Kidlington: Protestant nonconformity

Pages 210-211

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1990.

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Protestant nonconformity

In 1662 and until 1728 or later there was a small Quaker community, never more than two or three families, in the parish. Its most prominent member was Nathaniel Faulkner (d. 1728), for many years overseer in the Oxford monthly meeting. (fn. 35) No further protestant nonconformity was reported in Kidlington parish until the early 19th century.

Methodists licensed a house for worship in 1809 and their meetings were reported in 1810, 1811, and 1815. Another house, licensed in 1823 by Joseph Hall, was still in use in 1826. (fn. 36) By 1824 the Kidlington church was contributing to the funds of the Oxford circuit, and by 1826 it had five members. (fn. 37) An Oxford man, probably a Methodist, occasionally preached in a barn in 1834, and in 1846 a former malthouse in Mill End was registered for worship and converted into a chapel. (fn. 38) In the 1840s there were apparently nine members of the church at Water Eaton, and on Census Sunday 1851 the chapel at Mill End, which had accommodation for 100, was attended by 25 people in the morning and 40 in the evening. (fn. 39) The church seems to have declined thereafter; 12 members were recorded in the early 1860s but only 2 in 1868; there is no record of it after 1869, and the congregation may have seceded to the Wesleyan Reformers. (fn. 40) The prominent Wesleyan Reformer G. G. Banbury of Woodstock was apparently instrumental in the acquisition of a new chapel, built in 1861 in School Road, which by 1863 had c. 24 members and was said to be already too small for the numbers attending. (fn. 41) It was described in 1876 as Methodist 'free connexion'. The building was used until 1936 when a new church was built on the Oxford road; the old chapel was demolished in 1962. (fn. 42) The new church was refurbished in 1967 and a new hall was opened in 1981. (fn. 43)

In 1832 Adin Williams, an Oxford Congregationalist, registered two barns in Kidlington for worship, but there is no later record of Congregationalists meeting in the parish. (fn. 44) H. B. Bulteel, the controversial former curate of St. Ebbe's, Oxford, who became a Baptist in 1832, built a pulpit in a cottage in Kidlington. He was violently expelled by the 'rougher element', but he left a small congregation, known as Bulteelers, which apparently survived into the later 19th century. (fn. 45) Two or three houses were registered for worship in 1835, one of them by James Ballard who in 1851 was the deacon of a Baptist congregation of 55 meeting in a private house. Another house was registered in 1850 by Frederick Butler, who in 1851 was an elder of what seems to have been the same congregation as Ballard's. (fn. 46)

A chapel in Thrupp, in a converted cottage, was opened by the Woodstock Baptist chapel in 1876 as a mission to the canal people. (fn. 47) Services were being organized from the New Road church in Oxford in 1889, and the chapel was renovated under the auspices of J. Dann, pastor of New Road 1882-1916. (fn. 48) The chapel members, with those of Woodstock chapel, were formally transferred to New Road in 1910, (fn. 49) but services continued to be held at Thrupp until 1953 when a new church was acquired in Kidlington. Thrupp chapel was officially closed and the building sold in 1954. The first Baptist church in Kidlington was a wooden hut in the Moors, formerly the headquarters of the army cadet force; in 1965 a new church, designed by Peter Reynolds of Oxford, was built at the east end of the High Street, and in 1978 a third church was built to designs by J. Alan Bristow on the corner of High Street and the Moors, the old church beside it being converted into a church hall. (fn. 50)


  • 35. Bp. Fell and Nonconf. 66, 274; O.R.O., BOQM 1/ii/1, s.a. 1696-7, 1701-2; 1/ii/2, s.a. 1705; ibid. MS. Wills Oxon. 128/1/13.
  • 36. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 441, f. 20; c 644, ff. 103 (one of the signatories was the Oxford Methodist minister), 151; d 549, p. 122; d 581, f. 119v.; ibid. MS. d.d. Par. Kidlington c 9, item g.
  • 37. Ibid. MS. d.d. Oxf. Methodist Circuit e 3.
  • 38. Ibid. MSS. Oxf. Dioc. b 39, f. 243; c 647, f. 51; cf. ibid. MS. d.d. Oxf. Meth. Circ. c 21, item a, p. 30.
  • 39. Ibid. MS. d.d. Oxf. Meth. Circ. b 2; Ch. and Chapel, 1851, no. 247.
  • 40. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Oxf. Meth. Circ. b 3-4.
  • 41. United Meth. Free Ch. Mag. (1863), 328.
  • 42. Oxf. Times, 21 Oct. 1911; Oxf. Mail, 5 Oct. 1962; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Oxf. Meth. Circ. c 21, item b, ff. 139, 141-8; O.S. Map 25", Oxon. XXVII. 10 (1881 edn.).
  • 43. V. Offord, Hist. Kidlington, 26; Oxf. Mail, 5 Oct. 1962, 15 May 1967; Oxf. Times, 13 Mar. 1981.
  • 44. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. b 39, f. 244; c 645, ff. 203-4.
  • 45. Stapleton, Three Oxon. Pars, Further Addenda, 2.
  • 46. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 646, ff. 8, 12, 24; c 647, f. 122; Ch. and Chapel, 1851, no. 248.
  • 47. J. Richards, 'Thrupp, the isolated beauty of the industrial revolution' (TS. in Westgate Libr.), quoting deeds at Woodstock Baptist ch.; datestone on building; B. Leeves, Kidlington, a Growing Church, 1: copy in Westgate Libr., Oxf.
  • 48. New Road Chapel Monthly Visitor, Jan. 1889; Oxf. Times, 19 Oct. 1912.
  • 49. New Road Baptist Ch., Oxf., church bk. 1910.
  • 50. Oxf. Mail, 17 Nov. 1953; 13 Aug. 1965; 7 Oct. 1977; 3 July 1978; Leeves, Kidlington, a Growing Church, passim.