first preacher as a proper church was Mr Thomas Slattery from the
The first members of the chapel were:
George C. Claridge, Eliana Clark, Simon Corey, Sarah Cosby, Joseph Frost, Sarah Gibbs, Elizabeth Middleton, Mary Middleton, Joseph Miles, Henry Simco, Rebecca Simco
Deacons : George C. Claridge, John Middleton, Henry Simco
Many of these were respected figures in the town.
Denham was appointed as William Gunn’s successor in 1799, and started his ministry
on 9 Feb 1800. He had previously pastored churches in Bakewell, Derbyshire and
Atherstone, and had a young family. Judging by the increased numbers of
families with children being baptised, the congregation grew considerably at
this time. It is not known where he went when he left Towcester in 1811, but he
is found in
In 1800, the following had also been admitted as members:
Members admitted 30 May 1800
Ann Adams, William Basford, John Gardiner, Elizabeth Gibbs, Richard Jeffrey, Ann Phipps, Susanna Ratledge, Mary Sheppard, Sarah Vernon, Abigail Wass, Daniel Wass.
Despite the presence of such locally prominent people in the congregation, there must have been difficulties with the Vicar. The Baptism registers of nearly all Non-conformist chapels were handed over to the Registrar General after 1837, and on the form William Hawkins, the pastor at the time, stated that they would have preferred not to give up their registers as they were used :-
1) To furnish the clergyman of the parish with Certificates of Baptism when he refuses to bury the Children of dissenters who have been baptised by their own Ministers.
2) When legal applications are made respecting the Orphans of dissenters, where property depends.
3) In cases of Militia Draughts to prove in some instances that young men are not of age.
The first of these reasons must have been productive of much increased grief among parents. All burial services were conducted by the vicar in any case, Non-Conformist ministers not being allowed to participate.
the resignation of Joshua Denham, Joseph Gravestock from
An article in the Evangelical Magazine July 1846 says:
“On the 8th of October 1846, a neat and substantial Independent chapel was opened for Divine Worship, when the Rev J Watson, of Newport Pagnell College, preached in the morning; the Rev F A Cox DD, in the afternoon; the Rev John Leifchild DD of Craven chapel, in the evening. The congregations were large, and deeply interested with the services of the day and the collections amounted to £120 1s 10½d
The old chapel had become completely unfit for religious worship, and the situation was so extremely bad as at times to be inaccessible, consequently the friends of the cause obtained an eligible site in the centre of the town, on which the new chapel and schoolroom have been erected, at a cost of £1150.”
Bakers History states, “The meeting-house stands in a yard at the east end of the principal street. It is 33ft. 2in. long by 24ft. 4in. wide. It is pewed, and galleried on three sides.”
From 1794 to 1853, 146 people were welcomed into membership and in 1853 there were 50 members, 110 scholars and 24 teachers.
William Hawkins died in 1854. As the whereabouts of all records of the church are currently unknown, it is not possible to pursue the history any further. If anyone knows of their whereabouts, please get in touch.
chapel built by this congregation still stands, being now in use as a Catholic
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