Minutes of Northchurch Baptist Church
Part 1   1843 to 1881

                                                                                               back to Minutes front page

[Notes.  Any editorial comments are contained in square [ ] brackets. 
The spelling and capitalisation of the original text have been preserved as accurately as possible.  In places, minor punctuation changes, mainly extra commas, have been added to make it easier to read and understand]
[This description is at the very front of the earliest remaining Minute Book]
The rise and progress of the Baptist Church Northchurch
About the year [date is blank] a prayer meeting was begun in the house of Mr Lawrence a member of the Church at Newmill: soon after village preachers connected with that church came on the evenings of the Sabbath, and when they were not there Mr L read one of Burder’s village sermons. * 
Occasionally there was a service in the week.  Amid many discouragements they went on until the summer of 1835; when Mr Norris kindly fitted up a house belonging to himself as a place of Worship.  Neighbouring Ministers now preached in the week – more people came to hear the word – several were impressed with the importance of religion.  At the decline of the year /38 Mr Edwin one of the Sabbath evening supplies proposed an afternoon service.  The proposition being approved, an afternoon service was commenced which was carried on however with difficulty Mr Norris having sometimes to read a sermon or conduct a prayer meeting.
Subsequently Mr Howard of Chesham in conjunction with Mr Harding and Jos Howe and a Mr Francis have regularly supplied by whose efforts the congregation has been increased and good has been done.  In Feb 1839 It was resolved to try to secure a more convenient Place of Worship.
Mr Norriss generously gave the ground and 5£ Mr Baldwin of Berkhamsted subscribed 10£ and through his efforts several Christian friends also liberally contributed – The friends on the spot by weekly subscriptions raised some pounds – at length after many hindrances and much opposition the present meeting house was neared.  Ebenezer.
The cost of the Building with the Trust deeds was nearly 140£.
This chapel was opened Sept 16th 1840   Mr Payne of Chesham preached in the Morning and Mr Statham of Reading Afternoon and Evening – 10£ were collected.
On the following Sabbath Mr Tomlin preached afternoon and evening ; a prayer meeting being holden in the morning which order of service has since been observed.
Mr T. has continued to supply occasionally by whom the ordinance of the Lords Supper has been administered.  At the beginning of the year /41 two persons who had long attended were baptized.at Chesham by Mr Payne - and subsequently three others. 
November 30th of the same year, Mr Payne formed the following brethren and sisters into a church viz Wm Norriss and Elean Jane NorrissElizabeth LawrenceJohn BryantElizabeth BryantJohn GreenThomas NorrissLydia Green –
The Church is a Baptist Church, though persons not Baptists are admitted to the Lords Table.  The doctrines professedly held by the church, are The existence of the one living and True God – the doctrine of the Trinity or three equal persons in the Godhead – Eternal and personal Election – Particular Redemption – Original Sin – Free Justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ – Regeneration and Sanctification by the Spirit and grace of God – The moral law the rule of life and conduct to believers – The obligation of sinners to repent and believe the gospel – the final perseverance of the saints – the resurrection of the body to eternal life – The future Judgement – The future Happiness of the Righteous and the Everlasting misery of such as die impenitent.
Such is a brief account of our history May the little one become a thousand the small one a strong people.  Love now we beseech thee O Lord
O Lord we beseech thee send now prosperity.
 [*George Burder 1752-1832 was a well known Non Conformist preacher and author, amongst other things of “Village Sermons”]

[Membership List from first book

"These eight
constituted the
church at the

The eight being:
Wm Norriss
E J Norris
Eliz Lawrence
John Bryant
Eliz Bryant
John Greene
Lydia Greene
Thos Norriss

For more details
of these eight, 
see The Burial Ground]


[Joseph Hobbs was Minister at Berkhamsted Baptist Church.  He died, aged 75, in September 1840, his last illness apparently having been brought on by sitting in wet clothes whilst attending the opening of the new place of worship in Northchurch.  This suggests it was raining on the Opening Day on 16 September.]

November 1843
After Service on Tuesday Evening – the Church being requested to stop.  Mr Payne of Chesham presiding two Deacons where [were] chosen. W. Norris, John Briant.
The Chappel was reopened August 1866.
Mr Schindler of New Mill Preached in the Afternoon and a Meeting in the Evening for Speaking
Church Meeting held December the 26 1869
Mr george Clark of tring having Supplied is With acceptance for some time past
1. it was unanimously agreed that he be our future pastor
2. and as an acknowligment for is Service We agree that he receive the whole of the seat subscriptons.
Signed by us the deacon and members of the Baptist Church of Northchurch Herts
William Taylor                         Deacon
James Baldwin
Elizabeth Sherman being the oldest Member
Lydia Green
Pheby baldwin
Elizth King
3. it was agreed at the Same Meeting that Mr Randell Resign the office of opening and cleaning the chapel and that Mr Baldwin take to the Same office.
1870 in February in the same year it was Decided by the members of the church that at the death of Mr fountain is body be buried in the chaple buring ground by his own request
Charlote Emmery and charlote Sears Ware Baptised and Joined the church
April the 7 1872
John Storr ware baptised
And Robert weedon Restored     
And Joined the church in august 1872

Church Meeting held april the 11 1873
1. it was unanimously carried that the Church in future Should do its own business and that nothing should be done in the chaple or on the chaple premises without the churches Concent
2. it was also agread that Robert weedon Be appointed to receive the colecton money And take all Bills in conecton with the chapel And pay the same and that he give in is acounts As often as the church require him.
3. at the same church meeting George Bedel And Mrs Gurney was proposed as candidates for baptism
4. it was also agread that the evangelist be allowed the use of the Baptistory and that pay ten shillings each time and pay for Breakiges that 5 go to the caus and 5 to Mr Clark.
5. it was also agread that the table money Be put into the hands of Mr Clark to distribute to brethering and sisters in nead.

At a church meeting held may the 1  [1873]
it was Agreed that Mr James Clark from chattries preach our anniversary sermons on nitt [night] Tuesday June the 3
Mrs Gurney and George Bedel ware Baptised and Joined the church on June the 1st 1873


At a church meeting held September the 1st [1873]
Brother weedon braught in is acounts and they were receved as satisfactory.
It was also Setled that wee have a tea Meeting on the 11 of October and that the singing class belonging to the Baptist chapel are autherised [?] hold a singing meeting in the evening.
At a church meeting held march the 1 1874
It was agread that wee have a tea meeting on april the 3 and a publick meeting in The evening concisting of singing and addresses
At a church meeting held may the 3
It was agread that Mr James Clark of chattries preach our anniversary Sermons on night Tuesday may the 26 1874 and that wee Have a tea in the afternoon
We had in hand after all expenses ware paid from the tea and colecton 18 and 6 pence.
9 shillings were paid to J Clark Being a part of same paid by him to our Singers out of is own pocket as lent to the church
And 9 and 6 pence deposited in the hands of Robert weedon which amounted to 18 Shillings And 6 pence.

Names of present existing members
1   Elizth Sherman
2   Lydia greene
3   Mary taylor
4   William taylor
5   James wood
6   James Baldwin
7   Peby Baldwin
8   William honour
9   Charlote Emmrey
10 Charlote Sears
11 John Store  [Storr]
12 Robert Weedon
13 Mrs Gurney
14 George Bedel
15 Thomas Delderfield.    Became a Member June 6th 1875
16 James Sear                   Baptised May 23 1875 Joined the Church June 6th 1875
17 Ann Sear                      Baptized May 23/75Joined the Church June 6th 1875
18 Joseph Fenn                 Baptized May 23/75  Joined the Church June 6th 1875
19 Sarah Storr                   Baptized May 23/75  Joined the Church June 6th 1875
1881 May 18th
New Schoolrooms and Ministers Vestry were built in 1878 and opened Nov 19th 1878 by Revd F.W. Goadby M.A. of Watford.
These Schoolrooms and Vestry and Classroom cost about £180.0s.0d.and which was paid off by May 18th 1887.
            Signed                                            Superintendant             W.J. Sear
                                                                   Treasurer                       W Sherman
                                                                   Teacher                         W.D. King
                                                                   Teacher                          C Reading

[This sheet commemorates and celebrates a new school room being added to the first Baptist Chapel when it was still in the Burial Ground.]                       
                           Baptist Chapel
                                April 22nd 1878
This corner stone was laid by the Revd Thos Davis of Rickmansworth on Easter Day 1878.
The following are at this time engaged in teaching the scholars in the scriptures.
W.J. Sear Superintendent
Teachers.  Thos Delderfield, W.D.King,
Hy Taylor, J Bladon, S Skidmore,
Mrs Sharpe, Mrs Lewin,
Anne King
There are now in the school room upwards of 70 children.
The former schoolroom was 18ft x 12 ft no upstairs.
This present enlargement was principally carried out through the energetic perseverance of W.J. Sear and W Sherman of Shootersway farm and with several of the scholars having collecting cards.  Up to the present time we have collected from kind friends upwards of 90£
Into whosoever hands these few lines may fall let them Cheer and encourage you on to Works for the Blessed Redeemer who hath done so mutch for us
and also bear in mind the warning given to us,
Be not weary in well doing for in due time you shall reap if ye faint not and may the Lord bless and prosper those who seek to labour for his honour and Glory and to him we will give all the Praise and the Glory for ever and ever Amen.


[The letter itself, shown above was given to Cliff Bonnett, a previous church historian, by Sheila Charge, wife of Colin whose great grandfather was W J Sear, the Sunday School Superintendant mentioned in the letter.  On Easter Monday 1878 the foundation stones of the new (two-storey) schoolroom were laid with worship services taking place accompanied by a public tea in the chapel building which had been specially decorated with flowers and foliage. The letter was read to the assembled people, then enclosed in a bottle and deposited in a cavity in the stone of the new schoolroom, only to be rediscovered 43 years later when the old chapel buildings were demolished.

Now nearly 140 years later, we continue to give God all the praise and the glory].

[This minute book also contained details of burials in the Chapel Burial Ground.
Full details of these are contained in the Appendix to "The Burial Ground"]