Moreton: Nonconformity

Page 137

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.

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



In 1813 a house in Moreton was licensed for worship by nonconformists. (fn. 1) In 1829 the Revd. J. Corbishley of Abbess Roding (q.v.) reported that he sometimes preached at Moreton. (fn. 2) Some of his hearers may have formed the nucleus of the later Congregational society. This appears to have been started about 1850, when Mr. Vale, the evangelist from North Weald (q.v.), began preaching at Moreton. (fn. 3) Vale's work at Moreton, which was assisted by a small annual grant from the Essex Congregational Union, was so successful that by 1856 his Sunday evening congregation numbered 80-100, and there were also a Sunday school attended by 30 children and an adult evening school. (fn. 4) About this time Vale moved to Moreton, where he continued to minister until about 1873. (fn. 5) In 1857 it was reported that the Sunday school had been given up owing to opposition from neighbouring clergy 'who used promises and threats to deter attendance', but in spite of this the work flourished. In 1862 a church was built at a cost of £150. In 1875 A. M. Kemsley, an evangelist, had charge of the church under the superintendence of the Revd. J. R. Clarkson of Chipping Ongar. In the following year the Revd. W. Passmore, formerly of Welling (Kent), started to work at Moreton. Since that time the church has continued with fluctuating fortunes. It has frequently been under the pastoral charge of the minister from Chipping Ongar. In 1904 there were 7 church members, 34 pupils in the Sunday school, and 3 teachers. (fn. 6) From 1939 to 1948 there was a lay evangelist, Mr. W. J. Frost. (fn. 7) In 1950 there were 18 members, 15 pupils, and 3 teachers. (fn. 8) Since 1911 the church has been vested in the Essex Congregational Union. (fn. 9) The building is of gault brick with red brick dressings and is dated 1862.


  • 1. E.R.O., Q/RRw 1.
  • 2. E.R.O., Q/CR 3/2. The Revd. Isaac Taylor of Chipping Ongar also preached at Moreton at this time.
  • 3. Essex Congr. Union Reps. 1850.
  • 4. Ibid. 1856.
  • 5. Ibid. 1857 f. Unless otherwise stated subsequent information in this section is from these reports.
  • 6. Cong. Year Bk. 1904.
  • 7. Ibid. 1939-48.
  • 8. Ibid. 1950.
  • 9. Essex Congr. Union Trust Deeds.