally supplied Mr. 
Hill's pulpit was Rev. Jas. Sherman, of Reading. He 
was of humble parentage, and, after a short course of 
training at Cheshunt College, was ordained as a minister 
of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion at Sion Chapel, 
Whitechapel, on November 26, 1818. He preached 
for about three years in various chapels of the con- 
nexion, and in 1821 accepted the pastorate of Castle 
Street chapel, Reading — a congregation of seceders 
from the Established Church. There he ministered 
acceptably and fruitfully for nearly sixteen years. It is 
said that Rowland Hill had latterly thought of him as a 
possible successor. He was invited to Surrey Chapel 
early in 1835, but declined. Eighteen months later the 
invitation was renewed, backed by the signatures of 
1,200 communicants and seatholders. This Mr. Sher- 
man felt it his duty to accept, and he entered on the 
Surrey pastorate on September 4, 1836. 

Above three years had passed since Mr. Hill's death, 
and the congregation had greatly diminished. There 
had been no pastoral oversight, no elders or deacons. 
Under Mr. Sherman's ministry there was a speedy 
revival. In 1838 no less than 251 names were added 
to the communicants' roll. In 1840 the chapel was 
renovated and new schoolrooms built, at a cost of 
£3,500. In 1845 a Temperance Hall in the Waterloo 
Road was purchased and adapted for mission purposes, 
by the name of Hawkstone Hall, at a cost of £2,000. 
By 1848 the number of members exceeded 1,400, who 
were under the supervision of eight elders, and the 


schools, ten altogether, had among them 380 teachers 
and 3,590 scholars. About this time the method of 
celebrating the Lord's Sapper was changed from the 
order customary in the Episcopal Church to that usual 
in Congregational Churches. Mr. Sherman in early 
life had been a nonconformist by accident rather than 
by conviction, but as early as 1843 he had become a 
convinced Voluntary, and in 1846 appeared on the 
platform of the Congregational Union. When, in 1854, 
his enfeebled physical powers made it necessary that he 
should seek a less laborious pastorate, he accepted a 
call to the newly-organised Congregational Church at 
Blackheath. His farewell sermon at Surrey Chapel 
was preached on May 28, 1854. He died February 13, 
1862, aged 66. 

His successor, Rev. C. Newman Hall, LL.B., D.D., 
was the son of a respectable tradesman in Kent. After 
a course of training at Highbury College he became, in 
1842, the first pastor of Albion Congregational Church, 
Hull. From thence he was invited to Surrey Chapel, 
and entered on the charge the Sunday following Mr. 
Sherman's retirement. Mr. Hall at once recognised 
the necessity of a regular assistant minister, which 
office was held by five colleagues in succession. First 
came Rev. E. G. Cecil, a fellow-student of the pastor; 
next Rev. Reuen Thomas, a scripture reader under a 
parish clergyman, who dismissed him for reading the 
liturgy in Surrey Chapel ; he was afterwards pastor 
of a Congregational Church at Mile End, and sub- 
sequently of one of the wealthiest Congregational 
Churches in America; then came Rev. J. M. Greatly, 
of whom we have no further particulars ; next Rev. 
V. J. Charlesworth, from 1864 to 1869, afterwards the 
efficient superintendent of Spurgeon's Orphanage ; 


and finally, from 1869 to 1892, Rev. H. Grainger, who 
still survives. 

Dr. Newman Hall was a decided Congregationalist. 
In 1862 he was put on the rota of the Merchants' 
Lecture, and retained the post almost to the end of his 
life. In 1866 he was Chairman of the Congregational 

The lease of the site on which Surrey Chapel was 
built expired in 1883. Rowland Hill had left a con- 
siderable sum in trust for the purchase or renewal of 
the lease, but had failed to ensure the validity of the 
bequest, which was declared void by the Statute of 
Mortmain. As early as 1861 it was resolved to raise a 
fund to supply the loss, and after due consideration a 
freehold site at the junction of Kennington and West- 
minster Bridge Roads was bought for £8,200. Here 
the noble pile of buildings known as Christ Church 
was erected, at a cost, exclusive of site, of nearly 
£54,000. The general plan was sketched out by the 
pastor, and developed by Messrs. Paull and Bickerdike, 
the architects, on lines of thirteenth century Gothic. 
The whole cost was met by voluntary subscriptions, 
except £2,000 obtained by the sale of the old Hawk- 
stone Hall. The stately " Lincoln Tower " was largely 
paid for by American sympathisers. The foundation 
was laid by S. Morley, Esq., on June 26, 1873 ; that of 
the tower by the American Ambassador, General 
Schenk, about a year later; and the dedication took 
place on July 4, 1876. In the course of services which 
followed, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, 
Baptists, and Congregationalists took part. The bones 
of Rowland Hill, removed from their original resting- 
place, were re-interred beneath the tower. 

The trust deed, drafted by Dr. Hall, places the 


management in the hands of the elders and trustees, 
whose nomination must be confirmed by vote of the 
church members. The same rule applies to the pastor. 
The schedule of doctrine, which pastor, elders, and 
trustees must subscribe, affirms all the essentials of 
Evangelical Christianity and repudiates sacerdotalism 
and sacramentarianism, but neither dogmatises about 
' the doctrines of grace ' — so called, or the mode of 
administering the sacraments. The old chapel, having 
been used until the expiry of the lease by the Primitive 
Methodists, has been appropriated for business 

Dr. Newman Hall retired on the completion of 
thirty-eight years ministry, on July 12, 1892. His 
writings — mostly evangelistic — are numerous ; the most 
widely known being a booklet entitled, " Come to 
Jesus," which has circulated to the extent of four 
million copies in forty languages. He died on February 
18, 1902, at the age of eighty-five. 

Before Dr. Hall's actual retirement his successor had 
been chosen, in the person of Rev. F. B. Meyer, of 
Regent's Park Baptist Church. Mr. Meyer is well 
known as an ardent Evangelist, a strenuous advocate 
of religious equality, and an energetic worker in the 
cause of temperance and social purity. He resigned 
in the autumn of 1907. The present occupancy of the 
pulpit is provisional, and the future pastorate of the 
church — which is still flourishing — is undecided. 




The earliest mention of Nonconformity in Stockwell 
is in connection with Nicholas Wressel, M.A. He was 
ejected from Berwick-on-Tweed, and after suffering 
much for his principles came to Stockwell, where he 
kept a private school. He was a man of great piety, 
and very diligent in his ministerial work. He died 
about the year 1695. There is no record that he 
gathered any church, but it is hardly likely that such a 
man would be altogether silent. 

Waddington says that there was a Presbyterian 
congregation here, at the beginning of the eighteenth 
century, and a Mr. Cambden is mentioned as pastor in 
1727. But nothing is known of its subsequent history. 
The story of the present church begins with the nine- 
teenth century. It appears, indeed, to have been 
organised in 1796, and a chapel erected in 1798, 
which in 1816 was handed over by a friend of Con- 
gregationalism as a gift to Hackney College. 

Rev. Thomas Jackson was introduced to the newly- 
formed church by his friend and tutor, Rev. Matthew 
Wilks. Mr. Jackson seems to have hesitated for some 
time before accepting the pastorate. We are told that 
religious errors were prevalent, and threatened great 
discomfort to a minister of evangelical views. How- 
ever, the difficulties were at length overcome, and Mr. 
Jackson was ordained on February 16, 1801. 

The difficulties feared by Mr. Jackson before his 
acceptance of the pastorate do not seem to have 
troubled the church during his ministry. Under his 



simple and earnest preaching the church grew and 
prospered. Twice during his ministry the church was 
enlarged, and five hundred members were added to the 

Mr. Jackson's sympathies were wider than his work 
at Stockwell. Some time before, Rev. James Bowden, 
of Tooting, had formed the Surrey Mission for preaching 
the Gospel in the villages of the county. Mr. Jackson 
took up the movement with great heartiness, and for ten 
years worked hard as the Secretary of the Mission. 
But wider even than Surrey were his sympathies. In 
1811 he was appointed a director of the London 
Missionary Society, and for many years did excellent 
service for the great work of missions. In days when 
railroads were unknown he travelled hundreds of miles 
advocating the spread of the gospel at home and abroad. 
At the same time his own work at Stockwell was not 
neglected, and he retained the confidence and affection 
of his people till the last. After forty-two years of faithful 
service he died on March 18, 1843, in his sixty-ninth year. 

For fourteen months the church was without a 
pastor. Many candidates preached, but the members 
could not agree, until, one Sunday, having heard Rev. 
David Thomas, of Chesham, in Buckinghamshire, the 
church unanimously decided that it had found the 
right man. 

David Thomas was the son of Rev. W. Thomas, of 
Vatsin, near Tenby. He came of a worthy ancestry, 
from whom he inherited physical vigour, mental power, 
and spiritual calibre, all of which helped to make the 
ministry of his pulpit and the wider ministry of his pen 
the great power it has been. 

In his young days, as a Sunday school teacher and 
local preacher he prepared himself for after work, and 

Rev- David Thomas, D.D., Stockwell, 


was so successful that Rev. Caleb Morris advised him 
to relinquish business and enter the regular ministry. 
At this time he was married and had one son, afterwards 
Rev. Urijah Thomas, the well-known minister of 
Bristol. Still, he acted on the advice and entered 
Newport Pagnell College. On the completion of his 
college course he settled at Chesham. 

He entered upon his labours at Stockwell on May 12, 
1844, although the recognition did not take place till 
December 4 following. 

For the first two years of his pastorate he seems to 
have conducted the affairs of the church on his own 
responsibility. No deacons were appointed ; he just 
made an exception to Congregational principles, and 
took the reins of government into his own strong 
hands. This autocratic administration was successful ; 
we read that at the end of the second year cosmos was 
steadily evolved from chaos, and the constitutional 
form of government was resumed. Then, in June, 
1846, four gentlemen were elected as deacons, to share 
with the minister the responsibilities of administration. 

One of the first acts of the new executive was to 
establish day schools in the neighbourhood. The 
Stockwell Educational Institute was erected at a cost 
of £1,500, and on March 8, 1848, the building was 
formally opened, Mr. C. Pearson presiding. Mr. 
Goodchild and Miss Bishop were appointed master and 
mistress on June 14, and twelve days later the work 
was begun with an attendance of 80 boys and girls. 
"Thus," to quote Dr. Thomas, "was inaugurated one 
of the best day schools in all London." It has been 
computed by Mr. Chambers that no less than six 
thousand children have been taught there ; amongst 
whom were at least twelve ministers and missionaries, 

Q 2 


and many well-to-do merchants and clerks in public 
offices. The total cost of this Institute was cleared 
within twelve months of opening. 

The next work was to enlarge and improve the 
chapel. The improvements included a tower, the first 
of its kind erected in connection with any Noncon- 
formist church in London. These alterations cost 
£1,600, half of which was subscribed before the work 
was commenced. The work was finished the same 
year, and the church reopened on October 18, 1850. 
Six years later the debt was entirely defrayed. 

About this time Mr. Thomas received a diploma of 
D.D. from one of the American Universities. No 
English University then thought a Nonconformist 
could be worthy of such a distinction. 

On Sunday, February 17, 1856, a Biblical Liturgy, 
compiled by Dr. Thomas, was introduced into the 
services with general approval. It has, however, fallen 
into disuse for many years. But if the Liturgy is dead 
one of Dr. Thomas's hymns will live : 

" Shew pity, Lord, for we are frail and faint," 

has found a lasting place among the songs of the 

It is for his literary labours that Dr. Thomas is best 
known. He was the founder of the Dial newspaper, 
afterwards incorporated in the Morning Star, and the 
author of some fifty volumes of various works. These 
include several commentaries, " Problemata Mundi," 
" Septem in Uno," " The Practical Philosopher." 

The best known of all his works, and the one with 
which his name will always be associated is the 
Homilist, which extended to over forty volumes, with 
an aggregate circulation of 200,000 copies. Dr. Thomas 


commenced the Homilist in 1853. His idea was to 
meet the wants of the age by producing a scholarly 
periodical, of liberal and progressive theological views. 
That the need existed was soon proved by its success. 
It speedily won for itself a unique position in religious 
literature, and became one of the most influential 
magazines of the day, and has left an abiding mark 
upon the pulpit of every communion. 

The church at Stockwell had now entered upon an 
era of prosperity and repute. The fame of its pulpit 
was throughout the land. The original thought, the 
clear presentation of truth, the vigorous and courageous 
utterances, and the charm of Dr. Thomas's personality 
were appreciated by an ever-widening circle of intelli- 
gent and thoughtful listeners. 

The far-reaching influence of Dr. Thomas can never 
be fully known. The biography of Mrs. Booth, of the 
Salvation Army, bears testimony to the share he had in 
forming the character of that wonderful woman. At 
this church she was married to the General. From 
the membership of Stockwell came Rev. W. Carlisle, 
the leader of the Church Army. Amongst the institu- 
tions that owe their existence to Dr. Thomas is the 
University of Wales. And he gave to the denomination 
and to the ministry of Christ his son, Urijah Thomas, 
of Redland Park, Bristol, Chairman of the Congrega- 
• tional Union of England and Wales, and one of the 
most lovable and loving of the saints of God. 

On May 31, 1874, Miss Bishop, who had held the 
position of Mistress of the Girls' School at the Stock- 
well Institute since its commencement in 1848, resigned 
in consequence of failing health. The same year Mrs. 
Thomas passed away, and a few months later the 
Doctor announced his intention to resign his work at 


the end of the year. Although, at the earnest request 
of friends, he held his resignation over for some months, 
he made his final decision on May 13, 1875, in a letter 
read by his son. 

One reason for his retirement was his interest in 
"The Augustine Independent Church," an iron build- 
ing that had been erected in the Clapham Road, on the 
site now occupied by St. Augustine's Church. " I am 
pledged," said he, "to the public to give the new 
church in Clapham Road a good start." Here he 
continued his ministry in South London for some time. 
He died at Ramsgate on Sunday, December 30, 1894, 
at the age of 83. 

Meanwhile, great changes had taken place in Stock- 
well. From a little Surrey village, a pleasant walk out 
of London, it had become a densely populated suburb. 
The church which once stood facing the Green had 
been shut out of sight by houses and a brewery built 
hard by. The Green itself had disappeared, and the 
whole character of the neighbourhood had changed. 

After four months' interval, an invitation was given 
to Rev. J. B. Heard, M.A. Mr. Heard had been a 
clergyman of the Church of England, and was recom- 
mended by many influential ministers and friends. He 
was recognised November 2, 1875. 

Notwithstanding the change in its surroundings, the 
church entered upon a new season of prosperity. For 
the fourth time the building was altered and renovated. 
New seats were placed in the area, and another organ 
purchased. The reopening services were held on 
October 20, 1876. Unfortunately, Mr. Heard's health 
failed, and on July 4, 1878, to the deep regret of the 
church, he was compelled to resign his office. 

The choice of the church then fell upon Rev. Charles 


Chambers. Mr. Chambers had been educated for the 
ministry at Bristol, and was at that time minister at 
Swanage in Dorsetshire. He accepted the call and 
commenced his ministry October 12, 1878. 

During Mr. Chambers's ministry the church was 
again renovated and decorated. The heavy gallery 
fronts were removed, and light ones substituted ; the 
seats were re-arranged, and other improvements 
carried out at a cost of over £700, which was entirely 
met in about twelve months after the reopening, 
October 13, 1881. 

For nine years Mr. Chambers laboured worthily. His 
work was made the more difficult by the changing 
character of the neighbourhood. But, ever genial 
and hopeful, the minister worked on till, in 1887, 
he accepted an invitation to Sheffield. Here he 
continued till 1895, when he came back to London 
to take up an arduous pastorate at Stepney Meeting, 
where he still carries on the work. It should be 
recorded that from Stockwell Church and Sunday 
School, during Mr. Chambers's pastorate, there went 
forth into the ministry at home Rev. T. R. Steer, who 
for nearly a quarter of a century has laboured at 
Mr. Chambers's old pastorate in Swanage ; Rev. Arthur 
Pringle, late of Maidstone and Caterham, and now of 
Purley ; and Miss Brown, now Mrs. Cooper, who has 
been associated with her husband in missionary work 
in China. 

After an interval of some months, Rev. R. Cynon 
Lewis, of Morriston, near Swansea, was invited to fill 
the vacant pulpit. He commenced his ministry on 
July 1, 1888. The same year saw the close of the old 
day schools, in consequence of the recent establish- 
ment of Board Schools in the neighbourhood ; and this 


was made the opportunity of presenting the late head 
master, Mr. H. C. Goodchild, who had that year 
celebrated his jubilee as a schoolmaster, with a testi- 
monial. Mr. Lewis successfully maintained the work 
for two years. In 1890 the Luton church invited him 
to its pastorate. He closed his ministry at Stockwell, 
April 31. After eight years at Luton he returned to 
Lavender Hill, not far from his old church. He has 
since removed to Weston-super-Mare. 

The next minister was Rev. J. Southwood Jackson, 
a student of New College. He was ordained on 
Thursday, October 9, 1890. 

Mr. Jackson proved a thoughtful and suggestive 
preacher ; and not only from the pulpit but in the 
weekly Bible class became the teacher of his people. 
During his pastorate the idea of a new hall was 
mooted. It was first proposed to build in front of the 
church, but this was found to be impracticable, and 
eventually it was decided to reconstruct the Stockwell 
Educational Institute, extending the building and 
thoroughly renovating it. This was done at a cost of 
£"500, and the Institute was formally opened in 1894 
by Miss Annie Swan. 

In March and April, 1896, the church celebrated its 
centenary; Rev. Urijah Thomas, two former pastors, 
and several neighbouring ministers occupying the pulpit 
during the month. Mr. Jackson resigned in 1897. 
During his pastorate Mr. Hayter was engaged as assis- 
tant evangelist and home missioner, and worked under 
the direction of the pastor for eighteen months. He left 
Stockwell at Midsummer, 1897, to accept the charge 
of a country church near Reading. For nearly three 
years, 1899-1901, the pulpit was occupied by Rev. 
R. D. Wilson, who at first had been requested to take 


temporary charge for three months. He had been 
early in life an officer in the service of the East India 
Company, and after entering the ministry had held 
charges at Burnley, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, 
Craven Chapel, Gainsborough, and Poplar. Under his 
experienced guidance the various agencies of the church 
were carried on with considerable success till, feeling 
the infirmities of age, Mr. Wilson laid down the reins 
of office and passed into well-earned retirement. His 
active ministry had extended over no less than fifty-one 
years. He died at Elmer's End, in his eighty-fifth 
year, on April 22, 1907. 

On November 6, 1901, Rev. A. Thurston Pain, of 
Hackney College, was ordained, and still ministers to 
the people, carrying on an exceedingly useful work 
under very difficult conditions. 


(1799 — i860) 

Pleasantly situated on the banks of the river, and 
stretching up to the heath above, lies Putney, one of the 
most desirable suburbs of London. Here Thomas 
Cromwell was born, and Edward Gibbon first saw 
the light. Here too, lived and died William Pitt and 
Leigh Hunt ; and here Sir Thomas More and many 
another distinguished man has found his home. 

Even to-day Putney retains much of its rural charac- 
ter. Fields and lanes are within easy walk ; and when 
one has climbed the hill and reached the heath, the busy 
city is done with, the country lies beyond. 


At the beginning of the last century Putney seems to 
have been in a very dark and neglected condition. The 
first movement toward better things was in 1799, when, 
we are told, the gospel was introduced, not without 
opposition, by the Surrey Mission Society. A room 
was opened for public worship by Rev. J. Hughes, of 
Battersea. For a time the expenses were met in part 
by the mission, until, in 1805, the congregation at 
Putney took the whole burden upon themselves. 
Shortly after they were again compelled to look for 

On November 9, 1807, seven friends met to consult 
as to building a place of worship. They raised £57 
amongst themselves, and formed an association to 
obtain further help, with the result that on August 9, 
1808, the building known as the Piatt Chapel was 
opened. The services were well attended, and £100 
was raised during the day toward the total cost of 

Mr. Corbin was the first minister. He was invited 
to preach for one year, but there does not seem to be 
any further record of his services. 

The Ordinance of the Lord's Supper was observed 
for the first time on August 30, 1812 ; but not until 
January 18, 1816, does the church appear to have been 
regularly constituted. This was under the pastoral 
care of Rev. John Fryer, who resigned on March 25, 
1819. The pulpit was then supplied by various 
ministers and students, chiefly from Hoxton Academy, 
until 1826. In September of that year, Rev. Edward 
Miller was called to the pastorate. Mr. Miller was 
born at Atherstone, Warwickshire, in 1785. He was 
educated at Christ's Hospital, and at the age of nine- 
teen obtained a situation under Government which he 


retained for many years. He was first engaged to 
supply at Putney for six months, and at the end of that 
time was invited to accept the full pastorate. His 
ordination took place on July 26, 1827. So successful 
were his services, that the place soon became too strait 
for the congregation. Even the addition of a gallery 
was insufficient, and often the vestry as well as the 
chapel was crowded on a Sunday evening. There was 
also a flourishing Sunday school, and other institutions. 
This led to a second enlargement of the church in 

Mr. Miller remained at Putney eight years. In 
1835 he accepted an invitation to become assistant to 
Rev. G. Brown, at Clapham. Two years later he 
removed to Chiswick, where a new chapel was built for 
him. He resigned his work through failing health in 
November, 1850, and died on June 28, 1857. 

Rev. Samuel Whitehead was the next pastor. He 
accepted the charge on December 26, 1836, and con- 
tinued for two years. He was succeeded by Rev. 
Robert Ashton. Mr. Ashton was a native of Hull, 
where he was born March 1, 1798. He entered Hoxton 
Academy in 1819, and held pastorates at Dedham and 
Warminster. He commenced his work at Putney on 
February 26, 1840, and remained till April 21, 1850. 
He was afterwards Secretary to the Christian Instruc- 
tion Society, Surrey Mission, and Christian Witness 
Fund, and from 1852 was joint secretary with Dr. 
George Smith, of the Congregational Union of England 
and Wales. He died while sitting at the tea-table on 
Sunday, July 21, 1878, at the age of eighty. 

Rev. William Pollard Davies was the next minister. 
He was born at Coventry on July 3, 1791. He studied 
at Hoxton, and at the early age of twenty-one was 


ordained pastor of Salem Chapel, Wellingborough. He 
then removed to Devonshire, and accepted the charge 
of a church in Plymouth, where he remained till a 
severe illness, eight years later, forced him to retire. 
On his recovery, he became pastor of a church at Ash- 
burton, where, after eleven years, he was again laid 
aside. He entered on the work at Putney on December 3, 
1850, and continued till May, 1856, when illness again 
compelled him to rest. He died at Leamington on 
March 13, 1872, in his eighty-second year. 

The pulpit was supplied by various ministers and 
students, until November 13, 1857, when Rev. Thomas 
Davies, of Cardiff, accepted the pastorate for twelve 
months. During this period the jubilee of the church 
was celebrated on September 14, 1858. 

At the time of Mr. Davies' election, five members of 
the church and some seatholders withdrew, and formed 
the Union Church in the Upper Richmond Road. 
Mr. Davies resigned on December 23, i860, and the 
following July, Rev. C. J. Evans, of Pembroke, was 
chosen pastor. His recognition took place on Tuesday, 
November 20, 1861, the occasion being also the 53rd 
anniversary of the church. 

Mr. Evans set himself with much determination to 
the work of preparing the people for a new church. 
The old chapel was situated in an out-of-the-way 
position off the Lower Richmond Road. The necessary 
co-operation, however, was lacking, and Mr. Evans 
shortly afterwards removed to Dawler, near Adelaide, 
in South Australia. He remained in Australia till 1871. 
Then he returned to England, and threw himself into 
the work of the Turkish Missions Aid Society. He 
died February 16, 1874. 

Rev. Horrocks Cocks was the next minister. He was 


born at Woolwich, February 3, 1818, and was educated 
for the Established Church. A new church was built 
for him, and a living provided, but the influence of his 
friend and schoolfellow, Samuel Martin, led him to 
embrace Nonconformist principles, and he entered 
Highbury College to prepare for the ministry. On 
leaving college, he accepted a charge at Stanstead, and 
subsequently held pastorates at Stanford Rivers, Ingate- 
stone, and Boston Spa (Yorks.). He accepted the 
pastorate at Putney in 1865 and remained until 1870. 
Mr. Cocks was a man of considerable literary power, 
and for some years edited the Blackburn Times, and 
subsequently the Kensington Gazette. He was a striking 
and suggestive preacher, and a generous helper of every 
good work. In 1878 he went to Egham, where he 
remained eight years. On leaving Egham he resided 
at West Kensington until his death, June II, 1888. 

After Mr. Cocks's departure, the old Piatt Chapel was 
closed for a short time, till Mr. W. Evans Hurndall 
(afterwards of Bow and Westminster Chapels) had the 
building renovated and reopened. Mr. Hurndall was 
at that time in business, but with the assistance of one 
or two friends, he carried on the services and Sunday 
school for two or three years. 

By this time the neighbourhood was rapidly extending, 
and Mr. Hurndall felt the time had come to obtain a 
new church. After much counsel and prayer, a site 
was procured in the Oxford Road at a cost of £750. 
Here an iron chapel was erected to accommodate 500 
persons. The total outlay was £1,600. It was opened 
on September 22, 1872. Here a fellowship was formed. 
For a while the Piatt Chapel was used for mission 
purposes, but after a time it was felt wiser to concen- 
trate all efforts on the church in Oxford Road, and the 


old chapel was abandoned. Soon after the iron church 
was opened, Mr. Hurndall left Putney to enter Cam- 
bridge University in preparation for the work of the 
regular ministry. Rev. P. M. Eastman, from Hackney 
College, was then invited to take charge of the work. 
He was ordained in March, 1873. After a short but 
successful ministry of eighteen months he accepted an 
invitation to Honiton in Devon. He has since laboured 
at Long Melford and Boston Spa, and now lives in 
retirement at Maidenhead. 

The church then called Rev. Walter Novelle to the 
vacant pulpit. He resigned in 1879, and was followed 
in 1880 by Rev. Stephen Todd of the Raffles Memorial 
Church, Liverpool. 

Mr. Todd retained the pastorate till December, 1893, 
when, after forty-one years of ministerial work, he 
retired from active service. He still resides in Putney. 
After an interval of nearly three years an invitation 
was given to the Rev. A. Norman Rowland, M.A., to 
take up the work at Oxford Road. 

Mr. Rowland, who is the son of Rev. Dr. Rowland, 
the honoured minister of Crouch End, was educated at 
Balliol and Mansfield Colleges, Oxford. He was 
ordained in January, 1897. 

Three years later it was felt that the time had come 
when the Union Church in Ravenna Road might be 
amalgamated with the Oxford Road Fellowship. 

This church, it will be remembered, was formed in 
1857, by the secession of a few members from the old 
Piatt Chapel. A capital site was procured in the 
Upper Richmond Road and a handsome building 
erected. The original idea of the church was to 
form an undenominational fellowship, and they 
appealed to brethen of all communions for sympathy 


in their effort "to unite the scattered members of 
Christ's flock." The first minister was Rev. John 
Knox Stallybrass, who came from Ebenezer Chapel, 
Birmingham, and commenced his ministry with gratify- 
ing tokens of success. 

On March 26, 1861, the foundation stone of the new 
church was laid by Sir Morton Peto, M.P., and the 
building was opened in the following October. But 
soon after this, causes which seemed to him imperative 
moved Mr. Stallybrass to retire. For some time after 
Mr. Stallybrass's removal, the church was without a 
pastor. Then, in March, 1864, a Baptist minister, Rev. 
J. T. Gale, took up the work. His pastorate was of no 
long duration, and he was followed in 1868 by Rev. G. 
Nicholson, B.A., who remained till 1876. On Mr. 
Nicholson's retirement, Rev. R. A. Redford, M.A., 
LL.B., of Streatham Hill, accepted the pastorate, and 
for twenty-four years exercised a cultured and faithful 
ministry. It was on his retirement in 1900 that the 
amalgamation between the two churches was effected. 
Mr. Rowland was unanimously elected as pastor of the 
combined fellowship, now Union Church in a double 

The amalgamation thus carried through in the happiest 
way has produced a strong and united church. During 
the last twelve months considerable alterations and 
improvements have been carried out, and the land on 
which the church stands has been purchased at a cost 
of £1,076. The old iron chapel in Oxford Road is 
retained for social and mission work. 




Although Richard Byfield was ejected from Long 
Ditton, there does not seem to have been organised Non- 
conformity in this parish till the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century. Byfield was an ardent Reformer, and 
had he continued to live in the parish would doubtless 
have gathered a church there ; but he removed soon after 
his ejectment to Mortlake, where he died December 26, 
1664, aged sixty-seven. 

In 1804, a chapel at Weston Green, in the parish of 
Thames Ditton, was erected by Jacob Hansler, Esq., at 
his own expense. 

Mr. Hansler had formerly worshipped at Orange 
Street Chapel, then Episcopal ; and being dissatisfied 
with the ministry at the parish church, he took a cottage 
once occupied by the notorious William Huntington, 
and had services conducted there until he obtained the 
site on which the chapel was erected. It was opened 
on November 21. 

For ten years the chapel was supplied by various 
preachers from London, at the expense of Mr. Hansler. 
During this time the Church of England liturgy was 

After Mr. Hansler's death in 1814, the congregation 
wished for a settled minister, and invited Rev. James 
Churchill, of Henley. He accepted the pastorate the 
same year on the understanding that the church would 
be conducted on Congregational principles. He was 
dissatisfied with the lax system of open communion, 
and equally with the rigid methods then followed by 


most Dissenters. He therefore adopted a middle course, 
practically identical with the usual custom of the present 
day, members being nominated at one communion 
service, and received at the next unless reasonable 
objection were made. Mr. Churchill was a man of great 
ability and power, and so esteemed that London city 
merchants used to attend his anniversaries in consider- 
able numbers. At such times long lines of carriages 
would be seen waiting outside the chapel, whilst within 
the collection amounted often to as much as £40, a con- 
siderable sum in those days for a village congregation. 

Waddington mentions several instances of the respect 
shown to Mr. Churchill by persons of high rank; 
amongst others, that when he was conducting a service 
at the opening of a school at Oxshott, the Duchess of 
Kent (mother of Queen Victoria) and her brother, 
afterwards King Leopold I. of Belgium, stood by his 
side. He adds that he was the means of leading several 
clergymen of the Establishment into the way of truth. 
Like many other ministers of those days he conducted 
a school, and so added considerably to the income of a 
village pastor. During his pastorate a Sunday school 
was commenced with fifty-three scholars. 

After a successful pastorate of thirty years, Mr. 
Churchill resigned his charge on October 28, 1844. He 
was eighty years of age and had a little while previously 
been enfeebled by the loss of his wife. He died in 
London on March 3, 1849, in the eighty-third year of 
his age and fifty-third of his ministry. Notwithstanding 
Mr. Churchill's popularity it does not seem that the 
church at Thames Ditton ever acquired strength to 
excite general interest in the neighbourhood. 

In 1844, Rev. George Evans succeeded to the pas- 
torate. Mr. Evans was born in 1778, and was brought 



under the influence of the Gospel in the Countess of 
Huntingdon's connexion. His first charge was at 
Goring, in Oxfordshire, where he laboured till 1807. 
He then ministered to a small church in Red Lion 
Court, Spitalfields, and a year later removed to Mile End 
New Town, where he gathered a large congregation. 

He did not live long after his removal to Thames 
Ditton, but died September 15, 1846. His successor was 
Rev. Edward Pay, who began life as a schoolmaster, 
taking occasional supplies in the pulpits of the neigh- 
bourhood where he lived. His preaching being accept- 
able he was strongly urged to devote himself to the 
ministry, and on the death of Mr. Evans accepted the 
pastorate. He had great difficulties to contend with, 
but for nine years sustained an honourable ministry, 
and received many into fellowship. In 1857 ne 
removed to Brightlingsea, where he died in 1873. He 
was followed by Rev. W. A. Popley. 

When Mr. Popley took up the work he had a congre- 
gation of four to begin with. No way disheartened, he 
set himself by strenuous effort to revive the church ; and 
before the end of the first year the congregation was in a 
position to raise £80 for the minister, and the follow- 
ing year £119 for church renovation. 

In 1878 Captain Hansler, grandson of the founder of 
the church, left £600 in consols the interest cf which 
was to go to the upkeep of the chapel. 

In 188 1 Mr. Popley resigned, and died at Brighton 
in 1892. After his departure the little cause dwindled 
and became almost extinct. It was eventually reduced 
to one member, Mrs. Crowhurst, who had the honour of 
holding the fort for Congregationalism in Thames 
Ditton, alone. 

In 1882 it was taken over by the Congregational 


Church at Kingston and Rev. J. Onley was appointed 
pastor, with Rev. G. Burgoyne from Brandeston, Suffolk, 
to serve under him as Evangelist. This arrangement 
continued for four years until by the help of the Surrey 
Union the little church became strong enough again to 
standalone. Then Mr. Onley resigned and Mr. Burgoyne 
was elected pastor. 

In 1887 Miss Varnell presented an American organ 
to the church, which was an invaluable aid to the 
psalmody. In 1889 the church was repaired, £110 
being raised by two sales of work. 

In 1893, in consequence of increasing deafness, Rev. G. 
Burgoyne resigned after a faithful ministry of eleven 
years carried on amid great difficulties, and the following 
year, 1894, Rev - Walter Greig took up the work. Mr. 
Greig was recognised on September 27, 1894. At his 
recognition service Mr. Greig announced his intention of 
building a new chapel. He remarked that " he never 
knew a prosperous church with only one room for all 
its meetings." The work seemed at first an impos- 
sibility, but a church meeting was called, and permission 
given to the minister to build if the church was opened 
free of debt. Nothing daunted Mr. Greig at once took up 
the work, and after five years' incessant effort obtained 
two-thirds of the amount. 

The foundation stone was laid in June, 1899, by Mrs. 
Scriven, of Tudor Court, and on November 28 of the 
same year the new sanctuary was opened by a sermon 
from Rev. J. Morlais Jones, of Lewisham. Including 
site, the chapel cost £2,500 and within a year of open- 
ing every penny was paid. 

Mr. Greig had thus redeemed his promise, but the 
state of his health did not allow him long to minister in 
the church he had built. After ten years' labour he 

R 2 


retired in 1904, much to the regret of his people, and 
has lately passed to his rest. 

The same year an invitation was given to Rev. J. G. 
Tolley, to accept the pastorate. Mr. Tolley was trained 
for the ministry at Hackney College, and has held 
pastorates at Parkstone, Mansfield, and Basingstoke 
(Asst.). He thus brings to the work a fund of experience 
and there is every reason to hope that prosperous days 
are before the little cause that has bravely struggled on 
through many difficulties. 


(18H-1857 (?) ) 

This was one of the places described in 181 1 and 
1827 as " Calvinistic Methodist." It was at the latter 
date, and for several years afterwards, the scene of the 
ministry of Rev. R. T. Hunt, who was subsequently 
pastor at Collier's Rents. From 1835 to 1857 we have 
no account of its ministers or connection ; but in the 
year last named it was controlled by the London 
Chapel Building Society, under whose auspices Rev. 
W. H. Aylen, B.A., a Cheshunt student who had 
ministered for four years at Salisbury, was appointed 
to the charge. 

Mr. Aylen remained till March, i860. Of his after 
course we are not informed. He was followed by Rev. 
Norman Glass, from Cardiff, who removed to Basing- 
stoke in 1863, and died thirty years later after a varied 
and useful but somewhat troubled ministry. Next 


came Rev. T. Stephenson, from Richmond Wesleyan 
College. In 1867 he removed to Burdett Road, 
Stepney. Rev. T. W. Tozer, from Dudley, succeeded 
in 1868, and laboured for nearly nine years amidst 
much discouragement. He then removed to Ipswich, 
where he laboured happily for fifteen years. In 1890 
he retired from the regular ministry, but was for long 
after engaged in valuable social and philanthropic 
work at Ipswich, where he died September 9, 1903. 
Rev. W. Telfer was his successor in the Kennington 
pastorate. After abundant and fruitful labours as a 
rural evangelist and as a town missionary in Leeds, he 
had ministered successfully for two years at Glossop 
and for fifteen years at Whittlesea, Cambs. At first 
the result of his labours in Kennington was very 
encouraging. The building was filled, many were led 
to decision, and it was resolved to buy the freehold and 
rebuild the church. But unhappily dissensions broke 
out, disappointment weighed upon his spirits, and his 
health failed. He resigned in February, 1886, and 
died August 7, following, in the sixty-ninth year of his 
age and thirty-seventh of his ministry. The church 
then disappears from the lists of the Union. 



Although a church governed on strictly Congre- 
gational principles has only existed here since 181 1, 
the history of Nonconformity in Wandsworth goes 
back to the sixteenth century. 


In November, 1572, a company of godly men met at 
Wandsworth, and after prayerful consideration resolved 
that " Since they could not have the word of God 
preached, nor the sacraments administered without 
idolatrous geare, it was their duty to break off from 
the public churches, and to assemble as they had 
opportunity, in private houses or elsewhere, to worship 
God in a manner that might not offend against the 
light of their consciences." They then drew up a 
Scheme of Discipline, substantially Presbyterian, 
" resolving to practise it as far as the evil cir- 
cumstances of the times permitted." This meet- 
ing has been claimed as " the first Presbytery in 
England." Amongst those present were some of 
the most eminent Puritans of the day. Thomas 
Cartwright, the deprived Cambridge Professor of 
Divinity ; Walter Travers, the friend of Beza ; John 
Field, lecturer at Wandsworth, and one of the authors 
of the " Admonition to Parliament " ; Dudley Fenner, 
Stephen Egerton, and others. Eleven of the laymen 
present were appointed elders, and the gathering was 
virtually, if not formally, a meeting of presbytery. But 
"there was no formal constitution of a church court, no 
separate congregations were gathered from the parishes, 
no chapels erected for Nonconformist worship," 
according to McCrie's " Annals of English Presby- 
terianism." Waddington says : " The Presbytery of 
Wandsworth, 'erected' on paper, was immediately 
demolished ; the leaders of the party succumbed, and 
their meetings were discontinued." But, according to 
Bishop Bancroft's " Dangerous Positions," published 
in 1593, "they had their meetings of ministers, termed 
brethren, in private houses in London [eight ministers 
are named], which meetings were called conferences, 


according to the plot in the first and second admonitions 

The "Scheme of Discipline " above referred to was 
printed in 1642, and had some influence in shaping the 
Presbyterian organisations under the Long Parliament. 
As to the men who endeavoured to realise it, their 
names, numbers, and places of meeting are unknown. 
A tradition was long and lovingly cherished that the 
old chapel in High Street, formerly used by French 
refugees, and pulled down in 1883, had been erected 
for and used by those early Wandsworth Presbyterians. 
But it is more likely their meetings were in private 
houses, and were sooner or later discontinued. 

The old chapel had an interest of its own, though 
neither Presbyterian nor Congregational. It was 
probably erected by the refugees for their own use. 
The French church died out in the eighteenth century, 
the building was closed and became private property, 
and after being licensed for Episcopal worship whilst the 
parish church was rebuilt, it was used as a storehouse 
for building material. At some time during its history it 
was used by John Wesley, who often preached in the 
old building, and who here baptised his first heathen 
convert, a negro brought over from the West Indies 
by a resident of Wandsworth, Francis Gilbert, brother 
of the Speaker in the House of Representatives at 

Wesley at first found the people very cold and 
indifferent, but shortly before his death he writes more 
hopefully. He says " I preached once more at poor 
Wandsworth. The house was more crowded than it 
has been for several years, and I could not but hope 
that God will once more build up the waste places." 

The next we hear of the old chapel is that a 


Mr. Mackenzie hired it and preached in it sometimes. 
He was succeeded by a Mr. Best, who preached till age 
and infirmity made it clear that he could no longer 
minister to the people, when Rowland Hill took it 
under his care. 

He arranged for the retirement of Mr. Best and for 
the supply of the pulpit through the Evangelical Asso- 
ciation, afterwards the Hackney Theological Seminary, 
and now the Hackney College. 

In 1808, that Association purchased the lease of the 
chapel, and afterwards the freehold, for £34°> the family 
from whom it was purchased retaining a pew sufficient 
to seat six persons. Then the committee bought a 
strip of ground at the side, and, having renovated and 
reseated the chapel at an outlay of £1,600, reopened 
it on January 10, 1809. 

The first pastor in the restored building was Rev. 
James Elvey, who organised a church on Congrega- 
tional principles. He became pastor in February, 1811, 
and held the charge till 1817. He was followed two 
years later by Rev. W. Seaton, who went over, in 1824, 
to the Established Church. 

The following year Rev. J. E. Richards accepted the 
pastorate. Mr. Richards was born at Penryn on 
September 20, 1798. He commenced preaching in the 
villages when quite a lad, and was only seventeen when 
he entered Hackney College. His first charge was at 
Mevagissey, Cornwall, where he remained six years. 
During Mr. Richards's pastorate the chapel was repaired 
at a cost of £500, and a vestry and schoolroom built. 
The renovated building was opened on Wednesday, 
June 8, 1831. At this time there were seventy members 
in fellowship, a prosperous Sunday school and an 
extensive Christian Instruction Society. 


In 1848 Mr. Richards removed to Coverdale Chapel, 
Limehouse. The last six years of his ministry were 
spent at Albion Chapel, Hammersmith. He resigned 
the regular work of the pastorate in 1868, at the age of 
seventy, but for several years served the churches as an 
occasional supply. He passed to his rest August 26, 1884. 
He was the oldest minister on the London Board, and 
the oldest but one in the denomination. For nineteen 
years he was Secretary of the Surrey Mission, and for 
thirty years secretary of Hackney College. After an 
interval of eighteen months Mr. George Palmer 
Davis, B. A., a student of Homerton College, was invited 
to the vacant pulpit at Wandsworth, but his health 
failed and he removed in March, 1854. 

Rev. Portas Hewart Davison succeeded him on the 
first day of 1855. He was a native of Hull, where he 
was born April 28, 1819, and like his predecessor com- 
menced preaching when a mere lad. After finishing his 
college course at Rotherham he became pastor of the 
church at Dronfield, Derbyshire, and afterwards at 
Cockermouth. Wandsworth had by this time grown 
from a small village to a suburb of ten thousand people, 
and the inconveniently situated little chapel was quite 
inadequate to the needs of the place. A freehold site 
was obtained in a commanding position upon the East 
Hill, and on November 22, 1859, John Churchill, Esq., 
laid the foundation stone. The chapel was opened on 
September 6, i860; Rev. Dr. Alexander preached in the 
morning, and the Rev. A. M. Henderson in the evening. 

The report of the Chapel Building Society the 
following year is able to state that the entire amount 
of the cost — over £3,000 — has been raised and paid, and 
already a congregation has gathered equal to the 
capacity of the building. Mr. Davison's best work was 


done at Wandsworth, but it was too much for his 
strength. His health, never very robust, broke down. 
In 1869 he resigned the charge, and the following year 
accepted a call to Wellington in Somerset, where he 
laboured three years. He continued to reside there till 
his death on January 7, 1894. 

In 1871 Rev. D. Bloomfield James, of Castle Green 
Chapel, Bristol, became pastor, and so greatly did the 
congregations increase under his ministry that in 1876 
it was found necessary to secure additional land and 
enlarge the building. This was done at a cost of nearly 
£5,000. The body of the old structure was made the 
transept of the new, and the seating accommodation 
was increased to hold 1,030 worshippers. A handsome 
white stone pulpit, with inlaid marble, and marble 
pillars was presented to the church by one of the 
deacons, Mr. J. Toms of Kensington and Enfield. 

In 1878 Mr. James removed to Swansea, and the 
church remained without a pastor till 1880 when Rev. 
John Park, of Stroud, accepted a call to the vacant 
pulpit. That same year a successful effort was made 
to clear off the remainder of the debt. 

The extinction of the debt was the opportunity for 
fresh enterprise. A handsome building adjoining the 
church was erected for the Sunday school, comprising 
lecture hall, class rooms, vestries, etc. This was 
opened in December, 1882. The congregation then 
turned its attention to the original building down in 
the High Street. Here a school was also carried on, 
and Mr. C. W. Toms and Mr. Henry Geard, two of the 
deacons, provided lectures and popular entertainments 
during the week for the working classes. These and 
other works carried on by the church were sadly incon- 
venienced for lack of efficient accommodation. So it 

Old Church, Wandsworth. 

East Hill Church, Wandsworth. 


was determined to pull down this ancient building and 
erect a large hall capable of holding some 500 persons. 

Mr. James Curtis, who had stimulated the removal 
of the debt, promised a further generous donation of 

For the last time the friends gathered in the old 
building, hallowed by so many sacred memories. The 
pastor gave out the hymn — 

" Here we suffer grief and pain, 
Here we meet to part again, 
In Heaven we part no more." 

Shortly after, the old building was pulled down, and 
the memorial stones of the new hall were laid by 
Mr. C. W. Toms and Mr. Henry Geard. This was 
opened in 1883, and at once became a centre of much 
religious and philanthropic effort. The hall accommo- 
dates 500 people, and cost £4,000. In the year 1884 
the church also erected at Earlsfield, on ground bought 
by the London Congregational Union, a mission hall 
to hold 400 people, the whole cost of which has been 
paid. The congregation now worshipping there became 
some years later, with the hearty consent of the East 
Hill church, sufficiently strong to be formed into a 
distinct fellowship. 

In 1904, under the superintendence of Mr. R. Piggott, 
B.A., a new mission hall was built in Garratt Lane, 
costing over £2,000 including the site, and here a most 
successful work has been carried on. There is also 
good mission work done at Eltringham Street, in 
premises hired by the church. Altogether during the 
present ministry the total outlay on the various buildings 
has been nearly £13,000. 

At a church meeting held in 1899 it was resolved to 


raise a sum of one thousand guineas for the Twentieth 
Century Fund. At the end of igoi the sum of £1,098 
had been forwarded to the treasurer, the whole of which 
was devoted to the Central Fund. 

The twenty-fifth anniversary of Mr. Park's settlement 
was celebrated on April 19, 1905, by an enthusiastic 
meeting, at which the pastor was presented with £500 
and a gold watch, and Mrs. Park with a diamond 
brooch. The church at that time had over 600 mem- 
bers in fellowship, exclusive of missions, and over 1,800 
scholars in the four Sunday schools. 

Mr. Park retired in 1906, after thirty-six years of 
ministerial service. The following year a call was given 
to Rev. W. L. Lee, who had ministered for thirteen 
years at Kettering. 



One of the most interesting localities around London 
is the village, or as it should now be termed, the suburb, 
of Merton. It is a very ancient parish. The Priory here 
was established in 1117, and gave to Thomas a Becket 
his education. Here also was educated Walter de 
Merton, who was Lord High Chancellor in 1260 and 
who founded Merton College at Oxford. The Statutes 
of Merton were passed by the Barons assembled in 
Council in the reign of Henry III. Later it found 
repute as the residence of Nelson, who lived with the 
Hamilton s at Merton Place. An entry occurs in his 
diary of September 13, 1805, when he left six weeks 


before his death : " At half past ten drove from dear, 
dear Merton, where I left all that I hold dear in this 
world to go to serve my King and Country." 

Merton will be interesting also to many as the place 
where William Morris established his manufacturing 
settlement in some disused print works on the high road 
from London to Epsom. 

The Nonconformity of Merton dates from the end of 
the eighteenth century, when a Mr. Ovington, of 
Clapham, conducted services amidst great opposition 
from the villagers. 

A room was opened in 1798, and application was 
made to the London Itinerant Society for preachers. 
The first meeting was conducted by Rev. Mr. Upton of 

In 1816 the house in which they met was altered and 
adapted for public worship, and a new front elevation 
erected at a cost of £150. The building was crowded 
to excess. 

The church was formed in 1818, with forty-five 
members. Mr. Adolphus Erlebach undertook the 
pastorate and continued with the church for over six- 
teen years, till in 1834 he accepted a call to the Indepen- 
dent Church at Tamworth. 

In 1837 a friend of the cause, Mr. Winterflood, in 
addition to a donation of £100, purchased a piece of 
ground in the Morden Road, on which a new chapel was 
erected. The foundation stone was laid by Rev. George 
Clayton, of Walworth, on September 10, 1839 ; and the 
building, which seated 800 people, was opened the follow- 
ing July. 

The church was variously supplied till the settlement, 
in 1846, of Rev. John Shedlock. Mr. Shedlock was 
born in London, December 5, 1814, and was converted 


under the preaching of Dr. Leifchild. He was articled 
to the great engineer Brunei, and eventually became a 
contractor for a portion of the G. W. Railway about 
Maidenhead and Reading. Whilst living at Reading 
he frequently preached in the villages and finally gave 
himself entirely to the work of the ministry. He 
studied at Glasgow University and at the Theological 
Academy. He remained at Merton till i85i,when he 
removed to Boulogne, where he opened a room and con- 
tinued to preach. In 1862 he accepted the Secretary- 
ship of the Evangelical Continental Society in London, 
which he held till his death on February 8, 1872. 

The next pastor, John Gwilym Roberts, came from a 
secluded village in Merionethshire. Mr. Roberts had been 
educated at Bala and Airedale Colleges, and accepted 
the pastorate of Merton in 1856. Here he spent 
some of the happiest years of his life. He soon attracted 
overflowing congregations and raised the church to a 
position of considerable influence and strength. To the 
deep regret of his people he accepted an invitation to 
Berkeley Street, Liverpool, in i860. He subsequently 
held charges at Howden, Yorks., and Norland Chapel, 
Shepherd's Bush, which latter he resigned in 1880 to 
accept a position as Secretary to the Society for the 
Protection of Women and Children. He was seized with 
paralysis on September 30, 1882, and died a fortnight 

In 1861 the church called Rev. Robert Davies to the 
vacant pulpit. Mr. Davies was born in Carnarvon, 
September 9, 1815. Early in life he gave promise of 
his future career, and when quite young was admitted a 
member of the church at Pendref. His first charge 
was at Ripley, Hants ; three years later he removed to 
Bilston, where he remained for twelve years. His voice 


failing him, he was obliged to resign and take a long 
rest. He then accepted the invitation to Merton. Dur- 
ing his ministry a large schoolroom was erected behind 
the chapel at a cost of £400. This was opened on 
November 8, 1863. In 1872, after a pastorate of twelve 
years, he removed to Bath, where he did much useful 
work. He died in that city on June 1, 1879. Dr. 
Raleigh, writing of him as a student, says, " He was a 
man of the clearest honesty, and of the profoundest 
sincerity of character whom I have ever known." 

Mr. Davies was followed by Rev. J. Baxter Pike, of 
Crescent Road Church, Plumstead. He accepted the 
pastorate in December, 1872, and was recognised the 
following April. During his ministry a scheme for 
enlarging the church was hopefully initiated ; but this 
failed owing to dissension which ended in the with- 
drawal of several members. Mr. Pike remained till 
October, 1878, when he retired from ill health. 

The next minister was Rev. B. Crowther. He came 
to Merton in 1879, and resigned in 1894. We find no 
particulars of his ministry except a presentation on the 
completion of his tenth year. In 1894 the Rev. Percy 
Smith Atkinson accepted the invitation of the church. 
Mr. Atkinson was trained at Cheshunt, and had held 
pastorates at Driffield, Kennington and Warsash. He 
remained until 1904, preaching his farewell sermon on 
May 8. 

The cause was now in a very low and feeble condition. 
The friends at Merton approached the Surrey Union and 
asked that the work might be taken over and an evan- 
gelist appointed; but the Union was unable to assume 
the responsibility. At this juncture the church at Worple 
Road, Wimbledon, generously came forward, and 
negotiations were opened with a view to amalgamating 


the Merton church with Wimbledon. The arrange- 
ments were satisfactorily carried through and the 
amalgamation was effected in January, 1906. 

The opening of the building under the new auspices 
took place on Wednesday, May 16. The old chapel had 
been transformed into a modern mission hall ; pews and 
pulpit had given place to chairs and a handsome rostrum, 
and in every respect the building was made suitable for 
the new development of the work. Mr. Bernard Slater 
has since been appointed superintendent and commenced 
his work with every prospect of success. 




On Wednesday, February 3, 1819, four men and five 
women were constituted a " Calvinistic Independent 
Church " in Acre Lane, Brixton. Devotional services 
were conducted by Revs. Chas. Wyatt, Ingram Cobbin, 
and Jas. Davies, of Fareham, and a sermon was preached 
by Rev. John Leifchild. A fortnight later Rev. Jas. 
Davies was called to the pastorate of the newly-formed 
church. Of his ministry or its ending we have no par- 
ticulars. If he was the James Davies who afterwards 
ministered at Totteridge and Haverhill, his stay here 
must have been brief. The next minister of whom we 
find any record is John Jack. He was born in Scotland 
in 1797, was connected with the " Burgher " branch of 
the Secession Church, and was a missionary in Russia 
from 1819 to 1824. Becoming a Congregationalist, he 


was invited to Brixton, and on July 23, 1826, was 
" publicly inducted " to the charge by Revs. G. Clayton, 
Jos. Fletcher, Eb. Henderson, W. Orme, and Dr. 
Winter. " On some account it was deemed expedient 
to reorganise the church," which was done in the same 
month ; a church meeting, consisting of six men — none 
of them on the original church roll — dissolved the 
church by resolution, and constituted a new church 
consisting of themselves. In February, 1834, Mr. Jack 
removed to Bristol, and afterwards to Kingsbridge, 
where he died on December 5, 1863. 

His successor at Brixton was Rev. S. A. Dubourg, 
from Marden, formerly at Pain's Hill. In 1835 the 
chapel was enlarged. In 1848 the lease expired, and 
the congregation removed to a new church in Park 
Crescent, Clapham, which cost £2,500, and was opened 
on July 19, with sermons by Revs. Dr. Leifchild and 
Jas. Sherman. Mr. Dubourg laboured successfully till 
June, 1851, when he was stricken with paralysis, and 
died the following year. 

Rev. Benj. Price, a student from New College, suc- 
ceeded. Of his pastorate we have no details. He left 
in April, 1858, and subsequently ministered at Worth- 
ing, Eltham, Islington, and Canterbury. He died in 
1892. The church is described as being " in a very low 
and depressed condition " when, on Mr. Price's removal, 
the charge was undertaken by Rev. J. Nelson, who had 
been thirty-four years in the Wesleyan ministry. He 
reduced the debt on the church building by £500. In 
1864 he resigned, and afterwards ministered for some 
time at Croydon. 

After a short interval Rev. W. Gooby was invited 
from Winsham, Somerset. He had been formerly a 
missionary of the Church of Scotland in Egypt. He 



only remained at Clapham about two years, 1865—67, 
when he removed to Staines, and afterwards held pas- 
torates at Shepherd's Bush, Cuckfield, and Winchester. 
From 1867 to 1870 the church, still " much depressed," 
enjoyed the earnest and stirring ministry of Rev. 
Taliesin Davies, who had already done very successful 
work at Wooburn, Bucks. His labours at Clapham, 
however, seem to have been attended with disappoint- 
ment. Much the same is reported of Rev. H. Mayo 
Gunn, formerly for twenty-eight years the popular and 
successful pastor of Warminster, whose hymn, " Our 
Fathers were highminded men," is not likely soon to 
become obsolete. But all that he was able to effect at 
Clapham was to clear the remaining debt. After three 
years, 1870 — 73, he removed to Sevenoaks, and died 
May 21, 1886. 

Of the next minister, Rev. T. Slocombe, who came 
from North Petherton, Somerset, in 1873, we only 
know that he was a student from the Bristol Institute, 
and removed to St. Albans in 1876. The charge was 
then assumed by the Rev. Thos. Ray, LL.D., a son-in- 
law of Rev. S. A. Dubourg. After ministering at 
Hatfield and Bishop's Stortford he had been for many 
years a successful schoolmaster in Peckham. He 
served the church at Clapham from 1876 to 1885, and 
then retired. 

Rev. W. H. Edwards came from Bushey in 1885, and 
removed to River Street, Islington, in 1888. For the 
next two years the pulpit is reported as " supplied." 
Then in 1890 and 1891 it is "provisionally" occupied 
by Rev. A, Wickson, LL.D.; again "supplied" for 
three years longer. In 1895 and 1896 we meet with the 
name of a Mr. F. Thompson, who was not recognised 
by the Union; again follows the note "supplied"; 



and in 1898 the church was disbanded and the building 

Happily the history of Congregationalism presents 
few records as depressing as that now before us — a 
record of strenuous work done by men of high character 
and conspicuous ability, and resulting only in failure. 
It is well to remember that endeavour, not achieve- 
ment, wins the commendation " Well done, good and 
faithful servant." 




Rev. J. France, M.A., after studying at Hoxton 
College and Glasgow University, accepted a call to 
Lancaster in 1817. His pastorate there was brief; and 
after an interval occupied with tuition in Yorkshire he 
came in 1822 to Ham, a village about midway between 
Richmond and Kingston. Here he established a 
successful private school ; and, finding there was a 
lack of facilities for Nonconformist worship, he con- 
verted part of the school premises into a chapel. A 
small Congregational Church was formed, to which 
Mr. France ministered to the end of his life, a space of 
nearly thirty-two years. He died September 11, 1854, 
aged sixty-five ; soon after which the church was 

s 2 




The first pastor of this church, for whom the present 
building was erected in 1828, was the Rev. Leonard 
James Wake, a student of Lady Huntingdon's College 
at Cheshunt. At first the congregation was regulated 
by the rules of Lady Huntingdon's connexion, but 
during the ministry of Mr. Wake the members adopted 
the principles of Congregationalism. In 1837 Mr. Wake 
was succeeded by the Rev. Henry Heap, who had laid 
the foundation stone of the chapel nine years before. 
Mr. Heap had formerly ministered in the Old Three 
Cranes Meeting House, Queen Street, Cheapside, and 
in Dr. Watts's old chapel in Bury Street. During his 
pastorate at Brixton a Sunday school was erected, and 
much vigour generally infused into the life of the 

Mr. Heap resigned the pulpit of Trinity in 1839 to 
accept a charge at West Street Chapel, Brighton. The 
following year a satisfactory successor was found in 
Mr. Samuel Eldridge, a student of Highbury College, 
and on June 18 he was ordained. Mr. Eldridge entered 
upon his work faced by a debt of £"2,175, which, in 
spite of strenuous efforts, took twenty years to clear. 
One of the first attempts was to address a circular to 
every dissenting minister and congregation in England, 
asking them to contribute £1 each. Soon after Mr. 
Eldridge settled the Church of England prayers were 
discontinued, and the communion thrown open. 

In 1844 a British school was established, which was 


carried on until the work was taken over by the School 
Board. The following year the affairs of the church, 
which had been managed by a committee, were handed 
over to a diaconate, the first deacons being Mr. Thomas 
Eldridge (father of the pastor), Mr. W. Oliver, Mr. J. 
Colins and Mr. Henry Smith. 

In 1850 the schoolroom was enlarged to nearly double 
its size, and considerable alterations and improvements 
were made in the chapel. In 1851 a room was taken 
in the Surrey Road and opened as a mission, and 
another mission was commenced in Effra Parade in 
1863, but this was discontinued three years later. 
Further alterations and additions were carried out 
during the next few years, three class-rooms being built 
in 1866, the old high pews and pulpit giving place to 
more modern seats and platform in 1874. Altogether 
the chapel and school enlargements cost £1,700, which 
was finally cleared off in 1879. 

In 1878 the church celebrated its jubilee, and two 
years later even these rejoicings were eclipsed by the 
celebration of Mr. Eldridge's fortieth anniversary. 

But his labours were not to continue much longer. 
On Sunday, March 25, 1882, while preaching in the 
afternoon, he was seized with paralysis, and died the 
following Friday, having " endeared himself to hundreds, 
by his loving life and earnest efforts to promote the 
welfare, temporal and spiritual of those around him." 
Some delay took place in filling the pastorate, and it 
was not till late in the next year that Rev. W. Herbert 
accepted the position. During his pastorate several 
important improvements were effected, the chief being 
the re-seating of the whole of the gallery. The heavy 
woodwork in front of the gallery was removed, and an 
ornamental iron railing substituted. Also an organ 


chamber was built behind the minister's platform, and 
a fine organ erected in place of the old one. In addi- 
tion, the freehold of the chapel was purchased. The 
next few years moved uneventfully for the church, and 
in 1895 Mr. Herbert removed to Deddington. 

He was succeeded the same year by the Rev. William 
Henry Bradford, who had previously held pastorates at 
Leiston and Needham Market. During his ministry 
the church acquired the present manse and adjoining 
house, with a view of erecting a new building on the land 
behind. This was no easy task, but owing to the great 
generosity of Mr. A. Messent, treasurer, assisted by 
Mr. J. B. Crabb (who has been for forty years the 
secretary of the church) and other friends, the property 
was obtained. 

Mr. Bradford resigned in 1901, and after some 
interval an invitation to accept the pastorate was sent 
to the Rev. Matthias Lansdowne, of Tolmers Square. 
Mr. Lansdowne had previously done splendid service 
for Congregationalism in Bournemouth, where he 
built up one of the strongest churches in the neighbour- 
hood. His formal induction took place February 8, 

Already his earnest and vigorous work has begun 
to tell upon the church ; the membership has more 
than doubled, a large number of organisations are in 
active operation, and the dream of a new church facing 
one of the best roads in Brixton seems in a fairer way 
towards fulfilment. 




This church was first known as Union Chapel, Brixton 
Hill. The foundation stone was laid on May 28, 1829, 
by Rev. George Clayton, of Walworth. The opening 
services took place on October 7. 

A paragraph in the Evangelical Magazine of that year 
says, " This new and important interest, in an increas- 
ingly populous and respectable neighbourhood, origin- 
ated in the pious zeal of a few families of various 
denominations, many of whom are members of the 
Church of England. The church is to be formed on 
Congregational principles, and the doctrines evangelical. 
The pulpit is to be supplied for the first twelve months 
by ministers of the first respectability in town, and 
from the country." 

In April, 1832, Rev. John Hunt, of Chelmsford, 
accepted the pastorate of the church and commenced 
his ministry. Mr. Hunt was a native of the old 
cathedral city of Salisbury, where his father was a 

He was brought up an Anglican, but seems to have 
attended the Congregational Church in that city, and 
was converted under the ministry of Rev. Thomas 
Adams. An association was formed to carry the 
gospel into the surrounding villages, and Mr. Hunt 
became such an efficient member that Mr. Adams 
urged him to devote himself entirely to the work of the 
ministry. He objected to do this without suitable 
training, but shortly afterwards the Hants Association 
invited him to preach on Sundays at Ryde, and Dr. 


Bogue proposed that he should spend the intervening 
days of the week in his training college at Gosport. 
Mr. Hunt agreed to this, and carried on the double 
work of preaching and preparation for four years. He 
settled at Titchfield in 1806, and removed to Chichester 
in 181 1. In 1822 he was invited to Chelmsford, where 
he remained till the call came from Brixton Hill. 

Up to this time no church had been formed, but on 
December 13, 1832, a meeting was held for the purpose 
of uniting those who so desired in church fellowship 
We are told that — 

" It was resolved that a church should be formed of 
the Congregational Order, admitting to full fellowship 
the disciples of our common Lord, irrespective of their 
sentiment on the subject of infant or adult baptism ; 
and to occasional communion at the Lord's Table, 
Christians of every denomination." 

Three days later the members of the newly formed 
church, twenty-four in number, met and signed the 
church book and chose their officers. Mr. Hunt was 
formally recognised as pastor, and two deacons were 

The church having been constituted on the basis of 
" Union," the Liturgy of the Episcopal Church was at 
first used at the morning services. Unfortunately, 
however, the record of this period furnishes very scanty 
information. The earliest item of interest is that in 
1837 the Episcopalian section of the congregation with- 
drew, and built Christ Church in the Christchurch 
Road. Three years later the Baptist contingent 
followed the example of their Anglican brethren, and 
formed a new fellowship which worships in Salem 
Chapel, New Park Road. 

In 1846, when Mr. Hunt had been fourteen years in 


the pastorate, it was decided to give him an assistant. 
The old minister had now passed the threescore years 
and ten, and the days had come when "strength is 
labour and sorrow." Rev. George Burden Bubier was 
appointed, but only held the post for a short time. 

Mr. Bubier was a man of high literary ability, which 
secured for him when a mere youth the friendship of 
such writers as Mary Russell Mitford and Elizabeth 
Barrett, afterwards Mrs. Browning. He removed to 
Cambridge in 1849, and then to Hope Chapel, Salford, 
where he remained ten years. In 1864 he accepted 
the chair of Theology and Philosophy at Spring Hill 
College, which he held till his death, March 16, 1869. 
In addition to his other work, he had for fifteen years 
the management of the literary department of the 
Nonconformist, and well sustained its high reputation. 

On November 25, 1849, Mr. Hunt completed the 
fiftieth year of his ministry, an event which he celebrated 
by a special sermon which was afterwards published 
under the title of " The close of ministerial labour 
contemplated, occasioned by reflections on completing 
the fiftieth year of ministerial service." 

The following May he resigned, having held the pas- 
torate for nineteen years. For a few years longer he 
continued to reside in the neighbourhood, rendering 
occasional service to his ministerial brethren. He was 
taken ill on May 6, 1856, and when told by the doctor 
that his time was near, he replied calmly, " Rather 
hasty, but all is well." 

It is stated that during Mr. Hunt's ministry three 
young men were called to the ministry, and nine sent 
as missionaries to the heathen ; six Congregational 
churches were formed, and the preaching of the Gospel 
established in several towns previously destitute. 


Meanwhile, on March 22, 1851, Rev. John Hall, of 
Latimer Chapel, Mile End Road, had been unanimously 
called to the oversight of the church. The most 
important event of this pastorate seems to have been 
the building of the first Sunday school in 1863, at a 
cost of £1,200. On December 11, 1864, Mr. Hall 
preached for the last time as pastor. He subsequently 
entered the ministry of the Established Church. 

In May, 1865, Rev. D. Anthony, B.A., of Frome, was 
invited to take charge of the church. Mr. Anthony 
accepted, but a month later withdrew his acceptance. 
Mr. Anthony had carefully read the trust deed of the 
church, a thing that few ministers think it necessary 
to do. In his letter of withdrawal he says he found 
it to be of that rigid nature that in its entireness he 
could not accept it. It may be stated that the new 
trust deed is differently constituted. 

So the church had again to look out for a minister. 
In a few months — December, 1865 — their choice fell on 
Rev. Wtn. Martin, of Stockwell Road, who was invited 
to occupy the pulpit for twelve months, with a view to 
the pastorate. Another disappointment was in store. 
Mr. Martin accepted the position, but on January 31, 
1866, he wrote saying that his health was not equal to 
the strain, and the low state of the church demanded 
the services of a minister in the fulness of his strength. 
So he, too, withdrew. 

Another six months elapsed and then Rev. Edwin 
Bolton, of Bromley, Kent, accepted an unanimous call 
to the pastorate, and forthwith began his labours. Mr. 
Bolton was a native of Leamington, where he had com- 
menced Christian work as a local preacher, in connec- 
tion with Spencer Street Congregational Church. In 
1855 he disposed of his business and entered Hackney 


College. Bromley was his first pastorate. In 1869 
Mr. Bolton resigned the pastorate to accept a charge 
at Preston. He afterwards laboured at Weymouth, 
Gravesend, and Northfleet, and at last retired to 
Selhurst, near Croydon, where he died March 11, 1902. 
In 1870 the church decided to pulldown the then exist- 
ing buildings, and erect a new sanctuary. This was done 
at a cost of £7,836, and on December 12, 1871, the new 
buildings were opened. Revs. Dr. Binney, Dr. Raleigh, 
J. Baldwin Brown, Robert Moffatt, and others took 
part in the services. From this time the church was 
known as Streatham Hill Congregational Church. 

For three years the church had been without a pastor, 
and the important work of building had been carried 
through without any ministerial oversight. 

In December, 1872, the Rev. R. A. Redford, of Hull, 
was invited to become the first minister of the congre- 
gation worshipping in the new building. Mr. Redford was 
trained at Spring Hill, and had taken the M.A. and LL.B. 
degrees at London University. His first charge was at 
St. James's, Newcastle-on-Tyne. In 1854 he removed to 
Albion Chapel, Hull, where he ministered for nearly 
twenty years. 

He has contributed a valuable book to Christian 
Apologetics, entitled "The Christian's Plea against 
Modern Unbelief." Mr. Redford accepted the invita- 
tion to Streatham Hill, and held the pastorate till 
April 7, 1876, when he removed to Putney. 

Another long interval elapsed before a successor was 
appointed; but in July, 1877, Rev. J. P. Gledstone, 
formerly of Queen Street, Sheffield, and Park Chapel, 
Crouch End, accepted the charge and commenced his 
ministry on the first Sunday in October. 

In 1878 it was decided to complete the church by 


erecting a new Lecture Hall and Sunday School. The 
foundation stone was laid on December 12 by Mr. 
James Spicer, and the buildings were opened the follow- 
ing June. The total cost was £3,700. The hall, which 
is surrounded by ten class-rooms, provides accommoda- 
tion for 600 children. 

After nearly twenty-four years of faithful service Mr. 
Gledstone resigned his charge January 16, 1901. He 
afterwards became pastor of Abbeydale Church, Shef- 
field, which he had initiated above thirty years before. 
He will be long remembered for his strenuous efforts in 
the cause of national righteousness and public morality, 
and also as the author of an admirable Life of George 
Whitefield. He died February 15, 1907. 

On December 10, 1902, Rev. John Barlow, of Clifton, 
was elected to the pastoral office, and began his ministry 
January 18, 1903. His recognition took place the 
following April; and his earnest and able ministry is 
building up a strong church. 



Of all the suburbs of London, not one is more beauti- 
fully situated than Richmond. Built on the side of a 
hill, with a wonderful view across the valley of the 
Thames, with its noble park above and the river below, 
with its quaint streets and ancient houses, one cannot 
wonder that for centuries it was the residence of kings, 
and to-day is a favourite resort of the people. 

No spot around London is richer in historic interest. 
Here Edward III. closed his long and brilliant reign, 


Here Henry VII. built his palace and died. Here, in 
a room of the old palace overlooking the green, Queen 
Elizabeth passed into the unseen, while beneath her 
window the messenger waited, booted and spurred, 
ready for the signal on which he was to speed on his 
long ride to Scotland to bear the news to King James. 

To trace the early history of Nonconformity in this 
famous town is no easy task. The present church is 
but seventy-six years old, but it is certain that a Non- 
conformist cause existed at a much earlier date. In a 
historical sketch published in the Vineyard Manual for 
1900, we read: " It should be noted that another body 
of Independents existed in Richmond long before this, 
dating back, indeed, to the earliest days of Nonconfor- 
mity. In the Kew Foot Road, just in the rear of the 
structure used by the Salvation Army, is a house which 
still bears the name of ' Chapel House,' and here wor- 
shipped a little band of good men and true, through 
whom we may trace our ancestry to the year 1662." 

Unfortunately we have not been able to find any 
record of this earlier body. Richmond does not appear 
among the list of conventicles in Surrey, prepared for 
Sheldon in 1669; neither is there any record of a 
license obtained for preaching under the indulgence of 
1672. This, however, is no proof that a "gathered 
church " did not exist, as similar corroboration is 
wanting in the case of other churches which are known 
to have been in existence at that time. 

Richmond, however, does appear in a return of 
Nonconformist churches made in 1715, with Thomas 
Flood as minister, but it is given as a Baptist Church. 
In a later list, compiled in 1772, it is not found. 

In 1830 the attention of Mr. Thomas Wilson was 
called to " the populous village of Richmond" as not 


having any regular independent congregation. He 
purchased a freehold site for £500, and built at his own 
expense a very commodious chapel, which cost £"2,000. 

Brayley's " History of Surrey," which usually dis- 
misses Nonconformist churches in a single line, gives 
quite a long description of the building. It was 
opened for public worship on July 21, 1831, and the 
following December a church was formed consisting of 
nine members. 

A few months after the church was founded the 
congregation in Kew Foot Road, referred to above, 
came bodily and expressed their desire to be united 
with the new cause. This brought a considerable 
addition of strength that must have been exceedingly 

For some years the church took no steps to find a 
pastor. The pulpit was supplied by various ministers, 
John Stoughton, Thomas Binney, and Robert Ashton 
being amongst the earliest preachers. 

In 1835 it was felt that the time had come for a 
settled ministry. Mr. Ashton recommended Mr. 
Henry Beresford Martin, who had been a member of 
his own church at Warminster. Mr. Martin accepted 
the invitation and was ordained in 1835. For nine 
years he ministered to the church with devotion and 
energy, but toward the end of his pastorate he became 
quite an invalid, and death soon after closed his first 
and last charge. 

Evan Davies was the next pastor. He was born in 
1805, at Hengwm, in Cardiganshire, but removed to 
London when quite a lad. He joined the church at 
Little Guildford Street, Southwark, under the Rev. D. S. 
Davies, whose ministry led to his conversion. He 
decided to enter the ministry, and was admitted to the 


Western College, then at Exeter. After a short 
pastorate at Great Torrington, he was accepted for 
mission work, and laboured at Demerara, and in China. 
In consequence of ill health he returned to England, 
and was appointed superintendent of the Boys' Mission 
School, at Walthamstow. 

In 1844 he accepted an invitation to Richmond, 
where he remained nearly thirteen years. During Mr. 
Davies' pastorate, in August, 1851, the church was 
partly destroyed by a fire, which broke out in a baker's 
shop at the corner of Hill Rise. Unfortunately the 
building was only insured to half the original cost. 
An appeal was made for help, Mr. William Hankey 
leading the way with £50. At the same time that the 
church was restored the present schoolroom was con- 
structed though not completed. 

Mr. Davies is spoken of as a man of warm heart, and 
unworldly to his own hurt. His diffidence deterred him 
from many things he had the ability to do. He must 
have had, however, much of the affection of his people, 
for on his resignation he was presented with a purse of 
200 guineas. He resigned the pastorate in 1857, and 
afterwards laboured at Heywood in Lancashire, and 
Hackney, and died at Hornsey in 1864. 

James Branwhite French succeeded him. Mr. French 
was born at Hackney in 1826. Aroused by a sermon 
of Mr. Sherman's at Surrey Chapel he determined to 
devote himself to the ministry, and entered Cheshunt 
College. Before coming to Richmond he had held 
charges at Lister Hills (Bradford) and Margate. During 
his ministry " Popular Services " were held every two 
months, and other attempts were made by utilising 
passing events to reach the people. 

Partly through the influence of Earl Russell, a British 


school was commenced in the rooms under the Lecture 
Hall, and the present schoolroom was floored and 
completed to meet its growing needs. Subsequently 
the school removed to the premises they now occupy. 
It is interesting to note that Mr. Vernon J. Charles- 
worth, so well known in connection with Mr. Spurgeon*s 
orphanage, was one of the earliest and most successful 

During his ministry at Richmond Mr. French married 
the granddaughter of Mr. Thomas Wilson, whose 
generosity had built the chapel. 

Mr. French resigned his pastorate in December, 1863. 
His after career was one of considerable change though 
great usefulness. He originated the church at Hamp- 
stead, where Dr. Horton so successfully labours. Later 
in life he accepted an incumbency in the Established 
Church at High Wycombe. An attack of heart disease 
leading to his retirement, he resided at Kensington and' 
Hackney, where he filled his time with literary labours. 
His last work was to take charge of a small church at 
Summertown, a growing suburb of Oxford ; but before 
a new building could be completed he was found dead 
in his bed, February 23, 1892. 

In March, 1864, Rev. George S. Ingram accepted the 
vacant post. Mr. Ingram had been educated in the 
University of Glasgow, and the Theological Hall of the 
Scotch Congregationalists under Dr. Ralph Wardlaw. 
He had held two charges in Glasgow, but the health of 
his family sent him south to Twickenham. 

The invitation to Richmond was very hearty, and 
was the commencement of a long and happy union, 
during which he brought the church to a high state of 
efficiency and influence 

Mr. Ingram was greatly respected in the town. He 


took a keen and active interest in its life. He was one 
of the founders and supporters of the Richmond 
Athenaeum, and was greatly interested in the Free 
Library. He was an ardent reformer, and, though he 
loved peace, a keen controversialist. His pen and his 
voice were ever emphatically on the side of progress. 

In 1871 the church building was enlarged and 
generally renovated, being considerably extended in 
length. Ten years later the church celebrated its 
jubilee, and erected a new organ as a memorial of the 
event. Mr. Ingram resigned the pastorate in 1888, and 
retired to live with one of his sons at Clapham. 

In October of the same year Rev. Palmer Grenville, 
B.A., LL.B., commenced his ministry. Mr. Grenville 
had held pastorates in Glasgow and Stroud. He 
retained the charge of the church till 1890, and subse- 
quently accepted an invitation to Haslemere, but 
returned to Richmond in 1895, where he still resides 
and effectively serves the churches as secretary of the 
Free Church Council. 

On Mr. Grenville's resignation the choice of the 
church fell upon Mr. Percy Martin, B.A., a promising 
young student of Hackney College. Mr. Martin com- 
menced his work at Richmond on New Year's Sunday, 
1891, and was ordained on March 20. During his 
pastorate the work extended in all directions and grew 
not only in extent but in activity and efficiency. The 
buildings were renovated throughout, the electric 
light installed, and a " Pleasant Sunday Afternoon 
Brotherhood " was started, which soon became a 
strong society with many well organised and useful 

Mr. Martin brought his successful ministry to a close 
in 1900. He accepted an invitation to the newly formed 



church at Muswell Hill, where he still labours, and is 
building up a vigorous cause. 

At a church meeting held on Thursday evening, 
November i, 1900, it was decided to send a hearty 
invitation to Rev. Archibald Johnstone. 

Mr. Johnstone was trained at Spring Hill College, 
Birmingham. His first pastorate was in Tewkesbury, 
where he laboured for five years. In 1888 he accepted 
an invitation to Sion Church, Halifax, where he 
remained until called to Richmond. 

Mr. Johnstone began his work with the new century, 
on January 1, 1901. Under his care the high traditions 
of the past are worthily maintained. 



In a list of London churches, published in 1827, we 
find sixteen enumerated as " Calvinistic Methodists 
and other partial Conformists." Several of these were 
private property, amongst which was one called 
Vauxhall Chapel, owned and served by a Rev. F. 
Moore. In 1832 this gentleman, disregarding the 
remonstrances of the congregation, let the building to 
a clergyman of the Established Church ; and thirty of 
the communicants, " unwilling to be transferred with 
the property," met on July 23, constituted themselves 
a Congregational Church, and issued an appeal for 
help. A week later Messrs. Benj. Baines and P. W. 
Wade were chosen deacons. A site was secured, and 
on Easter Monday, April 8, 1833, the foundation of a 


chapel was laid, which was opened on January 2, 
1834, by Revs. Dr. Collyer, Dr. Morrison, and J. 
Clayton, M.A. 

The first pastor, Rev. E. Cherry, was chosen on 
January 1, 1835, but left abruptly at the end of two 
years. In July, 1838, Rev. Jas. Mirams, formerly a 
missionary in Berbice, was called to the pastorate. 
The church prospered under his ministry, Sunday and 
day schools were organised, various benevolent societies 
constituted, and the debt greatly reduced. After nine 
years Mr. Mirams removed to Australia, leaving grateful 
and affectionate memories in the church at Esher 


He was succeeded in October, 1847, by Rev. W. 
Leask, from Dover. His ministry is described as 
" instructive and earnest." He was much devoted to 
those millennarian speculations which were popular in 
the middle of the last century, and which he (later) 
sought to promulgate in a periodical called the Rainbow. 
In August, 1856, he removed to Ware. He was the 
author of numerous works in prose and verse, which 
had a considerable vogue in their day, and the merit of 
which was recognised by a diploma of D.D. from one 
of the American Universities. He died in 1884, aged 

To Dr. Leask succeeded Rev. Job Marchant, who 
for nine years had ministered at Barkway, Herts. His 
pastorate of twenty-six years was abundantly fruitful ; 
but before its close the social changes which pass in 
turn over every such neighbourhood began to be 
injuriously felt. For several years Mr. Marchant 
preached regularly on Sunday afternoons at Union 
Chapel, Islington. From 1875 he was secretary to the 
" Apprenticeship Society," and from 1878 Chaplain at 

T 2 


the Tooting Cemetery. He resigned his pastorate in 
1883, and died December 16, 1893, in his seventy-eighth 

In 1885 a Mr. McGaffin occupied the pulpit. Of 
him we have no further information. In 1886 Rev. 
P. S. Atkinson, from Driffield, Yorks., accepted the 
pastorate, but removed in 1889 to Warsash, Hants. In 
1890 a Mr. C. J. Lidstone is named, who, however, was 
not recognised by the Surrey Union. For the next two 
years the church is reported as " supplied." Then, in 
1893, it was taken in charge by W. S. Caine, Esq., 
M.P. ; and in 1896 the chapel was acquired by the Brix- 
ton Congregational Church. Having been thoroughly 
renovated and adapted for new forms of service, it has 
again become a hive of spiritual and beneficent activities 
under the name of "The Moffat Institute." 




Claylands Chapel was built for the Rev. John Styles, 
D.D., a well-known divine of the early part of the last 
century. According to a note in the Evangelical Magazine 
the erection had its origin in the compulsory secession 
from Holland Chapel, North Brixton (now Christ 
Church, Kennington), of Dr. Styles, and the dissenting 
part of his congregation. 

Dr. Styles commenced his ministry at a comparatively 
early age, at West Cowes in the Isle of Wight ; from 
that place he removed to Brighton, and later to North 


Brixton, where, at no small pecuniary sacrifice, he erected 
Holland Chapel. Here he preached for some years 
with singular ability and acceptance. 

In 1835 it became necessary to sell the chapel in 
order to meet the demands of the mortgagees. But 
the friends of Dr. Styles, anxious to retain his ministry, 
formed themselves into a Congregational Church, and 
proceeded to erect Claylands Chapel. 

Dr. Styles himself laid the foundation stone on 
January 1, 1836 ; the building was opened on June 29 
of the same year, when Rev. T. Binney, J. Hunt, and 
John Campbell took part in the services. 

Here Dr. Styles laboured till 1844, when he removed 
to Foleshill, near Coventry, to minister to the church 
there till his death. His last days were actually spent 
within sight of Claylands, and he died at No. 8, Clapham 
Road Place, on Friday, June 22, 1849. 

He obtained a reputation not only as a preacher, but 
as a powerful and voluminous writer. Amongst his 
works were " A Dictionary of the Denominations of 
Christendom," a book of over 500 pages of ecclesiastical 
learning, and "The Life of David Brainerd." He also 
wrote an Essay on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 
which won for him a prize of £100. 

For some time after Dr. Styles's removal Claylands 
Chapel was in a very unsettled condition. Indeed, it 
would have met the same fate as Holland Chapel, and 
been sold to meet the mortgage, had not the Metro- 
politan Chapel Fund Association purchased it, mainly 
through the influence of Rev. John Hunt, of Brixton 
Hill. Alter the purchase the chapel was renovated and 
galleries erected, thus increasing the number of sittings 
from 345 to 615. It was reopened August 21, 1845. 

At a meeting held on September 10, 1846, twelve 


persons constituted themselves a Christian Church. 
Amongst them were John Doulton, the founder of the 
great pottery firm at Lambeth, W. Bourne, and Henry 
Ridley Ellington. Rev. Dr. Henderson presided, and 
after the church was formed, the little company of 
believers proceeded to elect James Baldwin Brown, of 
Derby, as their pastor, and Messrs. Doulton and Elling- 
ton as deacons. Then the meeting adjourned to Sep- 
tember 30, when eight new members were admitted 
and ten more proposed. Few men have left a deeper 
impress upon their generation than Baldwin Brown, 
and his work demands more than a passing notice. 

He was born at 10, Harcourt Buildings, in the Inner 
Temple, on August 19, 1820. His father was an 
eminent barrister, a staunch Nonconformist, a man of 
great power of mind and no mean literary gifts. His 
mother was the only sister of the well-known Dr. Raffles, 
of Liverpool. Young Brown was sent to University 
College, Gower Street, and in 1839, when hardly nine- 
teen, took one of the first degrees from the newly formed 
London University. He entered the Temple to study 
law, but the gospel had a stronger attraction for him ; 
and the preaching and influence of Dr. Leifchild, in 
whose family he was a welcome visitor, decided him for 
the ministry. After considerable opposition from his 
father, he entered Highbury College, where he remained 
till 1844. 

His first charge was at London Road, Derby, where 
he became minister of a new church, and gained popu- 
larity as a preacher. Whilst here he married Dr. Leif- 
child's niece, to whom he had been engaged since his 
early college days. Here, too, he commenced the long 
series of publications so well known in connection with 
his name. 


In his new sphere at Claylands, Mr. Brown quickly 
gathered about him a congregation embracing many 
men of intelligence and culture, who occupied important 
positions in various walks of life. 

But it was not long before his advanced and liberal 
views in theology brought him into conflict with the 
narrower section of the Christian community. In Derby 
he had come into collision with what one writer terms 
"the outworn Calvinism of the place and time," but 
the publication in 1859 of his first volume, " The Divine 
Life in Man," brought down upon him a fierce and long 
continued attack. The central point of his teaching 
was " the essential Fatherhood of God as revealed in 
the Incarnation." 

It seems strange to us to-day that the presentation 
of a doctrine now so widely accepted, and so generally 
regarded as one of the exquisitely tender truths of the 
Christian faith, could ever have excited such bitter attack. 
But it did, and had Mr. Brown been a man of weaker 
fibre, he might have been driven from the ministry. 
As it was it thrust him into a painful isolation that left 
a deep influence upon his character. But it did not 
hinder his proclaiming what he believed to be the 
most precious truths of his religion, and book followed 
book, that found a large constituency of readers, 
especially amongst the younger men of his own and 
other denominations. 

His work amongst the larger congregation thus 
reached by his pen, did not lessen his interest in the 
ministry at Claylands. He was proud of his position 
as an Independent minister ; and in one of his lectures 
entitled " The Young Ministry in Relation to the Age," 
he defines the position such a minister should hold to 
his people. 


"An Independent minister," he said, " may stand in 
the very highest relation to his people, or the very 
lowest ; he may either rule them by truth, or be ruled 
by their caprice. . . . Independency in contrast with 
other church systems seems to be the assertion that 
in man's spiritual relations nothing can rule him but 
the truth of God, and that nothing else has a 
commission to attempt it." 

Mr. Brown could never be induced to sever the tie 
between himself and his people. In 1858 he was 
invited to become co-pastor with his uncle, Dr. Raffles, 
at Liverpool, but declined. Four years later extensive 
alterations were made in the chapel, which was 
reopened on June 22, 1862. 

But it became necessary a few years later to sever 
his connection with the building. After twenty-five 
years' ministry at Claylands it was decided, in conse- 
quence of the rapid migration of people to the suburbs, 
to build a new church on a more accessible site in 
Brixton. Mr. Brown would only consent on condition 
that the work at Claylands was carried on. In 1871 
the new building was opened, and as pastor of that 
church we must continue the story of his ministry. 

On Sunday, August 14, 1870, before the congregation 
moved to Brixton, Rev. John Foster was the preacher 
at Claylands. He gives an interesting picture of a 
distressingly small congregation, who, anticipating a 
speedy flitting to the glories of Brixton Road, had not 
troubled themselves much as to the appearance of their 
temple, with its high pews, drab painted doors, and 
dim gas lamps rising from the tops of the seats. Some 
months later Mr. Foster received an invitation to the 
pastorate, and commenced his labours on February 5, 


Mr. Foster was a Londoner, born at Clapton Place, 
Hackney, March i, 1830. Not till he was thirty-two 
years of age did he decide to give up a commercial 
career for the ministry. At that time he had been 
chosen out of five or six hundred applicants for an 
important position in the north of England. While 
considering this matter a call came from a little Bap- 
tist church at Rayleigh. He chose to become a minister, 
to his great pecuniary disadvantage; and for three 
years laboured in the little Essex village. In 1865 he 
succeeded John Curwen at Plaistow, and five years 
later was invited to follow Baldwin Brown at Clay- 
lands. A great part of the congregation had gone 
with the minister to Brixton, but some still remained 
at the old chapel, amongst others the venerable John 
Doulton, Dr. Townly, and Mr. Skeen, who was engaged 
upon the Standard. Claylands seems to have had a 
good many literary men amongst her members ; Mr. 
Lucy, the editor of the Daily News, was at one time 
connected with this church. 

Mr. Foster's first work was to clear away the old 
high-back pews, and renovate the church at a cost of 
£1,100. The reopening services took place on Sep- 
tember 17, 1871. 

The continued exodus to the suburbs rendered the 
work increasingly difficult, and the death of Mr. John 
Doulton deprived the church of a staunch and generous 
supporter. But Mr. Foster laboured on for nearly 
seventeen years, drawing many of his congregation 
from remote districts. He was a man of great origi- 
nality and humour and attracted men of high intellectual 
powers by his literary style. He was an enthusiastic 
abstainer, and a great supporter of the temperance 
movement by his voice and pen. 


In 1887 he went to St. Leonards-on-Sea, where he 
remained three years ; living afterwards in retirement. 
During his last years he suffered from heart disease and 
paralysis ; and was called to his rest September 23, 
1898, at the age of sixty-eight. 

The next minister was Rev. Henry Hewett, a student 
of New College. 

He commenced his ministry on the first Sunday in 
July, 1888. For the rest of that year he preached 
about half the Sundays, and took up the full duties 
with the first Sabbath of 1889. 

The following year the chapel was renovated at a 
cost of £yo ; and directly afterwards the church was 
offered the freehold for £450. This was speedily 
raised, and on November 4, 1891, a thanksgiving 
service celebrated the church's entire possession of the 
property. No sooner was this accomplished than the 
people took in hand the renovation of the organ and 
other work, at a cost of £285. A still larger scheme 
followed in igoo, when the schools were rebuilt, and 
the chapel redecorated. The expense of this under- 
taking was £2,550. At the same time Mr. James 
Crump, one of the deacons, generously gave new stained- 
glass windows to the chapel. 

Mr. Hewett spent fourteen years of happy and useful 
service at Claylands, during which time many societies 
were organised, and the membership increased from 71 
to 235. 

In 1903 he accepted an invitation to Pevensey Road, 
Eastbourne, where he still labours. 

That same year the church called Rev. Herbert 
Eastmond Heywood to fill the vacant pulpit. Mr. 
Heywood was also trained at New College, and for 
three years had been assistant minister at Cliftonville, 


Hove, Brighton. Already many signs of the divine 
blessing have followed his ministry. The church is 
doing a good " institutional " work in addition to its 
higher ministry ; and although losing many of the sub- 
stantial people through the continued migration out- 
wards, it is in a thoroughly healthy condition ; the 
work amongst the young people is of a particularly 
encouraging nature. 

Mr. Hey wood has just accepted an invitation to 
Ventnor, Isle of Wight. 




A school and preaching station were opened in 
Captain's Walk, Vine Street, in 1835. The attention 
of the Metropolitan Chapel Fund Association was 
called to the spiritual destitution of the neighbour- 
hood, and it was decided to build a chapel and school- 
room near by, in York Road. The foundation was 
laid by Rev. Thos. Morell, on June 6, 1838, and the 
chapel was opened on January 17, 1839. The cost 

was £3,456- 

On February 20 of the same year a Congregational 
Church was formed under the direction of Revs. 
J. Sherman, of Surrey Chapel, and Geo. Clayton, of 
Walworth. The first settled minister was Rev. R. 
Alliott, LL.D., who commenced his highly successful 
pastorate on April 7, 1843, and continued till June 10, 
1849. He subsequently held professional appoint- 
ments in Western, Cheshunt, and Spring Hill Colleges. 
He published the " Congregational Lecture" on 


Psychology and Theology in 1854 ; was chairman of the 
Congregational Union in 1858-9 ; and died December 
10, 1863. 

His successor at York Road was Rev. Thos. Davies, 
from Maidenhead. His pastorate commenced January 
6, 1850, and ended December 31, 1854. During a 
portion of this time he was secretary of the Chapel 
Building Society. He afterwards held pastorates at 
Preston and Darwen, in Lancashire, with the latter of 
which places his name is more familiarly associated. 
He died May 6, 1892, in the seventy-sixth year of his 
age and forty-seventh of his ministry. 

Next followed Rev. R. Robinson. After a course of 
study at Highbury College he had held pastorates at 
Chatteris and Luton, and commenced his ministry at 
York Road on May 20, 1855. In his time the church 
enjoyed great prosperity. The debt was liquidated by 
the munificence of Joshua Field, Esq., and other 
friends. The scholars from Vine Street were removed 
to York Road; and by the close of Mr. Robinson's 
pastorate it was reported that, since the foundation of 
the school, no less than 400 young people had joined 
the church. Mr. Robinson resigned at the end of 1865, 
to become Home Secretary of the London Missionary 
Society, in which capacity he rendered valuable service 
for twenty years. He died January 10, 1887. 

Rev. Robert Berry entered on the pastorate on 
April 8, 1866. During the preceding nine years he had 
ministered in Lancashire, first at Hindley and then at 
Whitworth. After eight years at York Road he 
accepted a call to Luton, and thence in 1880 to Upper 
Street, Islington, where his greatest work was done. 
That church, founded by Evan J. Jones about the 
beginning of the century, had, through a train of 


deplorable circumstances, become almost extinct. 
Under Mr. Berry's wise and energetic ministry it 
revived, and prospers to this day. In 1897 he returned 
to his old flock at Whitworth, where he died very 
suddenly on June 28, 1902. 

Mr. Berry was followed at York Road, in 1875, by 
Rev. Thos. Davies, M.A., Ph.D., from Pembroke. He 
had studied at Brecon and Gottingen. In 1876 the 
church buildings were improved at a cost of £2,400. 
Dr. Davies was the author of numerous works, including 
two volumes of " Sermons and Expositions," and a 
useful " Commentary on Philippians." He trained 
several young men for the ministry, and was for a time 
classical tutor at "The Pastors' College." In 1886 
he removed to West Brompton, and died November 28, 

Rev. Bevill Allen succeeded. He had been trained 
at Hackney College, and had ministered at Mile End, 
Kilburn, and Tonbridge Chapel (Euston Road), now 
occupied by the Salvation Army. He remained at 
York Road from 1887 to 1893, and then removed to 
Tooting, where he still labours with success. 

From 1893 to 1895 the pulpit was occupied by J. 
Vyrnwy Morgan, a Brecon student, whose pastorate 
seems to have ended unhappily. 

The last minister at York Road was Rev. Allan Red- 
shaw, who had been trained in the Wesleyan College, 
Headingly. After short pastorates at Fairford and 
Malmesbury, he ministered for ten years in the Old 
Chapel at Stroud, and entered on his work in London 
in 1896. Published statistics indicated that his ministry 
was by no means unfruitful ; but the neighbourhood 
had by this time become greatly impoverished, and 
financial difficulties became insuperable. Mr. Redshaw 


retired in 1900, and is now pastor of Clive Vale Church, 

After Mr. Redshaw's retirement the church was dis- 
solved and the building sold. 



Although the church at Hersham is of comparatively 
recent date, the springs of Nonconformity in this neigh- 
bourhood must be sought at a much earlier time. Rev. 
David Anderson, M.A., after his ejectment from Walton- 
on-Thames, remained for a while in the district. He 
must have often preached, for information was laid 
against him by one Robert Johnson, who informs the 
Secretary of State that Anderson lives at Walton-on- 
Thames, where he was last minister. He adds, " He 
is a young man, and has parts to commend him, but is 
now very poor, and his wife is ill. The constable of 
Walton will best get at him on week days, Monday or 
Tuesday, but the sooner the better, because he has 
been to my house to inquire of anything against him." 

Whether he was taken or not does not appear, but 
he soon afterwards went with his family to Zealand, 
and settled at Middleburgh. Here they are said to 
have been reduced to extreme poverty, when a stranger 
— who never permitted his identity to be discovered — 
made provision for their necessities. Mr. Anderson 
afterwards became minister of the English Church at 
Middleburgh, where he died March, 1677. 

The next mention of this neighbourhood is in the list 


of licences under the Indulgence : " Walton - upon- 
Thames, the house of John Daverson, May 16, 1672." 

It is a far step from these early days to the nineteenth 
century, but meanwhile we have no record of any Non- 
conformist services. At that time Walton and Hersham 
were in a sad state of spiritual destitution. Sunday 
was a great day for field sports, and the prize fights on 
Hersham Green were so celebrated as to draw spectators 
from all the neighbourhood round. The Wesleyans, 
in 1820, commenced religious services and a Sunday 
school in a room at the back of the " Fox and Goat " 
public house near the village green. For nearly twenty 
years this was the only place of worship in Hersham, 
as the Established Church did not erect a building till 

In the year 1839 the Home Missionary Society hired 
a room adjoining the " Bears Inn " at Walton. Public 
houses seem to have afforded the only obtainable places 
for worship. The opening services were conducted by 
Rev. G. Evans, of Mile End, on Sunday, September 22, 
and the following Sunday the Rev. Austin E. Lord, 
who had been appointed to this station by the Society, 
entered upon his labours. 

Twenty people assembled in the morning and about 
one hundred and fifty at night. 

Mr. Lord was born at Olney, May 7, 1812. He was 
the child of godfearing parents ; his father was pre- 
eminently a man of prayer. In his early days his 
parents removed to Northampton, when he attended 
the ministry of Rev. C. J. Hyatt, at Doddridge Chapel. 
Here he became a Sunday school teacher and village 
preacher, and desired to give himself to the work of the 
ministry. Shortly after he undertook the management 
of a business in London, and found scope for his activities 


at Barbican Chapel and in connection with the 
Christian Instruction Society. He was advised to 
apply to the Directors of the Home Missionary Society, 
who, as already stated, appointed him to Walton. 

In the public house club room, with only three 
families to support him, Mr. Lord began his work. 
For years he was subject to all kinds of annoyance. 
Waddington says, " Persecution of its kind soon com- 
menced from the vicar, and was long continued. The 
rabble gathered at the door and obstructed the entrance, 
and to create confusion and alarm threw into the meet- 
ing lighted fireworks. A class, more respectable in 
appearance, came and amused themselves by letting 
loose birds to fly at the lights, or in throwing peas 
about during the time of prayer. Behind the pulpit 
was a thin partition of wood, separating a room 
occupied by a person of violent temper, who was 
addicted to profane swearing. Fearful imprecations 
were often heard by the congregation, interrupting the 
words of the preacher." But the work prospered, a 
Sunday school was established, cottage meetings and 
open-air preaching were carried on, the neighbourhood 
was systematically visited, and gradually a congregation 
was gathered. During the next few years, no less than 
twelve attempts were made to secure a site for a chapel, 
but all efforts were thwarted by the neighbouring land- 
owners, who were determined to keep Nonconformity 
out of the village. 

At last a piece of land was obtained at Hersham, two 
miles from Walton : purchased and given, it is under- 
stood, by a Mr. Scott, of Ryder's Farm. On August 
16, 1843, the first stone was laid by Mr. Charles Hindley, 
M.P. for Ashton-under-Lyne : and on August 27, 1844, 
the chapel (a circular building) was opened. 


The church was organised on October 21 following. 
Rev. John Edwards, of Kingston-on-Thames, presided 
over the meeting, and twenty-three persons gave in 
their names for fellowship. Mr. Lord was unanimously 
chosen pastor, and Mr. James Bartholomew was elected 
deacon. Mr. Edwards administered the Lord's Supper 
to the new members, many from other churches 

On December 18, 1844, Mr. Lord was ordained, and 
for thirty-seven years longer laboured with great zeal 
and acceptance in this his first and only charge. 

In 1858 the chapel was enlarged by the erection of a 
gallery, at a cost of £314, the whole of which was 
promptly raised. 

In 1864 a schoolroom was erected, and the chapel 
was renovated and supplied with heating apparatus. 

Mr. Lord's energies were not confined to Hersham. 
There was hardly a village round but received the benefit 
of his preaching, and even such remote places as Ripley 
and Oxted were frequently visited. He was a faithful 
preacher, and valiant for the truth. During his ministry 
no less than 328 were gathered into church fellowship. 
When Mr. Lord had completed thirty years of labour 
in Hersham, the members of the church decided to 
celebrate the event by presenting him with a substan- 
tial expression of their esteem. Soon £664 was raised, 
many members of the Established Church being amongst 
the donors. 

For twelve years longer Mr. Lord continued in the 
service of the church. His death was very sudden. On 
Sunday, July 24, 1881, he preached two sermons with all 
his usual power on " The Christian's Trust " and " God's 
Gift." Two days later he passed to his rest and reward. 
For over a year the church remained without a pastor. 



Then an invitation was given to the Rev. Herbert 
Jason Crouch, who for eight years had successfully 
laboured at Barton Cliff, in Hampshire. Mr. Crouch 
entered upon his work at Hersham on November 12, 
1882. The first invitation, in accordance with a resolu- 
tion passed soon after Mr. Lord's death, was for a pro- 
bationary term of twelve months ; but long before that 
time had expired the church made it permanent, and 
the first anniversary, on November 8, 1883, took the 
form of a recognition service. 

In September, 1884, new trustees were appointed, as 
most of the old ones had passed away. The new deeds 
were deposited in the Memorial Hall. 

The year 1889 was memorable as the jubilee of the 
church, and to celebrate the event the church building 
was further enlarged by the addition of a chancel. In 
this way about 100 extra sittings were provided. Other 
improvements made then and since have cost £1,500, 
the whole of which has been raised. 

It would be impossible to mention all the worthy 
names found on the church roll, but one or two are 
deserving of especial notice. Mr. C. E. Smith, of 
Silvermere, Cobham, by his faithful service and large- 
hearted generosity, encouraged the church through 
forty years. Benjamin Scott, Chamberlain of the City 
of London, whose splendid services in the county are 
noticed elsewhere, was for some years a prominent 
member of this cause. Sir Charles Reed was also 
associated with this church as one of the trustees. 

Mr. Crouch held the pastorate until 1907, when he 
resigned. A serious illness had previously laid him 
aside for some months. The church then called 
Mr. A. Walker, of Guildford, to the vacant pulpit. 
Some unhappy dissensions occurred about the time of 

COB HAM 291 

Mr. Crouch's resignation, the result of which was a 
secession. A new church was formed at Brampton 
Gardens, Hersham ; an iron building was erected, and 
Mr. Crouch elected pastor. 


(1847— 1854) 

Although the church at Cobham is of comparatively 
recent date, Nonconformity goes back almost to the 
ejectment. A licence was granted on May 29, 1672, to 
the house of James Towers, Presbyterian. The receipt 
for the licence, however, gives the name as James 
Powers. But of this meeting nothing more is known. 
As in many another village there is a long silence, 
unbroken for nearly 150 years. But in 182 1 Mr. 
Gayton, an agent of the Surrey Mission, visited the 
village and regularly preached in it for some time, and 
established a Sunday school. Mr. Gayton's connection 
with the mission soon after ceased, and the work 
here appears to have been given up, for there is no 
further mention of Cobham till in 1847. ^ n that year a 
Miss Meller was so impressed with the spiritual 
destitution of the neighbourhood that she called upon 
Rev. A. E. Lord, of Hersham, and begged him to 
arrange for some one to preach the gospel there. The 
common on the Lord's Day was given over to all sorts 
of games, and we are told that more than 100 young 
people from seven to thirty years of age might be seen 
in various groups, spending the day in sports and 
" heathenish pastimes." Miss Meller also waited on 
Rev. J. Morris, of Leatherhead, with the same request. 

Mr. Lord went on the following Sunday, and found 

u 2 


some thirty persons gathered at the hamlet of Down- 
side, about a mile and a half from Cobham. A room 
was hired, and the following month Mr. Lord began 
public worship in the village. Here he and Mr. Morris 
laboured for two years, when the Surrey Mission took 
over the station. 

A larger room was secured, and in 1850 Rev. Henry 
White, who had been engaged in home missionary 
work in Essex, was appointed to the post. 

Rev. J. Shedlock, of Merton, who knew the district, 
went over to help in the introductory services. There 
was some disturbance at the opening meeting, some 
unruly young fellows got into the room and began to 
let off fireworks ; but this opposition excited attention 
and elicited a considerable amount of sympathy, so 
that on the following Sunday the missionary found a 
room full of attentive people. 

Soon he was able to report that the congregation 
was "large and steady." A week-night service was 
commenced, also one on Sunday mornings; and a 
gentleman belonging to the Society of Friends kindly 
came forward and paid the rent for the quarter. 

In 1854 the present chapel was erected at a cost of 
£600, and opened on May 2 entirely free from debt. 
On December 6 following, a church of seven members 
was formed by Rev. L. H. Byrnes, who went over from 
Kingston to preside at the service. Mr. White reports 
the following year : " The appearances of things at 
Cobham are very different from what they were this time 
twelve months. Then we had a dilapidated room in 
which we assembled for divine worship, now we have 
a beautiful chapel, a good congregation, a church 
formed, and a Sunday school established, and all the 
ordinances of religion administered." 


In 1863 Mr. White's connection with the Surrey 
Mission ceased, and he continued to labour among the 
people at his own charge until his retirement ten years 
later. He died at Hersham on May 9, 1883, at the age 
of seventy-five. 

The Surrey Mission, on Mr. White's retirement, made 
a grant of £20 towards the work, and committed the 
oversight of the station to the Rev. A. E. Lord of 

Seven years later we read that the work was still 
under the superintendence of Mr. Lord, and sustained 
principally by a generous friend of the Mission. 

In 1884 Mr. F. W. Whiting was placed here as an 
evangelist. During his ministry a schoolroom was 
built behind the chapel, by C. E. Smith, Esq., of 
Silvermere, Cobham, who presented it to the church. 
The opening took place on January 7, 1886, when Mr. 
A. Smith, the son of the donor, presided. 

In 1888 Mr. Whiting resigned to accept the pastorate 
at Crawley, Sussex. He is now at Henfield. 

For several years Cobham was supplied by preachers 
from the neighbouring villages, chiefly under the over- 
sight of Weybridge. In 1900 Mr. J. F. Moon was 
placed in charge of the church as evangelist. He 
remained until 1904, when the churches at Cobham 
and Byfleet were united by the Surrey Union under 
the Rev. M. Williams, B.A. Mr. Williams had been 
a student of Lancashire College, and graduated at 
Victoria University. His first pastorate was at Oaken- 
gates, Salop, where he remained from 1897 till his 
invitation to Cobham in 1904. 

Under Mr. Williams's ministry the work at Cobham 
has considerably revived. Many difficulties have been 
surmounted ; signs of material and spiritual progress 


are not wanting, and it is confidently hoped that a 
new era of usefulness has been entered upon by this 



Egham is a long straggling town of 12,000 inhabitants 
situated on the banks of the Thames, not far from 
historic Runnymead ; quiet enough to-day, but a place 
of considerable importance in the old coaching times, 
when it was a stopping place on the great coach road to 
the west of England. 

From the parish church of Egham William Reyner, 
B.D., was ejected, after he had ministered to the people 
for forty-six years. He was a godly man, passing rich 
on £60 a year. He gave up his living without any 
prospect of subsistence ; but, says Calamy, through the 
care of divine providence he was in no want, though 
he died worth little or nothing. He remained in 
the parish after his ejectment, till his death in 1666; 
but does not appear to have gathered a church, though 
he preached privately, as far as his strength would allow 

We have to pass over nearly two hundred years 
before we find a Congregational Church in Egham. In 
1851, by the generosity of Mr. J. Remington Mills, M.P., 
the present structure was erected. Mr. Mills, who 
resided in the neighbourhood, not only put up the 
building, but watched over the little cause with the 
kindliest care. The chapel was opened for divine 

EGHAM 295 

worship early in 1851, and invested in trustees for the 
benefit of the congregation. Rev. Joshua C. Harrison 
preached at the opening services. On Wednesday, 
July 7, a service was held in the new chapel, for the 
double purpose of forming a church, and recognising 
Rev. J. G. Manly as its minister. Rev. Dr. Stoughton 
preached, and Rev. Thomas Binney presided at the 
Lord's Supper. Mr. Manly read over the names. 
Twenty-three persons were enrolled as first members of 
the church ; and by show of hands Mr. Manly was 
unanimously elected pastor. Members of neighbouring 
churches united with the new fellowship around the 
Lord's table ; and, says the Evangelical Magazine, the 
whole service was solemn and impressive, the first of 
the kind ever held in Egham. 

Mr. Manly held the pastorate for three years, when 
he removed to Dublin. He was succeeded in 1856 by 
Rev. W. Knight, who ministered till May, 1861. 

The next pastor was Rev. Robert Willan, who was 
born at Dent, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, April 3, 
1818. After a course of study at Edinburgh he laboured 
successfully first at Birstall, near Leeds, and then at 
Holmfirth. He removed to Egham Hill in the autumn 
of 1861. 

Mr. Willan's ministry at Egham was greatly appre- 
ciated by Mr. Mills, who again generously assisted the 
church by erecting two villas, one to be used as a 
manse, and the other to be let for the benefit of the 

In 1878 Mr. Willan removed to Newport, Isle of 
Wight, after a helpful and successful ministry that is 
still remembered. Two years later his wife's health 
forced him to return to Yorkshire ; and the pulpit at 
Birstall being vacant, he resumed his old charge. Here 


he remained till his death, which took place suddenly 
at Dent on June 14, 1883. 

Mr. Willan was followed by Rev. Horrocks Cocks, 
from Putney. A fuller account of him will be found in 
the history of the Putney church. He resigned the 
charge at Egham, through failing health, in 1886. 

Rev. Joseph Lucas was the next minister. He had 
for eleven years worked amid the difficulties of the 
East End of London. During his pastorate at Egham 
new class-rooms were built, which had become an 
urgent necessity owing to the growth of the Sunday 
school. The memorial stones were laid in July, 1888, 
by Mr. Joseph Macdonald; the class-rooms were opened 
the following September, and the whole amount required 
(£250) was raised. 

In 1897 Mr. Lucas, greatly to the regret of his people, 
resigned the pastorate. He has not taken another 
charge, and now lives at Waldron, in Sussex. 

The following year the church gave a hearty invita- 
tion to Mr. Herbert Howard Orme, from Hackney 
College. Mr. Orme was ordained on October 20, 1898. 
Under his ministry an efficient work was carried on, 
and the membership considerably increased. 

In 1901 the church celebrated its jubilee. Special 
services commemorated the event; the choir accommo- 
dation was improved, and the organ rebuilt, at a cost 
of £200. 

In 1904, during the last year of Mr. Orme's ministry, 
the debt incurred in renovating the church was extin- 
guished by a very successful bazaar, at which £163 was 

After seven years' work, Mr. Orme accepted in 
1905 the post of assistant minister at Queen Street 
Church, Wolverhampton. His successor at Egham is 


Rev. A. E. Snashall, late of Milton, near Sittingbourne. 
Mr. Snashall is a son of the late Rev. George Snashall, 
the highty-respected minister of Finsbury Park and 
South Hackney. He is a New College student, and 
his first charge was as assistant to Rev. John Onley, of 
Kingston. He has entered upon his work at Egham 
Hill with great promise of a useful pastorate. 



The church at West Dulwich had its origin in the 
evangelistic zeal of the Rev. B. Kent, of Lower Nor- 
wood, and a few Christian friends. In the latter part 
of the yeari85i these gentlemen united for the purpose 
of providing the neighbourhood of West Dulwich with 
a Nonconformist place of worship. 

The result of their efforts was the erection of a small 
chapel in Rosendale Road, with seating accommodation 
for about 100 people, and costing about £400. The 
foundation stone of this building was laid by the Rev. 
J. Burnet in October, 185 1, and it was opened for wor- 
ship on February 23 in the following year. A congre- 
gation was soon gathered, and on May 29, 1853, the 
Rev. C. G. Rowe, formerly of Trinity Chapel, Leather 
Lane, was elected the first pastor. 

It was soon seen, however, that a larger building 
would be required, forty-nine members being enrolled 
during the first year of Mr. Rowe's ministry. A site 
was accordingly acquired in Park Road, at a cost of 
£283, and on October 2, 1854, the foundation stone of 


the present church was laid by Joseph Tritton, Esq 
The total cost of the present building was about £2,750, 
which sum was paid towards the close of the year 1858, 
the London Congregational Building Society contribu- 
ting £400. The chapel was opened on June 1, 1855. 

The Rev. C. G. Rowe resigned the pastorate in July, 
1862, and was succeeded the following March by the 
Rev. J. W. Richardson, of Tottenham Court Chapel. 
His pastorate, however, was a short one ; in March, 
1867, he received a call to the Congregational Church 
at Rotherham, in Yorkshire, which he accepted. He 
retired in 1869, and returned to London to reside. On 
Easter Monday, 1874, he was stricken with paralysis, 
and passed to his rest March 27, in his seventy-fifth 

In September, 1867, the Rev. Walter Hardie, B.A., 
of Wycliffe Chapel, Stepney, became the pastor. During 
his ministry a debt of £450 on this chapel was liqui- 
dated. The lecture hall at the back of the church was 
also built, various alterations being made at the same 
time in the vestries. The cost of this building and the 
alterations amounted to nearly £900. 

A debt of £500, which remained, was paid off by a 
bazaar and subscription in 1872. 

Owing to the failure of Mr. Hardie's health, and the 
necessity for his removal to a warmer climate, the 
pastorate again became vacant, to the great grief of 
the congregation, in September, 1869. Mr. Hardie 
died November 5, 1874, at Goulburn, near Sydney, 

He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Stephenson, 
formerly of the Burdett Road Congregational Church, 
Stepney, who entered upon the duties of his office on 
January 23, 1870. 


Under the direction of Mr. Stephenson the church 
prospered, and a mission was commenced in the East 
of London, where a Bible-woman was supported by 
the friends at East Dulwich for work amongst the 

In 1874 Mr. Stephenson resigned the pastorate in 
order to devote himself to literary work. He died in 
1883, in the forty-fifth year of his age. 

Rev. W. P. Dothie, M.A., of Redhill, was the next 
minister. He continued till 1880. He has since held a 
pastorate at Parkstone, Dorset (1886 — 1897), and now 
lives retired at Ramsgate. 

The following year the church called Rev. A. C. 
Tarbolton, a student of New College, to the vacant 
pulpit. Mr. Tarbolton ministered with great accept- 
ance till 1887, when he removed to Basingstoke. He 
was succeeded by Rev. C. F. W. Wood, M.A., who 
was called on February 17, 1887. Mr. Wood was also 
a student of New College, and had laboured for five 
years at New Maiden. He continued till 1893, when 
he retired from active ministry. 

The church then invited Rev. R. C. Sandison, of 
Cheshunt College, to the pastorate. Mr. Sandison 
accepted the invitation, and commenced his ministry — 
which he still continues — on December 3, 1893. 

In 1899 a new organ was placed in the church at the 
cost of £315. In 1904 the church and school buildings 
were renovated and re-decorated at a cost of ^"375. 



Lving close to some of the fairest reaches of the 
Thames, within easy distance of Hampton Court and 
Richmond Park and many of the sweetest spots in 
Surrey, no one can wonder at the rapid and substantial 
growth of Surbiton. Some years ago it was regarded 
as a suburb of Kingston, and was known as New 
Kingston. To-day it bears its own name, and ranks 
as one of the most charming suburbs of London. 

To the Rev. Lawrence Henry Byrnes, pastor of the 
Kingston Church, must be given the honour of initiat- 
ing the cause of Nonconformity in Surbiton. He 
brought the state of this neighbourhood before his 
people and encouraged them to collect money for 
building a place of worship. 

A copy of the circular that was issued fell into the 
hands of Mr. W. Leavers, of Islington, who drew the 
attention of Rev. R. H. Smith to this promising sphere 
of work. 

Mr. Smith was one of those men who love pioneer 
work. He would rather build up a cause than settle 
down in a church already established. At Brading, in 
the Isle of Wight, he had rescued a small cause from 
decay, established a day school, and procured for the 
people a Dissenters' burying ground. He was at this 
time at Halesowen, Worcestershire; but seeing the 
possibilities of Surbiton he came to reside there and 
opened his house for divine worship. 

It was indeed the day of small things. At the first 

J. Carveix Williams, M.P., 
Chairman of the Congregational Union, 1890. 


meeting, on Sunday, September 25, 1853, three persons 
attended. But if the audience was small Mr. Smith's 
faith was large, and he erected in his own garden a 
temporary building to seat 130 persons. The cost was 
afterwards borne by Mr. Leavers, who meanwhile had 
come to reside in Surbiton also. 

So well did the new cause prosper that early in the 
following year it was resolved to build a permanent 
church. A site was obtained, and on April 27, 1854, 
the foundation stone was laid by Mr. Leavers, who 
generously contributed £500 and became treasurer of 
the building fund. At the service Rev. Thomas 
Binney delivered an address, and Rev. L. H. Byrnes 
offered the dedicatory prayer. 

The following Monday those members of the congre- 
gation who had previously been members of various 
Christian Churches were formed into a fellowship by 
Rev. David Thomas, of Stockwell. 

On October 5 the building was completed and opened 
for divine worship. Sunday schools soon followed, and 
later a room was built near the Brighton Road, where 
religious and social work was energetically carried on. 
About this time Mr. J. Carvell Williams, afterwards 
the honoured champion of religious liberty, became 
Church Secretary, and notwithstanding his services in 
other directions, for fourteen years found time to 
render valuable service to the church. In i860 Mr. 
Leavers added to his former generosity by cancelling the 
mortgage of £500 which remained upon the building. 

Now that the little cause seemed fairly established 
Mr. Smith felt it his duty to enter upon pioneer work 
again. He resigned the pastoiate, leaving behind him 
a memory of organising ability and personal effort that 
is still a cherished tradition of the church. Mr. Smith 


was a remarkable man. He had considerable gifts as 
an artist and art critic, and used art as well as the 
pulpit as a means of preaching. After leaving Surbiton 
he laboured for some years at Hanley, and subse- 
quently established a church at Gospel Oak, Hampstead, 
where he died in 1884. 

Surbiton, though a comparatively new church, has 
had amongst its pastors one of the foremost men of 
our denomination, Alexander Mackennal. He was 
born at Truro, in January, 1835. Of Scotch descent 
by his father and Cornish by his mother, he combined 
the vigorous Nonconformity of both. His early life 
was passed in the little Cornish city. In 1848 the 
family removed to London, and he soon afterwards 
entered the University of Glasgow, which in after 
years honoured him with the degree of D.D. He 
entered Hackney College in 1854, and took his B.A. 
degree at the London University. Mr. Mackennal's 
first charge was at Burton-on-Trent. He had been 
there three years when the call came to follow Mr. 
Smith at Surbiton. He accepted, and his public 
recognition took place August 8, 1861, Revs. Dr. T. 
Binney and L. H. Byrnes again coming over to take 
part in the service. 

Under Mr. Mackennal's ministry the church soon 
grew. A week day school for infants was added in 
1862, and the following year Mr. Leavers presented an 
organ to the church. At the opening of this instru- 
ment the valuable assistance rendered by the Estab- 
lished Church choir of Kingston called forth much 
admiration for the brotherly feeling between the two 

Before long the need was felt for a larger building. 
The surrounding property proving too expensive, a 


fresh site was found, and on June 27, 1865, the 
foundation stone was laid by Thomas Barnes, Esq., 
M.P. for Bolton. Mrs. Leavers now came forward with 
a generous donation of £500 towards the site. Twelve 
months later, on Mrs. Leavers' birthday, the church 
was dedicated. The cost amounted to £"6,963, of which 
a debt of £3,268 still remained. In 1867 the old 
building was altered and adapted for schools and 
lecture hall. Soon after, Mr. Leavers, whose munificent 
gifts had so helped the church, died suddenly at Wey- 
mouth. A tablet in the church was erected to his 
memory as an expression of the gratitude of the 
people. In 1869 new trustees were appointed, and a 
scheme was approved for carrying on religious and 
social work in the Surbiton Park Schools and Lecture 

After nine years of mingled joy and sorrow, during 
which he had found a wife but had lost a mother and a 
beloved sister, Mr. Mackennal to the great regret of 
his people removed to Leicester August 8, 1870. For 
eleven months the church was without a minister, and 
then Rev. William Jones, of Salisbury, was welcomed 
to the pastorate. 

The following year the church suffered a severe loss 
in the removal of Mr. John Carvell Williams from 
Surbiton. For fourteen years he had worked as a 
deacon and secretary with conspicuous zeal and success, 
and a handsome testimonial testified to the esteem in 
which he was held. 

During the next few years the church suffered con- 
siderable losses. Between 1871 and 1878 four of the 
five deacons had resigned ; but the remaining deacon, 
Mr. Richardson, worked on with great devotion till he 
too left the neighbourhood in 1885. 


But if there were losses, there was also good work 
to record. In 1874 the debt on the church was cleared 
off by the generosity of some members and friends, 
and the same year a new organ was built at the end 
of the church opposite the pulpit. 

In 1885 Mr. Jones retired from the pastorate, and the 
church was without a minister until 1887, when Rev. 
Alfred Flower was appointed. In 1886 the church 
had the pleasure of congratulating its former minister, 
Rev. Dr. Mackennal, on his election to the chairman- 
ship of the Congregational Union of England and 

At length, in 1891, the strain of pastoral and pulpit 
work proved too much for Mr. Flower, and he retired 
from ministerial responsibilities. 

For three years the church remained without a 
minister. In 1894 Rev. J. W. Burn, from the Wesleyan 
College at Didsbury, was appointed. 

Much interest was shown about this time in the East 
End work of the London Congregational Union. No 
less than £34 5s. 7d. was collected by the young people, 
who thus made the church the largest contributor to 
the fund, a position it has ever since striven to maintain. 

After four years' service Mr. Burn resigned, and Dr. T. 
Davies, one of the members, undertook the ministerial 
oversight until the present minister, Mr. H. Snowdon, 
of Lancashire College, was appointed. 

Mr. Snowdon entered upon his duties on October 22, 
1899. The same day the church was reopened after 
being thoroughly renovated. The organ was rebuilt in 
the original gallery at the west end of the church behind 
the pulpit. The whole cost was £537. In the beautified 
sanctuary the minister began his work, and with the 
new pastorate came new life. A society of Christian 


Endeavour, a Watchers' Band, and a Band of Hope 
were formed, and various additions were made to the 

In 1900 the congratulations of the church were again 
offered to the chairman of the Congregational Union of 
England and Wales. On the first occasion it was to a 
former minister, but on this occasion it was to a former 
deacon, Mr. J. Carvell Williams, who had been chosen 
for this honourable post. 

In 1904 the church celebrated its jubilee, and the 
occasion was made the opportunity for an appeal for 
funds to clear off the deficits on the church and lecture 
hall accounts. A generous response was made to this 
call with the result that the church is now free from 
financial embarrassments. 



This cause owes its existence to the labours of Rev. 
David Abraham Herschell, who gathered the church, and 
for thirty-one years remained its minister. Mr. Herschell 
was born of a Jewish family at Strzelno, in Eastern 
Prussia. He studied at Basle, where he became a 
Christian. Coming to England, he began work in 
Liverpool as a missionary to the Jews, and later under- 
took voluntary work amongst the foreign sailors of that 
important port. In 1852 he removed to London and 
became assistant to his brother, Rev. Ridley Herschell, 
at John Street, Edgware Road, where he laboured 



seven years. In the summer of 1859 the conviction was 
forced upon him that he ought to seek another sphere 
of activity, and although his resolution was painful 
both to his brother and himself, he severed his connec- 
tion with John Street. 

Whilst waiting to see what door would open, the 
suggestion was made to him that he should erect a 
place of worship of his own. A gentleman whose wife 
had been converted under his ministry offered to head 
a subscription list for this object with £100, and can- 
vassed the congregation with such success that £740 
was promised. This seemed to Mr. Herschell a clear 
indication of his duty. He was further encouraged by 
the advice of Rev. Chas. Gilbert, the secretary of the 
London Chapel Building Society. He asked Mr. 
Gilbert if he knew of a place where land could be 
secured for building a church. " If you will stand a 
hansom I will drive you to such a spot," was Mr. 
Gilbert's reply. They drove to the place where Lough- 
borough Chapel now stands, then surrounded by fields 
on all sides. 

The friend who first suggested the idea, Mr. C. T. 
Mears, agreed to become treasurer, and a Mr. Car- 
michael was ready to act as secretary. These two, with 
Mr. Herschell, formed the building committee, who at 
once took steps to secure the lease of the land. But 
the first results of an appeal to leading Nonconformists 
in the neighbourhood were disappointing. 

The foundation stone was laid on May 22, i860, by 
Mr. John Cunliffe. The scheme was for a chapel to 
hold 480, with a school and vestry seating 200 ; the 
total cost was not to exceed £1,990, towards which 
about £700 was promised. 

Whilst the chapel was building, a Scotch friend sent 


£20 towards the building fund, and offered Mr. Herschell 
10,000 New Testaments for distribution amongst 
Roman Catholics abroad. Mr. Herschell says, " Risky 
as this work was, I was glad to undertake it in order to 
avoid begging for the chapel." On his return, the 
same friend sent him a present of £100, which he 
placed to the chapel fund, though his own need was 

On October 23, i860, the chapel was opened. The 
Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel preached in the morning, 
and Rev. Samuel Martin, of Westminster, in the even- 
ing. The collections at the opening services amounted 
to above £100. The following month a Sunday school 
was opened ; and on the first Sunday in December the 
first Communion Service was held ; but the church was 
not constituted till January, 1861. 

At the time of the opening of the chapel a debt of 
£1,000 remained, which together with the ground rent 
required an annual outlay of £72, apart from incidental 

The spiritual history of the church soon began. Very 
few members came from neighbouring Nonconformist 
churches, but many were brought in from the outside, 
and Mr. Herschell's heart was continually cheered by 
signal miracles of grace. 

In 1862 it became evident that more school accom- 
modation was needed. Mr. Herschell waited till he had 
£200, and then commenced the work of adding another 
story. No sooner was the roof off than the district 
surveyor insisted that the outer walls should be doubled 
and a new staircase built. This demanded an outlay of 
£400. It was then resolved to build a much larger 
schoolroom, with rooms for chapel keeper underneath, 
at a cost of £700. Friends in West London, and 

x 2 


Liverpool, and Sunderland, came to the rescue, and the 
greater part of the money was secured. But a fresh 
debt of £300 was added. 

About this time the railway was planned. At first it 
was proposed to avoid the chapel, and give no com- 
pensation whatever for the depreciation of property 
caused by the perpetual nuisance of passing trains. 
This sharp practice was abandoned through the inter- 
vention of Sir Morton Peto, who remonstrated against 
the injustice ; and Mr. Herschell got £100 and the 
use of the railway arches. 

About the same time the freehold of the church 
property was secured for £560 ; and the ground being 
now freehold, the railway company gave an additional 
£50 compensation. 

During this time the minister had received very little 
towards his own support. For the first two years, after 
expenses had been met, there was no margin at all. 
The third year it was possible to pay £50 ; and by the 
fifth year the growth was so considerable that the salary 
increased to £150. 

In 1864 the treasurer, Mr. Mears, died, and the 
following year five deacons were chosen ; the first of a 
worthy and generous line. 

In the beginning of 1866 the mortgage of the chapel 
was cleared off ; and as a thank offering, the anniver- 
sary collections were sent to Camberwell New Road, 
toward its debt of £700. Later Mr. Herschell started 
a scheme by which the entire debt of that chapel was 

In 1866 a serious illness laid the minister aside. For 
six months his life was despaired of, for a whole year 
he was confined at home, and even after his recovery 
for a considerable time had to sit whilst preaching. 


The year 1869 was marked by the introduction of an 
organ at a cost of £250. 

Mr. Herschell's powers of raising money were 
remarkable, and not confined to his own church. In 
1874 he built the " Homes for Aged Christians" at an 
outlay of £4,450. One friend alone gave £1,300 
towards this undertaking. 

Six years later the church was seriously damaged by 
fire, and the opportunity was taken for extensive 
alterations. A gallery was added to the west end of 
the church and a tower built, which gave space for an 
organ loft as well as a large class-room. In 1886 the 
foundation stone of a new schoolroom was laid on 
Tuesday, July 31, and the building was opened on 
November 7 of the same year. In 1888, the schoolroom 
was enlarged. These improvements were carried out 
at a cost of over £2,000. 

Failure of health and loss of sight at last necessitated 
the appointment of an assistant minister. Rev. W. H. 
Richards held this position from 1884 to 1889. He 
was succeeded by Rev. J. A. Joyce, from Cheshunt 

It is impossible here to tell all the works of faith and 
labours of love in which Mr. Herschell was engaged. 
For thirty-one years he fulfilled his ministry till his 
name became a household word in Brixton. He con- 
tinued the charge of the church till 189 1 ; after that 
time he lived in retirement, till the end came on June 
9, 1904, in his eighty-first year. It may be worth 
remark that Mr. Herschell and his brother, Rev. L. 
Herschell, of Peckham, were uncles of the late Lord 
Chancellor Herschell. 

After Mr. Herschell's retirement, Mr. Joyce continued 
in the pastorate till 1892. Then the call to foreign 


service became to him imperative ; he offered himself 
to the London Missionary Society, and is now labour- 
ing at Berhampur in North India. 

He was succeeded by Rev. W. J. Adams, M.A., 
D.C.L., under whose attractive preaching a large 
addition to the congregation took place. His pastorate, 
however, was brief; he resigned in September, 1893. 

The church then called Rev. T. F. Touzeau to the 
vacant pulpit. Mr. Touzeau had been a student of 
Hackney College. He accepted the charge of Melford, 
Suffolk, in 1870, where he remained ten years. In 
1881 he was invited to Gravesend, and held the 
pastorate there till the call to Brixton in 1894. Mr. 
Touzeau resigned the charge in 1904, and shortly after- 
wards an invitation was given to the present minister, 
Rev. John Thomas Peace of Cardiff, who still presides 
over the church. 



Although Weybridge lies almost under the shadow 
of Oatlands Palace, where Charles II. and his Court 
spent so much of their time, it was not without its 
witnesses to Evangelical truth and Independent prin- 
ciples even in those days. 

Amongst the returns made to Archbishop Sheldon 
was one of a conventicle at Weybridge, at the house of 
John Tilly, about 100 in number ; teacher, Mr. James. 

The name of Tilly, or Tilley, is still prevalent in the 
neighbourhood, very probably descendants of the man 
who dared to lend his house for this purpose. It is 


also supposed that one of the same family, either from 
Weybridge or Walton-on-Thames, went out in the 
Mayflower. Who Mr. James was we are not informed. 
Calamy mentions three ejected ministers of that name : 
Thomas James, ejected from Needham; John James, 
ejected from Flintham, in Nottinghamshire, who after- 
wards had a congregation at Wapping ; and John 
James, ejected from Ilsley, in Berkshire, who, after 
being harassed by the Corporation Act in three or four 
places, and vainly tempted with offers of preferment to 
conform, exercised a ministry for nine years at Staines. 
As Staines is only a few miles from Weybridge, we 
may be pretty certain that this John James was the 
teacher referred to. Later he removed to London, 
where he died in July, 1694. He is spoken of as a 
zealous, practical preacher, with a good reputation for 
piety and learning. 

What became of this little gathering we do not know. 
Possibly after Mr. James's removal to London, it dis- 
appeared. At any rate, Weybridge does not appear in 
the return of Nonconformist churches in Surrey made 
in 1715. 

We have no further record of any dissenting services 
here until 1855, when Rev. A. E. Lord, of Hersham, 
secured a cottage in Thames Street, and commenced a 
meeting. This did not last ; after a few Sundays, 
Mr. Lord received notice to quit. 

In i860 the late Mr. Benjamin Scott, Chamberlain 
to the City of London, came to reside in Weybridge. 
He had just before witnessed in Ireland that wonderful 
religious awakening, long remembered as the Ulster 
revival ; and he was determined to do something for the 
spiritual blessing of the neighbourhood where he lived. 

There was no service at the parish church in the 


evening, though the public-houses were all full. He 
immediately commenced open-air services in Wey- 
bridge and the surrounding villages, in which the 
ministers of the neighbouring Free Churches united. 

Much interest was excited, and the need was soon 
felt for some room where permanent services might be 
held. Then Mr. Alfred Wilson, of Fir Grove, came 
forward and offered his billiard-room, capable of seating 
180 persons, for week-night services. Fir Grove, it 
may be mentioned, was formerly the residence of 
Captain Hardy, of the Victory. The old sailor had 
fitted up one of the rooms, and shaped it with wood- 
work to look like his cabin aboard ship, so that he 
might feel at home. 

Here services were held from i860 to 1862. The 
congregations were mostly drawn from the middle 
classes, but it was found difficult to attract the poorer 
people. To meet the convenience of these, Mr. Scott 
opened a music-room, which he had just added to his 
house, for Sunday evening services, and conducted the 
first service himself on New Year's Sunday, 1863. The 
room was at once filled to overflowing, and by April it 
was found necessary to remove to a larger room capable 
of seating 200, which had been provided in the grounds 
of his house. This room also soon filled. In May, 
1864, an earnest band of teachers commenced a Sunday 
school. Two of these still survive. 

The same summer Mr. Francois Baron came to 
reside in Weybridge, and with his assistance Mr. Scott 
determined to commence services on Sunday mornings 
as well. 

Mr. Baron was born in 1823 at Kingsweston, in 
Gloucestershire. His father, Mr. Francis Benoni 
Baron, was an old soldier of Huguenot descent, who 

Congregational Church, Weybridge. 

Rev. F. Baron. 


had fought in the French army at Waterloo. He was 
captured by the Prussians, but contrived to escape and 
reached Paris in safety. Later, he came to England 
and attended Trevor Chapel, Brompton. Here young 
Baron was converted, and at eighteen years of age was 
appointed superintendent of the Gore Lane Sunday 
school, Kensington. As a young man he was especially 
known for his work amongst young people. He pre- 
pared large numbers of pictures on temperance and 
other subjects, with which he lectured in London and 
many parts of the country. His services were in con- 
stant demand, and these lectures led to the formation 
of the " Working Mens Educational Union," of which 
he was manager for eighteen years. In connection 
with this society no less than 300,000 large and useful 
pictures were sold, many reproduced from Mr. Baron's 
own work. 

Soon after Mr. Baron came to Weybridge, steps were 
taken to erect a permanent and suitable place of worship. 
The work was taken up with spirit, a site in the Queen's 
Road was purchased and presented by Mr. Scott, liberal 
aid being also given by Mr. C. E. Smith, of Silvermore, 
and Mr. W. Seth Smith, of Holmwood. 

On July 4, 1864, Mr. J. Remington Mills laid 
the commemoration stone, and Mr. Scott gave an 

On May 17, 1865, the new church was opened, when 
Rev. Samuel Martin, of Westminster, preached. It 
was a handsome Gothic structure with spire, capable 
of seating 350 persons, and cost £2,100. The organ, 
which cost £400, was the gift of Mr. Scott. The same 
generous donor has since erected a commodious lecture 
hall and school-room at his own expense. 

A church of fifty-five members was now formed, and 


Mr. Baron was elected first pastor. He was ordained 
May 17, 1865. 

In 1891 Mr. S. Gurney Shepheard purchased two 
cottages in Oatlands, and lent them to the church. By 
an expenditure of £80 a good hall was provided, and 
successful work has been carried on here. The church 
has since acquired the freehold. In 1871 a day school 
was opened, and is still carried on, though lack of 
accommodation prohibits any increase. 

In 1890, after twenty-five years of faithful service, 
Mr. Baron resigned the pastorate, and removed to 
Mortlake, where for eight years longer he laboured 
amidst a united and devoted people. 

The church was not long in choosing a successor. 
The same month that Mr. Baron left, Mr. Horatio 
Pack, a student of Hackney College, was unanimously 
called to the vacant pastorate. He commenced his 
ministry by taking the Watchnight Service of that year, 
and still retains the charge. 



Although the present church at Battersea is not a 
half-century old, Nonconformity there is by no means 
of recent date. Among the applications for licences in 
1672 is one by Thomas Harrocks for his house, dated 
April 20. Battersea appears too in the return of Noncon- 
formist churches in 1 715, as follows: "Thomas Simmons: 
residence at Mrs. Joliff's in Clapham, and at Mrs. 
Pearse's, York Place, Battersea." 

The Evangelical Magazine of 1799 speaks of a small 


chapel being opened in this village. We are quaintly 
told that in the morning Mr. W. Ford, minister, " intro- 
duced the business," and Mr. Griffiths "Williams 
preached. In the evening a Mr. Buck conducted the 
service. A Sunday school, too, was opened, and thirty- 
eight children attended. 

What became of this cause, or what was its constitu- 
tion, we do not know. At any rate there is a gap now 
of nearly seventy years, till 1865. On the first Sunday 
of that year services were held under the auspices of 
the Surrey Congregational Union in the Lammas Hall. 

For nine months the services were conducted by 
various ministers. Then it was felt the time had come 
to appoint a settled pastor. An invitation was given to 
Rev. J. Scott James of Newport, Essex, who accepted 
it and forthwith began his ministry. Steps were now 
taken to secure a permanent church. A site was 
granted by the Park Commissioners in a good position. 
The total cost was £3,500, toward which Mr. Samuel 
Morley and the London Chapel Building Society each 
promised £500. Grafton Square Church also promised 
£800, and about £1,000 was collected from other sources. 
The foundation stone was laid by Rev. J. G. Rogers, 
on September 17, 1866, and on October 1 of the 
following year the same gentleman had the pleasure of 
declaring the church open for worship. 

Mr. Scott James held the pastorate for three years. 
In 1870 he accepted a call to Stratford-on-Avon, and 
was succeeded the following year by Rev. Joseph Shaw, 
from Boston, Lincolnshire. He resigned in 1877, 
seeking a climate more congenial to his son's health. 

In 1878 Rev. Thomas Jarratt of Tunstall was invited. 
Mr. Jarratt was born in Leicester, where for some years 
he was librarian of the Borough Library. His first 


pastorate was at Golden Hill, Staffs., where he 
laboured from 1874 to 1876. He then removed to 
Tunstall, where he also remained two years. He was 
recognised at Battersea on May 23, 1878. A mortgage 
of £100 still remained upon the church, but Mr. Jarratt 
set himself to clear this away, and on October 21, 1883, 
a meeting was held to celebrate the extinction of the 

The removal of the debt was, as is often the case, 
the signal for fresh enterprise. The schoolroom was 
enlarged to nearly double its size, and class-rooms 
were formed by partitions. Altogether nearly £1,000 
were spent, and in September, 1887, the building was 
reopened under the presidency of General Sir Robert 
Phayre, K.C.B. 

Further outlay was immediately required. The 
public authorities ordered the cutting out of the 
decayed stone of the church ; the spire also was found 
to be unsafe and had to be removed. These repairs, 
with interior improvements, involved an additional cost 

of £530. 

For twenty-four years Mr. Jarratt faithfully served the 
church and neighbourhood, a neighbourhood that 
became densely populated as the years went on. On 
Friday, November 7, 1902, whilst addressing a meeting 
of crippled children in Battersea Town Hall, he was 
seized with paralysis, and passed to his rest the follow- 
ing Friday, esteemed and beloved by all who knew 

For sixteen months the church remained without a 
pastor, when in February, 1904, an invitation was given 
to the Rev. J. Bertram Rudall. 

Mr. Rudall was educated at the Western College. 
His first pastorate was at Batter Street, Plymouth, 

BRIXTON 3 i 7 

where he remained four years. In 1897 he undertook 
the charge of Rowland Hill's old chapel in Wotton- 
under-Edge, Glos. 

Under his ministry at Bridge Road the church is 
extending the scope of its work. Long-needed altera- 
tions and additions have been made which will give the 
people far greater facilities for service in a district 
where aggressive work is sorely needed. These addi- 
tions include an infant school, class-rooms, deacons' 
vestry, with a new entrance to the church. An entirely 
new heating apparatus and the electric light are 
amongst the improvements. The cost is estimated at 
£1,300, but the people are facing it with a good heart, 
and will doubtless carry it through in the same way 
that they have carried through previous efforts. 



This church is the permanent memorial of one of the 
greatest of modern Independents, the Rev. J. Baldwin 
Brown. The account of Claylands Chapel records his 
earlier ministry. It was only after twenty-three years 
of work there that the extension of London southwards 
suggested to his friends the erection of a larger building 
in the midst of the rapidly filling suburb of Brixton, 
as a more adequate and influential sphere for the prose- 
cution of his work. The union between church and 
pastor had become so intimate that Mr. Brown only 
consented to the new departure when it was urged as 


a fitting commemoration by the church of his many 
years of labour. In the words of the " Memorial 
Sketch" by his widow : " The enterprise had been under- 
taken and carried out entirely by his old congregation, 
most of whom accompanied him on his removal." This 
was a happy inauguration for the new church. 

The foundation stone was laid January 21, 1869, by 
Mr. J. Kemp-Welch, J. P. The building was erected in 
the Early English style, and designed to accommodate 
1,150 worshippers. There is the ring of Mr. Brown's 
own voice in the one doctrinal clause of the trust deed, 
which directs that the minister of this church "shall 
hold, teach, preach and maintain the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God." The constitution of the 
church declares that " it knows no ecclesiastical 
authority outside itself, but regards the Lord Jesus 
Christ as its immediate head and ever-present Lord. 
On this very ground it rejoices in the bonds of a true 
unity and spiritual fellowship with all who love the 
Saviour. It elects its own officers, determines its own 
worship and action, and regards the New Testament 
as the only statute-book of the Christian Kingdom." 

In November, 1871, soon after the opening of the 
new church, the silver wedding of pastor and people was 
celebrated. Under the chairmanship of the venerable 
Thomas Binney a great gathering assembled to do 
honour to Baldwin Brown. Two thousand pounds 
had been subscribed as a testimonial to him, but at his 
express request the whole amount was devoted to the 
reduction of the debt upon the church building. 
Baldwin Brown was pre-eminently a prophet. Under 
his leadership the church became identified with the 
cause of progressive religious thought and activity. 
His mind and heart were open to receive what the 

% £1 

Bkixton Congregational Church. 

Dr. Moffat. 

Moffat Institute. 


Spirit said unto the churches, and he was " not dis- 
obedient to the heavenly vision." Fearless of men, his 
testimony sometimes won for him distrust and isolation. 
Strange as it now seems to record it, men of our 
denomination, who might naturally have been presumed 
to sympathise with the central principles that had made 
and shaped independency, stood aloof from him and 
deprecated what they were pleased to term his " negative 
theology." It passes the wit of our generation to sur- 
mise wherein they found the negativeness of Baldwin 
Brown. He had come under the influence of Macleod 
Campbell, F. D. Maurice, and especially of A. J. Scott ; 
but he was as sincere and positive a believer as Charles 
Spurgeon himself. The truth of the Divine Fatherhood 
came to him with all the force and freshness of a new 
revelation, and he laid it at his hearers' hearts as the 
cardinal principle of our Lord's message. A true 
minister, valorous, intrepid, sanguine, his face was ever 
towards the dawn ; and there is not a palmary subject 
of recent theological controversy on which before the 
time he has not left a lucid utterance, a sagacious 

As the church grew and was strengthened, it sought 
by many agencies to extend sympathetic help to the poor. 
The Moffat Institute was founded in 1875 as a centre 
of unsectarian work in the midst of the most densely 
peopled district of Lambeth. The venerable Dr. 
Moffat, the dauntless, unwearying missionary of the 
Love of God to South Africa, was spending the evening 
of his life in South London and had attached himself to 
Brixton Independent Church. The new mission was 
named in his honour. 

In 1878 Mr. Brown was called by his brethren to the 
chair of the Congregational Union, and in that capacity 


delivered two addresses — " Our Theology in relation 
to the Intellectual Movement of our Times " and " The 
Perfect Law of Liberty " — which are of permanent 

While throwing himself with ardour into the adminis- 
tration of the church, Mr. Brown issued numerous 
works which secured for him a wider ministry than can 
be afforded by any single congregation. The most 
important of these are, " The First Principles of 
Ecclesiastical Truth," 1871, " The Higher Life," 
1874 ; " The Doctrine of Annihilation in the Light of 
the Gospel of Love," 1875 ; " The Battle and Burden 
of Life," 1875 ; and " The Home," 1883. 

It is impossible here to trace all the directions in 
which his energies found outlet. The public welfare, 
literature, lectures, social problems, the press — all these 
might be made as many headings under which chapters 
might easily be written. His sympathies were radiantly 
wide, his interests multiform. Among such multitu- 
dinous labours it is not strange that nervous exhaustion 
revealed from time to time the undue strain upon his 
constitution. At first slight rest and change of scene 
sufficed for recuperation, but in 1881 he gladly took 
advantage of the six months' holiday which his solicitous 
people pressed upon him. He resumed work thereafter 
with his accustomed zest, only to find himself again 
under the harsh necessity of complete cessation from toil. 
On the eve of a visit to the Engadine, just after having 
penned some words of farewell greeting to his church, 
this great-hearted servant of his Lord was suddenly 
called to his reward, June 23, 1884. His body was laid 
to rest in Norwood Cemetery. 

After an interval of two years the church invited 
Dr. J. F. Stevenson to fill the vacant pulpit, and he 


began his all too brief ministry in December, il 
As Principal of the Congregational College of Canada 
in Montreal he had rendered distinguished service 
which assured him a ready welcome in this country. 
Returning to England at the height of his reputa- 
tion, he had to face a multitude of claims for service 
in all parts of the country, which the kindness of his 
heart made it difficult for him to resist. All this, 
added to the multifarious duties of an onerous pas- 
torate, soon proved too great a tax upon his strength. He 
had rendered double service in Canada as preacher and 
professor, and even there had experienced premoni- 
tory symptoms of cerebral trouble. " The iron band 
around his head " (as he expressed it) recurred with 
more than its former rigour, and the physicians more 
than once had to warn him of coming mischief unless 
he limited his activities. At last peremptory orders 
were laid upon him to desist from all work. He 
preached for the last time on Easter Sunday, 1890. 
His resignation of the pastorate followed immediately. 
His wife tells how " a member of the congregation, 
going into the church one morning that sad week, saw 
the doctor standing in front of the pulpit with tears 
running down his cheeks. He had taken farewell of 
his church and his work for ever. So he entered into 
the cloud, a cloud which slowly deepened round him 
until the end." In the summer a voyage to Canada 
was undertaken in hope of relief from distressful pain, 
but the suffering increased. He lingered until February, 
1891, and his funeral service was held in the church that 
had been built for him — Emmanuel Church, Montreal. 
He was minister of Brixton Independent Church for 
little more than three years, but the impress of his 
personality is still deep upon its life and work. In 



1895 a memorial window was placed in the north 
transept, having for its subject " The Good Shepherd." 
An interregnum of about eighteen months followed 
the resignation of Dr. Stevenson, and it was only the 
fidelity of capable officers that enabled the church to 
steer safely through troubled waters. In October, 
1891, Rev. Bernard J. Snell, M.A., B.Sc, became 
pastor, which office he still holds. He had previously 
held pastorates at Newcastle-on-Tyne and Salford. 
One of the most gracious developments during his 
ministry has been the consolidation of the Baldwin 
Brown Convalescent Home for the Sick Poor at Heme 
Bay. This memorial work began in 1888, when a 
house was rented at that pleasant seaside resort ; and 
has grown so happily that the freehold of a terrace of 
three houses has been purchased, and the whole has 
been remodelled for the uses of the Home. Year by 
year over 300 needy convalescents from all parts of the 
metropolis are entertained, all of them for a fortnight 
or more, as " guests of the church," under the care of 
competent nurses. This Memorial Home has been 
placed on a permanent basis of beneficence by the 
unremitting assiduity of Mr. and Mrs W. H. Foster. 

Another development has been the purchase of 
premises near the church for social work among the 
young men and young women who increasingly make 
Brixton their temporary residence. At a cost of £2,000 
the Church House was furnished in 1893, and became 
the centre of many benignant agencies. In 1901, when 
extensive additions were made at the rear of the church, 
it was deemed advisable to transfer the work to premises 
in juxtaposition to the main building. These improve- 
ments were made possible by the raising of a further 
sum of £5,000, and included the enlargement of the 

R ] v. Jas. Ii mm in Brown, Brixj on 

Baldwin Brown Convalescent Home, Herne Bay 


church, the provision of church parlours and class- 
rooms. The additional cost of the chancel was borne 
by Lady Tate, in memory of her husband, Sir Henry 
Tate, Bart., who was a worshipper here during the last 
years of his life. Three years later the same lady 
presented a splendid four-manual organ. 

In 1902 a window, having for its subject " Faith, 
Hope and Charity," was placed in the south transept 
at the charge of the ladies of the congregation, in 
loving memory of Mrs. Snell, whose sudden death was 
a great loss to the philanthropic agencies of the church 
and a severe blow to the pastor. The vestibule has 
been beautified by a memorial of Dr. Moffatt. 

In 1896, in development of the Moffatt Mission, it 
was decided to purchase the freehold of Esher Street 
Chapel, Vauxhall, a building that was practically 
derelict, and likely soon to cease to be a place of 
worship. At a charge of £"3,000 the premises were 
secured and adapted to the uses of ever-enlarging work 
in that thickly-populated neighbourhood. From time 
to time improvements have been made in the structure, 
but such is the pressure of the numbers of young 
people associated therewith that still the cry is for 
more accommodation. The Moffatt Sunday School 
has over a thousand scholars, while the Sunday School 
opened at the church only in recent years is steadily 
increasing in numbers and influence. 

Thus " the Red Church," as it is colloquially called 
in the district, worthily maintains the high traditions 
of its founder, and with some measure of success 
endeavours to carry on the work of the Great Master. 

Y 2 




(l8 7 2) 

Fifty years ago Wimbledon was a village pictur- 
esquely situated between the brow of the hill that bears 
its name and the great common that stretches away 
toward Kingston and Putney. It has been the home 
of a succession of notable people, among them Lord 
Burghley, and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, and Leigh 
Hunt. Its wide, breezy common, with its far view over 
Surrey hills, its stretches of yellow furze, which Hunt 
called " a golden undulation, ... a veritable field of 
cloth of gold," make it one of the most delightful 
places of residence anywhere near London. 

Gradually Wimbledon crept down the hill into the 
valley, where the main line of the South-Western runs, 
till a new town sprang up that for size and business 
importance soon eclipsed the old village above. 

By the year 1871 it was felt that a Congregational 
church ought to be formed to meet the spiritual needs 
of this growing district. Accordingly Revs. A. Buzacott 
and W. H. S. Aubrey, the secretaries of the Surrey 
Union, waited upon Rev. J. E. Tumner, who had success- 
fully built up a church at Leytonstone, and asked him 
if he would undertake similar work at Wimbledon. 
Mr. Tumner had just received a unanimous invitation 
to a prosperous church elsewhere, but after long and 
anxious consideration he decided to go to Wimbledon. 

W'oKii.i Road Church, Wimbledon. 


The only place that could be obtained for worship 
was a large room in the Dog and Fox Tavern ; and to 
reach this they had at first to go through the public bar. 

Mr. Tumner began work on January 14, 1872, with a 
congregation of twelve adults and fourteen children. 
But God prospered them, and the work grew. 

The first thing was to make an entrance direct to the 
room. A little later, Mr. Day, an old friend of Mr. 
Tumner, promised £100 towards building a church if 
Mr. Tumner would promise to be the pastor. The 
promise was given forthwith. 

Steps were at once taken to secure a site, but they 
were thwarted and opposed on every side. At length a 
plot of ground was purchased by auction at a London 
sale ; and shortly afterwards an iron church was erected, 
and paid for without difficulty, Messrs. Day and Crouch 
giving the freehold. 

The next step was to form a church. For this pur- 
pose a meeting was held at the house of Mr. Haddon, 
St. George's Road. Rev. J. Pillans, of Camberwell, 
presided ; and, the fellowship being constituted, the 
members invited Mr. Tumner to become the first 

On July 22, 1873, a meeting was held at the minister's 
house to form a Sunday school. It was opened on 
Sunday, August 2, with twenty-five children. The first 
superintendent was Mr. R. B. Ling. " Three of the 
teachers, Mrs. Fladgate, Miss Adams, and Miss E. 
Adams, have classes to this day." The school quickly 
grew, and by 1878 there were 203 names on the books. 

In 1876 the buildings were enlarged by the addition 
of transepts and by the erection of a lecture hall and 
vestry. At the reopening services on Wednesday, 
September 20, 1876, Rev. E. Paxton Hood preached. 


Mr. Tumner spent eight useful and happy years at 
Wimbledon. At the end of that time he felt that a 
large permanent church had now become a necessity. 
This was an undertaking which he considered should 
be left to a younger man. He therefore sent in his 
resignation, which was only accepted with great 
reluctance. He has since lived in retirement at Park- 
stone and Weymouth. 

At the close of 1880 Rev. W. C. Talbot was invited 
to the pastorate. Mr. Talbot was a student of Airedale 
College, and for two years had held the charge of 
Lower Chapel, Dai wen. He soon set himself to the 
task of raising a permanent building. At a meeting of 
the congregation early in 1883 it was reported that 
£2,400 had been subscribed, and two gentlemen promised 
to double all that was raised. 

With this incentive the work speedily went forward, 
and on July 19 the foundation stone was laid by Rev. 
J. G. Rogers, of Clapham. The following spring, April 
n, 1884, the church was opened. It is described as of 
early geometric Gothic style, with accommodation for 
820, which can be increased to 1,100. 

Rev. J. G. Rogers preached in the morning and pre- 
sided at the luncheon. Dr. Allon was to have preached 
in the evening, but in his absence the Rev. C. Talbot, 
father of the minister, took the service. £265 was 
received during the day, making nearly £4,000 out of 
£6,000 required. 

Meanwhile the cause grew and prospered. The school 
greatly increased. The scholars now numbered nearly 
400, and for lack of accommodation the Infant Class 
was obliged to meet in the Drill Hall. 

In 1888 Mr. Talbot resigned to take the oversight of 
Buckland Chapel, Portsmouth. Here he remained till 


1902, when he removed to Horsham, Sussex, where he 
still labours. 

The following year Rev. D. Bloomfield James, of 
Addiscombe, accepted an invitation to the vacant 
pulpit. He remained until 1893. Unfortunately 
differences of opinion arose which resulted in Mr. 
James's resignation. Some of the members left with 
him, and a new church was formed where Mr. James 
ministered for some years. 

Rev. Frederick Hall was the next pastor at Worple 
Road : he also was trained at Airedale, and had held 
pastorates at Thornton and Heckmondwike. He 
remained at Wimbledon from 1893 till 1898, when 
he removed to Scarborough. New schoolrooms were 
built during his ministry, which were opened in 1897. 

In 1899 the church called the Rev. William Skinner, 
of Forest Gate, and there seemed every prospect of a 
long and useful ministry. Mr. Skinner was a man of 
great spiritual power and was ably seconded in his 
work by his wife, an indefatigable worker and an able 
speaker. But during his summer holiday in August, 
1901, he was prostrated by illness from which he never 
recovered. After long rest he attempted to resume his 
ministry, but it was found impossible, and shortly after- 
wards he resigned. He moved back to Forest Gate 
where he died on December 4, 1904. 

In 1904 an invitation was given to the Rev. Gilbert 
T. Sadler, B.A., LL.B., of Wrexham. Mr. Sadler, who 
is the son of the late Rev. G. Sadler, of Amoy, was 
educated at Mansfield College. He graduated at 
London and Oxford and settled as assistant minister 
to the Rev. J. D. Jones, M.A., B.D., at Lincoln, in 
1895. Two years later he removed to Wrexham, where 
he remained seven years. 


This church, in addition to the work already referred 
to at Merton, is carrying on an energetic mission at 
Dundonald Hall. 



Milton Hall was one of the first attempts in London 
to do special work for the masses of the people who 
would not come into the ordinary places of worship. 
Dr. Rogers had an interview with Mr. Samuel Morley 
and laid the proposal before him. Mr. Morley never 
said a word, but went to his desk and wrote out a 
cheque for £500. A site was secured, and in 1873 the 
building was opened. The work was for a time carried 
on under the direction of Grafton Square Church. 

In 1887 Mr. Wm. Daniel was placed in charge of 
the mission. He removed to Rouel Road, Bermondsey, 
in 1891, and, the church at Grafton Square finding 
some difficulty in continuing the superintendence, the 
Hall was handed over to the London Congregational 
Union. The Union then appointed Mr. E. Cook as 
missioner, and he for some time carried on a thoroughly 
successful work. After his removal it was decided to 
again place the enterprise under the care of some 
neighbouring church, and Mr. Jarratt volunteered to 
work it from Battersea Bridge Road. For the last 
seven years this arrangement has continued. At 
present Mr. Vennell, an agent of the London City 
Mission, is employed. There is a flourishing Sunday 
school, and many useful societies are carried on. 


Merton Hall. 




When Lavender Hill was still a place of rural beauty, 
and old historic houses stood where dense masses of 
people now dwell, the London Congregational Union, 
the Chapel Building Society, and Grafton Square 
Church co-operated in securing a site for a church. 

The services were first held in a hall on the Shaftes- 
bury Park Estate, a large district that had been recently 
laid out for development. A site for a new church was 
purchased by the London Congregational Union at a 
cost of £1,000, and the foundation stones of the new 
lecture hall and schoolroom were laid on Saturday, 
July 27, 1878, by J. Kemp Welch, Esq. Rev. R. W. 
Dale preached in the morning and Dr. Raleigh in the 
evening. The superintendence of the church was 
undertaken by Dr. Rogers until a permanent minister 
could be appointed. 

The following year Rev. Richard Buhner accepted a 
hearty invitation to the pastorate, and commenced his 
ministry on October 2, 1881. Mr. Bulmer was born at 
Boston Spa, Yorkshire, in January, 1834. He com- 
menced life as a schoolmaster, and for two years was 
assistant master at Silcoates School. He was brought 
up a Wesleyan, but at Silcoates became a Congrega- 
tionalist and decided to enter the ministry. After 
studying at Airedale College, he accepted an invitation 
to Walsall, and subsequently held pastorates at Reading 
(Castle Street), Torquay, and Whitby. The climate 
at Whitby proving too severe for his constitution, he 


removed to London, and after a short stay at Dalston 
took charge of the new movement at Lavender Hill. 

The following month, November 24, 1881, a meeting 
was held to form a Christian church. Rev. J. Guinness 
Rogers, B.A., presided, assisted by Rev. Andrew 
Mearns and Mr. Marten Smith. After a devotional 
service Mr. Rogers gave an able address on " Church 
Fellowship." Mr. C. Pressland, the secretary to the 
committee of management, followed with a short state- 
ment in which he stated that seventy-five applications 
for church fellowship had already been received. Mr. 
Rogers then read the Declaration of Faith, and called 
upon those who desired to form the church to show 
their assent by holding up the right hand. The names 
were then enrolled, and the church was declared formed. 
Mr. Bulmer was unanimously chosen pastor, and after 
hymn and prayer the meeting closed. 

Mr. Bulmer soon showed himself well qualified for 
the task of consolidating and building up a new church. 
For five years he ministered with unsparing devotion, 
and himself generously contributed to the building fund. 
The memorial stone of the permanent building was laid 
by Evan Spicer, Esq., on May 5, 1883, and the church 
was opened in February, 1884, with sermons by Revs. 
J. G. Rogers and H. Allon. The total cost was 

The work was progressing in a most satisfactory 
manner, when, suddenly, on Sunday, December 5, 
1886, as he was preparing for the morning service, Mr. 
Bulmer was struck down by paralysis. He never re- 
gained consciousness, and a few hours later passed 

Mr. Bulmer was a man of singularly gentle nature. 
He is spoken of as one of the most lovable of men, 


gentle almost to a fault, a man of genuine humility, 
whose too modest estimate of himself interfered with 
full acknowledgment by the world. A mural decoration 
in the apse of the church perpetuates his memory, and 
bears the fit inscription " Thy gentleness hath made me 

Mr. Bulmer's painfully sudden removal left the church 
for some months without a minister. The vacant pulpit 
was supplied till April, 1887, when Rev. Herbert Arnold, 
formerly of Albion Church, Hull, accepted a unanimous 
call to the pastorate. 

In 1894 a private house was acquired for the Sunday 
school at a cost of £1,000, including furnishing. 

Mr. Arnold ministered with energy and acceptance 
till the spring of 1898, when he accepted a call to 
Southernhay Church, Exeter. He has now retired 
from the active ministry. 

He was succeeded by Rev. R. Cynon Lewis, of Luton. 
He was recognised in February, 1899. At his recognition 
above forty members of his former church attended. 
In 1900 the church was completed by the erection of 
a spire, and at the same time the whole of the buildings 
were re-decorated. The cost was about £1,500. 

In April, 1904, Mr. Lewis removed to Weston-super- 
Mare, and the following year an invitation was given to 
the present minister, Rev. J. Hilton Stowell, M.A., of 
Aylesbury, who is carrying on the varied work of the 
church with great energy. 


The first step towards the foundation of a Congrega- 
tional church at Balham was taken at a private meeting 


of a few resident Congregationalists at the house of 
Mr. John Hughes, Bedford Hill. These formed them- 
selves into a committee under the presidency of the 
Rev. John Gilbert, a retired Congregational minister, 
who was much interested in the question of church 
extension, Mr. Hughes being elected the first secretary 
of the committee. The next meeting took place a few 
months later at the house of Dr. Hilder, a prominent 
medical man in the district, who, during the early period 
of the church, gave valuable service in many ways. 
There were present, in addition to these gentlemen, 
Mr. de Selincourt, Mr. Welby, and Mr. W. Collard. 
Efforts were made to secure a well-situated plot of 
ground in the High Road, which was likely in course 
of time to become the centre of a large population ; and 
a grant was obtained from the Chapel Building Fund 
towards its purchase, amounting to £300, with the 
promise of a loan of the same amount free of interest. 
A further grant of £150 was made, with a loan to the 
same amount, towards the erection of a lecture-hall or 
schoolroom. Mr. de Selincourt offered the use of a 
large room at his house at Wandsworth Lodge, Upper 
Tooting, for interim services ; and on May 20, 1878, 
Dr. Raleigh preached an inaugural sermon. Services 
were continued by prominent London ministers for 
about two years, and on April 15, 1880, Rev. Andrew 
Mearns presided over a meeting at which the church 
was formally constituted, fifty-six friends signing the 
roll of membership. The lecture hall was completed 
and opened for public worship on May 6 of the same 
year. Here the services were continued, and a steadily- 
increasing congregation was gathered together. Within 
two years it was felt that the time had come for securing 
a pastor, and an invitation was given to Rev. Jonathan 


Brierley, B.A., of Leytonstone, who commenced his 
ministry in September, 1882. Mr. Brierley's work was 
growingly successful from the beginning ; and, aided by 
a devoted diaconate and an attached people, measures 
were pushed rapidly forward for the erection of the 
permanent church building. Another two years' hard 
work sufficed for this, and on October 1, 1884, a large 
and commodious building was opened for public worship. 
The style was early English, including a wide nave, 
supported by lofty stone columns, somewhat shallow 
transepts, and a finely designed apse. The building was 
so constructed as to be ready for the insertion of 
galleries at some future time. A mistake was made in 
not including these galleries in the original structure, 
for the high roof and the unbroken surface of the east 
wall created an obstinate and harassing echo which 
greatly tried preacher and congregation. Largely owing 
to this cause, Mr. Brierley's health, which had not been 
robust for years, gave way. In March, 1885, an attack 
of nervous prostration forced a long period of rest upon 
him, and in 1887, greatly to the sorrow of himself and 
of his people, he felt obliged to resign his pastorate. 
The church meantime had been fortunate in securing 
the partial services of Dr. Elmslie, a prominent Presby- 
terian divine, who preached at the evening services, 
while Mr. Brierley took the morning services as often as 
his health permitted. Dr. Elmslie continued to serve 
the church occasionally till his premature and greatly 
lamented death in 1889. An interregnum of four and a 
half years followed the conclusion of Mr. Brierley's 
ministry, during which the pulpit was served by many 
of the leading men of the denomination. 

It may be of interest here to mention that though 
Mr. Brierley never resumed the settled pastorate, his 


breakdown, which seemed at first so great a calamity, 
has become a blessing in disguise to a countless multi- 
tude, to whom, as a brilliant writer on the staff of the 
Christian World, he has since spoken over the initials 
"J. B." His stirring articles on all manner of subjects 
of religious, social, and philosophical interest, have for 
many years been a leading feature in the world of 
religious journalism ; and have in their reprinted form 
reached a still wider audience among readers of all 
denominations, while his voice is still heard occasionally 
in our pulpits. 

The next minister was the Rev. Thomas Simon, 
previously of Leicester, who continued to serve the 
church from June, 1891, till the summer of 1896, when 
he removed to Stowmarket. Another interregnum 
followed of nearly two years, when the Rev. E. Griffith 
Jones, B.A., of Mount View, Stroud Green, accepted 
the pastorate. His ministry began on the last Sunday 
of March, 1898. Since then large sums have been 
raised for the extinction of the debt (which was finally 
removed in 1902), for the enlargement and completion 
of the organ, and for the mission hall at Zennor Road. 
For these and other objects a bazaar held in 1902 
realised altogether over -£1,100. A sum of £350 was 
also contributed towards the Central Centenary Fund 
of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. 
In 1905 it was felt that owing to the complete appro- 
priation of the sittings, and the perpetual annoyance 
caused by the imperfect acoustics of the building, and 
by the noises outside the church, the time had come 
for the completion of the structure by the erection of 
galleries. These were accordingly built during the 
summer months, and the building was reopened for 
public worship in September, 1905. To the great joy 


of both minister and people it was found that the 
acoustics of the building were now perfect, a fact which 
at once resulted in a large increase in the number of 
regular worshippers. The church will now seat about 
goo persons, and the total cost, as now completed, has 
been about £13,000. This, however, does not include 
the gift (under a separate trust) of a handsome parsonage 
by one of the former deacons of the church ; this cost 
close on £2,000. A brass tablet in the entrance of the 
parsonage records the donation in the following terms : 
— " To the glory of God, and to the beloved memory 
of Eleanor Bax, of Kenmure, Streatham, Surrey, who 
died November 12, 1890, in the seventy-seventh year 
of her age, this parsonage, together with the land on 
which it is erected, is presented in perpetuity to Balham 
Congregational Church, in which she worshipped 
.during the last years of her life, by her son Alfred Ridley 
Bax, F.S.A." 

In addition to its activities within its own borders, 
the church has been keenly interested from the begin- 
ning both in home and foreign mission work, the local 
auxiliary to the L.M.S. usually collecting between 
£200 and £300 per annum. There is a large band of 
workers who give their energies to the carrying on of 
the Zennor Hall Mission, a movement which dates 
from the year 1888, the present hall being completed 
and opened in 1890 at a cost of £1,100. This building, 
standing in the heart of a working-class population, is 
a hive of spiritual and social effort. Recently the 
mission has been largely transformed into a small 
" institutional church " whose membership is a part of 
the parent church, the trust deed not permitting a 
separate church organisation to exist at the Hall. The 
working men show a real appreciation of the work done 


in their behalf, and many take a large share in the work 
on their own account. 

After nine years' service Mr. Griffith Jones was called 
to the important post of Principal of the United 
Colleges at Bradford. His sound scholarship, his 
teaching power, and his ability in dealing with men had 
long marked him out for such a position. He accepted 
the invitation and entered upon his duties in September, 
1907. The pastorate has just been filled by Rev. H. H. 
Carlisle, from Lincoln. 


New Maiden is the centre of a district known as 
" The Maidens and Coombe," which stretches from 
Richmond Park to Cheam Common, and from Raynes 
Park, Wimbledon, to Surbiton. 

In 1880 the Free Churches in this area were only 
represented by the Baptists (close communion) and 
the Wesleyans (served by students from Richmond 
College). Several families were compelled to worship 
at Kingston, nearly three miles distant ; the late 
Mr. Charles Woodroffe had done so for twenty years. 
When, in the above-named year, Mr. Chas. Douglas 
Derry settled at Maiden, he and Mr. Woodroffe con- 
ceived the idea of establishing a church of the Congre- 
gational order, of which the doctrinal basis should be 
acceptable to Free Churchmen in general. 

Accordingly these gentlemen, with Mr. J. Pascall 
and Mr. C. G. Woodroffe, constituted themselves a 
building committee, all of them contributing hand- 
somely towards the cost, and an eligible site was given 


by Mr. John King ; the scheme having, moreover, 
the cordial approval and support of the London Con- 
gregational Union. The plans approved were for a 
handsome stone building of Gothic architecture, accom- 
modating about 500 persons, with vestries, lecture hall, 
etc., at an estimated cost of about £4,000. 

The foundation stone of the church was laid on 
October 5, 1880, by Henry Wright, Esq., J. P., treasurer 
of the London Congregational Union, and the lecture- 
hall was commenced in the following January. On 
April 20, 188 1, a devotional meeting was held, under 
the presidency of Rev. H. Storer Toms, of Enfield, in 
the drawing-room at " Broadlands," the residence of 
Mr. Derry, when eighteen persons were enrolled as the 
first members of the newly-constituted Congregational 

The church buildings were opened in May following, 
the preachers being Rev. John Stoughton, D.D., and 
Rev. Professor Redford, LL.B. At an evening meet- 
ing a letter from the vicar of the parish was read, 
wishing success and blessing ; and the vicar's warden, 
Mr. Davis, spoke some words of sympathy. During 
the day over £400 was promised towards the cost. 

The first pastor was Rev. Chas. F. W. Wood, M.A., 
from New College, whose deeply spiritual ministry soon 
drew together a thoughtful congregation. At this time 
" Coombe House " was occupied as a hydropathic 
establishment, and many of the visitors availed them- 
selves of the opportunity to attend Mr. Wood's 
ministry. Amongst these was the late Rev. J. Baldwin 
Brown, B.A., and notable men of several foreign 
nations, including Prince Gortschakoff. 

In May, 1885, the church suffered a severe loss in the 
death of Mr. Charles Woodroffe, who had devoted 



himself to the establishment of the cause with self- 
sacrificing zeal. 

Towards the end of 1886 Mr. Wood removed to West 
Dulwich. He was succeeded at Maiden by Rev. E. 
Roberts, from Braunton, Devon, whose pastorate con- 
tinued four years. During this time a handsome manse, 
in keeping with the style of the church, was built at a 
cost of ;£i,6oo from plans by Mr. W. H. Woodroffe, 

Although a debt of nearly £2,500 remained on the 
church at its opening, within six years the whole was 
cleared off. On April 11, 1889, a memorial stone of a 
new wing to the lecture-hall was laid by Mr. Chas. 
Derry, who generously met the cost of the extension. 

Then followed a series of reverses. In 1890 Mr. 
Woodroffe died ; Mr. Derry and Mr. Pascall with their 
families removed to a distance; and Mr. Roberts retired 
from the active work of the ministry. The working 
power of the church was reduced to a minimum. How- 
ever, other friends came forward who did their best to 
fill the gaps ; and the late Mr. Henry Wood gave sub- 
stantial financial aid, which was of great importance at 
this juncture. 

The crisis ended by the call of Rev. Geo. Manington, 
of Bedworth, Warwickshire, to the pastorate. He 
commenced his ministry on August 2, 1891, and 
continued about sixteen years. 

Although the crisis was over, yet the removal of so 
many families — comprising in each so many active church 
workers — left the cause in a very enfeebled condition 
in the early years of Mr. Manington's pastorate, and 
the task set before him was one which none but a man 
of sterling character and steadfast faith and courage 
would have undertaken. 


It has been anticipated that the neighbourhood 
would more quickly be developed, but until about 1902, 
the population remained almost stationary, so far as 
numbers are concerned, though it partook of the 
migratory character of all the London suburbs, and 
consequently there were continuous losses of valued 
helpers whose places could not always be filled. How- 
ever, after fourteen years of patient, unremitting, and, 
from its very nature, of almost unrecognised toil, Mr. 
Manington was able to rejoice in a prosperous and 
steadily-increasing church, with an excellent staff of 
deacons and workers, with vigorous Sunday school, 
Christian Endeavour Society, Band of Hope, Young 
People's Guild, and other kindred organisations, now 
regarded as essential to the well being of a Christian 
church. And with the natural expansion and con- 
solidation of the district, and the increase of the 
population, which has already begun, the hopes of the 
founders of the church seem to be on the point of a 
complete realisation. 

Mr. Manington resigned in 1907, and his place has 
not yet been supplied. 



Soon after the publication of " The Bitter Cry of 
Outcast London," Mr. W. S. Caine, the well-known 
temperance and social reformer, decided to establish a 

z 2 


mission hall in a district where few Christian agencies 
were at work. After much searching he fixed upon an 
old villa residence in Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lam- 
beth Road. He purchased the house in 1884, and by 
removing the dividing wall between the dining and 
drawing rooms obtained a little hall capable of seating 
about 100 persons. With two or three helpers from 
Stockwell Baptist Church he commenced the mission, 
and held the first service on February 3, with an 
audience of seventeen persons. After the service 
eleven of the seventeen remained and banded them- 
selves together to do what they could to bring the 
sweetness and light of the gospel into this neighbour- 
hood. Among the workers who assisted Mr. Caine in 
this enterprise were Mr. J. T. Rae, Mr. Walter Glover, 
and Mr. Bailey. 

Gradually the work grew. Various societies from 
time to time were added. The attendances at the 
Sunday services steadily increased, until Mr. Caine had 
to extend the premises into the garden behind. This 
soon proved inadequate, and a large shop and house in 
Hartington Road were converted into Hartington Hall. 
Then in 1891 Caine Hall was taken ; and finally a 
small room in Pascall Street, one of the worst districts 
in all Lambeth. 

Hitherto the enterprise had been carried on by Mr. 
Caine without appealing for any outside help, but so 
steadily did the work grow that it became necessary to 
pull down the old house and erect a properly-equipped 
mission church. In 1894 the London Congregational 
Union voted £400 towards the building fund, and on 
July 4th, 1896, the foundation stones of the Wheatsheaf 
Hall were laid by Rev. J. Guinness Rogers and Mrs. 
W. S. Caine. The opening took place on November 


11, and the catholicity of the enterprise was shown by 
the presence of such men as Revs. Canon Wilberforce, 
Dr. Newman Hall, Hugh Price Hughes, F. B. Meyer, 
and Andrew Mearns. 

In 1902 No. 67, South Lambeth Road, was pur- 
chased as a club for men. To the very last Mr. Caine 
was deeply interested in this cause. Within a few 
days of his death he attended its services, and none of 
all his good works lay nearer his heart. In 1895 Mr. 
Oliver Millard was appointed co-pastor with Mr. 
Caine, and now remains in sole charge. 




Earlsfield Congregational Church had its origin in a 
cottage service held by Mr. M. Pocock, a Wesleyan, in 
the house of Mr. and Mrs. Hill, subsequently care- 
takers of the mission. About the same time, though 
quite distinct from it, a mission Sunday school was 
carried on in a little iron room called St. Joseph's, in 
Garratt Lane, by permission of the Vicar of Summers- 
town and Miss Townsend, on whose property it stood. 
This school was started in 1872 by Mr. C. Johnson 
and Mr. J. C. Pilcher, two members of East Hill 

In the year 1875 a new Vicar of Summerstown 
withdrew permission to use St. Joseph's for this pur- 
pose, and a few friends connected with East Hill 


Church bought some land in Thornsett Road, Earlsfield, 
and erected another iron room. Hither the Sunday 
school was transferred, and carried on under the 
superintendence of Mr. J. Turton Wright, of East 
Hill Church. On the opening of this new room, 
Mr. Pocock removed his cottage service thither 
also, and placed it under the charge of Mr. Wright. 
This was really the beginning of the Earlsfield 

In 1881 Mr. Wright removed to Plymouth, and Mr. 
Richard Pigott succeeded him as superintendent of the 
Sunday school and mission. 

By the year 1884 the iron room had become quite 
inadequate for the needs of a growing neighbourhood. 
A freehold site in Earlsfield Road was purchased by 
the East Hill Church, aided by the London Union, 
from the late Mr. Robert Davis, at a cost of £600. 
Toward this Mr. Davis gave a donation of £100. 
Then, notwithstanding the heavy pressure of liabilities 
on recently erected buildings elsewhere, the East Hill 
Church erected a very commodious school chapel, at a 
cost of over £1,200. The old iron room in Thornsett 
Road was still retained as a mission station. The 
work soon became too great for lay agency. A district 
growing by leaps and bounds demanded the whole 
time of the superintendent. In December, 1887, a 
mission church was formed of twenty-one members 
from the East Hill Church, and Mr. Pigott handed 
over the superintendence of the mission to an agent 
appointed and paid by the mother church. But 
although resigning the superintendence Mr. Pigott 
still kept in close touch with the work, and is to-day, 
as ever, one of the most energetic workers. 

In 1890 the "mission" arrangement terminated, and 


the following year Rev. Arthur Williams was appointed 
by the East Hill Church as minister in charge. 

Mr. Williams was ordained in February, 1892. The 
following month the mission was formed into an 
Independent church, with Mr. Williams as its first 

Mr. Williams held the pastorate till July, 1895, when 
he was succeeded by Rev. H. J. Weatherhead, of 
Bruce Road Church, Bromley-by-Bow. Mr. Weather- 
head had ministered in the United Methodist Free 
Church from 1872 to 1883, and before going to Bromley 
had held a congregational pastorate for some years at 
Notting Hill. After four years' faithful service in 
Wandsworth his health failed, and he removed to 
Alton, in Hampshire, where he laboured till December, 
1903. Mr. Weatherhead did not long survive his 
resignation. In February, 1904, he removed to 
Bournemouth, and he passed to his rest July 23, 1904. 

After an interval of sixteen months the choice of the 
church fell upon Rev. A. E. Rowlinson. Mr. Rowlin- 
son received his mini terial training at Nottingham 
Institute, and for eight years had done good service at 
Newport, Essex. 

Under his ministry the church has steadily grown, 
and in 1907 the congregation was able to go forward 
with the building of a new church. The memorial 
stones were laid in November, 1907, by Mr. Montagu 
Holmes and Mr. R. Pigott. 




There is very little in the well-kept roads and 
modern villas and fine shops of this district to suggest 
that Streatham was an old village, so old that it is 
mentioned in Domesday Book, and still earlier received 
its name from its situation on a Roman Street. By the 
year 1881 it had become an outlying suburb with a 
population of 15,000 ; to-day it is linked on the Metro- 
polis, and Streatham village is but a name. 

Before the present church was established the nearest 
Congregational Church was at least two miles away, 
and it was felt that the spiritual needs of such a rapidly- 
growing district demanded considerable provision by 
our denomination. An attempt indeed had been made 
some years previously to build up a church in Bedford 
Park, and for some time services had been held in an 
iron building in Glenaldon Road. From various causes, 
however, this effort came to nothing. 

In 1890 Mr. F. Scott Tanner, a member of the council 
of the London Congregational Union, who had settled 
in Streatham, feeling the urgent need for further reli- 
gious provision, requested the help of the council to 
start services in the Town Hall at his own expense. 
The opening services were conducted by Dr. Hannay 
on October 12, 1890, and for a time the meetings were 
carried on by some of the best-known ministers of 
London and the provinces. 

In 1891 a committee was formed which took the 
financial responsibility, up till then generously borne by 
Mr. Tanner. For five years the work of building up a 


church and congregation went steadily on, somewhat 
informally, perhaps, and without any elaborate machi- 
nery, but nevertheless with manifest signs of the Divine 
presence and blessing. 

At length the committee of management felt that the 
time had come to look for a minister, and an invitation 
was given to Mr. W. A. H. Legg, M.A., a student of 
Mansfield College, to undertake the pastorate. Mr. 
Legg accepted the invitation, and was ordained in the 
Tow & n Hall on September 25, 1895. He remained till 
the close of the following year, when he resigned to 
take charge of the church at King Street, Maidstone. 
He has since removed to Tunbridge Wells. 

During the vacancy steps were taken to place the 
church on a basis in conformity with Congregational 
usage. Rules were adopted, deacons were elected, and 
the church was properly organised with a fellowship of 
fifty members. The one great want now was a capable 
and acceptable pastor. After a long and anxious quest 
an invitation was sent to Rev. W. Charles Loosemore, 
M.A. Mr. Loosemore had received his ministerial 
training at Nottingham and the Yorkshire United 
Colleges, had graduated at Glasgow, and had held a 
pastorate at Bury for seven years. Happily he was 
willing to leave the comparative ease of an old-estab- 
lished and well organised church to undertake a work 
that involved all the anxiety of erecting a new building 
and consolidating a young and struggling cause. He 
accepted the invitation and commenced his ministry on 
the first Sunday in October, 1898. 

Up to this time nothing had been done towards 
securing a permanent church building, beyond obtain- 
ing the site. For some years it had been difficult to 
purchase any suitable land, but in 1895 an excellent 


freehold property was secured, just below the railway 
station, with a frontage of 160 feet to the main road. 

Mr. Loosemore's settlement soon brought about a 
practical building scheme. Plans were adopted for the 
erection of a building to seat 700 persons, and the work 
was at once put in hand. Memorial stones were laid 
on May 16, 1900, by Mr. Chas. Derry, and in 1901 the 
new church buildings, erected at a cost (including site) 
of £14,000, were opened. The dedication services were 
conducted on Tuesday, June 11, by Rev. J. G. 
Rogers, D.D., and Rev. J. H. Jowett, M.A., of Bir- 

Early in 1906 Mr. Loosemore resigned the pastorate. 
His health had been for some time unsatisfactory, and 
a prolonged rest was desirable. 

After an interval of some months the church gave a 
hearty invitation to the Rev. Thomas Hooper, of 
Ashton-under-Lyne, to take up the work in this impor- 
tant district. Mr. Hooper was no stranger to London ; 
he had already done good service at Camberwell Green 
and earlier at Kingsland. He accepted the invitation, 
much to the delight of his old friends, and commenced 
his pastorate on February 10, 1907. His coming 
brought new life and power to the young cause, and 
under his able ministry there is rapidly growing one of 
the most vigorous churches in South London. 

Alderman Charles Burt, J. P., Richmond. 




On the removal of Rev. D. B. James, and secession 
of part of the congregation, from Worple Road Church 
in 1893, the seceders worshipped for some time in the 
Collegiate Hall. As soon as it became practicable the 
building known as Christ Church was erected, and 
there Mr. James ministered to an attached people until 
disabled by infirmity. " He never resigned his charge, 
the personal devotion of his people continuing to the 
end" (Year Book Memoir). After two years of partial 
inability, he died on June 28, 1900. 

He was succeeded in 1901 by Rev. R. W. Farquhar, 
from Chicago, who removed in 1905. The pulpit was 
vacant for something over a year, until in 1907 the pre- 
sent pastor, Rev. C. Croucher, was invited. He had 
formerly ministered in the United Methodist Free 
Church. Our information concerning Christ Church 
is defective, and the yearly statistics have varied 
but little from the beginning to the present year. 




Of late years there has been considerable extension 
in that part of Richmond that lies adjacent to Kew. 
This district is a considerable distance from the Vine? 


yard Church, and it became evident that a Congrega- 
tional church ought to be established to meet the needs 
of the growing population. 

A site was secured from the Crown, in Raleigh Road, 
just off the Lower Mortlake Road. Here the church is 
in close touch with a large working-class population, 
and is easily accessible from the wealthier district that 
lies along and off the Kew Road. The entire cost of 
the site and buildings was generously borne by Alder- 
man and Mrs. Charles Burt, of Hillside, Richmond, 
who have since conveyed the whole property, free of 
debt or encumbrance, to twelve trustees, to be used and 
maintained for ever as a Congregational church, and 
for all religious, educational and social work connected 

The church was opened for public worship on 
December 12, 1898, by Dr. Joseph Parker. In the 
evening a public meeting was held, presided over by 
Alderman Charles Burt ; the Mayor of Richmond, Mr. 
Albert Spicer, M.P., Mr. J. H. Yoxall, M.P., and others 
took part. 

The first minister was Rev. William Forbes, late of 
Capetown, who was at that time residing in Richmond. 
Mr. Forbes undertook the temporary pastorate for the 
first three months of 1899. His energy and ability gave 
a good start to the new cause, and the church is greatly 
indebted to him for the work he accomplished. 

On March 23, 1899, the church was formally con- 
stituted with thirty-five members ; and deacons and 
other officers were appointed. The church now looked 
around for a pastor. Its unanimous choice soon fell on 
Mr. H. Moffatt Scott, A.T.S., then Senior Student of 
Hackney College, who commenced his ministry on 
Sunday, June 11. The ordination service on July 5 


was presided over by the new minister's father, Rev. 
William Scott, of Eastbourne. 

The Sunday school was opened on Sunday morning, 
January 8, 1899. Fifty-three children presented them- 
selves, and Miss Newnes, Messrs. A. Falkner and 
Topham were the first teachers. By the end of the first 
year the numbers had reached 180 scholars and fifteen 
teachers. Steadily the work grew, one institution after 
another being called into existence, till by the end of 
the first year the members were able to rejoice in a 
fully equipped and active church. 

In October, 1902, after four and a half years' service, 
Mr. Scott received and accepted an invitation to Stroud 
Green Church, where he now labours. The following 
year, Rev. Thomas Powell Lansdowne, of Halstead, in 
Essex, was invited to the vacant pastorate, and entered 
upon his duties on September 3, 1903. Toward the 
end of 1906 Mr. Lansdowne removed to Windsor, and 
was succeeded after a short interval by Rev. T. R. 
Archer, from Maidstone. 

The church buildings have lately been completed by 
the erection of an infant school. 



Woking is a village and parish on the river Wey, 
twenty-four miles from London. Possibly it would be 
more correct to describe it as one of the distant suburbs 
of London, for few places so far from the metropolis 
have grown more rapidly under its influence, and to-day 
the old village is lost amid the labyrinth of villas. 


Woking was one of the districts worked by the 
Surrey Mission. Their agent, Mr. Gayton, laboured 
here in the early years of the last century, until 1823 ; 
extending his ministry through the neighbouring 
villages as far eastward as Claygate and Hook, and 
southward to Shere. No less than twenty-six villages 
were visited by this indefatigable evangelist. 

The present church at Woking was gathered in 1897. 
By that year the neighbourhood had so developed that 
the executive of the Surrey Congregational Union, in 
view of the rapidly growing population, appointed a 
committee to take steps for the purchase of a site, and 
the commencement of services. After some difficulty 
a plot of land was secured at a cost of £600 in the 
York Road, Mount Hermon, where up to that time 
there was no church accommodation at all. 

Services were commenced at Onslow Hall in 
October, 1899. Two months later a Sunday school 
was started ; and at the end of the year a devotional 
meeting was held at the house of George Unwin, Esq. 
Rev. Alexander Cowe, M.A., of Guildford, presided, 
and the following resolution was adopted by thirty-four 
persons who subscribed their names thereto : " We 
who have appended our names to this resolution do 
hereby, desiring to be ourselves helped, and to help 
each other in living the life of faith in Jesus Christ, and 
of loving and loyal discipleship to Him, desiring also 
to do all that lies in our power for the extension 
of His kingdom and influence in this world, con- 
stitute ourselves for the furtherance of these aims, 
a Church of Christ, after the order generally known 
as Congregational." 

In the following March an invitation was given to 
the Rev. Henry W. Clark, of Hackney College, who 


had been conducting the services from the commence- 
ment, to remain as pastor. 

Steps were then taken to erect a permanent building. 
Designs by Mr. W. Howard Seth-Smith, F.R.I. B. A., 
were adopted, and the work of building the lecture 
hall was at once proceeded with. The cost of this was 

On October 8, 1900, the memorial stones of the 
lecture hall and class-room were laid by Mr. G. H. 
Leeson (chairman of the Surrey Congregational Union), 
Mrs. E. S. Jones, Mrs. Unwin, and^Mrs. Harrison. On 
that day contributions to the amount of £225 were 

The following May the lecture hall was opened, Rev. 
Dr. J. G. Rogers, of Clapham, preaching at the opening 

Mr. Clark remained until 1904, exercising a cultured 
ministry and manfully facing the many difficulties of a 
new cause. But he was far from strong, and the 
pioneer work of a place like Woking entailed a great 
strain. He resigned in June, 1904, followed by the 
esteem of his people and brother ministers. He has 
not since sought another church, but devoted himself 
to literary work for which he has great gifts. 

In December, 1904, the church gave an invitation to 
Rev. J. Harrison Milnes, M.A. (of Mansfield College, 
Oxford, and St. John's College, Cambridge), to become 
its pastor. Under his energetic leadership considerable 
progress has been made; and great hopes are enter- 
tained that before many years there will be a strong 
and efficient church in this important district. 



Byfleet is a rapidly growing neighbourhood on the 
London and South Western line between Weybridge 
and Woking. 

A room was opened here by the Surrey Mission in 
1858, where some fifty persons met in the week for 
worship. A Sunday evening service was next estab- 
lished, with a congregation of one hundred. This 
was afterwards transferred to the Wesleyans, who are 
doing a good work there. 

The present church dates from 1902, when Mr. T. 
Dence commenced services in a cottage. This becoming 
too strait, a chapel at Byfleet West, together with four 
cottages, was purchased from the Plymouth Brethren for 
£1,200. Messrs. A. Pye Smith (Croydon), G. Chambers 
(Weybridge), D. Williamson (Guildford), and J. E. 
Fitzwalter formed themselves into a committee, and 
purchased the buildings, raising the money on mortgage. 

Shortly afterwards Mr. Dence left the neighbourhood 
for Guildford, much to the disappointment and regret 
of the people. The oversight of the work was then 
taken by the church at Weybridge. 

In 1904 Byfleet was grouped with Cobham under the 
ministry of Rev. M. Williams, B.A. Mr. Williams, by 
persistent effort, is already beginning to make his work 
tell. Recently two of the cottages have been sold and 
the money used to reduce the mortgage. About £600 
is still required to free the property from debt. 




Although the rector of this town, Rev. Samuel Nabbs, 
was ejected from his living by the Act of Uniformity, 
he does not seem to have made any attempt to 
establish a church. Calamy only says, " After his 
ejectment he lived in the neighbourhood of London, 
where he died very old and infirm." 

But another ejected minister, Rev. John Wood, of 
North Chapel, in Sussex, came to reside at Westcott 
(or Westgate), where he had a small estate. 

Westcott is a little hamlet about a mile and a half 
from Dorking, and here, according to Waddington, " he 
first gathered a congregation and continued to preach 
for some time in his own house ; but upon the increase 
of his hearers, who came, it is supposed, principally 
from Dorking, he fitted up a barn in the town on a 
spot which is known by the name of Butter Hill." 

Rev. James Fisher, the ejected rector from Fetcham, 
also preached in Dorking. He supported himself by 
keeping a school, preaching in his own house. 

According to the return of conventicles made to Arch- 
bishop Sheldon in 1669, the gathering presided over by 
Mr. Fisher had about 100 adherents, with a Mr. 
Feake and other strangers as teachers. Three other 

A A 


conventicles are also reported, one in the house of John 
Wood, for Presbyterians, with 300 adherents ; teachers, 
the said Mr. Wood and Mr. King, of Ashstead. Another, 
for Anabaptists, in the house of John Barnard, who 
was also the teacher, with fifty adherents. Another for 
Quakers, of which no particulars are recorded. 

The Mr. Feake above referred to was a notorious 
Fifth Monarchy man. In Cromwell's time he had 
held the living of Christ Church, Newgate Street, but 
was deprived and imprisoned for violent language 
against the Protector, whom he called " the man of 
sin " and " a perjured villain." But in 1664 he appears 
at Dorking with a numerous following. 

Amongst the requests for licences under the Declara- 
tion of Indulgence in 1672 we find one on April 11, for 
Mr. James Fisher, Congregational, and also one for 
John Wood, Presbyterian, at his own house. 

Dr. Walker, in his " Sufferings of the Clergy," speaks 
of Mr. Fisher as "a man of very mean character," and 
charges him with great inhumanity to the wife of his 
predecessor, Dr. Turner. Calamy disbelieves the 
charge, and urges in defence of Mr. Fisher his general 
character, which was remarkable for humanity and 
tenderness, and the testimony of one of his successors, 
who assured Mr. Fisher's daughter "that her father's 
memory was then precious at Dorking and would never 
die there." 

Another ejected clergyman who lived for a while in 
Dorking was Mr. Wright. He held the sequestrated 
rectory of Charlwood, but had to leave it soon after the 
Restoration. He afterwards lived privately in Dorking. 

Mr. Fisher died in 1691 at the ripe age of eighty-nine, 
and Mr. Wood did not long survive his brother minister. 
He remained pastor of the church till 1695, when he 


died at the age of seventy-eight. Calamy speaks of 
him as " a grave, solid and judicious divine who brought 
forth fruit in old age." 

The same year that Mr. Wood died the Rev. Samuel 
Brooks accepted the charge of the church on Butter 
Hill. He was probably the son of Rev. Samuel Brooks, 
of Huntingdon, a man of scholarship and position, who 
kept a select private school after his ejectment, and died 
on his own estate in Essex. Shortly before his death 
Mr. Brooks removed to London. His body was brought 
back to Dorking for burial with many tokens of respect. 

Samuel Highmore was the next pastor. He settled 
in Dorking in 1706. There is a MS. written by him in 
1 710, preserved in the British Museum, in which he 
gives a description of various points of interest in the 
neighbourhood. In 1719 he removed to Mortlake, 
where he held the pastorate until his death in 1755. 

Joseph Stokes was the next pastor of the Dorking 
church. The old church book dates from the com- 
mencement of his pastorate. One interesting record 
has reference to the "briefs" that were addressed by 
the authorities to dissenting congregations. They were 
expected to contribute toward making good damages 
done by fire, flood and hailstorms, and even to the repair 
of parish churches in various parts of the country. The 
following are examples: — 1766, for hailstorms in York- 
shire, is. id. ; 1766, for hailstorms in Berkshire, ys.; 
1793, for a fire in Liverpool, 7s. yd. ; 1793, for a fire at 
Ellerton paper mills, 5.5. 6%d. 

Two years after Mr. Stokes began his ministry so 
much success attended his work that the congregation 
removed from the old barn on Butter Hill to a meeting 
house erected on the site of the present building in West 
Street. It was a small homely building, approached by 

a a 2 


a rather narrow passage. It was built of red brick, 
with a roof of pantiles, which gave rise to the name of 
" Pantilers," by which dissenters in Dorking were known 
for more than a century afterwards. 

There is no record of the termination of Mr. Stokes's 
ministry, but in 1728 we find that Rev. John Mason 
was ordained to the pastorate by fasting and prayer 
and the laying on of hands. Mr. Mason was born at Dun- 
mow in 1705. For some years he was chaplain and 
tutor in the family of Governor Feaks. at Hatfield. 
He was the author of " Self-Knowledge, " a book that 
attained considerable celebrity, and was translated into 
several languages. Another book by Mr. Mason bore 
the quaint title, "The Lord's Day Evening Entertain- 
ment, a set of sermons for families." 

After seventeen years' pastorate Mr. Mason removed 
in 1746 to Cheshunt, where he continued for seventeen 
years longer. He died February 10, 1763, at the com- 
paratively early age of fifty-eight, and was buried in 
Cheshunt churchyard, where there is a stone with a 
brief inscription to his memory. 

Thomas Coad, a native of Stoford, in Somersetshire, 
was the next pastor. His father, John Coad, was a 
carpenter, who followed the ill-fated Duke of Monmouth 
in the insurrection of 1685. He was sentenced to death 
by Jeffreys, but managed to get included amongst those 
who were transported to the plantations of Jamaica. 
There he preached the gospel to the slaves, and on his 
return to England wrote an account of his adventures 
and sufferings, under the title " A memorandum of the 
Wonderful Providences of God to a Poor Unworthy 
Creature." The manuscript found its way into the 
hands of Macaulay, who was ple.ised with its quaint- 
ness and truth, and who refers to it in the first 


volume of his " History of England." It was printed in 


The only record we have of Mr. Coad's pastorate is 
a notice of its sudden close. On January 24, 1749, he 
was taken ill, and died in the vestry at the age of fifty- 
three. There is a small tablet in the school-room to 
his memory. 

In 1750 an invitation was given to the Rev. Andrew 
Kippis, and on November 10 he too was set apart 
"with fasting and prayer." He was born at Notting- 
ham, March 28, 1725, and on both his father's and 
mother's side was descended from ejected ministers. 
At the age of sixteen he entered Dr. Doddridge's academy 
to study for the ministry, and here commenced a strong 
attachment to that famous man that lasted through life. 

On leaving college in 1746 he received two invi- 
tations, one to Dorchester and one to Boston in 
Lincolnshire. He accepted the latter, and remained 
there till his removal to Dorking in 1750. 

Kippis was the first of the Dorking ministers to fall 
into the Arian errors that so fatally affected the churches 
during the eighteenth century : he seems to have been 
led from the old orthodoxy by Elisha Cole's famous 
treatise on " Divine Sovereignty,'' a book lent to him 
by his friends with the intention of producing an exactly 
contrary effect. 

In June, 1753, Mr. Kippis accepted a call from the 
Presbyterian Church at Prince's Street, Westminster, in 
succession to Dr. Obadiah Hughes. In 1763, he was 
elected classical tutor at Coward College, and four 
years later received the degree of D.D. from the 
University of Edinburgh. This was followed in 1779 
by his election to a fellowship of the Royal Society. 

Dr. Kippis was a voracious reader and a voluminous 


writer. He is said to have read for sixteen hours 
a day. 

Robert Hall once said of him, " Kippis laid so many 
books upon his head that his brains could not move," 
but Dr. Rees, who preached his funeral sermon, more 
truly observed, " Few men read more, or better arranged 
the fruit of their studies." Amongst his literary pro- 
ductions were the first five volumes of the " Biographia 
Britannica," which he edited, a valuable life of Captain 
James Cook and several other memoirs. He also 
edited several early volumes of the " Annual Register." 
His useful life closed somewhat suddenly. After a 
short illness which baffled the skill of even the most 
eminent physicians he passed to his rest on the even- 
ing of October 8, 1795, in the seventy-first year of 
his age. 

On November 6, 1753, the church gave an invitation 
to Rev. John Heap, who, after his removal from 
Dorking, entered the Established Church. 

The next pastor was Peter Emans, who settled on 
August ii, 1764. He left in 1767 and became a 

For two years the church remained without a pastor. 
On November 19, 1769, William Stuck came on pro- 
bation. His services found favour with the people, and 
he was ordained August 15, 1770. 

For twenty-eight years Mr. Stuck remained pastor 
of the church, but his ministry does not appear to have 
been very successful. Waddington says, " The church 
under Arian teachers had departed from the faith," and 
he tells us that on Mr. Stuck's resignation through 
illness in 1797 "it had little more than a nominal 

Dr. Bright in his " History of Dorking " mentions one 

Thomas Wilson. Esq., of Highbury. 


interesting fact with regard to this period. " In 1780, 
there are frequent entries of the baptism of the children 
of soldiers belonging to the Scots Greys, the Old Buffs, 
the 69th Regiment of Foot, and the Northumberland 
Militia. The last regiments were encamped on Ranmore 
Common to be at hand in case of any outbreak in 
London, and the occurrence of the Gordon Riots 
justified the step." 

Dr. Bright gives Joseph Hobson as the name of the 
next pastor ; but Dr. Waddington says that for ten 
years there was no settled pastor, and makes no men- 
tion of Mr. Hobson. He would seem, however, to refer 
to Mr. Hobson when he says later, concerning Mr. 
Thomas Wilson's effort to resuscitate the cause, that 
" He (i.e., Wilson) was greatly tried with one of the 
first agents introduced to the work, who proved defec- 
tive in moral character. The people withdrew and 
worshipped in another place." 

The period of exile from the building proved to 
be fruitful in spiritual results. In 1806 Mrs. Eives, 
a niece of Robert Raikes of Gloucester, invited her 
laundress's children to be taught in her kitchen on 
Sunday, afterwards others joined them. In the 
following year the school was probably transferred 
either to the Old King's Head or to the meeting house. 
At last the attention of Mr. Thomas Wilson, that 
zealous builder and rebuilder of churches, was called 
to the state of things at Dorking. He induced Mr. 
Hobson to accept a sum of money in satisfaction of his 
claims, and the congregation returned to their old 


The date of this return to the old meeting-house has 
not been ascertained. An entry in the old minute book 
says : " During the period of Mr. Hobson's ministry at 


Dorking there was a separation in the congregation, and 
the separatists worshipped in a room at the King's 
Head for many years till Mr. Hobson left Dorking, when 
they returned to the chapel and were supplied by the 
students of Hoxton Academy till Midsummer, 1812." 

Amongst those who preached at this time was the 
celebrated Thomas Spencer. This remarkable young 
man, of whom Robert Hall said that he seemed likely 
to carry the art of preaching to an unknown degree of 
perfection, was engaged to preach at Dorking whilst a 
youth at college. Spencer's career was short and 
brilliant. He was invited to the church in Liverpool, 
afterwards associated with the ministry of Dr. Raffles. 
A large chapel was erected for him, but going out one 
evening to bathe in the Mersey, he was drowned when 
only in the twenty-first year of his age. 

In 1812 Rev. John Jervis Whitehouse commenced 
his ministry. He began preaching among the Metho- 
dists at the age of eighteen. We read in the life of 
Thomas Wilson that under his ministry there was a 
great revival at Dorking. His pastorate was not a 
long one. Always delicate, he passed to his rest at the 
early age of thirty-six. He was buried in the vestry of 
the meeting house in West Street, February 1, 1825. 
His son was afterwards a missionary in Travancore, 
whilst his grandson is to-day the honoured principal of 
Cheshunt College. 

Rev. Alfred Dawson was the next minister. He was 
born in London, May 14, 1794. Having studied under 
John Thornton at Billericay, and afterwards at Hoxton, 
he accepted an invitation to Grantham (Lincolnshire) 
in 1822, where he was ordained the following year. He 
removed to Dorking in 1826. So successful was his 
work that it became necessary to erect a new chapel. 


Mr. T. Wilson laid the first stone on September 3, 1834. 
The same year Mr. Dawson resigned through illness, 
and on the 30th of the following March he passed to 
his rest. 

The church then invited Mr. Richard Connebee, of 
Highbury College, to the vacant pulpit. He was 
ordained on March 23, 1836. During Mr. Connebee's 
ministry the chapel was crowded, and a great revival of 
religion took place amongst young people. The 
Sunday school was well attended, and in July, 1843, 
an infant school was commenced by Miss Whitehouse. 
A branch school was also established at North 

In 1846 Mr. Connebee accepted a call to Kew, near 
Melbourne, where he laboured for some years, removing 
later to Dunedin in New Zealand. He died at Kew, 
Victoria, in 1883, in the 47th year of his ministry. 

Rev. John Shenstone Bright was the next pastor. 
He was born in Coventry in 1809, and received his 
training at Highbury. His first charge was at Luton, 
thence he removed to Woolwich, and w 7 as called to the 
pulpit of Dorking in 1847. 

In 1858 a new schoolroom was built at a cost of £800. 
In 1874 the chapel was restored at a cost of £1,100, 
and opened free of debt. In 1882 new class-rooms were 
added to the schools, and again the buildings were 
opened free of debt. 

Some of Mr. Bright's best work was done in connec- 
tion with the villages. Under his oversight the missions 
at Headley, Park Gate, and Walton on the Hill were 
commenced. During his pastorate four young men who 
had been connected with his congregation entered 
the Christian ministry. Two of these, William 
Henry Beckett of Stebbing, and W. H. Summers of 


Hungerford, have left to the church historical works 
of considerable value. 

Mr. Bright held the pastorate for forty years, resigning 
in 1886. He possessed wide scholarship and high 
literary ability. His writings, both theological and 
historical, were numerous. In 1876 he published a 
guide to Dorking, and later a history of Dorking and 
neighbourhood. In the year of his retirement his con- 
tributions to literature were recognised in a diploma of 
D.D. from an American university. After his retirement 
he still continued to live amongst the scenes he loved 
so well. His health failed in the spring of 1895, and 
he died on November 4 of that year, in the eighty-sixth 
year of his age and fifty-seventh of his ministry. 

On Dr. Bright's resignation the choice of the church 
fell upon Rev. G. Avery. Mr. Avery was a student of 
Cotton End. In 1873 he accepted the pastorate of 
Newmarket, and five years later removed to Shanklin, 
Isle of Wight. His recognition took place on June 30, 
1886. For sixteen years he worthily maintained the 
cause, and returned to the Isle of Wight, this time to 
Newport, in 1902. 

The church did not go far in search of his successor. 
Rev. T. R. Grantham, who was doing excellent work in 
the neighbouring town of Farnham, was invited to the 
vacant pastorate, and in November, 1902, commenced 
his ministry. One of his first efforts was to attach the 
village causes more closely to the West Street Church 
by the institution of village membership. In April, 
1904, about seventy persons were thus united to the 
mother church. In 1905 preparations were made for 
celebrating the centenary of the Sunday school in the 
following year. It was decided to purchase a house 
and garden adjoining the church, to erect a new Sunday 

Rev. J. S. Bright, D.D.. Dorking. 


school, and to make various improvements in the 
church. A very gratifying response was received from 
the members, and the scheme has lately been carried 
into effect. 




A few miles below Redhill, on the borders of Sussex, 
lies the little village of Charlwood. Mr. Smith, one of 
the agents of the Surrey Mission, visited this place in 
1814. He began with some fifteen or twenty hearers, 
but the people soon came from the parishes around, and 
an encouraging work was carried on. A chapel capable 
of accommodating 250 persons was erected, and a 
church formed which by 1822 numbered forty members. 
Later, a Sunday school was commenced, with an 
average attendance of eighty children. The establish- 
ment of a School of Industry in connection with 
the parish church greatly affected this work, thirty- 
eight girls being removed from the Nonconformist 
to the " Church " school. 

In 1834 the people at Charlwood desired to have a 
settled minister, and Mr. Joseph Flint guaranteed his 
support ; so after nearly twenty years of service 
Mr. Smith resigned his charge and removed to 
Bletchingley. From this time to 1885 we have no 
account of Congregationalism in Charlwood. In that 
year, however, a building which was originally erected 
for a blacksmith's shop, and afterwards used as a 


slaughterhouse, was taken and fitted up for mission 
purposes. Some still remember the ring in the floor to 
which the oxen to be slaughtered were tied, and the 
blood stains which remained for some time. 

About 1889 the building was purchased, enlarged and 
renovated, and is to-day a comfortable mission hall 
with vestry attached. 

In the early days of the mission the services were not 
always quiet and decorous. Peas and other missiles 
were sometimes thrown at the preacher. But the work 
grew, and hearts were melted by the Saviour's love. 

In 1888, one of the converts, Mr. B. Banks, began a 
Sunday school by inducing a number of boys, who were 
playing marbles, to accompany him to the hall. There 
are now over 100 scholars and eight teachers, most of 
the latter having been scholars in the school. There is 
also a Sunday morning adult school for men, a weekly 
service, and weekly Bible class, a Band of Hope with 
forty-five members, a mothers' meeting, coal and 
clothing clubs, and a men's benefit society. 

The church and its organisations are on the same 
footing as at Park Gate, and under the care of the same 
evangelist, who preaches on alternate Sundays at each 
place. Both here and at Park Gate the work is full of 


(1876— 1885) 

About the year 1876 Mr. Charles Shearman, assisted 
by several other young men from the Dorking Congre- 
gational Church, held open air services at Park Gate 


during the summer. These were continued for several 

In 1880 a sympathetic resident invited the workers to 
hold their meetings in his cottage at Tots-hole. As 
more space became necessary, a larger room was taken 
under the granary at High Trees Farm. Here there 
were numerous conversions, and the work grew apace. 
Then opposition began to be shown, the room had to be 
closed, and the work for a short time discontinued. 

Soon one of the converts threw open his cottage in 
Broad Lane, and the work was resumed with renewed 
vigour, and much success. Frequently the parlour, 
kitchen, and staircase were crowded, and " the power 
of the Lord was present to heal." 

After much prayer land was procured, and largely 
through the kindness and energy of Mr. J. Todman, of 
Dorking, an iron mission hall, with vestry attached, was 

The opening services were held on June 2, 1885. The 
first sermon was preached by the Rev. Newman 
Hall, LL.B., and in the evening a large and enthusi- 
astic meeting, presided over by General Sir Arthur 
Cotton, was addressed by Revs. J. S. Bright, G. J. 
Adeney, and others. 

Mr. Harrison was appointed evangelist for a year ; he 
was succeeded by Mr. Gabriel Woodward, who con- 
tinued to labour faithfully and well for thirteen years, 
during which time much good and lasting work was 
done, and a cottage for the evangelist's residence was 
erected. In 1900 Mr. Woodward took charge of the 
work at Forest Green and Ewhurst, and was succeeded 
at Park Gate by Mr. W. Mapstone (formerly in charge 
of the Godalming mission stations). 

During Mr. Mapstone's superintendence the station 


has been placed under the oversight of the Dorking 
Church, the members being enrolled as " village 
members " of that fellowship. 

In addition to the Sunday services and Sunday 
school, weekly meetings, prayer meetings, and Bible 
classes are held. There are also a Band of Hope, a Coal 
and Clothing Club and Help-Myself Benefit Society, and 
all the adjuncts of a healthy working village church. 



In 1883 Mr. Charles Shearman and a band of young 
friends went out each Sunday from Dorking, and held 
open air services on the beautiful heath that adjoins 
the village. These were so well attended that it soon 
became necessary to find indoor accommodation. The 
friends betook themselves to prayer, and the answer 
came in the form of a very generous offer from Mr. 
Herbert Cecil Drane of land for the erection of a 
mission hall, and the promise of £50 from Mr. E. M. 
Denny. A subscription list was opened, and soon a 
building was erected, capable of seating 100 persons, 
at a cost of £"150. 

The opening services were held on September 17, 
1883, when Rev. J. Guinness Rogers preached. Reigate, 
Redhill, Epsom, Leatherhcad, Dorking, and most of 
the villages around sent contingents of friends to the 

Soon afterwards a Sunday school of fifty children 
was formed, and other social organisations followed. 

In 1892 Mr. H. Wilton was appointed as evangelist to 


this station, in conjunction with Walton on the Hill. 
For sixteen years he has carried on an earnest and 
faithful work in both villages. 



Where the downs of Surrey begin to dip into the 
luxuriant valleys that run midway through the county, 
Walton on the Hill lies on the verge of a stretch of 
moorland. Beautifully situated though it is, one of its 
oldest inhabitants described it in days gone by as "one 
of the darkest spots on God's fair earth." Good men 
in the village had long prayed that something might be 
done, but nothing was attempted till Mr. George Bass, 
one of the Metropolitan Tabernacle colporteurs, 
labouring in the Dorking district, visited the village. 
He began by distributing books and tracts, and occa- 
sionally holding an open air service on the village 

By-and-by, a suitable site was offered for erecting a 
chapel, but the opportunity was missed. Afterwards, 
however, the same site was sold to the Dorking Con- 
gregational Church, and through the generosity of 
Mr. E. M. Denny, Mr. Joseph Todman, and other 
friends, an iron chapel was erected. This was opened 
free of debt on June 11, 1S85, when a sermon was 
preached by Rev. J. Hart, of Guildford. Mr. W. E. 
Wainwright, of Reigate, continued the opening services 
on the following Sunda)\ A more motley crowd could 
not have been found in the East End of London than 
came the first few Sundays. 


Mr. Bass was appointed the first evangelist, and his 
earnest labours soon began to tell. At first the roughs 
of the neighbourhood made services almost impossible ; 
and on one occasion every window in the building was 
either broken or cracked. Gradually, however, this 
element was subdued, and some of those who created 
the most disturbance became converted to God. Mr. 
Bass laboured here for seven years. 

In 1892 Mr. H. Witton, the present evangelist, was 
appointed. There are now good congregations and a 
choir of which any village church might be proud ; and 
no one could desire a more reverent or attentive con- 
gregation. Quite a number of religious and social 
organisations have been founded, and the effect of the 
mission is abundantly seen throughout the village. 

In 1893 a cottage at the side of the chapel was 
erected by public subscription to commemorate the 
faithful services rendered to the village mission work 
by Mr. Todman of Dorking. 

Walton is rapidly growing. Its breezy gorse and 
heather-clad common, with its far-reaching views and 
bracing air, make the village a most desirable place of 
residence. The old mission chapel is quite inadequate to 
the needs of this growing locality, and the friends are 
asking help towards the new church that is sorely needed. 
Quite recently two members of the Established Church, 
pleased with the work that has been done at this station, 
have given £250 for this purpose. 


(1672— 1793) 
The high road from London to Winchester, after 
crossing the Hog's Back, descends gradually into the 


little town of Farnham. It is said originally to have 
been Fernham from the quantity of fern growing there. 
Here William Cobbett was born in a cottage, now an 
inn, near the station, and was buried in the churchyard. 
Toplady, too. the author of " Rock of Ages," was born 

Nonconformity in Farnham, as in many other places, 
owes its origin to the vicar of the parish. Samuel 
Stileman, a man of great learning and eminent piety, 
was ejected here in 1662. He seems to have been an 
especially faithful preacher, who did not confine his 
admonitions to general denunciations of sin, but went 
into details which sometimes brought him into difficulty. 
On one occasion, a gentleman in the neighbourhood 
having broken his neck by a fall from his horse after 
a drinking bout, Mr. Stileman enraged his companions 
by rebuking the sin of drunkenness from the pulpit. 
Another time a justice of the peace came into the 
church and commanded him to come out of the pulpit. 
He did so to prevent disturbance ; but on a second 
occasion, by the advice of his friends, refused, and was 
dragged down by the magistrate and committed to 
prison. However he sued the justice and got con- 
siderable damages. After the ejectment he continued 
preaching in his own house, but died the following 

John Farrol, M.A., ejected from Selborne, in 
Hampshire, removed hither in 1665, and preached 
occasionally, as well as at Godalming, under which 
town his career is further noticed. Among the licences 
in the Domestic State Papers, we find one to John 
Farrol at the house of Richard Collier, and another to 
James Prince at the house of Richard Whithall. After 
King James's indulgence, he returned to Guildford, his 

B B 


former abode, and divided his labours between that 
town, Godalming and Farnham. 

The next minister was also an ejected clergyman. 
William Bicknel, M.A., was born at Farnham. 
After his university course at Oxford, he became 
assistant at Newport, in the Isle of Wight, and 
then removed to Portsey (Portsea). On relinquishing 
his living, Calamy says, "he was chosen by the 
dissenters of Farnham to be their pastor. He was 
licensed on September 30, 1672, to preach in his own 
house, and continued labouring among them till his 
death, in February, 1696." This is the first indication 
we have of an organised church in the town. Mr. 
Bicknel is described as a man of good learning and 
serious religion ; a laborious, methodical but plain 
preacher, who carefully watched over his flock, and 
would wisely and seriously rebuke their miscarriages. 

For the next fifty or sixty years we have only the 
names and dates of various ministers. Jonathan Giles, 
ordained October 16, 1705, died 1721. 

William Sheldon settled here in 1721, continued till 
1727. One William Jackson is also mentioned. 

Mr. Sheffield followed, remaining two years. 

In 1736 George Hardy became minister, and remained 
till 1756. After him came Benjamin Axford who 
continued five or six years. 

The congregation, which had seriously declined, now 
united with that at Guildford under the pastorate of 
Rev. Nehemiah Ring. He was ordained April 21, 
1765, and preached alternately at the two churches and 
at Godalming. 

At length the cause seemed quite to have died out. 
Waddington says, " The attenuated condition of the 
congregation under the Presbyterian ministers who 


departed from the faith renders it difficult to trace its 
course. They were known traditionally as Unitarian 
Baptists, and became extinct about 1790. Those who 
rejected Unitarianism formed themselves into a Presby- 
terian Church, gradually dwindled down to some two 
or three members, and were subsequently united with 
the Congregational Church formed in 1793." 

The story of the formation of that new church is an 
interesting one. According to a statement widely 
circulated at the time, " It does not appear that the 
glad tidings of Salvation through the merits and 
righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ have been 
published in this town for a century past," till in 1786, 
Rev. Wm. Alphonse Gunn was appointed afternoon 
preacher at the Parish Church. The statement should 
probably be taken with some qualification. By Mr. 
Gunn's ministry it pleased God to turn many of the 
inhabitants of Farnham and the adjacent villages from 
darkness into light, which so excited the enmity of many 
wealthy persons that he was dismissed by the vicar in 
Michaelmas, 1792. 

After Mr. Gunn's dismissal many of his late congre- 
gation left the parish church and gathered in different 
rooms for social worship and reading evangelical 
sermons. But the opposition, by representing the 
meetings as seditious assemblies, prevailed on those 
who first lent the rooms to refuse them, so that 
the worshippers had no place in which to assemble. 
The persecution did not end here. A room having 
been obtained and duly licensed, the gentry encouraged 
a mob to stone the worshippers, and one Sunday 
evening, when near 300 had assembled for service, they 
were so insulted that with difficulty they made their 
escape. A magistrate who was appealed to refused to 

B B 2 


act, and they were obliged to send ten miles for a 
warrant. Four of the offenders were taken into custody, 
but so threatening was the mob that the officers were 
unable to take them to Guildford. 

The next evening a minister ventured to come from 
Guildford to preach. This was the signal for so 
outrageous a riot that the assistance of the military had 
to be obtained, and a suit at law ensued, which ended 
in favour of the persecuted worshippers. The outcome 
of it all was that Rowland Hill, Matthew Wilks, and 
other friends in London so strongly pleaded the cause 
of the oppressed that a piece of freehold land was pur- 
chased and a building erected. This so infuriated the 
mob, or their instigators, that the person who sold the 
land was burned in effigy. The chapel was opened 
(though in an unfinished state) on October 16, 1793. 
Revs. Matthew Wilks, John Eyre, and Mr. Ford came 
down from London, and each preached a sermon on 
the occasion. Several hundreds of people attended 
the opening, and here the godly people who followed 
Mr. Gunn, with a few faithful ones from the old Pres- 
byterian society, formed a Congregational church. 

Mr. Gunn, who had by this time removed to London, 
gave his hearty support to the movement. He was 
invited to become the pastor, but declined — it is said, 
because the building was not consecrated. 

The pulpit of the new chapel was for a long time 
supplied by a Mr. Atley and other ministers. Then, in 
April, 1797, Rev. John Savage, from the Academy at 
Newport Pagnell was ordained the first pastor. During 
his pastorate the persecution was renewed. Organised 
efforts were made to stamp out Nonconformity, and on 
one occasion the roughs tried to occupy the chapel. 
Led by a prominent tradesman, they took their pipes 


and their beer, and commenced a convivial meeting. 
This led to a prosecution, and peace was for a time 
secured. But Mr. Savage did not long live to minister 
to the people. He died at Margate in October of the 
following year. 

No successor was found till 1802, when Rev. W. L. 
Prattman, from Barnard Castle, became the minister. 
He remained ten years and then returned to his former 
charge. He was followed by Rev. Jos. Johnson, from 
Warrington, who ministered to the church for thirty- 
three years. 

Rev. J. Fernie was the next minister. He was born 
June 24, 1811, at Brewood, Staffs., where his father, of 
the same name, was then pastor. At the close of his 
apprenticeship he became a lay preacher in the villages, 
and soon after entered Hackney College to study for 
the regular ministry. He was ordained on Wednesday, 
October 30, 1844. 

Almost the last public act of Mr. Johnson, the late 
pastor, was to commence the ordination service of his 
successor. He died the same year at the age of sixty- 
seven, having been forty-two years in the ministry. 

Mr. Fernie remained with the church ten years, and 
accepted a call to Chudleigh, Devon. He died at 
Dunstable, after a stroke of paralysis, in 1866. He 
was a man of high principle and steadfast faith, and 
especially popular with the young. He was succeeded 
by Rev. J. Ketley, from Airedale College, who laboured 
for fourteen years with much energy and acceptance. 
He afterwards, like his father before him, did good service 
as a missionary in Demerara, where he died in 1893. 

Mr. Herbert Arnold, a student of Hackney College, 
was next called to the vacant pulpit. His ordination 
took place on Wednesday, March 8, 1871. 


The need of a new church had long been felt, and 
under the vigorous guidance of the new minister the 
people now took up the task of building. In 1872 Mr. 
Thomas Simpson, of Godalming, offered to subscribe 
£100 on condition that a new church was commenced 
within six months. The challenge was taken up, and 
seven gentlemen of Farnham came forward with £100 
each. A freehold site was purchased for £600, and 
memorial stones were laid on October 22, 1872, by 
J. Kemp-Welch, Esq. On July 16 of the following 
year the new building was opened. Rev. C. Vince, of 
Birmingham, a native of Farnham, was the preacher. 

After five years' successful work Mr. Arnold, in 1876, 
left this rural town of Surrey for a church in the busy 
manufacturing centre of Sheffield, removing, in 1879, to 
Hull. He has since held pastorates at Croydon, 
Lavender Hill, and Exeter, and now lives in honoured 
retirement at Harlesden. 

He was followed in 1876 by Rev. G. W. Joyce, of 
Tavistock. Mr. Joyce was especially zealous in 
mission work; he established a mission chapel at 
Shortfield and was the means of re-establishing the 
work at Elstead. After nine years' pastorate he left 
in 1885 for Wellington, in Somerset, where he still 

Rev. W. Day, a student of Hackney College, was 
the next minister. During his pastorate he commenced 
a Tract Distribution Society. He left for Brisbane in 
1888, and is now at Auckland, New Zealand. 

In 1889 Rev. W. H. Richards, of Loughborough 
Park, accepted the call of the church. His recognition 
took place on June 5. In 1891 he removed to Cape 


The following year an invitation was sent to Rev. 


T. R. Grantham, a student of Hackney College ; he 
was ordained in May, 1892. 

In 1893 the centenary of the erection of the old 
chapel in East Street was celebrated, and a new hall 
built to mark the event. The hall, with a vestry, and 
alterations to the chapel cost over £1,000. In 1898 a 
successful effort was made to remove the debt of £800 
that remained on the school building. A piece of land 
was also purchased at Wrecclesham, for the erection of 
a village chapel, which was subsequently built and 
opened in October, 1903. 

After ten years of strenuous and successful work Mr. 
Grantham accepted an invitation to Dorking ; and in 
November, 1903, Rev. T. W. Ingram, of Broadstairs, 
settled as pastor. Mr. Ingram had been seven years at 
Broadstairs, and had previously laboured for a short 
time as a missionary in New Guinea. 



(Before 1843) 

There is no record of the origin of this station, or of 
the building of the chapel, but it must have been earlier 
than 1843, probably during the ministry of Rev. J. 

In 1864 it was proposed to form a branch church, 
several persons desiring that the Lord's Supper should 
be administered at Bourne, but after discussion it was 
decided that for the present the villagers should com- 
municate at the town church. On April 5, 1867, six 


men and five women from Bourne were received into 
fellowship. The first evangelist, a Mr. Aylwin, was 
appointed in 1871. After some time he was followed 
by a Mr. Hedgelong, who remained about eleven years. 
He also had charge of a mission at Shortfield, near 
Frensham. From the first there has been a flourishing 
Sunday school at Bourne, conducted chiefly by teachers 
from Farnham ; and between 1892 and 1902 the buildings 
were twice enlarged. Since 1894 ^- ev - D. Darlow, 
formerly of Armitage, Staffordshire, has had the over- 
sight of the village stations, residing at Bourne, and 
assisted by a numerous band of lay preachers. 



Shortfield chapel is situated in the parish of Fren- 
sham. Open air services were conducted here in 1877 
by Mr. Hedgelong, the evangelist of the Farnham 
church. The congregations were so large and encourag- 
ing that it was resolved at once to provide a mission 
church, and a wooden structure was erected capable of 
seating 160 persons. Mr. Hedgelong continued a 
useful work until 1886, when he removed to Wormley 
Hill and the other Godalming stations. 

He was succeeded by Mr. Joseph Smith, who only 
remained a year. Rev. W. E. Day followed, and after 
a short stay Mr. A. J. Owens was appointed. What is 
said above of Bourne since 1894 applies to Shortfield 
and Wrecclesham. 




In this growing village there was no free church 
when, in 1902, a piece of ground was bought by Rev. 
T. R. Grantham for £75, collected for the purpose in 
the county. Here a small school chapel, costing about 
£200, was opened in the following year. 

Several other village stations have been temporarily 
supplied from Farnham in bygone years. 


(1687— 1S19) 

Reigate is an old town situated in the very heart of 
Surrey, amid some of its richest scenery. Its name, 
however, is modern, for in Domesday Book it is Cherche- 
felle. Not until the end of the thirteenth century did 
the town get its present name, which is said to be 
derived from Ridgegate, the passage through the Ridge. 

James Waters was the first minister of a Noncon- 
formist church here. He received his training for 
the ministry at the Academy conducted by Thomas 
Doolittle, the last survivor in London of the ejected 

Mr. Waters does not seem to have commenced minis- 
terial work at once, but accepted an appointment as 
tutor in the family of Lord Holies, and later as tutor 
and chaplain to Mr. Evelyn, of Xutfield, in Surrey. 


Here he preached privately until 1687, when he com- 
menced a public ministry in Reigate. He removed to 
Uxbridge in May, 1692. He wrote a vigorous defence 
of the validity of non-prelatic ordination. 

During the eighteenth century we have only the 
scantiest records concerning this church. Richard, or 
Ralph, Arnold was minister in 1715, John Hulme in 
1726, and William Johnson was ordained October 6, 
1736. Mr. Johnson only held the pastorate two years, 
removing to Romsey in 1738. 

Waddington mentions a Richard Rist as minister in 
1763, but adds "it is said that there was no stated 
preaching for twenty or thirty years before 1773, when 
a week-day lecture was given once a fortnight by a 
minister in the neighbourhood." 

No further account of the church can be found till 
1801. Like many another during the Arian lapse, it 
had fallen into complete decay. For twenty years the 
old meeting house was closed, and owing to the action 
of two descendants of former trustees it could not be 
reopened. But a good friend came forward in that 
generous builder and sustainer of churches, Mr. Thomas 
Wilson. He traced the heir-at-law of the last surviving 
trustee to Newgate, where he was imprisoned for debt, 
and paid him twenty guineas as an acknowledgment for 
conveying the premises to fresh trustees. Then he put 
the chapel into repair at a cost of £150, and on April 9, 
1801, it was reopened by Rowland Hill. It was to be 
supplied by students until a resident minister could be 
appointed, who would visit the surrounding villages. 

The old chapel was not opened without opposition. 
On one occasion the service was brought to an abrupt 
close by the scattering of some substance which set all 
the congregation coughing and sneezing. Another time 


an ass was driven into the chapel. After another dis- 
turbance the Dissenting Deputies prosecuted the offen- 
der, who was fined £20 at quarter sessions. 

The population of Reigate at this time was only 
2,300, yet it sent two members to Parliament. Rowland 
Hill used to say it was the worst place he ever visited. 
No one would entertain the preachers, and for a time 
the chapel was closed. But Mr. Wilson made another 
attempt to revive the cause, and as the old chapel was 
much decayed, he built at his own expense a new one 
which cost £350. Having in mind the past difficulties, 
he built it so that it could be converted into two 
cottages if necessary. It was opened in June, 1819, 
with sermons by Rev. James Stratten, of Paddington, 
and Dr. Harris, of Hoxton Academy. 

The first minister was Rev. John Woodbridge, a 
student from Hoxton. So strong was the prejudice in 
the town that he could get no lodging. He had made 
up his mind to walk to Dorking, a distance often miles, 
when he was told that lodgings might be obtained at a 
farm house two miles away. He found the family 
willing to take him. But he also found them utterly 
ignorant of spiritual matters ; family worship they had 
never heard of; they wanted to know if Mr. Wood- 
bridge's Bible was the same as the clergyman read 
from. The minister's coming was the beginning of better 
things ; the family attended the chapel, and some of 
its members became the firstfruits of his ministry. 

After leaving Reigate Mr. Woodbridge laboured at 
Bristol, and afterwards went as missionary to Jamaica. 
He was succeeded by Mr. Dallinson, who formed a 
church of six members, but resigned after a pastorate 
of two or three years and the church was again supplied 
by students. 


Slowly the congregation grew. Instead of converting 
the chapel into cottages it became necessary to erect a 
larger building. Once again Mr. Wilson's generosity 
came into exercise. He erected a considerably larger 
chapel, with schoolroom attached. The former pastor, 
Rev. John Woodbridge, and the Rev. A. Dawson, of 
Dorking, preached at the opening services, which were 
held on September n, 1831. 

In 1833 Mr. Thomas Rees, of Highbury College, was 
invited to the pastorate. He settled at Midsummer, 
but was not ordained till June 17, 1835. Mr. Rees 
was born at Carmarthen December 9, 1805, and went 
to London at the age of fourteen. At one time he was 
greatly inclined to adopt the stage as a profession, but 
went into business instead; afterwards, much against 
the advice of his friends, he gave it up, and entered 
Highbury College. 

Mr. Rees formed a new church of some eight or ten 
members, and for over twenty years did good and 
honourable service. Then, owing to failure of voice, on 
March 24, 1856, he resigned his charge, to the great 
regret of his people. He became secretary of Mill Hill 
Grammar School, which position he held till 1866. 
After some years of honourable retirement at Lewis- 
ham, he died October 17, 1876, in his seventy-first 

On May 30, 1856, Rev. G. J. Adeney commenced his 
pastorate. He was born in London, August 17, 1818. 
His father, an officer in Wellington's army, is said to 
have had a common ancestry with Richard Baxter. 
After a brilliant career at school (where it is said that 
Charles Dickens was his schoolfellow) he refused 
a tempting offer to go to Oxford, as it would have 
involved the renunciation of Nonconformity. So he 

Rev. G. J. Adeney, Reigate. 


entered into business, and devoted his leisure to study 
and to Christian work. He preached in connection 
with the " Metropolitan Missionary Society," chiefly 
conducted by evangelical churchmen, and the London 
Itinerant Society. In 1842 he accepted an invitation 
to a pastorate at Ealing, where he remained fourteen 
years, until his removal to Reigate. 

In 1857 the chapel was enlarged to accommodate 200 
more persons, at a cost of £1,100. Four years later a 
new schoolroom and class rooms were built at a further 
cost of £500, and the whole amount was raised by the 
opening. These were again enlarged in 1865. 

In 1869 the church lost by death Rev. Charles 
Thomas Smith, who had lived for some years in the 
town. He had formerly laboured long among the 
villages of the country ; and when Mr. Rees resolved 
to commence services at Redhill Mr. Smith took a 
small house at his own expense and converted the 
lower part into a kind of chapel to hold sixty or 
seventy persons. This was only one instance of many 
where he used his private means in erecting or repairing 
places for worship. During the last few years of his 
life he was a great invalid. He died March 23, at the 
age of eighty-six. 

Another enlargement of the church took place in 
1869. The building at this time was lengthened 
twenty feet, a new stone front was erected, the interior 
reseated, a new organ gallery added, and the lighting 
and ventilation much improved. The whole cost of the 
work was £1,300. The reopening services took place 
on Thursday, September 16. These improvements 
were followed in 1877 by an organ costing £350. 

On June 21 and 22, 1881, services were held in com- 
memoration of the jubilee of the church, and the twenty- 


fifth year of Mr. Adeney's pastorate. Dr. Parker 
preached, and a substantial testimonial, including a 
purse of £250, was presented to Mr. Adeney. 

The steady growth of the church at Reigate seems to 
be marked by successive enlargements of the buildings. 
In 1884 another addition was made of class-rooms at a 
cost of £576, and in 1877 the church was again 
renovated and improved. 

In 1891 Mr. Adeney completed the fiftieth year of 
his ministry. The year 1895 was memorable for the 
settlement of Rev. G. Currie Martin, M.A., B.D., of 
Nairn, N.B. Mr. Martin was invited as co-pastor for 
two years, to become sole pastor at the end of that 
time. Accordingly, in 1897, Mr. Adeney terminated his 
long ministry at Reigate, and on September 29 bade 
farewell to the church. At a valedictory meeting he 
was presented with a cheque for £"300 and an album 
containing the signatures of the subscribers. He still 
continued to reside in the town until his death on 
August 26, 1899. Mr. Adeney was an effective preacher 
and a racy platform speaker ; and was one of the first 
to introduce the children's address into the services. 

On October 5, 1898, Mr. F. Higgins, who had occu- 
pied the position of evangelist in South Park, was 
ordained assistant minister. 

In 1903 Rev. G. Currie Martin removed to Bradford, 
Yorks., to undertake the Chair of New Testament 
Criticism in the United College there. On October 22 
of the same year Rev. Selwyn J. Evans of Newport 
Pagnell, a Cheshunt student, was invited to the pas- 
torate, and still ministers to the people with great 
acceptance. Another renovation of the church took 
place in 1904. 




Kingswood is a scattered village on the Brighton 
Road, not far from Banstead Heath. 

In 1863 workers from Redhill and Reigate came 
over and held services in cottages and barns. 

In 1871 Mr. Henry Fowkes, who had recently come 
to reside in the neighbourhood, made the acquaintance 
of Mr. W. Smith, of Redhill, who was then conducting 
services in a cottage. Seeing the necessity for a more 
suitable building he purchased land and erected the 
present chapel. Here Mr. Smith carried on the work 
for some twelve years. Mr. Fowkes only lived a few 
months after his generous action, but since his death 
Mrs. Fowkes has supported the work, and her many 
kindly acts will long be remembered by the congrega- 
tion. Since the resignation of Mr. Smith the pulpit 
has been supplied by the Congregational Church at 



The Mission Hall in this village was built in 1885 by 
George Taylor, Esq., who was greatly impressed with 
the spiritual needs of the neighbourhood; and the 
greater part of the current expenses are still borne 
by him. Some years later arrangements were made 
with the Reigate church to supply the pulpit in con- 
junction with the agents of the Evangelisation Society. 


The Sunday school was founded by Mr. Smith and 
Mr. Peek, of Reigate, both of whom have long since 
been called to their rest. There are now 160 scholars 
on the books, and a strong Band of Hope numbers 
ninety members. Mr. Wells, of Kingswood, has suc- 
ceeded to the work commenced by Mr. Smith and Mr. 
Peek, and is now superintendent of both these institu- 


(1706 — 1802) 

About thirty miles from London, in the very heart of 
Surrey, the traveller toward Portsmouth descends by 
a somewhat steep hill to the River Wey ere he rises 
again to the glorious view that the Hog's Back affords. 
On the side of this hill lies Guildford, the capital town 
of the county. 

Its history is ancient, like that of many Surrey towns. 
Its earliest mention is in the will of King Alfred, who 
bequeathed it to his nephew Athelwald. Historians 
have variously endeavoured to account for its name. 
Gilford, Guldeford, Goldford, and Geldford are just a 
few of the suggested derivations. 

Nonconformity has had a home in the town ever 
since the end of the seventeenth century. John 
Manship, the rector of the parish of St. Nicholas, 
after being ejected from his benefice still lived and 
practised as a physician in the town. That he attended 
to the healing of souls as well as bodies appears from 
the license to preach in his own house which was 
granted in 1672 at the request of John Clayton. 


Richard Bures, Vicar of Stourmouth, also resided 
here after his ejectment, and preached for several years, 
as he found opportunity. During this time he was 
twice imprisoned for preaching ; first in the Marshalsea, 
in Southwark, and then in Windsor Castle. He after- 
ward removed to Farnborough and Frimley, and then in 
1692 accepted a pastoral charge in Hatton Garden. He 
died May 7, 1697. Calamy speaks of him as " a very 
valuable man, of the old Puritan stamp, of great gravity 
and an excellent preacher." 

John Farrol, Vicar of Selborne, in Hampshire, and 
Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, also resided here, 
and boarded young gentlemen who went to the free 
school. He seems to have been a man of particularly 
meek and inoffensive disposition ; finding his chief 
delight in his garden and botanical studies. When the 
Corporation oath was imposed, he removed to Farnham, 
and sometimes preached at Godalming, under which 
town his career is further noticed. 

Guildford appears in the list of conventicles reported 
to Archbishop Sheldon, in 1669. In the house of John 
Clarke, from 60 to 100 " Anabaptists" assembled, with 
Mr. Pace, Mr. Rewell and Mr. Mayo as teachers. 

Nonconformity must have obtained a strong hold on 
the town, for in 1672, in addition to the licence already 
referred to as granted to Mr. Manship, two others were 
granted ; one to the house of John Woodyard as a 
Presbyterian meeting place, and the other to the house 
of Thomas Bradfold. 

Mr. David Williamson tells us of an indictment, dated 
August 21, 1680, which declares that thirty known persons 
and 158 unknown, all above the age of sixteen years, 
" were present at an Assembly, Conventicle or Meeting, 
under colour or pretexte of exercise of Religion, in other 

c c 


mannere than accordinge to the Liturgie and practice 
of the Church of England, in the Messuage or house in 
Artington, in the parish of St. Nicholas, Guildford, in 
the said County, and being in a house of Edward Fford 
of Guildford aforesaide, which is supposed to be tenanted 
by Thomas Bradfold of Guildford Clothier and John 
Horsnaille of Guildford aforesaide, dyer, Mr. Richard 
Bures being preacher or teacher." 

The names recorded in the indictment seem to have 
included some of the principal tradesmen of the town. 
Amongst others were Robert Williamson, an ancestor 
of the present family of that name ; Wm. Hill, a 
draper and town councilman, whom James II. removed 
from his office in 1687, when the town's charter was 
taken away; Joseph Nettles and his wife (this good 
man was the founder of Nettles' Charity, an educational 
endowment in connection with the grammar school, by 
which students have been sent to college for now more 
than 200 years) ; Angelo Burt, the clothier, and mayor 
in 1695 ; George Snelling, son of James Snelling, the 
Quaker, who, with seventy others, had been committed 
to the White Lion Prison, in Southwark ; James 
Smallpiece, member of a family connected with the 
town for 400 years ; and Lady Elizabeth Stoughton, 
wife of Sir Nicholas Stoughton, Bart., a member of 
a family that has seven times represented Guildford in 

The old meeting house was built by one John 
Horsnaile, about 1690, and was sold by his widow in 
1723 to trustees for the Congregational Church, which 
had been formed in the meantime. 

In 1702 Rev. Theophilus Lobb, M.D., F.R.S., came 
to the town. He was born August 17, 1678, his father 
being a dissenting minister in London ; and on his 


mother's side he was descended from two ejected 
ministers. He was educated under the care of Rev. 
Thos. Goodwin, of Pinner. At Guildford he both 
preached and practised as a physician. Removing 
thence, he lived successively at Dorchester, Yeovil, and 
Witham, and died in London in his eighty-fifth year. 

The date when the Congregational Church was 
actually founded is unknown : but it was not later than 
1706. On November 5 in that year eleven members, 
including the above-named John Horsnaile, signed a 
call to Mr. Roger Foster to assume the pastorate. He 
accepted the call on or before December 31, on which 
day the members signed a noteworthy covenant and 
confession of faith. They declare their assent to "the 
Assembly's Confession, the Savoy Confession, and allso 
the doctrinal part of the Articles of the Church of 
England," all which they regard as " for substance the 
same." They affirm the cardinal principle of Congrega- 
tionalism — " Every rightly constituted Church of 
Christ ought to be built up of living stones, ready 
fitted and prepared by the Holy Spirit for that spiritual 
building " ; but will not refuse to admit any, " though 
differing from us in circumstantials, provided they hold 
the same Head, Christ Jesus, the same faith, and walk 
answerable thereto in their lives and conversation." The 
remainder of the document contains rules for discipline. 

During Mr. Foster's ministry, Rev. John Brane, who 
had retired from the rectory of Godstone, and lived 
near the meeting house, became so interested in the 
services, that he left the bulk of his property to trustees 
for the benefit of the Congregational ministers of 
Guildford and Dorking. 

In 1715 Mr. Foster was accustomed to " preach a 
lecture " at Godalmiog, R died in 1721. 

c c 2 


Two years before this, on July 22, 1719, John Preddon 
had been called to the pastorate. In 1728 he removed 
to Chichester. From this time the church gradually 
declined ; it is said that several dissenters, on becoming 
members of the Corporation, " practically abandoned 
their principles." For the next sixty or seventy years 
the records are very scanty. John Phillips is believed 
to have succeeded Mr. Preddon ; the name of Petts is 
also found. About 1773 " the church was restored to 
some degree of vitality " ; subsequently George Pollen 
and Mr. Ellis are referred to as ministers, but some- 
what indistinctly. 

The church book from 1707 to 1771 contains official 
receipts for no less than 224 small sums contributed by 
the congregation on appeals in the way of briefs. 
These were for all sorts of purposes, building of parish 
churches, making good losses by fire or tempest, etc. 
For some years the church enjoyed the occasional 
ministrations of the Rev. Nehemiah Ring, of Godalm- 
ing. When weather and health permitted he would 
come over and hold services in the old meeting house. 
When he was no longer able to preach the chapel 
was closed. 

But with the beginning of the nineteenth century 
better days came to the old cause. In 1801 Rev. 
James Bowden, of Tooting, secretary of the " Surrey 
Mission," called the attention of Mr. Thomas Wilson to 
the state of things in Guildford. The meeting house 
was in a ruinous condition, the trustees were all dead, 
the writings were lost, and the endowment already 
referred to, left by Rev. John Brane, was in danger of 
being lost to Guildford, as it had become wholly appro- 
priated by an antinomian minister at Dorking. 

Mr. Wilson acted with his usual promptitude. He 


went at once to Guildford, with a well-known noncon- 
formist solicitor, Mr. Thomas Pellatt, took possession 
of the building, and gave instructions to a builder to 
pull it down and erect another. The cost, £7 00 > he 
entirely defrayed himself. The new chapel was opened 
June 16, 1802. Mr. Griffin, of Portsea, preached in the 
morning, and Dr. Bogue, of Gosport, in the evening. 

For a time the congregation was supplied from 
Hoxton Academy. Then John Grey was called to the 
pastorate, and was ordained September 11, 1804. 

He was succeeded by Rev. John Clunie from Hoxton ; 
who was set apart to the pastoral office on 
September 20, 1809. But from some cause dissension 
arose and the church was broken up. 

Things must have soon righted themselves, for in 
December, 1811, the Rev. Stephen Percy, "after being 
unanimously approved by the subscribers," was invited 
to the pastorate. Mr. Percy was born at Coventry, 
January 27, 1783 ; and was sent to supply at Guildford 
while a student at Hoxton Academy. His ordination 
took place on September 16, 1812. 

With the advent of Mr. Percy came brighter days for 
the church; the congregations so increased that an 
enlargement of the chapel became necessary. A vestry 
was built, and an end gallery erected ; and, later on, 
side galleries were added. 

Not only in Guildford was the influence of Mr. Percy 
felt, but in the surrounding villages. He aided in the 
erection of several village chapels, and for some years 
was one of the secretaries of the Surrey Mission and the 
first local secretary of the Bible Society. 

As years went on the necessity for a new building 
was keenly felt. The old chapel is spoken of as low, 
hidden, contracted and gloomy, with an uninviting 


exterior, and an extremely disagreeable entrance. The 
property too, in the immediate vicinity, had greatly 
deteriorated. But Mr. Percy was now an old man, and 
did not feel equal to the task of building a new sanc- 
tuary. An assistant minister was tried, but the result 
was not satisfactory ; and after forty-eight years of 
service the aged pastor retired from office on February i, 
1859 '■> arrangements being made to secure him an annuity 
for the remainder of his life. His declining years were 
spent in Guildford, and at the age of eighty-five he 
passed to his rest in April, 1868. His funeral sermon 
was preached by Rev. John Hart from Heb. vii. 23. 

Mr. Percy was succeeded by Mr. John Jones, of 
Hackney College, son of a clergyman of the Established 
Church. His ordination took place on July 26, 1859, 
and awakened considerable interest, no similar service 
having been held for nearly half a century. We read 
however, that "the church partially rallied, but the new 
pastor did not gain strength for the work of building 
and withdrew in i860." 

The following year Rev. J. Hart accepted the charge. 
Mr. Hart was born at Stirling in 1818. He early 
engaged in evangelistic services in the south of Scot- 
land ; and after attending classes at the Evangelical 
Union Theological Academy and at the University of 
Glasgow, he accepted a charge at Hamilton in 1847. 
Thence he removed to Salem Chapel, Great Bridge 
(Staffordshire), and two years later to Houghton (Hunt- 
ingdonshire), where he remained nine years. Then came 
the invitation to Guildford. Mr. Hart made it a con- 
dition of his acceptance that a new building should be 
erected in a better part of the town. As 1862 was 
claimed as the bicentenary of the church, it was 
resolved to celebrate the occasion by the erection of 

Rev. John Hart, Guildford, 


a memorial chapel. The members of the church 
and congregation flung themselves heartily into the 
project, and in a short time nearly £1,000 were 

A site was purchased for £600, and on February 19, 
1863, the foundation stone was laid by J. Remington 
Mills, Esq., M.P. On September 24, 1863, the new 
chapel was opened, amid great rejoicing. Revs. Samuel 
Martin and H. Allon were the preachers. The total 
cost of the new buildings was £3,261. Five years later, 
on Sunday, September 27, 1868, the old chapel was 
reopened as a mission hall, and school. 

At Guildford Mr. Hart found his life's work. Under 
his energetic guidance the church grew till it numbered 
500 communicants, whilst in the village churches 
around the average number of attendants was 1,700 ; 
and in the various Sunday schools were 2,000 children 
of which Guildford contributed nearly 1,000. He 
united the village churches and stations into one 
fellowship, under the central church, and organised 
a scheme of lay preaching which has ever since been 
one of the most successful in the country. Six old 
places of worship were reconstructed at a cost of £1,400, 
and four new chapels built at an outlay of £6,000. Mr. 
David Williamson has written of him : — 

" He was a staunch Nonconformist. He studied men 
and what post they could best fill. A bit of a dictator 
he certainly was, and where ruling was required he 
never turned from doing it. He was a manly Christian 
teacher, tender and true in all his friendships, endowed 
with a genius for organisation, economical that he might 
more liberally help others." 

In 1863 he assisted, with two of the deacons, Dr. 
Fernandez and David Williamson, in the formation 


of the Surrey Congregational Union, of which he was 
president in 1871. 

With the growth of the Sunday school came the 
necessity for still further extension. For some time 
there was difficulty in securing a site, but the premises 
adjoining the chapel were at length obtained; and on 
September 26, 1883, the memorial stones of the new 
buildings were laid by Mr. D. Williamson, who had 
been superintendent of the school for twenty-five 
years. The Hall was opened on September 10 the 
following year. The total cost of the building, which 
included lecture hall, school and class-rooms, and 
rooms for Young Men's and Young Women's Christian 
Associations, was £5,400; of this, £500 was taken 
at the foundation laying, and £760 at the opening 

In the course of Mr. Hart's pastorate 888 names 
were added to the church roll, including those from 
the mission stations. In these two paid evangelists 
were employed, assisted by a retired clergyman of the 
Established Church, and about forty lay brethren. 

After a pastorate of twenty-seven years Mr. Hart 
resigned in 1888. He preached farewell sermons on 
Sunday, March 18 ; and was presented with an illu- 
minated address bearing the signatures of 300 of his 
friends, and a life annuity of £200. As long as his 
health permitted he took occasional services. He was 
assailed by serious illness early in 1895, and fell asleep 
on Saturday, March 2, almost his last words being 
" All's well." 

Mr. Hart was succeeded by Rev. Wm. Houghton, 
who received his theological education at Airedale 
College. He had held pastorates at Allerton, Bradford 
(1871 — 79), and Christchurch (1879 — 88). He remained 


at Guildford till 1897, when he removed to Upper 
Norwood, where he still ministers. 

Rev. Alex. Cowe, M.A., the present pastor, was a 
Cheshunt student who had ministered at Hillhead, 
Glasgow, from 1884 to 1897. He has worthily main- 
tained the traditions of the church unto this day. 


(1825— 1874) 

The chapel here was built in 1825, and set apart for 
public worship on October 4, of that year. Sermons 
were preached to crowded congregations, and the 
whole cost of the erection was paid the day after the 
chapel was opened. Rev. B. Haynes took charge of 
the station for the Surrey Mission, under whose 
auspices it was carried on till 1874. The premises 
were then offered to the Guildford Church, which took 
the oversight of the work assisted by several preaching 
brethren from the Presbyterian Church at Aldershot. 
For many years Mr. Daniel Deedman was the local 
superintendent and was greatly beloved. His successor 
is Mr.E. Cranstone. 

(1836— 1870) 

Shamley Green is a pretty village about five miles 
south-west of Guildford. A chapel was erected here in 


1836, and had its own pastor; there was, however, in 
these early days some connection with the church at 
Guildford, as the names of three of the Guildford 
deacons are included in the first trust deeds. After a 
time the interest declined, and at length the building 
passed into the hands of another denomination. In 
1861 the Rev. J. Hart came to the neighbouring town, 
and some years later open air services were commenced 
under his direction by the newly appointed evange- 
list, Rev. Henry Bell. A desire was soon expressed for 
regular services. Efforts were then successfully made 
to obtain the use of the chapel on Sunday evenings 
without interfering with the good Strict Baptists who 
continued to use it earlier in the day. One of the 
reports of the Surrey Union says Mr. Bell gathered a 
congregation of some 300 people, and preached with 
one half of his congregation inside the building and the 
other half without. After a time the building was 
handed over to the Guildford Church, and, as it was 
found that the Congregationalists had a legal right to 
it, new trustees were soon appointed. Mr. Bell laboured 
very successfully in the district for five years, and was 
succeeded by Messrs. Kay, E. Sandy, E. J. Hammond, 
J. Stay, and the Rev. C. Wright. In 1889 the old build- 
ing, which adjoined a farmyard, was found to be in a 
very dilapidated state. Mr. M. Baker offered to exchange 
the building for a more suitable site, and upon this it 
was decided to erect new premises. In September, 
1900, a convenient new chapel costing over £700 was 
opened free of debt. Mr. May Colebrook of Guildford 
was for many years associated with the work here ; and 
the hearty service rendered by the family of Mr. Isaac 
Wakefield should not be forgotten. 





The work of this station was commenced in 1859 by 
Mr. William Colebrook at the Old Manor House (a 
place of historical interest in the days of King John). 
Here a service was held on Sunday evenings in the 
kitchen, to which the workpeople on the farm and 
others were invited. The plain presentation of Gospel 
truth so attracted the people that before long the 
kitchen became too small. 

Mr. Colebrook then decided to appropriate one bay 
of a large barn to the Lord's work, and for twenty 
years " The Old Barn " was the meeting place of God's 
people. In its early days the floor was earthen, the 
seats rough, a table was used as a pulpit, the decaying 
boards on all sides served too well for purposes of 
ventilation, and the familiar sounds of the farmyard 
adjoining often caused diversion during the services. 
After some years, at considerable cost the barn was 
made much more comfortable. A Sunday school was 
commenced, sustained by Mr. Colebrook and members 
of his own family, notably his son-in-law, Mr. W. R. 
Carling, who was the esteemed superintendent for 
many years. Many persons of eminence have conducted 
services in the old barn. Amongst others, Rev. Dr. 
Moffatt, Rev. Dr. Newman Hall, Rev. George Murphy, 
Dr. George Macdonald, and Miss Sarah Robinson, 
" the soldiers' friend." In 1867 W. Seth Smith, Esq., 
with his family, settled in the neighbourhood, and was 
induced one Sunday by the novelty of circumstances to 
visit the service in the barn. Mr. Colebrook's earnest 


efforts so impressed him that he resolved to give all the 
aid in his power. For twelve years Mr. Smith and his 
family rendered valuable help to the cause: in 1880 he 
made a generous offer of a piece of freehold land, and 
£500 for the erection of a new and permanent building. 
His son, Mr. H. Seth Smith, gave his services as 
architect, and Mr. George Unwin, who had recently 
come into the neighbourhood, also promised valuable 
assistance, with the result that on September 22, 1880, 
the new church and buildings, costing £2,500, were 
opened free of debt. Here for a quarter of a century 
the work has been continued. Valuable help has been 
rendered by Messrs. T. Davies, W. and H. Wheeler, 
and other local friends, in addition to Mr. W. R. Carling, 
who continues as superintendent of the station. The 
first evangelist for the district, Rev. H. Bell, was 
appointed in 1869 ; he proved a most suitable man for 
pioneer work, and his efforts were greatly blessed. In 
1875 Mr. Bell removed to Houghton, Huntingdonshire, 
where he exercised a useful ministry for twenty-eight 
years. He died in 1903, aged seventy-six. Mr. A. 
Walker had charge of this station until his removal to 
Hersham in 1907. 


Ryde's Hill is two miles from Guildford in Worples- 
don parish. In 1862 J. J. Myers, Esq., of Ryde's Hill 
House, was led by God to take an interest in the spiritual 
welfare of his poorer neighbours, and fitted up a com- 
fortable room attached to his own residence, where he 


talked and read to the villagers. The people of the 
commons flocked to the room, and Mr. Myers obtained 
the assistance of the Rev. J. Hart, who had recently 
come to Guildford. For some years a fruitful work was 
carried on here in addition to the Sunday services, 
and week evening lectures en popular subjects were 
given. After a time Mr. Myers left the neighbourhood, 
and the work was continued by W. S. P. Henderson, 
Esq., who had recently come to reside close by. This 
gentleman erected a wooden chapel at a cost of about 
£160, largely at his own expense. An afternoon Sunday 
school was formed, to which some eighty children 
gathered, and the work was continued at this place for 
over twenty years. In 1876 Mr. Henderson died, but 
Mrs. Henderson remained until 1886, and continued to 
show a warm interest in the cause. Upon her removal 
from the neighbourhood an anxious time was expe- 
rienced, and progress was hindered by the want of a 
permanent meeting place. At length, mainly by the 
generosity of Mrs. Henderson (in memory of her hus- 
band's work), a convenient mission chapel was built 
and opened on October 25, 1893. Mr. F. R. Carling 
and Mr. W. Chennell were for many years in charge of 
this station, and it is now being efficiently supplied by 
Mr. Maurice H. Lacy. 


Meetings in connection with the Guildford church 
were held in the old Woking village as far back as 1865. 
Mr. Edward Hilder, of Hoe Bridge, threw open his 


Market House for occasional gatherings. In 1870 a 
mission was held in the assembly room of the White 
Horse, the only available place. In the summer months 
open air services were held at Cart Bridge, and these 
proved very successful. A piece of land was given by 
Mr. Frank Apted of Guildford, and an excellent chapel, 
with stabling, costing £800, was opened in 1875, very 
nearly free of debt. Numerous additions and improve- 
ments have been made to the original building. There 
has been a flourishing Sunday school here conducted 
for many years by Mr. T. Burt and others. 

The following have done good service as evangelists : 
— Messrs. E. J. Hammond, W. Robins, J. Stay, and 
lately by H. C. Waller, who has at present charge of 
the station. 


An afternoon cottage service was commenced here by 
Mr. W. Seth Smith in 1871, and continued for about 
twenty-six years. In 1897 the Young Men's Christian 
Association connected with the Guildford church 
offered to be responsible for the services under the 
leadership of Mr. T. J. Lacey. Increased interest was 
at once roused, and the accommodation of the cottage 
(owned by Mr. Chetty) soon became too small for the 
numbers who flocked to the room. By the effort of Mr. 
T. Davies a site was secured for a new chapel, and 
ultimately it was opened free of debt in December, 1901. 
Mr. T. J. Lacey continues to occupy the position of 
superintendent of the station, and the success of the 
work here has been mainly due to his energy and self- 
denying labours. 

Old Barn at Tangley. 
Formerly used as a Meeting House. 


(l8 7 6) 

For nearly thirty years services have been held in a 
rustic mission room, formerly an old carpenter's shop, 
in the main street. There has been unmistakable 
evidence of good spiritual results from these endeavours. 
The late Alderman W. Baker, for many years was the 
esteemed superintendent of the station, and Mr. D. Stark 
has from the first taken the lead in all the local arrange- 
ments. The evangelist connected with the Tangley 
district visits in this neighbourhood. 



Merrow is a pretty village, one and a half miles from 
Guildford. In 1875 the Guildford church held open- 
air services on Merrow Common. Great interest was 
aroused, and at the importunate desire of a number of 
friends resident in the district an effort was made to 
obtain a permanent meeting place. Owing to local 
prejudice considerable difficulty was experienced, but 
eventually a farmer offered his barn. £20 contributed 
by J. T. Pagan, Esq., J. P., was spent in making it 
suitable for services in the winter. In 1881 Mr. and 
Mrs. Broad, who lived in the parish, erected at their 
own cost (about £250) a new iron room with every 
convenience for social gatherings, and offered it for the 
use of the church. The chapel was opened by a harvest 


thanksgiving service on Friday, October 28, 1881. The 
position, however, was not good, as it was situated in a 
dark lane, so it was removed to another and better site 
in High Path Road, where it has been a centre of 
religious influence for many years. Mr. T. Harms has 
been the respected superintendent of a flourishing 
Sunday school, and Mr. Alexander has also been a 
valued helper in the work. Mr. Waller is now the 
resident evangelist. 



The mission room was built about twenty years ago 
by Mr. Aaron Wells ; the work was for some time 
carried on by the Baptist friends. In 1892 it was taken 
over by the Guildford church. The building is much 
too small for the Sunday school, and at the present 
time friends at Guildford have under consideration a 
scheme for its enlargement. Mr. John Brown is the 
esteemed Sunday school superintendent. 



Godalming is a little town of some eight thousand 
inhabitants, situated on the river Wey in one of the 
most charming valleys of Surrey. Some derive the 




name from Goda's or Godiva's alms or charity, but 
the more generally accepted derivation is the " ing " 
or meadow of " Godelm," a Saxon proprietor. It is 
a town of great antiquity. The Manor of Godalming 
is mentioned in the will of Alfred the Great, by whom 
it was bequeathed to his nephew Ethelhelm. From 
the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries it belonged to the 
Deans of Salisbury. Its history has been quiet and 
uneventful ; no great public event is connected with 
it, and the most important name associated with it 
is Rev. Owen Manning, the historian of Surrey. 

Although the present Congregational Church only 
dates from the eighteenth century, yet Godalming was 
not without earlier witnesses to the faith. Two con- 
venticles are reported in Sheldon's list in 1669. One 
was in the house of John Piatt (or Plot, a Noncon- 
formist minister ejected from West Horsley), where 
seven or eight hundred people were said to be present 
every Sunday. Another for Quakers was held in the 
house of Henry Gill, where the attendance was 
reported as between four and five hundred. 

In 1672 a licence was granted for the house of George 
Bridge, Presbyterian. At least two of the ejected 
ministers settled at Godalming. John Farrol, formerly 
of Selborne, Hants, was arrested here for being found 
within five miles of a corporation, and for preaching 
in the town. He was imprisoned for six months, but 
said that the kindness of friends made it one of the 
most comfortable parts of his life. His enemies said 
they would not send him to prison again because he 
lived so much better there than at home. 

His custom was to go to the Parish Church before or 
after preaching in private. After the Indulgence in 1672 
he bestowed his labours between Farnhamand Guildford. 

D D 


Another ejected minister was Richard Dowley, B.D. 
He was a friend of Richard Baxter, and had been 
for several years minister of Stoke, near Bromsgrove. 
Both his father and uncle conformed, but he could 
not. Upon the Indulgence he took out a licence for 
a meeting in his own house. In 1680 he went to 
London and opened a school. For merely attending 
a meeting he was brought before the Lord Mayor, 
fined £10, bound over for twelve months and com- 
pelled to give up his school. Later he removed to 
Godalming, where he preached till the infirmity of age 
sent him back to London to live with his children. 
There he died in 1702 at the age of eighty. 

In 1715 Mr. Roger Foster of Guildford had a lecture 
here. Waddington also mentions a Mr. Crewkett as 
coming in 1729, who stayed fourteen or fifteen years, 
and John Harrison, who settled in 1753 and remained 
eight years. Nothing further is known of these 

In 1729 a site for the old meeting house was bought 
of Ann Moorey for £20, and put in trust. The con- 
veyance and trust are dated January 13 and 14 of that 
year. The building immediately followed. In 1761 
Rev. Nehemiah Ring succeeded Mr. Harrison. Mr. 
Ring appears to have looked after Guildford as well 
as Godalming. " When he felt pretty well on the 
Sabbath day and the weather was fine," he would send 
over his clerk to announce to some of the principal 
families that he intended to preach that morning. 

Mr. Ring died September 1, 1799. At his death 
the care of Godalming was undertaken by the Surrey 
Mission, and subsequently by students of Homerton 
College. One of these, Mr. John Nelson Goulty, 
although not ordained as pastor, took charge of the 


church for two or three years, preaching sometimes also 
at Elstead and Hascomb. 

Mr. Goulty was a native of East Dereham, where 
he was born June 21, 1788. He was a kinsman of 
Admiral Nelson, and at one time was in the line 
of succession to the peerage. During his stay at 
Godalming the cause considerably revived. He re- 
moved to Henley-on-Thames in 1815, and to Brighton 
in 1824, where he laboured for thirty-seven years. He 
died there January 18, 1870, in his eighty-third year. 

Godalming was without a pastor till 1819, when 
John Isaac, a student at Dr. Bogue's academy at 
Gosport, accepted the charge. In 1821 the chapel 
was enlarged. But Mr. Isaac's health failed, and he 
resigned, much to the regret of his people. He died at 
Godalming in 1840. 

Again the Surrey Mission took charge of the work 
till 1830, when Mr. W. Clarke, of Hackney College, was 
ordained. During his pastorate the chapel was rebuilt 
at a cost of £634. On October 1, 1834, thirteen 
members residing in that village were dismissed to form 
a branch church at Elstead. 

After seven years' successful work Mr. Clark resigned, 
March 20, 1837, to labour in Canada. He died at 
Dresden, Ontario, in 1878, in the seventy-seventh year 
of his age. 

He was followed the same year by Rev. Moses 
Caston, who held the pastorate for two years and 
resigned in September, 1839. Rev. Thomas Porter 
of Kilsby was the next minister. He was born at 
Great Yarmouth, December 9, 1794. When quite 
young he was a Wesleyan local preacher, afterwards 
entering Hackney College. He settled first at Kilsby, 
in Northamptonshire, in 1826. He held the pastorate 

d d 2 


at Godalming for eight years, 1840 to 1848, when 
he accepted an invitation to Bristol. He died on 
November 27, 1852. 

On Tuesday, December 12, 1848, the Rev. Thomas 
Alfred Hall was ordained. He was educated for the 
legal profession, but soon after his conversion abandoned 
it for the Christian ministry, and entered Hackney 
College in 1843. On leaving college he supplied at 
East Sheen, and a year later accepted an invitation to 
Godalming. He resigned in 1852 and died the same 

Rev. W. H. Jackson, from Settle, Yorks, was the next 
pastor. His ministry lasted from 1852 to 1858, when 
he removed to Bracknell, Berks. 

This pastorate is said to have been a time of " trial 
and discouragement to the church." During the next 
three years the pulpit was supplied by students. In 
August, 1861, Rev. Thomas Davies, B.A., a student 
of Cheshunt, settled here. The next year the chapel 
was renovated at a cost of £260. 

The old building in Hart's Lane had long been found 
inconvenient, and it was now felt that time had come 
to secure a more suitable edifice. The congregation 
was unable to undertake the work till Mr. T. Simpson, 
of Uplands, threw himself into the movement. The 
old chapel was sold to the Methodists for £"450, and 
a site was secured in Bridge Street for £633. On 
May 27, 1868, the memorial stones of the new church 
were laid by T. Barnes, Esq. The church was opened 
on Wednesday, October 28. It will seat 450 persons, 
and the total cost, including the organ, was about 

° Mr. Davies held the pastorate till 1872, when his 
health failed, and he removed to Brighton. He was 

T. Rea, Esq., J. P., C.A., 

For 50 years a member of the Congregational Church at 



succeeded by W. J. Marshall, late of Eltham, who held 
the pastorate till 1880. 

Additional land was bought in 1879, and a school- 
house was built at a cost, including site and furnishing, 
of £2,500. This was opened March 27, 1884. Godal- 
ming has a schoolroom of which any church might be 
proud. The central hall is surrounded by two tiers of 
class-rooms, all open to the hall, and all capable of 
being shut off by curtains for private teaching. Later 
the house adjoining the church was bought for a 
minister's residence. 

In 1880 an invitation was given to Rev. A.J. Crighton, 
of Cheshunt College, who remained until 1892, and 
in 1893 Rev. F. R. Goodfellow accepted the pastorate. 
Mr. Goodfellow had previously held a charge for three 
years at Matlock Bank. 

He remained at Godalming until 1900, when he 
removed to Hastings, where he now lives. In 1901 
Rev. Hugh McKay was invited to take the oversight 
of the church. He was a student of New College. He 
graduated B.A. at the London University, and in 1889 
was ordained as pastor of Headgate Church, Colchester, 
where he laboured for twelve years. 




Elstead is a pretty village on the Wey, rather more 
than five miles west of Godalming. The work dates 


from 1821, when Rev. J. Johnston of Farnham preached 
in the open air at Tilford. As winter approached he 
succeeded in building a chapel on land given by 
Rev. Thos. Taylor, who also gave £100 toward the 
building, the total cost being £240. The first evan- 
gelist was Mr. Corney, a student from Hackney College. 
He came to Elstead in 1823, but only stayed a year. 
He was followed by Mr. Smith, who resigned through 
ill health in 1829. The station was then supplied by 
students till 1834, when a church was formed on 
October 14, under the pastoral care of Rev. S. Hillyard, 
of Newport Pagnell College. He left in February, 
1840, to become pastor of the church at Runcorn, 
Cheshire. Waddington says that his successor " sought 
refuge in the Anglican Establishment under circum- 
stances that threatened the extinction of the little 
Congregational church." This, however, was averted 
by the timely and generous interposition of the Messrs. 
Appleton who came into the neighbourhood. 

Rev. J. Moss was appointed in July, 1840, and 

ordained at Kingston, September 30, but successive 

bereavements of wife and sister led to his retirement on 

December 21, 1841. Rev. J. P. Gamage now took 

charge of the church for two months. Rev. Edward 

Broomfield then entered upon the work. He was 

ordained at Dorking in October, 1843. His first effort 

was to secure a suitable place of worship. He bought 

the estate on which the church stands from Mrs. Sarah 

Legg on September 9, 1845, the money being raised by 

mortgages. Subsequently a part of the land appears 

to have been disposed of, and the present church 

erected. A schoolroom was also built where a British 

school was carried on. Mr. Broomfield laboured till 

August, 1859, when he died after a few days' illness. 


Rev. A. Heal, from Hartland, Devon, was the next 
minister. He laboured amidst some discouragement 
from i860 till April, 1866, and the following month 
was succeeded by Mr. Leete, who removed hither from 

The difficulties of the little church appear to have 
increased, and they were made all the more severe by 
the removal of a local industry. It soon became impos- 
sible to maintain a pastor any longer. For some time 
the cause was under the oversight of the Farnham 
church; but about 1890 the church at Godalming 
took the responsibility, and has worked it with its 
other stations. 



Wormley Hill is a hamlet near Witley, about four 
and a half miles south of Godalming. Rev. William 
Clarke, during his ministry at Godalming, acquired a 
site on a ninety-nine years' lease from the late 
Mr. George Marshall at a nominal rent of five shillings 
a year. 

The original chapel was built in 1836. It was 
opened on September 4 by Rev. George Clayton, of 

In June, 1863, Mr. Leete was placed here as an 
evangelist, and the following year the freehold of the 
site was purchased for the sum of £10. 

Mr. Leete removed in May, 1866, to Elstead, and was 
followed by Mr. Eade, who after two years was laid aside 
by severe illness. 


In 1868 a new chapel was built at a cost of £250, 
the old building having become inadequate to the needs 
of the congregation. 

Mr. Eade was succeeded by his son, who after a 
short ministry died in 1869. 

In 1870 the Godalming church appointed Mr. 
Sheward to the station. He was followed by several 
other evangelists in succession. It is now, with the 
other Godalming stations, under the pastoral care of Mr. 
H. E. Sumner, who has laboured since 1905 with great 
promise of usefulness. 



The work here owes its inception to Mr. Pewtress of 
Eashing, and Mr. Appleton of Elstead. Some of the 
villagers had been alienated from the Established 
Church by ritualistic practices. Evening services were 
first commenced in 1858, and for a time were supplied by 
students, and by Mr. Eade, a lay preacher who divided 
his labours between Eashing and Wormley. A Sabbath 
school was also formed with forty children and five 
teachers. A note in the Surrey Mission Report of 1864 
says, " The chapel is too strait for the numbers who 
attend, and frequently service is held in a large room 
belonging to Mr. Pewtress." A church was formed in 
1864 with eleven members. 

In 1866 Mr. G. Eade, son of the preceding helper, 
was appointed by the committee to the oversight of 
Eashing in connection with the other Godalming 
stations. The work seems to have been at times very 


discouraging, especially as regards the Sunday school. 
Both bribes and threats were freely used to prevent the 
people from attending. 

In 1869 Mr. Eade died, and the village chapels were 
again supplied by students. In 1870 the Eashing and 
Milford churches were united. 

The station has continued under the oversight of the 
Godalming Church, the evangelists being Mr. Sheward 
(1870), Mr. Shalberg, Mr. W. Falconer (1877— 1883), Mr. 
T. Poole, Mr. Hedgelong, Mr. Mapstone, and Rev. G. 
S. Martin. The present evangelist, Mr. H. E. Sumner, 
was appointed in 1905. 



The interest in this village originated with a Mr. 
Bailey, who for some months during the year 1856 held 
services in a cottage. A little chapel was built in i860. 
The site was at the junction of a lane with the Ports- 
mouth Road, and was formerly occupied by a cattle 
shed. Mr. Bowdler, a builder, erected the chapel at 
his own cost, using the materials of the shed in its 
construction. Here about sixty worshippers could be 

In 1872 the need was felt for a larger building. 
The Godalming church secured a site in Lady Cross 
Road, and Mr. Pewtress, its indefatigable secretary, 
obtained an iron chapel from Alton. The cost of the 
site was £gj, and the total cost £742. Accommoda- 
tion was provided for 150 persons, and the school- 
room held sixty scholars. 


The Godalming church now took the oversight of 
the work, and later an evangelist was appointed to 
work Milford with the other village stations, assisted 
by a Lay Preachers' Association. 

Subsequently, Milford having become a residential 
district, a handsome chapel of Bargate stone was 
erected on the ground in front of the iron building. 
It was opened in July, 1902, by Dr. R. F. Horton, 
M.A. It will seat 200 persons, and is capable of 
enlargement. The entire cost has been £1,200. 


About 1865 evangelistic work was commenced in this 
hamlet, in a chapel owned by a Mr. Isaac Kettle. 
In 1880 arrangements were made whereby it was 
promised that the chapel should be put in trust for 
Godalming Church; but on Mr. Kettle's death in 
1906 it was found that he had bequeathed it to a 
relation. The station was discontinued. 



Beautifully situated between the hills of Hindhead 
and Blackdown, in the extreme south-western corner 
of Surrey, lies the little town of Haslemere. 

In olden days it was a place of no small importance. 
It is spoken of in Elizabeth's time as " very ancient and 
populous." From 1585 till the passing of the Reform 
Bill of 1832 it returned two members to Parliament. 

At the beginning of the last century the manufacture 


of crape was extensively carried on, which considerably 
increased the prosperity of the town. Now Haslemere 
is fast coming into notice as a desirable residence for 
those who can afford to live so far out of town, whilst 
as a health resort it is also gaining some repute. 

The church here owes its origin to a young man 
named Christopher Lee, who lived at Shottermill, an 
adjoining village. He had been greatly impressed 
whilst on a visit to Midhurst, and on his return began to 
work for Christ in his own neighbourhood. At first he 
experienced considerable opposition from his parents, 
but ultimately they were convinced, and opened their 
house for services and a Sunday school. 

In 1792 regular preaching was commenced by Rev. 
Richard Densham, an agent of the Village Itinerancy, 
originated by Revs. John Eyre and Matt. Wilks. The 
Evangelical Magazine reports that some good was done 
to adults, and about 130 children instructed. In 1803 
Mr. Densham was killed by a gig accident while driving 
from Petersfield to arrange for the building of a chapel 
at Haslemere. In 1804 this first chapel, which is now 
used as a lecture hall and schoolroom, was built by the 
Village Itinerancy. It was opened on November 15 of 
that year. 

The church fellowship was formed at an earlier but 
uncertain date. According to tradition it was formed 
at Shepherd's Hill. The first settled pastor was Rev. 
George Waller. He was ordained in 1807, and left the 
same year. The following year the church sustained 
the loss by death of one of its first deacons, Joseph 
Hearne, to whose memory a tablet is erected in the 
present building. 

In 1809 Rev. Thomas Mountford, of Hackney, 
accepted the pastorate, and remained for two years. 


The pulpit was then supplied from Hackney College 
till 1815. In that year Rev. D. Evans preached for 
nine Sundays, and was twice invited to take charge of the 
work. He eventually accepted and settled in February, 
1816 ; but he accepted for one year only, as he feared 
"the spirit of Antinomianism prevailing amongst the 

After Mr. Evans's settlement the church was re- 
organised, and rules were framed for the guidance of 
the members. Some of these are exceedingly interest- 
ing. The qualification for membership was moral 
character and seeking " an experimental acquaintance- 
ship with Christ." Members absent from three successive 
church meetings, without giving sufficient explanation, 
are liable to be reproved in meeting. Conversation in 
church meetings is to be entirely of a spiritual character, 
and the business is not to be divulged, " no, not to the 
dearest friend," under penalty of forfeiture of member- 
ship. Inconsistent or irregular conduct is punished by 
suspension, or, if circumstances require, expulsion. 
"Prattling" about each other's faults is "deemed 
back-biting " and " disorderly walking," and is treated 
accordingly. I n the case of the affliction of a member the 
name is to be made known to the other members, " that 
they may do their duty accordingly." These rules 
must have proved too much for some of the members, 
for in 1818 we read that a " complete sentimental 
division " took place, through the action of some mem- 
bers, who disliked the recognition of the moral law as 
a rule of life. 

Again in 1826 there was a secession, when, owing 
to a dispute concerning the Sunday school and matters 
of finance, several members went over to the Established 


Although Mr. Evans only accepted for one year, he 
remained until 1830. He was succeeded by Rev. J. 
Estcourt, who left Haslemere on December 25, 1834. 
The oversight of the church was then taken by 
Rev. J. Greenwood, of Petersfield, who supplied the 

In 1838 Rev. C. J. Morgan was invited to the vacant 
pastorate. Mr. Morgan was born in Bristol in 1808 
and was converted under the ministry of Dr. Leifchild. 
He began to preach in connection with the Itinerant 
Society of that city. He accepted the pastorate for 
twelve months, was ordained on October 1, 1839, and 
remained till 1844, when he resigned. The following 
year he was invited to resume his ministry, where- 
upon several members holding hyper-Calvinistic views 
seceded, and formed a fellowship which is now repre- 
sented by strict Baptists in Lower Street. 

In 1846 the church was again reorganised. On this 
occasion a letter was sent to former members, stating 
"that persons joining the church should be told that 
the moral law is a rule of life, and that sinners are to be 
warned to repent of their sins, and believe in the Lord 
Jesus Christ." 

Mr. Morgan retired in 1872, after a pastorate of 
thirty-two years. He is spoken of as a man of thorough 
conscientiousness and moral fearlessness, of large heart 
and generous nature. He still remained in the neigh- 
bourhood, and assisted the church as chairman of a 
newly-formed committee of management. The other 
members were Messrs. Teasdale, Treagus, Suttil, and 

C. Pannell. 

Rev. John Thompson, of Great Ayton, Yorkshire, was 
the next minister. His ministry lasted from 1874 to 


The Rev. J. Garnet Ramsden, a student of Hackney, 
and son of a Methodist minister at Nottingham, then 
accepted the charge. He was ordained on April 12, 
1881. The following year memorial stones of a new 
church were laid by Mr. \V. Marten Smith. Soon after 
the building was opened with great rejoicing and prac- 
tically free from debt, two friends having agreed to 
guarantee any deficiency. Rev. J. Baldwin Brown 
preached from " The love of Christ constraineth us." 

Unhappily the bright prospects of the church were 
soon clouded by the fatal illness of the minister. After 
two years Mr. Ramsden died, at the early age of 
twenty-eight. His term of office, though short, was 
full of service. One useful work he did was to 
organise preaching services at Blackdown, where there 
is now a flourishing little church. 

In 1883 Rev. G. B. Stallworthy, of New College, came 
from Wells (Norfolk), and held the pastorate for nine 
years. In 1889 the senior deacon of the church, Mr. 
B. P. Pratten, died after many years' service. 

Mr. Stallworthy removed to Longfleet, Poole, in 
1892. He has since returned to the neighbourhood, 
and at present ministers to the church at Hindhead. 

In 1893 Rev. Palmer Grenville, B.A., LL.B., accepted 
the pastorate for two years, which terminated on August 
20, 1895. After a short interval Rev. Hugh Morris 
commenced a successful ministry on November 17, 

l895 ' 

During the last few years a great change has come 

over the little town ; from a rotten borough it has 

developed into a centre of light and learning, where, 

owing to the presence of many celebrated men, 

attracted by the beauty of the neighbourhood, art and 

science and philosophy flourish. With the development 


of the town the church has also grown, and perhaps 
few places of equal size have a more hopeful prospect. 

Unfortunately after nearly nine years' service the 
health of Mr. Morris gave way, and as after a prolonged 
rest no improvement was seen, the church regretfully 
accepted his resignation in 1905. Mr. Morris died 
the following year. 

The present minister, Rev. A. D. Jeffery, settled in 
1906. During fifteen years he had ministered success- 
fully at Newcastle, Peckham, and Halifax. 



Leatherhead is a quiet little town of nearly 5,000 
inhabitants, pleasantly seated on the Mole, about half- 
way between Dorking and Epsom. 

In 1816 Mr. John Burrell, the proprietor of a board- 
ing school, in conjunction with Rev. Thos. Lewis, of 
Islington, secured a large barn in the centre of the 
village, which had been frequently used by strolling 
players, and fitted it up as a place of worship. It was 
opened on September 10, when Mr. Lewis delivered 
a discourse on public worship, and sermons were 
subsequently preached by Dr. Waugh and Rev. G. 

It does not appear that a regular church was formed 
until near the end of 1829, when Rev. John Harris, 
then residing at Epsom, attended a meeting for that 
purpose in Mr. Burrell's house, and Mr. Burrell 


and Mr. J. Hislop were appointed deacons. The 
Lord's Supper was first celebrated in the chapel on 
December 27, 1829, R ev - Alfred Dawson, of Dorking, 

The services were principally conducted by students 
from Highbury till 1832. In that year Rev. T. Barker, 
from Rowland's Castle, Hants, was called to the 
pastorate, and entered on the charge on March 4. Owing 
to failure of help from London the church was unable 
to afford adequate maintenance for his family. He 
therefore resigned on March 29, 1835, and emigrated 
to Canada. For the next six months Rev. J. Freeman 
occupied the pulpit, which was then supplied by 
Highbury students for nearly four years. 

In 1836 the lease of the chapel expired. Mr. Thomas 
Wilson bought the freehold and some adjacent cottages 
for £1,000; next year he sold part of the property for 
£650, retaining the chapel and sufficient ground for a 
more commodious building. 

From May 5, 1839, to April 26, 1842, the pastorate 
was held by Rev. John Barker, formerly of Wells, 
Norfolk. He was the grandson of Rev. Thomas 
Barker, who for nearly fifty years had been minister of 
the Old Meeting House in Deptford. After leaving 
Leatherhead he held pastorates at Louth and Harwich, 
at the latter place training students for the London 
Missionary Society. He died in the seventy-first year 
of his age, on September 23, 1883. 

During Mr. Barker's ministry the project of a new 
sanctuary was in abeyance. It was taken up vigorously 
by his successor, Rev. J. Perkins, who entered on 
the pastorate December 7, 1842. The new chapel, 
described as " a neat structure, capable of seating about 
250 persons," was opened on October 23, 1844. Three 


sermons were preached, by Revs. J. Hill, of Clapham, 
John Burnet, of Camberwell, and E. Davies, of 

Mr. Perkins resigned at Michaelmas, 1846. He was 
succeeded, a year later, by Rev. John Morris, who had 
ministered twenty-five years at Olney, and afterwards 
for a short time in Bermondsey. After four years at 
Leatherhead he removed to Glastonbury, where he 
died on September 8, 1866, at the age of seventy-eight. 
He is described as "of the Puritanical school, having 
little sympathy with modern freedom of thought." 

Rev. E. Waite, M.A., a Cheshunt student, followed 
after a year's interval. His pastorate, which seems to 
have been uneventful, began November 18, 1852, and 
ended in June, 1865, when he removed to London 
Road, Croydon. 

The next pastor was Rev. W. O'Neill. He was 
born at Youghall, co. Cork, on October 6, 1809, and 
had already exercised a strenuous ministry, first for 
seven years as a town missionary in Ireland, next for 
nineteen years as a rural evangelist in Devon, and then 
for eight years as the last pastor of the extinct church 
in New Broad Street, City. He settled at Leatherhead 
in 1866, and retained the pastorate till his death on 
June 8, 1871. He is described as "a man of devoted 
piety and marvellous industry." But his work in 
Leatherhead, though by no means unfruitful, was not 
marked by any brilliant success. He was the author 
of several books, of which his " Notes and Inci- 
dents of Home Missionary Life " will probably be best 

Of the next three ministers we find little recorded. 
Rev. J. E. Rosoman was recognised on October 29, 
1872, and left in 1879. Rev. W. B. Macwilliam came 

E E 


from George Lane, Woodford, in 1880, and removed to 
Chelsea in 1883. Rev. L. J. Maclaine followed in the 
same year, and continued to 1886. 

Rev. W. J. Loxton, from Brigg, son of a Congre- 
gational minister in Norfolk, was the next pastor. 
" Here he lived a busy, active, consecrated life. The 
church was renovated (and greatly improved) at a cost 
of £400. Societies were organised and directed by 
him," and the interest " was not only maintained, but 
grew under his fostering care." His quiet and gentle 
character made a widespread and lasting impression. 
He died after much acute suffering on January 18, 

A preaching station was established in 1895 at Great 
Bookham, about two miles south-west of Leather- 
head, and two years later the Surrey Mission appointed 
Mr. John Ansell to the charge. The mission room will 
accommodate about 200 hearers. 

He was succeeded by Rev. R. H. Noble, who had 
held charges at Widnes and Southgate Road, London, 
and from 1892 to 1899 had been secretary to the Irish 
Evangelical Society. He remained at Leatherhead 
from 1899 to 1902, when he removed to take charge of 
the church at Hyde, near Hendon. He died January, 

The present minister is Rev. Wm. Brown Tucker, 
from Hackney College, who entered on the charge in 



(1820 and 1825) 

Midway between Dorking and Guildford, in one of 
the most picturesque spots of Surrey, lies the little 
village of Gomshall, or Gumshall as the name used to 
appear. Mr. Widgery, a Hackney student, was 
appointed an agent of the Surrey Mission in 1820, and 
the following June, having been previously ordained at 
Kingston, he took up his residence here. 

In October a chapel, seating some 200 persons, was 
opened, and nearly the whole cost, £300, was borne by 
three gentlemen connected with other denominations. 

According to one of the early reports of the Surrey 
Mission the building was frequently so crowded that it 
was difficult for the preacher to reach the pulpit. 

Two months later Mr. Widgery opened a Sunday 
school. The first Sabbath twenty-three children were 
admitted, of whom not one could read in the New 
Testament. The people generally were very ignorant, 
less than half of the cottagers could read the Bible. 

The work progressed in an encouraging manner, and 
on October 25, 1825, a second chapel was opened at 

The lord of the manor was so struck by the beneficial 
effects of village preaching that he gave as much ground 
as was required, at a quit rent of is. a year. The chapel 
was built under the direction of a sub-committee at 
Kingston, and friends there generously bore the expense 
of the work. The same year a church was formed of 
eleven members. 

Mr. Widgery laboured in this district for nearly 

E £ 2 


twenty years. On March 25, 1841, he removed to 
Dorking to carry on home mission work in connection 
with the church in that town, but died the following 

Rev. J. Hedgcock, of Hayes, near Uxbridge, then 
took up the work at the invitation of the committee. 
He laboured until November, 1846, and was followed 
by Mr. Turner, of Cranbrook. 

In December, 1848, Mr. Tarner opened a British 
school at Felday. He wrote to the British School 
Society for a grant of books, but was informed that 
grants could only be made through school committees. 
So he solicited the co-operation of friends at Dorking, 
formed a committee, obtained a grant and soon had a 
school of thirty children in good working order. Within 
a few weeks this number was nearly doubled. Then 
he applied to the lord of the manor for a grant of land 
adjoining the chapel, which might ultimately be used 
for extension, but which he now required for a play- 
ground. A very considerable piece was given, the 
donor expressing his pleasure that the school had 
been established. 

Mr. Turner remained until 1853, when he was 
invited to the pastorate of the church at Ashford, 

Mr. Lewis, an agent of the London City Mission, 
was then sent to Gomshall, and continued to labour 
fruitfully till midsummer, 1862. His work was rendered 
difficult by the popularity of " Irvingism " in the neigh- 
bourhood, and by the activity of Mormon emissaries, 
who made a few proselytes. 

The following September Rev. Edward E. Cooper 
was appointed to the station. In 1869 the chapel had 
become dilapidated and wretched. Mr. Cooper made 


an appeal to the people which was liberally responded 
to. The rector of the parish expressed his sympathy 
and subscribed, and all the resident gentry followed his 
example. With assistance from friends at Dorking and 
elsewhere £110 was raised, and the chapel renovated 
and enlarged. After labouring with success as an 
evangelist for nine years, Mr. Cooper was ordained as 
pastor on Good Friday of 1878. He died, after a short 
illness, on January 4, 1883, in the fortieth year of his 

The pulpit having remained vacant for nearly two 
years, Mr. E. J. Hammond was ordained as pastor- 
evangelist in 1884. 

So greatly did the cause prosper that within three 
years a larger building became absolutely necessary. 
An effort was made to obtain a fresh site and build a 
new church, but such exorbitant prices were asked that 
this was impossible. So the old building was enlarged 
at a cost of £524. At the opening services, October 26, 
1887, £30 were still required to meet the total cost. 
This amount was subscribed during the evening, and 
the building opened free of debt. Mr. Hammond 
resigned in 1892, and was succeeded by Rev. Eli Dean, 
from Ormskirk, who continued the oversight of the 
work here till 1902. 

In July of that year, Rev. J. Stothard Mercer accepted 
the invitation of the church. Mr. Mercer was educated 
for the ministry at Hackney College, and laboured at 
North Walsham from 1893 until he came to Gomshall. 




On a Sunday afternoon in 18S8, Mr. Abel Overington, 
of Gomshall, set out with his two boys to see if he 
could do any good amongst the people at Farley Green, 
a hamlet about three miles to the south-west. On 
arriving there he found almost the whole village on the 
green, the men and boys playing cricket, the women 
and girls looking on. 

He at once invited the people to an open-air service, 
at a corner of the green. Several responded ; the elder 
lad had his flute, and several hymns from Sankey's book 
were sung. One old woman, who still lives, brought 
out chairs and heartily welcomed them, and several of 
the people expressed a wish for other visits. 

The following Sunday Mr. Overington returned to 
the work, and for three summers the meetings were 
carried on with such help as could be obtained from 
personal friends. At the close of the third summer 
the people begged that the services might be continued 
through the winter months : a good woman offered 
the use of her cottage, and regular work was com- 

In 1891 an unsuccessful attempt was made to get a 
room or site from the Duke of Northumberland, who 
owns most of Farley Green. 

In 1S92 sickness prevented the continuing of services 
in the same cottage ; but a neighbour provided another 
room, and there the meetings have been carried on ever 


In December, 1893, Mr. Daborn joined the church 
at Gomshall, and became interested in the Farley 
Green work. By his advice it was taken over by the 
Church. Since then one or the other of the preachers 
has exercised a kind of oversight, the others loyally 
supporting him. The work has prospered, and excel- 
lent congregations are reported. 


(1824 — 1894) 

Broadmoor is a hamlet on the foot of Leith Hill, 
four and a half miles from Gomshall in a south-easterly 
direction. Work was carried on here by the Surrey 
Mission as early as 1824, but the present effort dates 
from 1894. 

Most of the cottages were built in that year by a 
Mr. Brooks for the workpeople on his estate, and were so 
arranged that in the centre of the road there is a large 
room intended for the use of the tenants as a reading 
room, etc. 

Mr. Brooks gave the tenants liberty to use the room 
for any object that they deemed helpful to themselves ; 
and a commitee was formed among them for its manage- 
ment. This committee declined an application for the 
use of the room on Sundays by some Plymouth Brethren 
in the neighbourhood ; and instead sent a letter to Rev. 
Eli Dean, minister of Gomshall and Felday Congre- 
gational church, asking if he and his church members 
would undertake to conduct services in the room on 
Sunday evenings. On October 10, 1894, Mr. Dean and 
his church accepted the responsibility, and from that 


time till now the services have been maintained without 
a break, and blessing has followed. Sometimes the room 
is crowded with forty to fifty interested worshippers. 

For above two years one Sunday evening a month 
has been supplied by preachers from West Street, Dork- 
ing. The room at Broadmoor is used during the earlier 
hours of the day for a Sunday school, in which Episco- 
palians and Congregationalists join hands. 



A chapel was opened in this village by the Surrey 
Mission in July, 1821. The ground was given by 
Mr. John Bailey, late of Sutton ; and the expense of 
the building was defrayed by friends in London, 
Dorking, Guildford, and Kingston, the people them- 
selves raising £50. The work was placed under the 
care of Mr. Widgery, who soon gathered a congregation 
of 100 to 150 persons, and a Sunday school of twenty- 
five children. 

One of the Surrey Mission Reports says, "Preaching 
has been continued here ever since, with as much regu- 
larity as the Society's funds would allow. Sometimes 
it had its own resident minister, at other times it has 
been supplied by the evangelists of neighbouring 

In September, 1867, Mr. Fifield was placed in charge 
of the church. He laboured till March, 1870, when he 
removed to Pirbright to take up the work there. For 
some time the station was without an evangelist, 
Mr. Cooper, of Gomshall supplying the pulpit as 
frequently as possible. 


In 1878 Mr. J. Garner was appointed evangelist to 
this station and Forest Green, Mr. Cooper still con- 
tinuing the oversight. Steady progress seems to have 
been made during this time. Mr. Garner left in July, 
1897, and was followed by Mr. L. Baker. During his 
ministry £joo was spent in renovating the chapel, and 
an energetic religious and social work was carried on. 

In 1900 Mr. G. Woodward, who had already done 
good service at Park Gate, was appointed to this dis- 
trict, and has since maintained an earnest and faithful 
ministry. A new church is in prospect, and is greatly 
needed. Mr. Walter Webb has generously given a 
better site in a prominent position in exchange for the 
old one, and already a respectable sum has been raised 
towards the building fund. 



This station has always been worked in conjunction 
with Ewhurst, from which it is about two miles 

Previous to the erection of the chapel services were 
conducted during the summer in the open air, the 
wagon of a sympathetic farmer serving as a pulpit. In 
the winter months the little congregation found shelter 
in a neighbouring cottage, which has since been pulled 

In 1878 W. J. Evelyn, Esq., the lord of the manor, 
gave a copyhold site on a quit rent of a shilling a year, 
for the erection of a chapel ; and on June 19 his little 
son, Master John Evelyn, so young that he was led by 


his nurse, laid the memorial stone. Mr. Evelyn also 
contributed largely towards the erection of the chapel, 
the total cost of which was £606. The building was 
opened in October, 1878. A debt of £114 remained to 
be defrayed, and Mr. W. Marten Smith and Mr. Samuel 
Figgis, who had already contributed £100, generously 
offered to make up the amount if the Chapel Building 
Society added £25 to its original gift. This was done 
and the building freed from debt. 

Mr. Woodward, the evangelist in charge divides his 
labours between this station and Ewhurst. The pros- 
pect at both places continues in every way encouraging 
and every branch of the church work is in a healthy 




These villages are located about three and six miles 
respectively to the north-west of Guildford ; and were 
among the first in which work was undertaken by the 
Surrey Mission. The first agent appointed to the dis- 
trict, which included several other villages, was Mr. 
Exall, who was succeeded by Mr. Gayton. 

The chapel at Perry Hill was built in 1822, and 
opened on June 5 in that year. Revs. Messrs. Leif- 
child, Forsaith, and Ivimey were the preachers. The 
building cost £380, of which £50 was contributed by 
friends at Guildford. For some time the pulpit was 


supplied by students from Hackney College; but Mr. 
Gayton having resigned the post of rural evangelist it 
was thought advisable to appoint a resident minister. 
In 1824 Mr. Benjamin Haymes, a Hackney student, was 
invited to the charge, Flexford and Normandy being 
also included in his sphere of labour. The work was 
very difficult ; almost every report bears witness to the 
benighted condition of the neighbourhood. Mr. Haymes 
was ordained as pastor at Epsom in 1829 ; a proceeding 
more akin to the practice of the old Presbyterians than 
to that of modern Congregationalists. Some of Mr. 
Haymes's letters are interesting reading, and give an 
excellent idea of the labour of the county evangelist in 
those days. " One Sabbath day (he writes in 1843) I 
thought I must have given up the service owing to the 
drifted snow, but I went through it and found some 
waiting to hear the word of life. The nights have been 
so dark and chilling that I think nothing short of the 
love of Christ could have induced the poor creatures to 
leave their homes to attend our prayer meetings." 

On Tuesday, October 16, 1849, Mr. Haymes attended 
the annual meeting of the Surrey Mission at Croydon, 
and thence proceeded to London on business. Returning 
home on Friday he was seized with cholera, and after a 
few hours of great suffering died in the fifty- seventh year 
of his age. A tablet to his memory is erected in the 

Rev. Mr. Young, of Marden, supplied for a few 
months, and was highly appreciated, but the state of 
his health prevented him from accepting the permanent 
charge of the station. The committee then invited 
Mr. Hardiman, another Hackney student. He entered 
on the work in 1850, and laboured faithfully till March 
25, 1859, when he removed to Takeley in Essex. 


For the next three years the Surrey Mission, through 
lack of funds, was under the necessity of discontinuing 
its support of the station. Meanwhile services were 
maintained at Perry Hill with tolerable regularity, first 
by local brethren, and then by Mr. Colebrook, a lay 
preacher from Guildford. At Pirbright services were 
carried on by Mr. Green, of Frimley, who fitted up an 
old blacksmith's shop in the centre of the village as a 
place of worship. 

In 1862 the Society again took charge of the district, 
and in October of that year appointed Mr. Lynn to the 
oversight of the work. Singing classes, lectures, and 
popular readings were among the methods whereby he 
endeavoured to interest and instruct the villagers. He 
had such a measure of success at Pirbright that a large 
room in a cottage was used for the services ; and this, 
proving too small, was enlarged by a friend of the 
mission, Mr. Benjamin Smith, at a cost of £40. 

Mr. Lynn removed in October, 1867, and was 
followed in February, 1868, by Mr. Hawkins. In 
August of the same year Mr. B. Smith built a neat and 
substantial chapel, with a convenient manse adjoining, 
which he handed over to the society. It was duly 
registered as an Independent place of worship. 

Early in 1870 Mr. Hawkins resigned to enter 
Nottingham College, and was succeeded by Mr. J. 
Fifield, who had previously been evangelist at Ewhurst. 
About this time we meet with references to Revs. J. 
Manning and W. Heath in connection with Perry Hill, 
but can learn nothing definite about them. 

In June, 1871, an old schoolroom, near the village 
green at Pirbright, which had long been used as a 
day school, was closed. Mr. and Mrs. Fifield undertook 
to reopen the school; whereupon Mr. B. Smith — always 


regardful of the moral and spiritual welfare of the 
village — enlarged and adapted another building along- 
side the chapel for the purpose. This was opened in 
December with sixty scholars : and out of it grew a 
flourishing Sunday school. Mr. Fifield remained at 
Pirbright, doing excellent service, until his death in 

Before this, however, the two villages appear to have 
been dissociated. In 1890 Mr. W. Farris was appointed 
to the oversight of Perry Hill, and has continued in 
earnest service until the present time. There are fifty- 
five church members, and a Sunday school of about 
fifty children. 

At Pirbright, after the death of Mr. Fifield, Mr. G. D. 
Shipley served for some years as evangelist, and was 
followed by Mr. E. Lawes for about ten months. The 
interest was by this time at a very low ebb. In 1898 
the oversight was offered to, and accepted by, Mr. 
Richard Fifield, a son of the former evangelist of the 
same name. He is a colporteur employed by the 
Metropolitan Tabernacle Colportage Association, and 
has worked until now with much assiduity and success. 
The church members number about thirty ; there is a 
Sunday school of 120, and a Band of Hope with eighty 
names on the register. Of late years the name 
" Providence Mission Chapel " has been in use ; there 
is a strong Baptist element in the fellowship, which is 
described as a " Congregational Baptist Union Mission 
Church " ; and in 1906 it was affiliated to the Home 
Counties Baptist Association. It is the only Non- 
conformist place of worship in the village, which has a 
population of about 1,600. 




The first attempt to hold Nonconformist services at 
Redhill appears to have been made by Rev. T. Rees, of 
Reigate, during his pastorate there. At that time Rev. 
C. T. Smith, who had long laboured amongst the villages 
of Surrey and Sussex, was living retired in Reigate. 
Mr. Smith generously took a house in Redhill at his own 
expense, and converted the lower part of it into a 
chapel, capable of holding some sixty or seventy persons. 
Here services were conducted for some time. But the 
origin of the present church is due to Rev. E. Prout, 
who, impressed with the necessity of additional means 
of worship, approached Mr. John Finch, of Tunbridge 
Wells, upon the matter. They agreed as to the need 
of a chapel, but no opportunity offered itself until the 
end of 1859, when Mr. Finch was able to secure a site 
in a good position. 

On January 24, 1861, Mr. Prout convened a few 
friends at the house of Mr. William Ruskin Richardson. 
They resolved that a Congregational Chapel should be 
erected as soon as possible, and constituted themselves 
into a committee to carry the resolution into effect ; 
and plans for a building were at once invited. 

Arrangements were next made for a public meeting 
of sympathisers in the Corn Exchange, where the action 
of the committee was approved, and they were asked to 
undertake the arrangements for services. 

On Sunday, March 12, 1861, services were com- 
menced in the large room of the Corn Exchange. The 
Rev. James Hill, of Clapham, preached. The pulpit 


was then supplied by ministers chiefly from London. 
Meanwhile, the design for a new chapel to seat 500 
was adopted, the new building commenced, and trustees 

It was now felt that the time had come to form the 
spiritual church. A meeting was held for that purpose 
at Mr. Richardson's house, on Friday evening, January 
31, 1862; Rev. E. S. Prout presided, and twelve 
brethren and sisters, dismissed from various churches 
for this purpose, constituted themselves a fellowship 
according to the Congregational order. The following 
Sunday the Lord's Supper was administered, and two 
or three more members received. The next step was 
to find a pastor. Rev. W. P. Dothie, M.A., of Halstead, 
had ministered to the church for several Sundays : on 
May 11, 1862, he was invited to take the first charge of 
the church, and commenced his ministry on June 22. 

Meanwhile, the new building was rapidly approach- 
ing completion, and on Thursday, September 4, it 
was opened. Sermons were preached by Revs. Dr. 
Stoughton and Samuel Martin. The cost, including 
the freehold site, was £2,500, and this sum was raised 
by the end of the year. 

For fourteen years Mr. Dothie exercised a faithful 
and instructive ministry, gradually building up a 
vigorous church. In October, 1875, he resigned the 
pastorate, but at the wish of the people continued his 
ministry till the end of March, 1876. 

He was succeeded by Rev. Herbert Stent, who entered 
on the charge on July 30, 1876. The close of Mr. 
Stent's ministry was somewhat troubled. A section 
of the church became dissatisfied, and eventually, in 
1882, he resigned his office. He has since entered the 
Established Church. 


The next minister was Rev. James Menzies, from 
Berkhampstead, who commenced his ministry in Sep- 
tember, 1883. During his pastorate the church had a 
quiet and uneventful history, but excellent work was 
done, and it was with great regret that his resignation 
was received in 1891. 

Early in 1892 the chapel was renovated, the organ 
improved, and a rostrum substituted for the pulpit. 

The choice of the church next fell upon Rev. John 
Gardner, a student of Hackney College, who was 
ordained on Wednesday, January 25, 1893. 

In 1898 a stained glass window was placed in the 
church in memory of Mr. William Ruskin Richardson, 
who had much to do with the erection of the present 
building. Two years later the organ was reconstructed 
at a cost of £350. 

For twelve years Mr. Gardner worthily sustained the 
pastorate. An examination of the church records shows 
no startling events, but steady progress. Early in 
1905 Mr. Gardner accepted an invitation to Bradford, 
Yorks., and after a few months' interval his place was 
filled by Rev- Andrew Leggatt, late of Great Yarmouth. 




Bletchingley is a quiet old-fashioned village scattered 
pleasantly along the road which leads from Redhill to 
Godstone. Quiet as it is to-day, it was once a place of 
considerable importance. Tradition says that Earl 


Godwin ruled here in great state ; and certainly it 
could boast of two representatives to Parliament until 
the Reform Act of 1832 swept them away. 

In Sheldon's report of conventicles, 1699, we read, 
" There hath been no meetings in Bletchingley since 
Edmond Blundell went away from thence." But under 
the Indulgence of 1672 a licence was granted to John 
Butterey's house, and to " James Parkins, teacher, in 
any allowed place." 

Like many another village, Bletchingley received the 
gospel through the agency of the Surrey Mission. In 
1821 it was included in the Oxted district, and received 
the ministrations of that faithful servant of God, Mr. 

The early work was evidently not very encouraging, 
for we read in the report for 1823 that for many years 
the minister seemed like one who was ploughing upon 
a rock. Things, however, began to improve about that 
time, for soon after Mr. Dubourg says, " The place is 
filled and often crowded, where my faith and patience 
have been long exercised." 

After Mr. Smith's retirement from Charlwood in 
1834, he ministered at Bletchingley, where we are told 
he had a numerous congregation. 

In July, 1868, Mr. Charles Pook was placed at 
Bletchingley as an evangelist, the work being carried on 
under the oversight of Rev. W. P. Dothie and the 
church at Redhill. Considerable success appears to 
have attended Mr. Pook's efforts ; the chapel sometimes 
being filled to its utmost capacity, whilst some who 
could not get in stood and listened at the windows. 

In 1874 Mr. Pook retired, and the work was taken 
up by Mr. Veals. During his ministry considerable 
improvements were made to the chapel. A new floor 

f F 


was laid on a lower level, new windows were added, 
and the building entirely renovated. This cost £100, 
toward which the people of the neighbourhood hand- 
somely contributed, though the great bulk of the 
expense was met by the church at Redhill. 

In 1880 Mr. Veals resigned amid the universal esteem 
of the neighbourhood. Mr. Braby, of the Sussex Home 
Missionary Society, was then appointed. He was 
followed by Mr. Andrews, who found the difficulties of 
the position too great, and after a short ministry 

On Mr. Andrews's retirement the station was for 
twelve months without an evangelist. In 1887 Mr. 
James Richards took up the work, and renewed signs 
of life and interest were soon evident. 

Mr. Epps was the next evangelist. He seems to 
have done good work, but did not stay long. 

Mr. Freemantle succeeded. During his stay, in 1894, 
the chapel and two cottages adjoining were purchased at 
a cost of £250. Subsequent additions and alterations 
brought up the total expense to £478. 

In 1896 Rev. G. S. Martin, from Lowestoft, came to 
Bletchingley as mission pastor, and remained till 1902, 
when Mr. H. J. Barker succeeded him. The present 
evangelist is Rev. J. J. Barber, from Ardingley, who 
commenced his work in 1905. 


In 1874 Mr. Veals, the evangelist at Bletchingley, 
conducted some open air services at Warwick Wold. 


These were well attended, excited much interest, and 
led to opening a cottage for regular worship, the hearers 
there making themselves responsible for the rent. A 
flourishing Sunday school of fifty scholars soon followed, 
and a well-attended cottage meeting was held during 
the week. 

On Mr. Veals's retirement the work was continued by 
Mr. Braby, and has been maintained by the evangelists 
at Bletchingley, under the oversight of the Redhill 
church, until the present time. 

An iron room has been kindly lent by P. L. Pelly, Esq., 
for the services, and here they have been conducted 
ever since. 

The record is one of quiet uneventful work with 
varying, but on the whole encouraging, success. 



On the summit of Hindhead, just where the Ports- 
mouth road begins its descent into the valley, stand the 
beautiful little church-hall, school, and manse which 
the liberality of Mr. John Grover has built for the 
religious and educational needs of the neighbourhood. 

The hall was built first, and was opened for 
worship on Sunday evening, August 9, 1896. Among 
the worshippers were several "Brethren" who had 
been accustomed for some years to meet at Gray- 
shott under the leadership of Mr. E. H. Chapman. 
A public meeting on the following Wednesday was 
addressed by Revs. Principal Whitehouse, of Cheshunt 

F F 2 


College, and Hugh Morris, of Haslemere. A Sunday 
school was commenced the next Sunday with fifteen 
scholars, a number which speedily increased. Services 
were carried on by ministers and laymen who freely 
gave their services. At the request of Mr. Grover, Rev. 
G. B. Stallworthy, of Longfleet, Poole, and formerly of 
Haslemere, took the general superintendence ; and 
Rev. Alfred Kluht, M.R.A.S., late of Billericay, 
rendered valuable assistance. 

Mr. Stallworthy, whose literary abilities are of 
no mean order, early in the history of the movement 
commenced a series of week-night lectures of an educa- 
tional character, obtaining the assistance of many well- 
known men and women. 

In 1901 Mr. Grover's plans were completed by the 
erection of the schoolroom and manse ; electric light, a 
piano, books for a library, and other appliances of the 
most modern type were presented in a quiet and unos- 
tentatious manner ; and the property was vested in 
eight trustees. Subsequently the trust was accepted by 
the Surrey Congregational Union. 

A Congregational church was formed on December 
22, 1901, the roll being signed by about thirty persons. 
It was agreed that the basis of fellowship should be, 
not identity of doctrinal opinion, but sympathy with 
the purposes of Christ's mission to the world. Members 
were to be quite free as to the observance or non-observ- 
ance of baptism and the Lord's Supper. The first 
communion service was not held till May 4, 1902. 

The main building was renamed The Free Church ; 
but is still commonly spoken of as Hindhead Hall, being 
freely used for concerts, lectures, and social meetings. 
A slate club, coal and clothing clubs, cricket, football, 
cycle, and winter evening recreation clubs are all in 


being, and largely appreciated. An organ was intro- 
duced in 1905. Since 1900 Rev. G. B. Stallworthy has 
been resident minister. 


HAMMER (1903) and BEACON HILL (1905) 

The liberality of Mr. Grover has not stopped at 
Hindhead ; he has built a handsome church, with 
schoolroom and vestry, at Hammer. The opening 
services were held on Wednesday, October 8, 1903, 
Rev. J. Morgan Gibbon being the preacher, and 
numerous ministers from far and near participating. 
The services are mostly conducted by lay brethren under 
the supervision of Rev. G. B. Stallworthy. There is a 
Sunday school of about eighty children, and social and 
educational work is carried on in the winter evenings. 
In January, 1905, Mr. Grover completed a third set 
of buildings at Beacon Hill, about a mile and a half on 
the opposite side of Hindhead. These comprise church- 
hall, schoolroom, men's club-room, vestry, and kitchen. 
The opening sermon was preached by Rev. B. Snell, of 
Brixton. The preachers are mostly drawn from the 
neighbourhood, with the occasional help of New 
College students. A Sunday school was formed by a 
draft of fifty-six children from the centre school at 
Hindhead. Classes, social meetings, a men's club, a 
Band of Hope, etc., have been established. The school- 
room has been lent to the County Council for the 
purpose of an infant school, pending the erection of a 
Council school building on an adjacent site. This 
property, as well as that at Hammer, has been 
conveyed by Mr. Grover to the Surrey Union. 



Ashtead . 

Byfleet . 





Ditton, Long 

Dorking . 

Egham . 



Fetcham . 


Horsley, E. 

Horsley, W. 




Mortlake . 

Moulsey . 

Newington Butts 

Ockley . 


Southwark : — 
St. George's 
St. Olave's . 

St. Saviour 

St. Thomas 

Mr. King (R.). 
Mr. Scudamore (R.). 
Mr. Wright (S.R., 1660). 
Caleb Trenchfield (S.R., 1660). 
John Arthur, D.D. (R.). 
Richard Roberts (R.). 
Richard Byfield, M.A. (R.). 
Samuel Nabbs (R.). 
William Rayner, B.D. (V.). 
Mr. Batho (R.). 

Samuel Stileman (V.). 
Jas. Fisher (S.R.). 

John Manship (R.). 

Sampson Caryl (R.). 

John Plot (R.). 

Richard Mayo (V.). 

John Rawlinson (R.). 

William Angel, M.A. (R.). 

David Clarkson, B.D. (C). 

John Jackson. 

Thos. Wadsworth (R.). 

Mr. Nowell (R.). 

Mr. Wickham (Chap.). 

Henry Jessey, M.A. (R.). 
William Cooper, M.A. (S.R.). 
Ralph Venning, M.A. (Lect.). 
Samuel Smith, M.A. (Lect.). 
John Crodacot (Chap.). 
Stephen Watkins (Chap.). 
Thos. Bereman (Lect.). 
Mr. Cobb (V.). 
John Biscoe, B.A. (? Lect). 


Walton-on-Thames David Anderson (V.). 
Worplesdon . . George Farroll. 

At uncertain places : — Mr. Glyde, Mr. Beaumont, Mr. Smith, 
Mr. Story. 


Southwark Deanery : — 

St. Olave's, Mill Lane, 200. Teachers, Stephen Ford, 2 Mr. 
Beereman, Thos. Carter, 2 Anthony Palmer. 2 
,, Morgan's Lane. Teacher, Thos. Lye. 2 

„ Farthing Alley, 1 500 or 600. Teacher, Nathaniel 

Vincent. 2 
„ Horsley Downe, 1 100 Fifth Monarchy Men. 

,, ,, ,, 200 or 300 Quakers. 

„ Shad Thames, 1 1,000 Anabaptists. 

St. Saviour's, Mountague Close, 100 Presbyterians. " Several 
Nonconforming Ministers." 
,, St. Mary Overyes Dock, 150 Independents and 

Fifth Monarchy Men. 
„ House of one Desmore, 100 Anabaptists. 

„ Fishmonger Alley, 60 Presbyterians and Inde. 

pendents. Teacher, Wm. Carslake 2 (miscalled 
„ f Globe Alley, 1 600 Presbyterians and Indepen- 

-| dents. Teacher, Thos. Wadsworth. 2 
„ [Globe Alley. 1 Teacher, John Chester. 

Ewell Deanery : — 

Ewell, 50 Presbyterians. Teachers, Mr. Symes, Mr. Batho, 
Mr. King. 2 

Kingston-on-Thames, 100 "of several opinions." Teacher, 
Rich. Mayo. 2 

Kingston-on-Thames, 40 Quakers. 

Home, Anabaptists (monthly). Teacher, Martin Caffyn. 

Bletchingley, " no meetings since Edmond Blundell the Ana- 
baptist went away." 

Esher, 40 or 50, once a month. Teacher, John Stevens, of 

1 In specially erected meeting houses. 

2 Ejected ministers. 


Stoke Deanery : — 

Godalming, 700 or 800. Teacher, John Piatt. 1 

„ 400 or 500 Quakers (monthly). 

Guildford, 60 to 100 Anabaptists. Teachers, Mr. Pace, Mr. 

Rowell, Mr. Mayo. 
Weybridge, above 100 Presbyterians. Teacher, John James. 1 
Newdigate, 100 Presbyterians and Quakers. 
Dorking, 300 Presbyterians. Teacher, John Wood. 1 

„ 100 Independents. Teachers, Christopher Feak, etc. 
,, 50 Anabaptists. Teacher, John Barnard. 
„ Quakers. 

1 Ejected ministers. 



(O. H. = Own House.) 

Battersea, Thomas "Harrockes," M.A., Presb., O. H., April 20. 

„ Thomas Pace, Presb., O. H. and General, April 22. 
Bletchingley, James Parkins, Presb., General, May 22. 

,, House of John Butterey, Presb., May 22. 

Chertsey, William Burnett, Presb., H. of William Longhurst, 
May 9. 
Arthur Squibb, Bapt., O. H., October 28. 
Clapham, Thomas Lye, Presb., O. H. [This licence was applied 
for five times.] April 30. 
,, Dr. Henry Wilkinson, Presb., O. H. or Schoolhouse, 

May 25. 
,, William Hughes, Presb., O. H., September 30. 

Cobham, House of James Towers, Presb., May 29. 
Croydon, Francis Smith, Bapt., "a room formerly a malthouse," 
April 20. 
,, Edward Baker, Congl., H. of Nathaniel Read, July 25. 
,, House of John Worrell, Presb., October 28. 
Dorking, John Wood, O. H., April 11. 

„ James Fisher, Congl., O. H., May 1. 
Effingham, Thos. Strickland, Bapt., H. of Wm. Wilkinson, 

October 28. 
Elstead, J. Wheeler, Bapt., H. of Edward Billinghurst, Novem- 
ber 18. 


Farnham, James Prince, Presb., H. of Richard Whithall, 
June 15. 
John Faroll, Presb., H. of Richard Collier, June 15. 
House of William Bicknoll, Presb., September 30, 
November 11. 
Frimley, Richard Bures, Presb., O. H. and General, April 30, 
November 18. 
Noah Webb, Presb., O. H. and General, April 30, 
November 11. 
Gadbrook, John Bernard, Bapt., H. of Richard Humphrey, May 9. 
Godalming, House of George Bridges, Presb., May 29. 
Guildford, John Manship, Presb., O. H., May 25. 

House of Thomas Bradford, Presb., May 29. 
Kingston, William Simms, Presb., General, April 2. 
House of Mr. Piccard, Presb., April 2. 
Richard Mayo, Presb., H. of John Pigot, April 13. 
Lambeth (Kennington), Charles Morton, Presb., O. H., April 11. 
Christopher Fowler, Presb., O. H. and 
General, May 25. 
Mortlake, David Clarkson, B.D., Presb. and Congl., H. of John 

Beamish, April 30. 
Ockley, Robert Fisher, O. H. in Stone Street. 

House of Richard Margesson in Stone Street, Presb., 
May 1. 
Oxstead, House of Thos. Stone, Presb., February 3, 1673. 
Pirbright, Samuel Wickham, Presb., General, April 30. 
Southwark, William Whitaker, Presb., H. in Court Yard, 
Bermondsey, April 2. 
„ Andrew Parsons, Presb., O. H. in Deadman's Place 

and General, April 2. 
„ Nathaniel Vincent, Presb., O. H. in Farthing Alley, 

St. Olave, April 2. 
„ William Carslake, Presb., General, April n. 

„ Thomas Kentish, Presb., General, April n. 

„ James Janeway, Presb., O. H. in Salisbury Street, 

Rotherhithe, April 11. 
„ John Chester, Presb., O. H. in Maid Lane, April 13. 

„ House of Richard Hill in Winchester Street, Congl., 

May 1. 
„ Jeremiah Baines, Horsley Down, Presb., General, 

May 2. 
Stephen More, Indept., H. of Barnabas Bloxom, 
Winchester Yard, May 4. 


Southwark, House of Humphrey Aldersley, St. Olave's, Presb., 
May 13. 
John Luffe, of St. Mary's Parish, Bermondsey, 
Presb., General, May 16. 
„ House of George Ewers, Presb., May 22. 

„ John Peachye, Presb., General, May 22. 

„ James Jones, Bapt., O. H., September 30. 

House of James Walker, Congl., September 30. 
Walton-on-Thames, House of John Daberon, Presb., May 16. 

The double date in some cases seems to indicate a second 
licence issued because of some clerical error in the first. One 
date has been inadvertently overlooked. 


AND 1729. 

From Dr. Evans's List in Williams's Library, and Penney's 
•■ First Publishers of Truth." 
1. Presbyterian and Independent. 
Southwark, Deadman's Place. 
„ Maid Lane. 

,, Gravel Lane. 

„ St. Thomas's. 

Horsley Down, Parish Street. 

,, „ St. John's Court Yard. 

Rotherhithe, Jamaica Road. 
„ Dockhead. 

„ The Point. 


Horley, "beyond Reigate." 

Stanstead, alias Ockley. 



2. Baptist. 

Southwark, near St. George's. 

,, Flower de Luce Court. 

„ Queen Street, Park. 

Horsley Down, Back Street. 

,, ,, Fair Street. 

,, „ New Meeting House. 


Frimley, near Basingstoke. 

3. Quakers. 

Capil (probably as early as 1657). 

Dorking (before 1677). 
Guildford (before 1681). 
Heartswood, near Reigate. 
Horsley Down. 

Kitlands, near Ockley. 

Southwark, The Park. 
And several temporary or discontinued in private houses in 
Southwark, Walworth, Lambeth, and one at Mitcham. 




Of Independent or Congregational Churches in Surrey, 
now in the custody of the registrar-general at 
Somerset House. 

These registers were deposited in accordance with the pro- 
visions of Acts of Parliament in 1840 and 1857, and certified 
extracts from them are legal evidence. 


Bermondsey, Jamaica Row 

„ Neckinger Road 

Brixton, Trinity . 

,, Holland Chapel . 

Brixton Hill, Union . 

Camberwell, Albany . 
,, Grove 

„ Mansion House 

„ Marlborough . 

Charlwood . 



„ Park Road 

Collier's Rents . 

Croydon, George Street 

Dorking (Marriages, 1729 — 1800) 



,, Little Chapel 


Godalming . 

Gomshall, Felday, and Ewhurst 

Guildford, Blackhorse Lane 

(some marriages) 

„ New Chapel . 

Haslemere .... 

Horsley Down, Parish Street 

Kennington Chapel . 

,, Vauxhall Chapel 

„ Esher Street . 

Dates Covered. 

Births and 












1824 — 








l8ll— 1853 
1834— 1837 

1823— 1835 
1783— 1837 

1767 — 1836 
1730— 1855 

1827 — 1836 
1786— 1828 

1707— 1733 

1817— 1837 


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Kingston, Old Chapel 

,, Heather Street 

Norwood, Lower 
Oxted and Limpsfield 
Peckham, Hanover 

,, two detached entries 
Richmond . 
Southwark, Deadman's Place and 
Union Street 
(Some entries also 
in Mill Hill, 
,, Globe Alley 

,, Guildford Street 

,, London Road 

Stockwell . 
Surrey Chapel . 
Thames Ditton . 
Walworth, Beresford Street 

,, York Street 


Worplesdon, Perry Hill and 
Normandy . 

Dates Covered. 

Births and 

1698 — 1803 
1776— 1856 
1832— 1835 
1719— 1752 
1821 — 1837 
1812— 1836 
l8oi — 1837 
1827— 1834 

1817 and 1819 
1835— 1837 
1831— 1836 
1823— 1837 

1784 — 1830 
1756— 1798 
1804 — x 837 
1791— 1825 
1802 — 1837 
1787— 1837 
1816— 1836 
1786— 1837 
1821 — 1837 
1804 — 1837 
1811— 1836 
1778— 1836 

1823— 1837 


1839— 1855 

1719— 1752 

1821 — 1837 

1738— 1837 

1818— 1837 

1786— 1834 

1791— 1837 
1815— 1836 


Addiscombe (Croydon), 164 
Anerley, 114 

Balham, 331 
Battersea : — 

Bridge Road, 314 

Milton Hall, 328 
Beacon Hill, 437 
Bermondsey : — 

Jamaica Row, 28 

Neckinger Road, 51 

Rouel Road, 142 

Tower Bridge, 53, 58 
Blackdown, 414 
Blackheath, 398 
Bletchingley, 432 
Bookham, 418 
Borough Road, 149 
Bourne, 375 
Bowlhead Green, 410 
Brixton : — 

Acre Lane, 256 

Congregational Church, 

Holland Chapel, 276 
Loughborough Park, 305 
Trinity, 260 

Brixton Hill, 263 

Broadmoor, 423 

Byfleet, 352 

Camberwell : — 
Albany, 94 

Camberwell : — 

Green, 63, 65 

Grove, in 

Mansion House, 63 

New Road, in 

Waterloo Street, 67, 112 
Cartbridge, 397 
Caterham, 152 

Upper, 155 
Charlwood, 363 
Chertsey, 201 
Clapham : — 

Grafton Square, 173 

Lavender Hill, 329 

Park Crescent, 256 
Claylands, 276 
Cobham, 291 
Compton, 398 
Croydon : — 

Addiscombe, 164 

Back Lane, 38 

George Street, 37, 38, 41 

Park Lane, 38 

Pump Pail, 156 

Salem, 156 

South, 157 

Thornton Heath, 130 

Trinity, 132 

West, 136 

Dorking, 353 
Dulwich : — 

Emmanuel, 166 



Dulwich : — 
Grove, 160 

West, 297 

Eashing, 408 
Egham Hill, 294 
Elstead, 405 
Epsom, 42 
Ewell, 89 
Ewhurst, 424 

Farley Green, 422 
Farnham, 368 
Felday, 419 
Forest Green, 425 

Godalming, 400 
Gomshall, 419 
Guildford, 384 

Ham, 259 

Hammer, 437 

Haslemere, 410 

Hatcham, 25 

Hawkstone Hall, 147 

Headley, 366 

Heme Hill, 172 

Hersham, 286 

Hindhead, 435 

Horsley Down : — 
Back Street, 47 
Dock Head, 48 
Parish Street, 53 

Kennington : — 

Carlisle Chapel, 244 
Esher Street, 274, 323 

Kingston, 181 

Kingswood, 383 

Lambeth : — 

Baths, 148 

Caine Hall, 340 

Christ Church, 217, 233 

Wheatsheaf Hall, 339 

York Road, 283 
Leatherhead, 415 
Limpsfield, 83 

Malden, New, 336 
Margery, 383 
Marlborough, 96 
Merrow, 399 
Merton, 118, 328 
Milford, 409 
Mitcham, 85 
Mortlake, 191 
Murphy Memorial, 143 

Normandy, 393 
Norwood : — 

Selhurst Road, 128 

South, 117 

Upper, 139 

West, 79 

Oatlands, 314 
Oxted, 82 

Pain's Hill, 83 
Park Gate, 364 
Peckham : — 

Clifton, 119 

Collyer's Hall, 25 

Hanover, 17, 23 

Howbury Road, 125 

Linden Grove, 123 

Meeting House Lane, 18, 



Perry Hill, 426 

Pirbright, 426 

Purley, 170 

Putney : — 

Oxford Road, 237, 239 
Piatt Chapel, 233, 237 
Union, 236, 238 

Redhill, 430 
Reigate, 377 
Richmond : — 

St. Paul's, 347 

Vineyards, 268 
Rotherhithe, Maynard's Road. 

Ryde's Hill, 396 

Selhurst Road, 128 

Shamley Green, 393 

Shortfield, 376 

South Park, 382 

Southwark : — 

Borough Road, 149 
Cole Street, 61 
Collier's Rents, 59, 62 
Deadman's Place, 7, 8, 10 
Deverell Street, 145 
Globe Alley, 8, 9 
Gurney Street, 62, 151 
Murphy Memorial, 143 
Paragon, 79 
Pilgrim Fathers, Church 

of, 1, 13 
Southwark Bridge Road, 


Southwark Park, 127 

Union Street, 12 

Zoar Street, 11 
Stockwell, 225 
Stoughton Lane, 400 
Streatham, 344 

Streatham Hill, 263 
Surbiton, 300 
Surrey Chapel, 217 
Sutton, 73, 76 

„ Benhall Street, 75, 77 

Tangley, 395 
Thames Ditton, 241 
Thornton Heath, 130 
Tooting, 208 

Walton-on-the-Hill, 367 
Walton-on-Thames, 286 
Walworth : — 

Beresford Chapel, 135 
Browning Hall, 67, 72 
Lock's Fields, 67 
Penrose Street, 106 
Sutherland, 104 
West Street, 73 
York Street, 67 
Wandsworth : — 

Old Chapel, 247 
Earlsfield, 251, 341 
East Hill, 245, 249 
Ettringham Street, 251 
Garrett Lane, 251 
High Street, 250 
Thornsett Road, 342 
Warwick Wold, 434 
Weybridge, 310 
Wimbledon : — 

Christ Church, 347 
Dundonald Hall, 328 
Worple Road, 324 
Woking, 349 

Wonersh (see Tangley), 395 
Wormley Hill, 407 
Worplesdon (see Perry Hill), 

Wrecclesham, 377 



Los Angeles 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

Form L9-75m-7,'61(Cl437s4)444 


7177 Cieal - 
S9dT Story of congre* 
gationalism in 



AA 000 832 573 o