Fen Drayton: Nonconformity

Pages 302-303

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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In the 1650s some women adhered to the Fen Stanton Baptist congregation. (fn. 1) A house was licensed for Presbyterian worship in 1672, (fn. 2) and in 1728 there were 7 Presbyterian families and 1 Quaker one. (fn. 3) A minister from Cottenham helped register two houses for dissenting worship in 1752. (fn. 4) Later, dissent was supported by prominent farmers, including the Daintrees, two of whom were among those registering a meeting house in 1787. (fn. 5) Robert Daintree registered his own house for worship in 1830. (fn. 6) About 1860 a Primitive Methodist society was served by a preacher from St. Ives (Hunts.). (fn. 7) A 'Calvinist' chapel stood probably east of the high street in 1861, (fn. 8) and a few Baptists met in a room c. 1885. (fn. 9)

The Wesleyan Methodists were the most prominent denomination from the late 19th century. A prosperous farmer, William Cooper, collected funds to build a large chapel north of Cootes Lane, opened in 1866. Designed in the 'lancet style' and built of banded coloured brick, it had a high-pitched roof and a three-bay nave with a large gallery. To the east arches led to the vestry, chancel, and organ chamber. At the south-west stood a tall tower and spire, overtopping that of the parish church. (fn. 10) The chapel had 240 sittings c. 1900. (fn. 11) In the 1870s and 1880s two services were held each Sunday, and a Sunday school was kept. The chapel had c. 60 adherents in 1897, including John Evison who served as lay preacher, (fn. 12) and it survived into the 1930s. (fn. 13) By 1970, however, there was no regular congregation. Services were last held in 1979, and in 1980 the building, which had long since lost the spire, was demolished. (fn. 14)


  • 1. Fen Stanton Rec. ed. Underhill, 251-2.
  • 2. Orig. Rec. of Early Nonconf. ed. Turner, i. 559.
  • 3. C.U.L., E.D.R., B 8/1, f. 13.
  • 4. P.R.O., RG 31/2, Ely dioc. nos. 123-4.
  • 5. Ibid. no. 139; cf. C.U.L., E.D.R., B 7/1, p. 86.
  • 6. P.R.O., RG 31/2, Ely archdeac. no. 38.
  • 7. Tice, Methodism in Cambs. 72.
  • 8. P.R.O., RG 9/978.
  • 9. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/30.
  • 10. Camb. Chron. 14, 21 Apr. 1866; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1869); cf. G.R.O., Worship Reg. no. 17698. Photo. in Hunts. Post, 28 Feb. 1980.
  • 11. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1904).
  • 12. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/25; C 3/30; C 3/37.
  • 13. Char. Com. files, corr. Apr. 1920, May 1927; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1933-7); Hunts. Post, 8 Jan. 1976.
  • 14. Hunts. Post, 28 Feb., 18 Sept. 1980.