A History of the County of Essex: Volume 9, the Borough of Colchester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1994.
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PROTESTANT NONCONFORMITY (fn. 1)
There was a small Baptist group in Colchester in the late 1630s; one of its members, Thomas Lamb, later a prominent General Baptist preacher in London, was imprisoned by the Court of High Commission in 1639 for keeping conventicles. In 1640 a meeting of c. 20 people led by Richard Lee, a tailor, was broken up by the borough authorities. (fn. 2) The congregation was apparently still meeting in 1642 when Anabaptists were reported in Colchester, (fn. 3) but there is no further record of Baptist activity in the 1640s.
The Fifth Monarchist Henry Jessey seems to have preached in Colchester in 1653, and he was followed in 1655 by the Baptist Thomas Tillam who had made c. 100 converts by May 1656. (fn. 4) Tillam's teachings were at first approved by the borough authorities, who gave him a church to preach in, but by 1657 he was preaching the seventh day (Saturday) sabbath, and opposition to his teaching grew. (fn. 5) In 1659 the Independent minister of St. Peter's, Edmund Warren, warned of the 'spreading of this Jewish leaven' among his flock. (fn. 6) Tillam was imprisoned in London in 1660, (fn. 7) and does not seem to have returned to Colchester.
Abraham Chaplin was pastor of the Colchester Seventh Day Baptists in 1690. (fn. 8) In 1706 he and two of his congregation registered their newly repaired meeting house in St. Leonard's parish. Joseph Davis the younger of Highgate (Mdx.), a member of the Seventh Day Baptist church in London, by will dated 1731 and proved in 1733, devised to Daniel Wright of Colchester, apparently a Seventh Day Baptist minister, the meeting house and burial ground at the Hythe for his life. (fn. 9) Four Colchester Particular Baptists joined a Sabbatarian congregation under John Ridley in 1739, but that may have been the one at Woodbridge (Suff.). (fn. 10) The Colchester congregation, which received a bequest in 1760, seems to have survived until c. 1770. The meeting house at the Hythe was still known as the Sabbatarian meeting in 1773, and a surviving member of the extinct congregation was admitted to Eld Lane church in 1774. (fn. 11)
Stephen Crisp was apparently minister of a Baptist, perhaps a General Baptist, congregation in Colchester for a short time before his conversion to the Society of Friends in 1655. (fn. 12) In 1697 Thomas Agnes represented the Colchester congregation at the General Assembly of General Baptists; he attended again in 1704 and was apparently still elder or pastor in 1715. (fn. 13) In 1729 the Particular Baptists made provision for General Baptists who wished to join their congregation, perhaps suggesting a crisis among the Generals, but the church continued in the 1730s when it was represented at the General Assembly by John Coolidge, and Charles Bulkeley seems to have been minister for a short time in the early 1740s. (fn. 14) It had been dissolved by 1755. (fn. 15)
Richard Tidmarsh, sent to Essex by the first General Assembly of Particular Baptist churches late in 1689, found some Baptists in Colchester worshipping with other dissenting congregations. His preaching persuaded them to set up a Particular Baptist church, and in 1690 their minister, John Hammond, registered a meeting house in St. Martin's Lane. (fn. 16) In 1703 Abednego Lord registered a room in East Street for Baptist services, (fn. 17) presumably for a separate congregation. In 1707 a total of 40 men and 53 women united to form one Baptist church under Cornelius Rayner, who had succeeded Hammond in 1695; the union was probably between Rayner's and Lord's congregations as Abednego Lord the elder died a member of the united church in 1718. (fn. 18) By 1712 the congregation was meeting in a house in Eld Lane in St. Botolph's parish, which was conveyed to trustees that year; it may earlier have met in a house on North Hill, perhaps the Baptist meeting house rated for church repairs in St. Peter's parish in 1702. (fn. 19)
Rayner died in 1708. He was succeeded by John Vicars, 1709-11, and Vicars by John Rootsey, 1711-38, both founder members of the Colchester church. (fn. 20) Rootsey, a wealthy man who described himself as a gentleman and who owned land in several parishes in Essex and Suffolk, had c. 200 hearers in 1715, but in 1721 a total of 29 members refused to associate with him and left the Eld Lane church. (fn. 21) Others followed in 1724, 1729, and 1730, and c. 1724 they acquired their own pastor, John Dunthorne from Hertfordshire. They had a meeting house in St. James's parish, probably in East Bay. (fn. 22) The schism, which seems to have been caused by Rootsey's personality or religious views (he may have had leanings towards Quakerism, asking to be buried very simply in the Quaker fashion), continued until after his death in 1738. In 1739 the two congregations reunited at Eld Lane under Dunthorne who remained pastor until his death in 1756. (fn. 23) In 1758 there was another schism when David Chapman, Dunthorne's assistant from 1753, led 5 men and 8 women away from Eld Lane to found a new church, meeting in Moor Lane (later Priory Street); another 4 men joined them in 1759. (fn. 24) Chapman seems to have left Colchester soon afterwards, (fn. 25) but his church continued, perhaps because its members refused to accept Dunthorne's successor, Thomas Eisdell, whose ministry was considered too 'doctrinal' by some of his own congregation. Most returned to Eld Lane early in the pastorate of Eisdell's successor Thomas Stephens, 1774-1802. (fn. 26)
Although he complained in 1777 of the railing spirit which had prevailed since the beginning of the church's troubles, (fn. 27) Stephens, who founded the Essex Baptist Association and was an early supporter of overseas missions, was a successful pastor at Eld Lane, starting a mission at Mile End in 1796. (fn. 28) In 1795 the meeting house was enlarged, and a baptistry was added. Earlier baptisms had taken place publicly at Rootsey's mill (Distillery Pond); they had provided opportunities for evangelization but had often provoked jeering from the large crowds which gathered to watch. (fn. 29)
Argument over Stephens's successor, perhaps exacerbated by doctrinal differences within the congregation which in 1796 was described as 'Arminians, Methodists, or Baptists', led to another schism in 1803 when 16 people followed an unsuccessful candidate to a meeting room in St. Runwald's parish. Most of the seceders returned in 1804 at the start of the pastorate of George Pritchard, 1804-12. (fn. 30) By 1811 there was considerable dissatisfaction with Pritchard's ministry, and a dispute that year over his refusal to allow the 'antinomian' John Church to preach at Eld Lane caused several members to secede in 1812 and join a new church in Stanwell Street on St. John's green. (fn. 31) Numbers of both members and hearers increased under Pritchard's successor George Francies, 1815-36, although his claim to have a membership of 800-900 in 1829 was much exaggerated; there were 165 members in 1838. The mission at Mile End was reregistered in 1816 and one at Lexden in 1821. (fn. 32) In 1834 a new chapel, to seat 1,000, was built on a site adjoining the old one, largely at the expense of Benjamin Nice, one of the deacons. (fn. 33)
For 30 years after Francies's resignation in 1836, Eld Lane suffered from an ineffective ministry due partly to the ill health of successive pastors and partly perhaps to continuing doctrinal differences. The presumably extreme views of Thomas Rust, pastor 1838-41, caused the Congregational minister to withdraw from the joint missionary prayer meetings which had previously been held. (fn. 34) Rust was supported by most of his congregation, but in 1848 dissatisfaction with his successor led 28 members, apparently believers in closed communion, to resign to form a new church in Military Road. (fn. 35) In spite of those and other resignations, Eld Lane reported congregations on Census Sunday 1851 of 350 in the morning, 600 in the afternoon, and 200 in the evening, in addition to 60 Sunday school children. (fn. 36) Moves towards strict communion in 1856 and 1857 led to further resignations, and in 1858 there were only 144 church members. (fn. 37)
The church was revived by E. Spurrier who served, first as assistant and then as pastor, from 1866 to 1908. He reorganized the church, introducing the office of elder in 1876 to help with pastoral work, and he was almost certainly responsible for the adoption of open communion in 1867. By 1883 meetings were being held at Parsons Heath and at a chapel in Ipswich Road, and missions were opened at Parsons Heath in 1885 (fn. 38) and at Blackheath in 1889. A mission room in Magdalen Street was in use in 1892. At Eld Lane itself a Sunday school building erected in 1868 was extended in 1889. Spurrier was twice president of the Essex Federation of Free Churches and twice of the Essex Baptist Union. (fn. 39) Church membership rose from 212 in 1888 to 281 in 1893 and reached a peak of 430 in 1959. The church's success was at least partly due to the work of P. H. Warwick Bailey, pastor 1944-72 and mayor of Colchester in 1949. (fn. 40) It was still flourishing in 1988. The missions at Parsons Heath and Blackheath were then independent churches.
The church built in 1834 was restored in 1883 to plans by the Colchester architect F. E. Morris; a vestry, a library, and a Sunday school room, designed by J. F. Goodey, were added on the west side of the church in 1889. (fn. 41) The plain building, of white brick with a pedimented front, (fn. 42) was thoroughly renovated in 1978.
A church in Stanwell Street, St. John's green, was built in 1812 by a group of Independents and Baptists, some of them seceders from Eld Lane. The congregation, which had followed John Church, had worshipped in a barn in St. Mary Magdalen's parish earlier in 1812. It adopted a Calvinist declaration of faith in 1813. (fn. 43) The church suffered from financial problems as well as from tensions between Baptists and Independents, but it was held together by its pastor, Henry Dowling, who preached three times on Sundays and held weekly services in the town and surrounding villages. He claimed a congregation of c. 400 in 1829, although in 1833 there seem to have been only c. 50 members. Dowling resigned in 1834 to become a missionary in Tasmania, and in 1835 the church was dissolved. (fn. 44)
The chapel was bought by William Day, a Baptist member of the original congregation, and reopened as a Particular Baptist church. In 1851 congregations of 50 in the morning, 90 in the afternoon, and 57 in the evening were reported. (fn. 45) Numbers fell after the resignation in 1864 of the pastor who had served since 1835, but by 1872 the church had revived sufficiently to erect a new building. (fn. 46) About 1900 some members seem to have seceded to form Providence church, Burling ton Road, (fn. 47) but they returned to St. John's green in 1910. The church was without a pastor from 1926 to 1936 and again from 1946. It closed in 1955. The building was sold in 1957 to the Elim Pentecostal church. (fn. 48)
In 1961 Strict Baptists started meeting at the former Town Mission hall in King Harold Road. A school-hall and classrooms designed by H. P. Stevens, a church member, were built in Prettygate Road in 1964, partly with money from the sale of the St. John's green church. A permanent church was built in 1976. (fn. 49)
The believers in closed communion who seceded from Eld Lane in 1848 built the Ebenezer chapel in Military Road, and in 1851 reported congregations of 100 in the morning and 150 in the afternoon. Another Baptist congregation of 30 in the morning, 50 in the afternoon, and 35 in the evening, led by a shoemaker, James Waterman, and meeting in a warehouse in the same road, had been licensed in 1850. It dissolved later in 1851, and its members seem to have joined the Stanwell Street church. (fn. 50) In 1857 and 1859 the congregation from the Ebenezer chapel met in the Bible Room in Lion Walk. It seems to have dissolved by 1866, when a new Calvinistic or Particular Baptist church was formed in the Bible Room with Waterman as minister. It continued until 1874 when financial difficulties and declining numbers forced the trustees to sell the room. (fn. 51)
SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
The Quaker missionary James Parnell visited Colchester early in 1655 and made several converts, including John Furley, a member of a prominent Colchester family, and Stephen Crisp, a Baptist who became a leading Quaker in the town and a missionary in England, Holland, and Germany. (fn. 52) Parnell was arrested at Coggeshall later in 1655 and imprisoned in Colchester Castle where he died the following year. (fn. 53) Late in 1655 another missionary, Martha Simmonds from London, walked through Colchester barefoot in sackcloth and ashes. (fn. 54) By c. 1660 the Quakers in Colchester seem to have been organized into a two weeks meeting and, with Quakers from neighbouring villages, into a monthly meeting. They acquired their first property in 1659 when Thomas Bayles gave them a burial ground in Moor Lane (later Priory Street). (fn. 55)
Persecution of the Colchester Quakers, mainly for their refusal to pay church rates or tithes, was particularly fierce during the mayoralty of William Moore who in 1663-4 had the meeting house boarded up and then ordered troops to break up Quaker meetings in the street, beating and imprisoning many of those attending; he again prevented Quakers from using their meeting house during his second mayoralty in 1670-1. They suffered further violent persecution in 1685, apparently at the instigation of the town clerk, Samuel Shaw; meetings were broken up and John Furley was fined for preaching. (fn. 56)
The Quakers met in a rented house or room until 1663 when the lease expired; in spite of the persecution they were then suffering, in 1663-4 they built a large meeting house (fn. 57) on a site adjoining St. Martin's church and extending from West to East Stockwell Street, including the later Quaker Alley. It was acquired by the Quaker Thomas Bayles in 1663 and was sold to trustees for the Colchester two weeks meeting in 1672. It was enlarged in 1672-3. (fn. 58) In 1683 the Friends bought St. Helen's chapel in Maidenburgh Street which became known as the little meeting house, but evening meetings in private houses continued until 1695. (fn. 59) William Penn attended an evening meeting in Jonathan Furley's house in 1677. (fn. 60) In 1701 the meeting house in St. Martin's Lane was enlarged and St. Helen's chapel repaired and licensed as a meeting house. (fn. 61)
In 1702 Colchester was still seen by opponents as a centre of Quakerism, although membership of the meetings was probably already declining from its peak in the 1680s. (fn. 62) Joseph Besse, schoolmaster and author of The Sufferings of the People called Quakers, was among the five Colchester Quakers who affirmed instead of taking the oaths of allegiance and abjuration in 1716, and as many as 47 Quakers affirmed instead of taking the oaths in 1723. (fn. 63) Distraints, sometimes punitive, for unpaid church rates were taken fairly regularly throughout the 18th century, mainly from the leading and wealthier members of the community like Richard Freshfield, Matthew Hawkins, and John Kendall (1726-1815), a benefactor to the Colchester poor and a missionary in England, Scotland, and Holland. (fn. 64) Quakers also suffered, presumably from mobs, for refusing to illuminate their houses on coronation days. (fn. 65)
The two weeks and the monthly meetings maintained their separate existence until 1760, although there was a considerable overlap in membership and both used the same meeting house. Friction between them on matters of jurisdiction was first recorded in 1711, and grew so bad that in 1723 the two weeks meeting ceased to send representatives to the monthly meeting. In 1727 the two weeks meeting similarly ceased to send representatives to the Essex quarterly meeting, recognizing only the yearly meeting in London. The effect of the withdrawal of the two weeks meeting was to reduce the monthly meeting, which was left with only the small rural preparative meetings, to insignificance. Relations were presumably made worse in the period 1730-2 by the behaviour of Benjamin Lay who was accepted by the monthly meeting after he had been expelled from the two weeks meeting for disorderly conduct. The rift was healed in 1760 when the two weeks meeting was reconstituted as a monthly meeting for the town only, the two remaining rural meetings becoming the Manningtree monthly meeting. The two monthly meetings merged in 1772. (fn. 66)
The number of Quakers in Colchester and its neighbourhood continued to decline throughout the 18th century and the figures of 80 members and 20 other attenders reported in 1829 may have been fairly accurate. (fn. 67) Nevertheless, between 1800 and 1802 the meeting house in Quaker Alley was remodelled and extended at a cost of c. £900, part of which was raised by selling St. Helen's chapel with its associated five almshouses and a further four almshouses adjoining it on the south, and the disused burial grounds in Moor Lane and Almshouse Lane. From 1826 to 1835 the Colchester monthly meeting had to be subsidized by the other Essex meetings. (fn. 68) In 1851 the meeting house could hold 767, but the congregations on Census Sunday were only 58 in the morning and 48 in the afternoon. (fn. 69)
Curiously the revival of Quakerism in Colchester seems to have coincided with the burning down of the meeting house in 1871. A new meeting house on a more convenient site in Sir Isaac's Walk opened in 1872 and was remodelled in 1892. In 1881 the Sudbury monthly meeting was united to the Colchester meeting for religious matters. A mission was started at Lexden before 1889 and another, apparently short-lived, at Mile End in 1893. Membership of the Colchester monthly meeting increased to a peak of 193 in 1924. (fn. 70) The meeting house in Sir Isaac's Walk, which had proved expensive to maintain, was sold in 1938 and a new one built in Shewell Road. (fn. 71) That site was compulsorily purchased for redevelopment in 1974 and the Friends moved to St. Mary's House, Church Street, which they remodelled and extended. (fn. 72) In 1984 there were 150 members. (fn. 73)
Colchester Quakers benefited from several charities. Five houses, part of the St. Helen's chapel estate bought in 1683, were used as almshouses in the 18th century. Four small almshouses adjoining them on the south were built by Stephen Crisp or his wife Gertrude Losevelt for poor widows. All nine houses were sold in 1802. (fn. 74) Thomas Braybrook by will dated 1669 left to Quaker trustees three houses in East Street, but possession was not obtained until after his widow's death in 1708. By 1784 the houses were not worth repair; the site was sold and the proceeds added to the monthly meeting's funds for the poor. (fn. 75) In 1700 Robert Nicholas was allowed land in St. Helen's chapel yard to build four houses for poor Friends to live in, and the houses were built, partly by subscription, in 1701. (fn. 76) By 1837 the houses seem to have been let and the rent applied to the relief of the poor. They were demolished and the site sold after the earthquake of 1884, and the proceeds were invested for poor Quakers. (fn. 77) Giles Sayer, by will proved 1708, left to his executor Richard Ashby 3 a. of pasture near Magdalen field for the benefit of poor Quakers, and a £50 mortgage interest in land in Peldon and West Mersea for poor Quaker widows. In 1709 Ashby conveyed the land in Peldon and West Mersea as well as that in Colchester to Quaker trustees. (fn. 78) Mary Cockerill, by will dated 1717, left the rents and profits of a house, later two houses, in East Stockwell Street to the women's meeting. The building was sold to the town council in 1956 and the proceeds invested for women Friends. (fn. 79) Benjamin Lay, by will dated 1731, left £100 to the Coggeshall monthly meeting to assist emigrants to America, or in default of suitable emigrants to help poor members of the Colchester monthly meeting. The interest was received by the Colchester monthly meeting in 1962. (fn. 80) Mary Liversidge and Joan Bloys, by wills dated 1814, and Elizabeth Davison, by will dated 1823, gave £50, £19 19s., and £100 respectively to the monthly meeting for poor Friends. All three legacies were invested in 1835. (fn. 81) James Hurnard in 1878 gave £1,000 in railway stock, the income to meet the general expenses of the monthly meeting. (fn. 82) Wilson Marriage, by will proved 1932, left £500 to build and endow a caretaker's and meeting house by the burial ground in Roman Road. In 1964 the charities produced a total income of £79 0s. 10d. (fn. 83)
INDEPENDENTS and PRESBYTERIANS,later CONGREGATIONALISTS and UNITEDREFORMED CHURCH.
Owen Stockton, the ejected town lecturer, preached in his house until he was forced to leave Colchester in 1665. In 1672 he was licensed as an Independent teacher in a meeting house in St. Martin's Lane in Colchester, and as a Presbyterian preacher in Ipswich and Hadleigh (Suff.). (fn. 84) Edmund Warren, the ejected minister of St. Peter's, was licensed in the same year to preach to a Presbyterian congregation in John Rayner's house. (fn. 85) Independents and Presbyterians seem to have worshipped together in the 1670s and 1680s, Stockton and his successor William Folkes alternating as preachers with Warren. The joint congregation was later said to have met for a time in a room in the castle. (fn. 86) In 1691 Folkes's successor as Independent minister, William Rawlinson, built a meeting house in Moor Lane (later Priory Street), and in 1693 Warren's successor, Daniel Gilson, registered a newly built Presbyterian meeting house in St. Helen's Lane. (fn. 87)
Rawlinson's successor John Gledhill apparently found the Independent congregation very divided when he arrived in 1693, (fn. 88) possibly partly because of the recent split with the Presbyterians and partly because of internal disputes: another Independent congregation in Colchester, presumably a breakaway group, registered two meeting houses in St. Nicholas's parish in 1711. (fn. 89) Gledhill revived the Moor Lane congregation, claiming to have 600 hearers in 1715. (fn. 90) Among the members of the 18th-century congregation were Arthur Winsley and Jeremiah Daniell, both of whom, as occasional conformists, became mayors of Colchester. (fn. 91) Winsley apparently paid for a rebuilding of the meeting house in 1735. (fn. 92) In 1764, at the start of the ministry of John Crisp, members and occasional communicants totalled 105. (fn. 93) Land in Lion Walk was bought in 1763, and in 1765-6 a new meeting house was built there. (fn. 94)
By 1773 a substantial portion of the congregation, including four deacons, was dissatisfied with Crisp's preaching, which they found insufficiently evangelical, experimental, and spiritual. The minister resigned, but further disagreements arose over the choice of his successor. (fn. 95) By 1809, possibly because of the minister's illness, numbers had fallen to 66 members and 12 occasional communicants. (fn. 96) The church revived under John Saville, 1809- 28, who registered a mission room in St. Leonard's parish in 1822. (fn. 97) There were 110 members at Lion Walk by the end of his ministry and his successor claimed a congregation of 1,000 in 1829. (fn. 98) By 1828 there were again dissensions in the church. Part of the fault may have lain with Saville, whose next ministry, at Braintree, ended unhappily after only two years, but the differences seem to have been exacerbated by the behaviour of Joseph Herrick, the minister of the St. Helen's Lane church. (fn. 99) The resignation of Saville's successor, Henry March, in 1839 was precipitated by an abusive letter from Herrick, but there had for some time been 'painful hindrances' to his ministry, including disputes which led to the departure of some of the congregation to St. Helen's Lane c. 1836. (fn. 100) In spite of the difficulties, membership of Lion Walk increased to 168 during March's ministry. (fn. 101)
After a two-year vacancy Thomas W. Davids, probably Lion Walk's most outstanding minister, was appointed, and served until 1874. The early years of his ministry were not easy, and in 1843 and 1844 a total of 27 members resigned to form a new church, later Headgate Congregational church. Nevertheless by 1845 membership at Lion Walk had risen to 215 and preaching stations had been opened at Shrub End (1842), Harwich Road, Greenstead (1844), and Old Heath (c. 1845). There was a church Benevolent Society; a teachers' Bible class had been started in 1841 and a lay preachers' association in 1844. Another mission was opened at the Hythe c. 1846. (fn. 102) On Census Sunday 1851 below-average congregations of 588 in the morning, 681 at a children's service in the afternoon, and 325 in the evening were recorded at Lion Walk, and congregations of 91 at Shrub End, 100 at the Hythe, and 115 at Greenstead. Membership of Lion Walk rose to 253 in 1855. (fn. 103) By 1858 the chapel was in need of improvement, and in 1863 it was completely rebuilt to designs by Frederick Barnes of Ipswich. The 'popery' of the Early English architecture, notably its spire, aroused opposition and provoked at least one resignation, (fn. 104) but to those who had planned it the new building symbolized Lion Walk's growing importance in the life of the town. (fn. 105) Davids himself was active in nonconformist affairs both in the town and in the county, being secretary of the Essex Congregational Union 1858-73, but he became known best as author of Annals of Evangelical Nonconformity in Essex published in 1863. (fn. 106)
The remainder of the 19th century and the early 20th were marked by shorter ministries and long vacancies during which the deacons led the church. In 1880 a group of church members, led by the deacons E. F. Blaxill and J. Barber, bought a site extending from Culver Street to the church for new Sunday school buildings which were erected in 1887-8. (fn. 107) The congregation was enlarged by a secession from Headgate church in 1881, (fn. 108) and Lion Walk continued to flourish, particularly under Frank Leggatt, 1902-7. (fn. 109)
The 20th century has been marked by co-operation between Lion Walk and other Congregational churches in Colchester, although union with Headgate church was rejected in 1947. (fn. 110) The Hythe mission chapel closed in 1938, (fn. 111) but the other missions, including one at Lexden founded in 1931, flourished and became independent churches. By 1975 congregations were as large as 300, and total membership was over 400. The church building aroused controversy again in 1975 when plans, carried out in 1985, were revealed to redevelop the site with shops on the ground floor and a church above. (fn. 112)
The meeting house in St. Helen's Lane, later known as the old meeting, was described as Presbyterian in 1715 when Daniel Gilson was said to have 600 hearers. (fn. 113) Gilson, who served from 1692 until his death in 1728, encountered some opposition from a party within the congregation, perhaps the unlicensed group to whom John Richardson, apparently a Presbyterian, was preaching in 1700. (fn. 114) His successor John Tren (d. 1738) was much respected, and James Throgmorton, minister 1742-54, was known for his moderation and goodness. (fn. 115) Throgmorton and his predecessors were Presbyterians, but his successors tended towards Unitarianism. (fn. 116) Nevertheless in 1796 the congregation called Isaac Taylor, an Independent, to the ministry, and he made a Calvinistic confession of faith at his ordination. (fn. 117) Although he had some success with well attended evening lectures and with village preaching, Taylor encountered opposition from the Unitarian element in his congregation; numbers declined, and he resigned in 1810. (fn. 118) The support of some of the congregation for the antinomian John Church, who preached at St. Helen's Lane in 1810-11, led to further dissension and the secession of some members to the new Stanwell Street church in 1812. (fn. 119) Matters came to a head early in the ministry of Joseph Herrick who came to the church in 1814. In 1816 the Unitarian trustees removed the roof of the meeting house, forcing Herrick and his supporters to meet in the Lion Walk chapel or in Herrick's own house. Herrick, supported by 28 or more members of the congregation, opened his own chapel on the other side of St. Helen's Lane at the end of 1816. The trustees reopened the old chapel, probably in 1817, as a Unitarian chapel, but the congregation was small and the chapel closed in 1823. (fn. 120)
The first 20 years of Herrick's ministry at the new chapel although successful were stormy, perhaps reflecting a crisis in Congregationalism in Colchester as a whole as well as the personality of the minister. (fn. 121) Besides disputes with 'impertinent' and 'obstructive' members of his own congregation there was friction with the Lion Walk church, for the first time facing direct competition from another flourishing Congregational body. Nevertheless missions were opened in Lexden in 1821 and in Barrack Street in 1824. (fn. 122) The St. Helen's Lane chapel was enlarged in 1824, but in 1828 and 1829 there was further trouble with 'antinomians', which seems to have culminated in the removal of some members of the congregation to the Stanwell Street church. A secession to St. Helen's Lane from Lion Walk church led to the further enlargement of the chapel in 1836; the work included the building of a new front on Stockwell Street, and the chapel was thereafter known as Stockwell Street chapel. The enlargement of the chapel resulted in a debt which was used by some of the trustees and deacons, who were opposed to Herrick's ministry, to gain control of the chapel. (fn. 123) After protracted wrangling the mortgagees, who supported Herrick's opponents, seized the chapel for debt in 1843, and Herrick and his supporters were forced to agree to buy the chapel back by paying off the mortgage, which they did in 1844. During the dispute some members of the congregation seem to have moved to Lion Walk chapel. A vestry was added to the chapel in 1845, without incurring further debt. In 1851 Herrick claimed a connexion of c. 1,500. (fn. 124)
Herrick remained at Stockwell Street, where he was long remembered as a gifted preacher, (fn. 125) until his death in 1865. The remainder of his pastorate was peaceful. His successor T. Batty, 1866-1906, built new schoolrooms in 1868, remodelled the chapel in 1875, and established a mission in Mile End, where a chapel was built in 1880. (fn. 126) For most of the earlier 20th century the church suffered from short pastorates and frequent vacancies. From 1946 to 1950 the church was served jointly with Shrub End Congregational church, but plans for uniting the two churches were not carried out. After 1950 Stockwell Street had no minister, and by 1960 its membership had fallen to 20. (fn. 127) It closed in 1966. Despite public protests the building remained empty until it was sold in 1979 for conversion to offices. (fn. 128)
In the late 1830s there was considerable dissatisfaction with both the existing Congregational churches in Colchester. (fn. 129) Between 1837 and 1841 five meeting places were registered by groups mainly composed of members or former members of Lion Walk, Stockwell Street, and the dissolved Baptist and Independent congregation at Stanwell Street. Samuel Hubbard, a deacon at Stockwell Street in 1839-40, was minister of congregations in St. Peter's parish in 1839 and St. Martin's parish in 1841. (fn. 130) Some of the registrations may have been of the meetings in private houses to which Joseph Herrick of Stockwell Street objected in 1840, but in 1843 several of those involved in the earlier meetings joined in the foundation of a new Congregational church. The leading members of the group were the surgeon David Morris who had resigned from Lion Walk in 1842, the newspaper proprietor and local politician J. B. Harvey, the solicitor H. S. Goody who had also been a member of Lion Walk, and the solicitor and Liberal activist F. B. Philbrick. They met for a short time in a room in the Mechanics' Institution before building their new chapel at Headgate, designed by W. F. Poulton, early in 1844. (fn. 131) Alexander Fraser, the first minister, was called in 1844 by 30 members of the new church. Membership increased rapidly in the first few years, 13 people being admitted in 1844 (only 5 of them from Lion Walk church), 22 in 1845, and 17 in 1846. (fn. 132) Relations with Lion Walk were cordial throughout the 19th century, but those with Stockwell Street were less close. (fn. 133)
By 1865 open-air services were being held in neighbouring villages, and in 1868 it was necessary to increase the accommodation at Headgate itself by building side galleries. (fn. 134) In 1881, however, a dispute between the hitherto popular minister Edmund Miller and his deacons led to the departure of over 40 members, including J. B. Harvey and H. S. Goody. (fn. 135) The church recovered in the remainder of Miller's ministry and those of his successors, membership reaching a peak of 225 in 1902 after a successful mission by 'Gypsy' Smith in 1901. New schoolrooms were built in 1903. (fn. 136)
In the earlier 20th century the church was strongly pacifist, 12 members being conscientious objectors during the First World War. In 1933 as many as 50 members were pacifists and in 1939 the church published A Christian Protest against Conscription written by the minister Wallis Hayward. (fn. 137) Membership of Headgate, as of other churches, declined in the earlier 20th century, but a proposed union with Lion Walk was rejected in 1947. The church was gutted by fire in 1968 but was restored and reopened in 1970. (fn. 138) In 1974 it was closed and the congregation joined with that of the parish church of St. Mary's-at-the-Walls to build Christ Church, Ireton Road, which in 1988 was shared by the two congregations. (fn. 139) The old church was sold to the Labour party.
The church in King Harold Road, Shrub End, remained a mission of Lion Walk until 1946 when it was joined with Stockwell Street in a joint pastorate. By 1948 Shrub End was almost self-supporting and became an independent church. In 1955 a new church, built by the Essex Congregational Union, was opened in Plume Avenue. (fn. 140)
The chapel in Harwich Road, Greenstead, was enlarged in 1877. In 1936 the assistant minister at Lion Walk was given sole charge of the chapel, which was rebuilt in 1938. The church became self-supporting in 1946 and fully independent in 1948. (fn. 141) By 1985 the congregation had united with that of Headgate at Christ Church, Ireton Road.
The mission at Old Heath seems to have been closed before 1851, but it was later reopened and was enlarged in 1888 and again in 1899; in 1960 it was still a mission of Lion Walk, (fn. 142) but by 1985 it was independent and unlike Lion Walk had remained Congregational. The mission hall at Lexden, founded in 1931, was replaced by a permanent church in 1936. (fn. 143) In 1985 it was an independent Congregational church.
The Wesleyan preacher Laurence Coughton came to Colchester in the summer of 1758, and by the time John Wesley visited the town in October that year the society had a membership of 120, despite fierce opposition from other ministers and clergy. Early Wesleyan meetings were often disrupted by the mob who let birds into the meeting room to put out the candles, and on one occasion drove a donkey into the room. Wesley visited Colchester several times in 1759, often preaching on St. John's green because the hired meeting room at the bottom of North Hill was too small. On his advice the Colchester Methodists built their own meeting house in Maidenburgh Street, which was licensed in 1761. Wesley, preaching in the shell of the twelve-sided building in 1759, described it as 'the best building of the size for the voice that I know in England'. (fn. 144) The church suffered from internal disputes between 1763 and 1766 but had recovered by 1769 and was still growing in 1772 despite the 'uncommon stumbling blocks' being placed in its way; it became the head of a circuit in 1765. (fn. 145) Among the early ministers was Francis Asbury (1768) who became the first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. (fn. 146) Because of the 'ill conduct' of the preachers the Colchester society declined in the early 1780s, and Wesley made several visits to strengthen it. Numbers had risen to 60 by the time Wesley visited the church for the last time in 1790, but he still found the congregation 'lessened and cold enough' and the spirit of Methodism lost. The society's problems were compounded by the Evangelical vicar of St. Peter's, who opposed the creation of a separate Methodist church; he apparently ceased trying to attract Methodists to St. Peter's after Wesley had publicly accused him of sheep stealing. (fn. 147) Methodist numbers revived, and in 1800 the meeting house was rebuilt to accommodate 700-800. (fn. 148)
Missions from Maidenburgh Street were opened at Lexden and at the Hythe in 1822. (fn. 149) The Lexden house, or another in the same parish, was licensed again in 1823, as was a house in St. Botolph's, both by John Wood, a Wesleyan. (fn. 150) In the same year two Chelmsford Wesleyans, Thomas Page a schoolmaster and Ambrose Freeman the circuit minister, licensed houses in St. Runwald's and in St. Giles's, and Page licensed a chapel in St. Giles's in 1824. (fn. 151) All the meetings were probably short lived, and their relationship to Maidenburgh Street is not clear. In 1827 a former Sunday school room in St. Nicholas's parish was licensed, presumably as a mission from Maidenburgh Street, by R. C. Coleman, probably Richard Coleman a lay preacher in the Colchester circuit, and William Dennis who was a member of Maidenburgh Street by 1832. (fn. 152) In 1829 the minister claimed a congregation of 700 at Maidenburgh Street and of 100 at a meeting in a former Primitive Methodist chapel in Magdalen Street, although membership was only 229 at Maidenburgh Street and 11 at Magdalen Street. The Magdalen Street meeting seems to have closed later that year. (fn. 153)
In 1835 the church bought a site in Culver Street, and a new chapel was opened in 1836. It stood behind the street frontage, approached through an archway; the two cottages on the street were used by the church. (fn. 154) The later 1830s and 1840s were a time of expansion, the meeting house or preaching station in Magdalen Street being reopened 1836-43 and 1848-9, one at the Hythe 1840-8, and one at Old Heath 1848-59. (fn. 155) The Wesleyan Reform schism reduced membership in the late 1840s, but average congregations of 700 in the morning and 650 in the afternoon were reported in 1851 although actual congregations on Census Sunday that year were 500 in the morning and 330 in the afternoon. (fn. 156)
The preaching station at Old Heath was reopened 1861-2, and that at the Hythe was revived in 1864 and replaced by a chapel in 1869. (fn. 157) Mission work was begun at Mile End in 1884. (fn. 158) At Culver Street the schoolroom was enlarged for both school and church purposes in 1869, and in 1878 the chapel was repaired and reseated, increasing the accommodation. (fn. 159) In 1900 the church was remodelled to plans by W. Cressall and J. F. Goodey, providing a suite of rooms and a caretakers' house in place of the old cottages, and an imposing new facade with twin flanking towers. The interior was remodelled with a new choir gallery and rostrum. The church was gutted by fire in 1926, but was rebuilt on its former plan and reopened in 1928. (fn. 160)
In 1970 the Culver Street church was closed and sold for redevelopment as part of the shopping precinct. A new church was built at the entrance to Castle park on a site between Ryegate Road and Maidenburgh Street, near that of the 18th-century meeting house. The buildings, designed by Kenneth C. Cheeseman to fit the irregular plan of the site, are low with a flat, copper roof. The interior arrangements are flexible, with a movable partition between the church and a hall. In the vestibule is the pulpit from the original meeting house. (fn. 161)
The preaching station at the Hythe was replaced in 1869 by a chapel in the back lane, later Spurgeon Street; it closed in 1956. (fn. 162)
In 1899 the New Town Wesleyan Chapel Trust was formed and land for a church bought; the church, in the later Wimpole Road, opened in 1904. (fn. 163) In its early years the church was well filled, with membership reaching 148 by 1914. Progress was revived after the First World War, and the ministry of G. H. Simpson, 1929-33, was outstanding. When the Hythe and Artillery Street churches closed in the 1950s some of their members transferred to Wimpole Road, which in 1963 reached a membership peak of 262. (fn. 164) By 1972 the minister also served Elmstead Market, Rowhedge, and Fingringhoe. (fn. 165)
The Primitive Methodist Samuel Chapman registered a chapel in a converted house in Magdalen Street in 1824, and Colchester, with 19 members and a resident preacher, was part of the Norwich circuit in 1825. (fn. 166) The chapel was being used by the Wesleyans in 1829, and there is no further record of Primitive Methodism in Colchester until 1839 when the society, which then had 55 members, built a chapel near the Barracks, in the later Artillery Street. (fn. 167) C. H. Spurgeon (1834-92), the Baptist preacher, was converted in the Artillery Street church in 1850 by a sermon from a lay preacher, probably Samuel Nightingale; he preached there himself in 1864. (fn. 168) On Census Sunday 1851 congregations of 183 (including 60 children) in the morning, 239 (including 80 children) in the afternoon, and 117 in the evening were reported. A preaching room at Greenstead, closed by 1860, reported congregations of 22 in the afternoon and 50 in the evening. (fn. 169) The Artillery Street church became the head of a circuit in 1859. (fn. 170) In 1873 it reported a membership of 70 and congregations of 300. (fn. 171) Numbers declined in the later 1870s, but by 1887 they had recovered to 66 members and a congregation of 250. The church was remodelled in 1892. It closed in 1957. (fn. 172)
In 1869 a group of Primitive Methodists started worshipping in the former Old Meeting or St. Helen's chapel. (fn. 173) They moved to the new Ebenezer chapel in Nunns Cut (later Nunns Road) in 1873. (fn. 174) The membership was 33 and the average congregations 100 in 1873. (fn. 175) By 1887 both membership and congregation had fallen to 10 and strenuous efforts were being made to revive the church. Numbers rose steadily in the 1890s until in 1905 there were 30 members and congregations of 130. (fn. 176) The church closed in 1946. (fn. 177)
UNITED METHODIST FREE CHURCH.
A number of members seceded from the Culver Street Wesleyan church in the late 1840s. Some of them were worshipping at the New Jerusalem church, formerly the Presbyterian Old Meeting, in St. Helen's Lane in 1851 when they reported congregations of 200 in the afternoon and 300 in the evening. (fn. 178) In 1853, the New Church congregation having apparently died out, they formed a new trust for the chapel. The following year J. C. Houchin, formerly a Primitive Methodist lay preacher, became minister and the church adopted Congregational principles of order and church government while remaining associated with the United Methodist Free Church. In 1860 Houchin registered the chapel as Methodist Free Church, (fn. 179) but the following year the congregation declined to join the London district meeting of the United Methodist Free Church and in 1863 it formally declared itself a Congregational church. Houchin resigned for financial reasons in 1864 and in 1865 the congregation called Mr. Reynolds, a Baptist, to be their minister. The church founded in 1853 seems to have dissolved soon afterwards, but the chapel continued in use under T. Delight, one of the original trustees. He gave the Primitive Methodists permission to use it in 1869 and they retained possession until their move to Nunns Cut in 1873 despite an attempt c. 1870 by the United Methodist Free Church to recover the building. (fn. 180)
A United Methodist Free Church in Magdalen Street, apparently in the former Primitive Methodist and Wesleyan chapel, was recorded in 1863. (fn. 181) By 1876 it was an undenominational mission hall under the direction of John Bawtree. (fn. 182) In 1881 it was again recorded, possibly in error, as a Methodist Free Church, but it had closed by 1897. (fn. 183)
THE NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH.
A pulic meeting was arranged in Colchester in 1816 by members of the New Church already established at Brightlingsea. Opposition from local clergy and ministers caused the borough council to withdraw permission for the use of the town hall, but 400-500 people attended a meeting in the Angel inn. (fn. 184) In 1823 the bookseller U. W. Mattacks, registered a meeting house, almost certainly the Old Meeting, for the New Church; Mattacks was still leader in 1851 when the congregation of 20 shared the building with a breakaway Methodist group. (fn. 185) The church had died out by 1853 when a new, Methodist, trust was formed for the meeting house. (fn. 186)
The church was revived in 1881 by Joseph Deans, then minister at Brightlingsea, and a society was formed in 1882. It met in the Shaftesbury hotel in Culver Street, and by 1887 had 51 members. (fn. 187) By 1890 most of the 37 members of the Colchester society, unlike other British members of the church, had adopted the Academy view that Emanuel Swedenborg's writings were a direct revelation of divine truth. The following year they withdrew from all connexion with the British General Conference of the church and affiliated themselves to the American General Church of the Advent of Our Lord. (fn. 188) A few members, who continued to subscribe to the views of the British Conference, formed a separate society which continued to meet in the Shaftesbury hotel; it moved c. 1910 to the Masonic hall, Abbeygate Street, and c. 1912 to the Oddfellows hall, George Street, where it remained until it was dissolved c. 1927. (fn. 189) The main Colchester society also met in the Shaftesbury hotel, although it also used a room, formerly the St. Botolph's Infant school, in Osborne Street from 1898 to 1901. In 1902 it moved to a room in Priory Street and reorganized itself as the Colchester Society of the General Church of the New Jerusalem. A new church was built in Maldon Road in 1924 and extended in 1967. (fn. 190)
Early in 1882 William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, bought through an agent the former skating rink in St. John's Street. (fn. 191) The Army licensed rooms in the theatre in Queen Street shortly afterwards and in June, after an outdoor meeting in the cattle market, opened their barracks in the converted skating rink. (fn. 192) Early meetings there provoked violent and unruly behaviour from some bystanders, but the Army's right to hold services there and out of doors was upheld by the mayor and other justices. (fn. 193) A building on Hythe Hill licensed in 1888 had closed by 1895. (fn. 194) William Booth visited Colchester several times, preaching to large congregations. (fn. 195) The barracks in St. John's Street were demolished in 1973 to make way for the inner relief road, and a new citadel was opened in Butt Road. It was extended in 1975. (fn. 196)
Thomas Flory, a builder, registered the Gospel Band Hall in Queen Street in 1886. In 1902 a new Gospel Band Mission Hall, seating 300, was erected in Abbeygate Street; it became well known for the hearty singing of Moody and Sankey hymns, accompanied by organ and 12piece band, and in its early days was well filled. In 1966 the mission became affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Churches and was renamed Colchester Evangelical church. (fn. 197)
The Colchester Town Mission was founded in 1839 by the businessman J. B. Harvey, who served as its secretary for over 40 years, to visit the 'multitude who never attend public worship'. (fn. 198) A missionary was employed, but the mission had no permanent headquarters until 1956 when it bought the former Congregational church at Shrub End. (fn. 199) The building was taken over by the Baptists in 1961, and the mission moved to Maldon Road. It had closed by 1988. (fn. 200)
Cottage meetings for railwaymen were held in 1892 by Harry Thorogood, a signalman from St. Botolph's station, and Mrs. Nottidge. An old carpenter's shop at Mrs. Nottidge's house, no. 1 Colne Bank Road, was converted into a mission hall. Meetings were held there and in rented rooms until 1896 when a Railway Mission hall, seating 250, was built in North Station Road. The first salaried superintendent was appointed in 1924. (fn. 201) The mission became the Emmanuel Evangelical church c. 1979. (fn. 202)
The British Christian Mission rooms in Lion Walk were registered in 1891 by John Adams, a wholesale and retail clothier; they were disused by 1895. (fn. 203) The Friends Evangelistic Band registered the Vineyard Street Mission hall in 1930, and the Christian Alliance of Women and Girls registered two rooms at no. 4A Bank Passage in 1937; both seem to have been short-lived. In 1967 a meeting room in Wimpole Road was registered for 'Christians not otherwise designated'. (fn. 204)
The Brethren were active in Colchester by 1844 when C. T. Rust of Eld Lane Baptist church accused them of taking members from other churches. (fn. 205) No congregation was recorded in 1851, but members of Eld Lane resigned to join the Brethren in 1867 and 1868, and in 1871 there were two Brethren meetings in the town with a total of 350 sittings. (fn. 206) Brethren registered rooms at no. 70A High Street in 1884 where they remained until 1917. They met at the Burlington hall, Burlington Road, from 1917 to 1921 and then successively at the Literary hall, St. John's Street and the Gospel Hall, North Station Road. In 1933 they built the Assembly hall in Maldon Road, whose name was changed to the Maldon Road chapel in 1979. (fn. 207) Another group which was meeting in Cedars Road in 1906 seems to have continued until 1960 or later. Other meetings, mainly short-lived, were recorded in Culver Street from c. 1874 to 1894 and in 1947, Sir Isaac's Walk from c. 1878 to 1882, in 1894, and from c. 1902 to 1926 or later, Lion Walk from c. 1898 to 1926 or later, Gilberd Road from c. 1898 to 1902, and Osborne Street in 1906. (fn. 208)
Missionaries from London established a branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints at Colchester in 1850. (fn. 209) In 1851 they claimed congregations of 30 in the morning and 120 in the evening in a converted shop in St. Peter's parish, probably on North Hill where the presiding elder lived, (fn. 210) but actual membership was probably never much more than 30 and had fallen to 5 by 1854 when the church was disbanded. It was revived in 1857 but was disbanded again c. 1860. (fn. 211) There was no further Mormon activity in Colchester until 1949 when a new church was founded. Meetings were held in a hired hall until a church was built in Straight Road between 1963 and 1966. (fn. 212)
A Christadelphian fellowship was formed in 1907 by C. J. Cole, a tailor. Meetings of about 20 were held in a hut in Winnock Road, later successively in the Co-operative reading room, New Town Road, St. George's hall, High Street, the Foresters hall, Winnock Road, and the Friends meeting house, Shewell Road. During the First World War dissension arose on the question of non-combatant service, and some members seceded to form a separate fellowship. In 1959 one fellowship met in Shewell Road and the other in the Oddfellows hall, George Street. (fn. 213) Only one fellowship, meeting in the Oddfellows hall, Williams Walk, survived in 1984, and it had closed by 1988.
Christian Science meetings, begun in a cottage in Bergholt Road in 1909, quickly moved to a room in the Masonic hall, Abbeygate Street. From 1912 services were held at no. 150A High Street, and in 1919 a Christian Science Society was formed. In 1923 premises in Lion Walk were bought and remodelled to provide a hall seating 100, a reading room, and a schoolroom, on two storeys. The society became the First Church of Christ Scientist, Colchester, in 1931, and in 1938 the church was dedicated. The church was demolished as part of the redevelopment of Lion Walk, and a new church was built in 1975 in Trinity Street and dedicated in 1977. The building, designed by Bryan Thomas to fit its constricted site, has reading rooms on two storeys on the street frontage with behind them an octagonal room for worship, surmounted by a glass spire. (fn. 214)
Jehovah's Witnesses began meeting in Colchester in 1936. They registered rooms at no. 41C Head Street as a Kingdom hall in 1939 and moved to no. 41A Head Street in 1948. Between 1954 and 1957 services were held in the Colchester and County Liberal club, and in 1953 the swimming pool at Bath Place was used for baptisms. (fn. 215) A Kingdom hall in George Street, formerly the Oddfellows hall, was dedicated in 1962. A new hall in Elmstead Road was built in a single day in 1984 by c. 1,200 members of the church from all over the country. (fn. 216) In 1988 there were also meetings at the Hythe and Lexden.
Following a mission in 1930, a resident Elim Pentecostal minister was appointed for Colchester, and meetings were held in a hall, possibly the Oddfellows hall, in Osborne Street. In 1931 a tabernacle, intended to be temporary, was erected in Fairfax Road; it was occupied until 1957 when the church moved to the former Strict Baptist chapel in Stanwell Street. The chapel was demolished to make way for the new inner relief road and a new Elim Pentecostal church was built in Walsingham Road and opened in 1971. (fn. 217)
After preliminary meetings in a private house and in the Shrub End social hut, members of the pentecostal Assemblies of God in 1936 set up a Full Gospel mission which moved in 1939 to rooms in a house in Straight Road. A permanent church was opened in a hall there in 1946. (fn. 218)
A Seventh Day Adventist church was founded in 1939 by Pastor J. M. Howard, and the former Gospel hall in North Station Road was acquired in 1940. The hall was rebuilt and registered for worship in 1966. (fn. 219)
The Gospel Acres Evangelistic team reopened the former Artillery Street Primitive Methodist church as the Spurgeon Memorial church c. 1960. In 1966 it was taken over by the Datchet Evangelical fellowship and its name altered to Spurgeon Evangelical church. (fn. 220)
House meetings were started on the Greenstead estate in 1964, and the Greenstead Evangelical fellowship was founded in 1966. It acquired a site in Magnolia Drive in 1970 and built the Greenstead Free church. (fn. 221) The Jesus Centre, the coffee-bar church, was established in the former town mission hall in King Harold Road, Shrub End, in 1969. (fn. 222) Mount Zion Free church at no. 328 Ipswich Road was registered for Evangelical Christians in 1972. (fn. 223) The Colne Valley community church, a member of the Evangelical Alliance, was founded in 1977; in 1987 its members were instrumental in forming Net Work which in 1988 bought the disused water tower, Jumbo, for use as a prayer centre. In 1988 the church opened a school in its premises at Braiswick. (fn. 224)
Christian Spiritualists began meeting in a private house in Wellesley Road in 1930, and in 1934 they built All Kin hall in Maldon Road. The hall was demolished in 1967, and the congregation met in a succession of temporary premises. (fn. 225) Christian Spiritualists registered a room at no. 117 Shrub Road as the Temple of Light in 1973. (fn. 226) They were still meeting there in 1988; another group met in Port Lane South. A Spiritualist society was apparently founded in Colchester in 1928 and a branch of the National Spiritualist association in 1934; in 1962 its members built a church in Priory Street which in 1988 was affiliated to the Spiritualist National Union. (fn. 227)
A Dutch church was established by 1562. (fn. 228) Its first known minister, Jan or John Migrode a refugee from Zeeland, was living in Colchester in 1563. His successor Theodorus van den Berghe, a distinguished scholar, served the church from 1572 until his death in 1598, refusing two calls to return to Holland. (fn. 229) Two later ministers, Jonas Proost, 1600-44 and Jan Ruytinck, whose name was anglicised John Ruting, 1645-63, served as masters of the Colchester grammar school. (fn. 230) The Dutch congregation were later said to have worshipped at first in St. Giles's church; by the 1680s they were using St. Nicholas's, and in the early 18th century All Saints', contributing to its repair in 1704, 1705, and 1712. In 1716 they acquired their own church in a house in St. Mary's parish near the corner of Head Street and St. Mary's Lane. (fn. 231)
In 1612 James I confirmed the privileges of the Dutch congregation, including the use of their own order in their church. (fn. 232) In the 1630s Archbishop Laud attempted to assimilate the Dutch to the Church of England, ruling that only aliens and the first English-born generation might use the Dutch service; others were to attend their parish churches. Laud's vicar general reported that the Dutch ministers and elders at Colchester were very ready to obey, and were indeed as conformable as any clergy in the diocese, having agreed to translate the Book of Common Prayer into Dutch, (fn. 233) but privately they opposed the measures and were the last of the foreign churches to accept Laud's injunction. (fn. 234) Although by the later 17th century the Dutch community was being assimilated, ministers continued to be appointed, among them Jan Smit or John Smith, who was also rector of the parish church of St. Maryat-the-Walls. The Dutch church closed in 1728 or 1729. (fn. 235)
Forty-three members of the French church in Colchester were reported in 1573. The church was still in existence in 1593, but presumably came to an end when the Huguenots returned to France after the Edict of Nantes in 1598. (fn. 236) The year after the revocation of the Edict in 1685 a group of refugees, including seven ministers and their families, moved from Maldon to Colchester, and the son of a French minister was buried in St. Nicholas's in 1688. (fn. 237) The French poor in Colchester were relieved regularly from 1698 to 1718 or later, and French ministers were recorded in 1691, 1696, 1698, 1716, and 1717. (fn. 238) The church was last recorded in 1722. (fn. 239)