Rampton: Nonconformity

Page 219

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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Several members of the Alcocke family, lords of the manor from 1575 to 1626, were Roman Catholics. Although Thomas (d. 1602) conformed to the Elizabethan settlement, his son Thomas spent some time in gaol and married into the prominent Sussex recusant family of Gage. Others in the village were apparently encouraged to resist the established Church, at least in the 1590s, when a yeoman and a spinster were listed as recusants. (fn. 1)

Protestant nonconformity has never had as strong a hold in Rampton as in its larger neighbours. One man, probably a Quaker, persistently refused to attend church between 1675 and 1683 and there were three dissenters in 1676 and three Quakers and an Independent in 1728. (fn. 2) In the early 19th century both Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists tried preaching in the village. Rampton was on the Wesleyans' Cambridge circuit from 1818 to c. 1826 and again after 1857. They had c. 30 adherents in 1825 and a room in a cottage was used for services later in the century. (fn. 3) The Baptist Zion chapel said to have been built in 1838 was probably the barn registered for worship that year. In 1851 it was used for prayer meetings, with occasional services and sermons. (fn. 4) By 1877 Baptists were using a cottage room, served from Cottenham. (fn. 5) After it burned down in 1883 summer open-air services were held on the green. In 1902 a Free Church mission hall was built at the corner of High Street and Cow Lane. (fn. 6) Its trustees were at first appointed by three Cottenham congregations, Ebenezer Baptist, Old Meeting Baptist, and Wesleyan. (fn. 7) The hall remained in use in 1985. The Salvation Army held meetings from 1886 to 1912 and had a following of c. 40 in 1897. (fn. 8)


  • 1. Recusant Roll, i (Cath. Rec. Soc. xviii), 14; Examination of Imprisoned Recusants (Cath. Rec. Soc. lx), 70-1; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1595-7, 195; C.U.L., E.D.R., B 2/11, f. 71; cf. V.C.H. Suss. ii. 27-8.
  • 2. Cambs. Local Hist. Counc. Bull. xxxiv. 21-2; Compton Census, ed. Whiteman, 163; C.U.L., E.D.R., B 2/66, f. 21v.; B 8/1, f. 26.
  • 3. Tice, Methodism in Cambs. 41-5, 62; C.U.L., E.D.R., C 1/4; C 1/6; C 3/27.
  • 4. P.R.O., HO 129/186 (1), f. 18; ibid. RG 31/2, no. 623.
  • 5. Baptist Handbk. (1876), 165; C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/27.
  • 6. Cambs. Local Hist. Counc. Bull. xxxiv. 25-6.
  • 7. Char. Com. file.
  • 8. Cambs. Local Hist. Counc. Bull. xxxiv. 26; C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/38.