East Donyland: Nonconformity

Pages 197-198

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2001.

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



John Cheese (d. 1703) left £12 to 'the poor people called Quakers', although he does not seem to have been a member of the sect. (fn. 1) Rectors reported between one and three families of Independents or Baptists in the parish in 1766, 1778, and 1790. (fn. 2) A Methodist church had 18 members in 1789 and 14 in 1790. (fn. 3) In 1790 a house in the parish was registered for worship by Protestant dis- senters, (fn. 4) but it was not recorded again.

In 1851 John Martin opened the Mariners' chapel in Chapel Street, Rowhedge. (fn. 5) Although usually described as Wesleyan, it was not on a Wesleyan circuit, and seems have been run as an undenominational chapel, first by Martin and then by members of the Scrutton family. (fn. 6) In 1967 it was transferred to the Datchet Evangelical Fellowship, and in 1992 it was an Evangelical church affiliated to the Rural Ministries. (fn. 7) The chapel, built in 1850, is of painted brick, its front divided into three bays by stucco pilasters. A gabled porch was added to the central bay in the late 19th century. (fn. 8) A Primitive Methodist mission to Rowhedge started in 1910; in 1911 the congregation became part of the Artillery Street, Colchester, circuit, and a church was built in 1913. (fn. 9) By 1972 the church was served by the minister of the Wim- pole Road Methodist church in Colchester. (fn. 10) The rectangular brick chapel with stone facings, designed by S. Wilson Webb, has a triple round- headed window and two doors beneath a broken pediment on its street elevation. The interior was reordered in 1971 when the central pulpit was replaced by an altar with the pulpit to one side. (fn. 11) It was still in use in 1994.

A Baptist mission at Blackheath was opened in 1889, and a chapel built there in 1905. A new church was built in 1992, the old building being retained as a hall. (fn. 12)


  • 1. E.R.O., D/ACR 11, f. 310v.; S. H. E. Fitch, Colch. Quakers, 120-86.
  • 2. Lamb. Pal. Libr., Terrick Papers 14, Lowth Papers 4, Porteus Papers 26.
  • 3. J. Duncan, Early Days of Methodism in Colch. 15: copy in E.C.L. Colch.
  • 4. Lamb. Pal. Libr., Porteus Papers 26; E.R.O., Q/SBb 339/50.
  • 5. P.R.O., HO 129/8/205.
  • 6. E.R.O., D/DU 906/31; ibid. D/NM 2/1/3-10; ibid. Acc. C599 (uncat.), passim.
  • 7. E.C.S. 18 July 1967; Colch. Citizens' Guide and Dir. (1992).
  • 8. Dept. of Env., Building List.
  • 9. E.R.O., Acc. C530 (uncat.).
  • 10. V.C.H. Essex, ix. 347.
  • 11. E.R.O., Acc. C530 (uncat.); Colch. Expr. 17 Oct. 1974.
  • 12. V.C.H. Essex, ix. 341; Kelly's Dir. Essex (1906); E.C.S. 22 May 1992; R. Kaye, Chapels in Essex, 59.