Cherry Hinton: Nonconformity

Page 116

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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There was one dissenter in 1679, but none in 1807 when one had recently departed. (fn. 1) A Baptist congregation started in 1843, when a dwelling house was licensed and fitted with seats. In 1851 it seated 60 people, and was in the charge of John Newton. (fn. 2) In 1865 the Baptists were still meeting in a private house, but in 1883 they built a chapel in the village. (fn. 3) In 1921 gas lamps were installed, and in the early 1930s c. forty young men attended a bible club. A baptistry was added in 1947.

Following the development of new Cherry Hinton the Methodists began to arrange meetings there, initially in the Morley Memorial School, and in 1903 at a private house on Blinco Grove, owned by George Bland. (fn. 4) Under his leadership Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, and Presbyterians united to purchase a plot in 1901 at the junction of Cherry Hinton Road and Hartington Grove. (fn. 5) A Free Church chapel was opened there in 1904 under the auspices of the interdenominational Free Church Council. (fn. 6) In 1906 the first pastor expelled one of his deacons at an open meeting, and the chapel was served by two other pastors before the First World War. The pastorship remained vacant 1916-9 partly because of its impecuniousness. In 1916 it was only one of five such Free Churches in the country, and by 1922, when it was clear that the Free Church movement had only a limited future, its members voted to join the Congregationalists. A new chapel building was completed in 1926, and a hall was added in 1952, as a memorial for the Second World War dead. Between 1905 and 1998 the chapel was served by eleven pastors, and flourished in 1998 with two Sunday services. In 1945 a pre-fabricated house on Fishers Lane was acquired as a manse for the pastor, and then in 1947 he and his family moved into a four-bedroomed house, which has remained the pastor's residence in the late 20th century.

The expansion of housing estates in the late 20th century has led to churches being built for Roman Catholics on Walpole Road and Wulfstan Way, and for the Christian Brethren on Wulfstan Way in a mixture of modern styles. Apart from the Anglican services at St. Andrew's and St. John's, there were eight Christian services each Sunday in 1998, while the Paddy O'Reilly Village Centre was used on an occasional basis as a Hindu temple in the late 1980s and 1990s. (fn. 7)


  • 1. Compton Census, ed. Whiteman, 167; C.U.L., E.D.R., C 1/4.
  • 2. In P.R.O., HO 129/189.
  • 3. J.T. Bloxham, History of the Baptist Church at Cherry Hinton (1970).
  • 4. Tice, Methodism in Cambs. 46.
  • 5. E. Jebb, Cambridge: a brief study in social questions (1906), 207-9.
  • 6. Rest of acct. based on N.J.W. Appleton, History of Cherry Hinton Congregational Church (1974).
  • 7. Camb. Evening News, 6 Apr. 1993.