A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.
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Oakington was an early centre of dissent: the bishop reckoned it in 1685 the most scandalous and vile parish in his diocese. (fn. 1) In 1662 two men and five women from four families obstinately absented themselves from church. (fn. 2) By 1675 c. 20 people, half women, refused to receive the sacrament, (fn. 3) and in 1676 there were 37 dissenters. (fn. 4) Even the schoolmaster was one. Two houses had been licensed in 1672 for dissenting worship, including the Aveys', still a prominent dissenting family in 1686. James Day, then licensed to teach at Oakington, (fn. 5) was a follower of the Independent evangelists Francis Holcroft and Joseph Oddy. The Oakington congregation was therefore reckoned as Independent, although including Quakers. (fn. 6) Probably by the 1670s the two sects had separated, each establishing a distinct burial ground. Oddy was buried in 1687 and Holcroft in 1692 in one adjoining the churchyard, in use by 1678, and their followers, even from elsewhere, often chose to be interred there as in 'more sanctified ground'. (fn. 7) In 1728 there were still 40 dissenters; Oddy's former followers, styled Presbyterians by 1700, assembled by then only once a year. The Quakers held their silent meetings quarterly. A few Quakers were still meeting in 1783, but they disappeared from the parish soon after. Their burial ground further from the church, little used from the 1710s, (fn. 8) was sold in 1811. (fn. 9) The other graveyard, vested in the Holcroft trustees by the 1830s, (fn. 10) was preserved as a memorial into the 20th century. (fn. 11)
A house was registered for dissenting worship c. 1798, (fn. 12) and by 1807 a few dissenters were attending various meeting houses elsewhere. (fn. 13) John Stitles, who had a meeting at his dwelling by 1815, (fn. 14) in 1817 provided a copyhold plot, probably off Stocks Green, sold to trustees in 1829, on which a Baptist chapel, later Strict and Particular, was built c. 1820. (fn. 15) About 1825 c. 50 people attended services there. (fn. 16) In 1851, when it could seat 250, the deacon considered an attendance of 130-155 people at three separate services lower than usual. (fn. 17) Burnt down in 1865, (fn. 18) the chapel was rebuilt and reopened the same year, (fn. 19) when it probably began to have a resident pastor. Membership was reported as nearly 40 in the 1870s and 1880s. (fn. 20) Supported by several Oakington farmers, the chapel remained in regular use into the early 20th century, (fn. 21) but its congregation apparently split after the trustees tried in 1942 to dismiss the nonresident pastor. Some members seceded with him, registering their own chapel in 1944, but that had closed by 1954. (fn. 22) The older chapel was still in use in 1985.
Methodists were meeting in private houses at Oakington by 1824. (fn. 23) The Primitive Methodists, who preached in barns lent by farmers by 1850, (fn. 24) built in 1862 a chapel south-east of Sheep Green. Apparently rebuilt in 1875, it was served by ministers from Cambridge. (fn. 25) It remained in use into the 1980s, (fn. 26) the building being enlarged in 1975. (fn. 27)