Girton: Nonconformity

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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'Girton: Nonconformity', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds, (London, 1989) pp. 127-128. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol9/pp127-128 [accessed 23 April 2024]

NONCONFORMITY

Three men were not coming to church in 1686, (fn. 1) and there were 8 Independents in 1728. (fn. 2) In 1807 20 dissenters attended a meeting house, (fn. 3) presumably Matthew Ewsden's house registered in 1806, (fn. 4) and probably the Methodist meeting house reported in 1825. (fn. 5) The Wesleyan Methodists were preaching at Ewsden's cottage in 1817, (fn. 6) but by 1824 their Girton society had only 4 members, and the village was dropped from their circuit after 1832, although missions were sporadically undertaken until 1860. (fn. 7) No dissenting meeting was returned in 1851.

The rector's report of a Wesleyan chapel in 1877 (fn. 8) may have referred to the Baptist chapel. In 1860 a simple brick chapel, later seating 120, was built west of the high street for a Baptist congregation. (fn. 9) Served from Histon in the 1870s, it was not registered until 1918. (fn. 10) In 1885 allegedly only 8 people attended regularly. In 1897 there were 20 dissenters. (fn. 11) During the early 20th century adult membership ranged between 25 and 35, rising to 50 c. 1950, but by 1980 had fallen to 12. Except between 1915 and 1935 and again in the 1950s, when there was a locally resident lay pastor, the chapel, still in use in 1984, was served by preachers from Cambridge. About 1960 a baptismal pool was made. (fn. 12)

Footnotes

  • 1. C.U.L., E.D.R., B 2/70, f. 47v.
  • 2. Ibid. B 8/1, f. 15.
  • 3. Ibid. C 1/4.
  • 4. P.R.O., RG 31/2, Ely dioc. no. 188.
  • 5. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 1/6.
  • 6. P.R.O., RG 31/2, Ely dioc. nos. 313, 328.
  • 7. Tice, Methodism in Cambs. 42, 44.
  • 8. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/26.
  • 9. Inscr. on bldg.; Baptist Handbk. (1871), 120; (1876), 165; (1925), 51; cf. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1864-1937).
  • 10. G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 47315.
  • 11. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/30; C 3/37.
  • 12. Baptist Handbk. (1925), 51; (1935), 61; (1944-6), 29; (1965), 113; (1972), 117; Baptist Union Handbk. (1980-1), 55; Camb. Ind. Press, 15 Apr. 1960; notice at chapel, 1984.