Chippenham: Nonconformity

Page 387

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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In 1603 there were two recusants in the parish. (fn. 1) In 1663 there were several Quakers, who in 1669 formed a conventicle numbering 20. (fn. 2) Isaac Archer, vicar 1663-88, sympathized deeply with several groups of dissenters, including Presbyterians who met at his house in 1672. (fn. 3) In that year Anne Sleighton's house was used as a meeting place by the Independents, who had a licensed minister, Samuel Fairclough. (fn. 4) In Archer's view Fairclough was too harsh towards other sects, presumably the Quakers and Presbyterians. (fn. 5) In 1674 Archer dismissed his curate whose persecution of nonconformists had led to their refusing to come to Chippenham. The refusal perhaps explains the low figure of only two nonconformists in 1676. (fn. 6)

In 1806 and 1813 there were no dissenters in the parish. (fn. 7) In 1832 a Congregationalist chapel was built on the western side of Village Street, just south of Manor Farm. It remained in use until 1915, (fn. 8) but was no longer in use in 1925 or thereafter, and had been demolished by 1955.


  • 1. B.L. Harl. MS. 595, f. 103v.
  • 2. Two East Anglian Diaries, ed. Storey, 92; Orig. Rec. of Early Nonconf. ed. G.L. Turner, i. 103.
  • 3. Two East Anglian Diaries, ed. Storey, 92, 119, 148; Orig. Rec. of Early Nonconf. ed. Turner, ii. 862; above, church.
  • 4. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1672-3, 177; Calamy Revised, ed. A. G. Matthews, 188; D.N.B.; Orig. Rec. of Early Nonconf. ed. Turner, ii. 866.
  • 5. Two East Anglian Diaries, ed. Storey, 148.
  • 6. Ibid.; Compton Census, ed. Whiteman, 231.
  • 7. Norf. R.O., VIS/42/4; VIS/47/10.
  • 8. Congregational Year Bk. (1855), 113; (1865), 107; (1885), 308; (1895), 252; (1905); (1915), 196.