Here is some information for those interested in the early history of the Baptist Church in Long Buckby. It covers the period 1743-1896.
The Early Years
In 1743, after Baptists from Long Buckby had been travelling to Flore for a number of years, Mr John Muddiman started to gather friends and preach to them until his death in 1757. Following on from him, Mr Tolley and Mr Coles continued the preaching and 11 people were baptised.
In 1759 these people formed a church with Rev. Hutchins as the first Pastor. During the next 5 years he baptised eighteen people before the increase of his family and the poverty of the church caused him to leave in 1764.
In 1765 Rev. Thomason became Pastor and baptised three people before leaving ‘without reason’ in 1768! He was replaced by Rev. Cole who remained until his death in 1794 when the membership was over 40 people.
For the next eight years there was unrest and dissatisfaction, with Ministers either incapable of supporting the church or dividing it! Rev. Shrewsbury only lasted 4 months. Rev. Bolton spent 14 months dividing the members and leaving with the majority of them to form ‘an opposite interest’. At its worst the membership dropped to only nine. Rev. Pressland, Rev. Read and Rev. Clarke each lasted two years until in 1802 the church was dissolved.
In June 1804 the church was reformed, with Rev. Steans as pastor. There is a gap in the records until 1821, but the membership had grown and things were looking more settled. In 1821 Mrs Steans died and Rev. Steans sold seven houses, putting the money into a trust - the Steans Trust - for the maintenance of the church. He remarried soon after, but his conduct caused concern in the church and he was compelled to resign, setting up in opposition to the church.
He was followed by Rev. Clarke who remained until 1830. He left as the church was too poor to support him and his large family. He was replaced by Rev. Capern. For five years the church grew and flourished, but then came a period of four years of decline. In 1839 Rev. Capern left the church to become a Missionary in the Bahamas . . .
In 1840 Rev. Burdett became the Pastor. He organised a number of missions during the next few years and then on March 25th 1846 work started on building a new church building (the present one). This was completed on September 3rd at a total cost of £992 9s 11d. Over £700 had been raised prior to the opening; a further £200 was raised in the following week, especially a tea for 700 people on the opening day; the remainder was paid within a year. Rev. Burdett resigned in 1850 due to ill health and went to Australia where he survived for over 50 years!
Rev. Thorpe then became Pastor, straight from college. He certified the church as a place of worship and the solemnisation of marriages became legal. He resigned in 1862 and was replaced by Rev. White who left in 1864. His replacement was Rev. Rose. During his ministry the Manse was built beside the church (1865) and the book ‘Hymns and Psalms’ was adopted (1869). Rev. Rose resigned through ill health in 1871.
His replacement, Rev. Watts, passed a resolution that non-baptised members be accepted on profession of faith in Jesus Christ. He left in 1873 and the church continued for two years without a Pastor.
In 1875 Rev. Henson became Pastor. He remained until 1881 and was replaced almost immediately by Rev. Spanswick.
The church now developed, holding a number of missions. Both Y.M.C.A and Y.W.C.A groups were formed and in 1894 these merged into a Society of Christian Endeavour.
The Deacons, who until this time had been elected for life, decided that new blood was needed and the rules were changed to require them to be re-elected every four years. The number of Deacons was gradually increased during this time from three to six.
In 1885 two cottages adjoining the church were purchased and a new school and church rooms were built. In 1889 Rev. Spanswick resigned to accept a call to Longford, near Coventry and was replaced by Rev. Rendell in 1890.
In 1896, as part of 150 years celebration of the existence of the church building, £200 was spent on widening, refronting and re-seating the gallery, reglazing the windows with tinted glass and redecorating the walls and ceiling.
This condenses 150 years into a few paragraphs, but briefly describes the first Pastors and the foundation of the church.
For those visiting graves of friends and relatives, and those wishing to look for graves of relatives Our graveyard is open to the public.
Our registers of marriages and burials can be found at the Northamptonshire County Record Office: Wootton Hall Park
Mere Way, Northampton NN4 8BQ
01604 762 297