Horningsea: Nonconformity

Page 170

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



Dissent was recorded in Horningsea and Clayhithe in the late 16th century. In 1580 Thomas Hockley and in 1600 Henry Barnard were imprisoned for adhering to the heretical Family of Love. (fn. 1) They owned Sibills manor at Clayhithe, where they may have influenced religious feeling. (fn. 2) Although no dissenters or recusants were recorded in 1676, there were four Independent families in 1728, and in 1738 Thomas Carter registered his house for Baptist worship. (fn. 3) There were Presbyterians in the parish c. 1779. (fn. 4) In 1807 prominent farmers were among those registering a building for nonconformist worship. (fn. 5) A Baptist congregation met at a chapel in Clayhithe in 1851. (fn. 6) It could accommodate 80 persons, with preachers regularly being supplied from Waterbeach, Burwell, and Fulbourn. In 1873 nonconformity was in decline, and by 1885 the Baptist chapel had closed, and nonconformist activity was restricted to open-air preaching. (fn. 7) In 1897 the Plymouth Brethren were meeting in a house. (fn. 8)


  • 1. Spufford, Contrasting Communities, 257 n. 264; P.R.O., C 111/81, nos. 62, 73.
  • 2. Above, manors.
  • 3. B.L. Add. MS. 5847, f. 16v.; C.U.L., E.D.R., B 8/1, f. 19.
  • 4. B.L. Add. MS. 5809, f. 19v.
  • 5. P.R.O., RG 31/2, Ely dioc. nos. 61, 192.
  • 6. Ibid. HO 129/186 (2), f. 8.
  • 7. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/30; C 3/37.
  • 8. Ibid. C 3/30.