A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 2, Bramber Rape (North-Western Part) Including Horsham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1986.
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The 20 nonconformists recorded in the parish in 1676 (fn. 1) apparently included Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists. The Quaker and Baptist congregations continued in later times, and were joined by Wesleyans and others in the 19th century. The high incidence of nonconformity in the parish was presumably partly due to the irregular character of the Anglican ministry.
The Quaker John Shaw of Shipley was gaoled for refusing to pay tithes in 1659. (fn. 2) Shaw's house was used for meetings by 1662, and was apparently the Quaker meeting place mentioned in the parish in 1668 and 1678. (fn. 3) A women's monthly meeting was being held in 1675 for Friends in Shipley and other parishes on the same day and at the same place as the men's meeting. (fn. 4) An inhabitant of Shipley was buried in his own ground in 1672. (fn. 5) By 1694 there was a permanent meeting house in Thakeham, (fn. 6) and only two Quakers were recorded in Shipley in 1724. (fn. 7) In 1751 five families remained, (fn. 8) and a meeting was still held in the 1770s, (fn. 9) but thereafter the congregation lapsed until the 1880s, when meetings were being held at Sauceland Farm near Coolham. A building at Coolham itself was put up in 1891 to serve as an infant school and a place for Sunday evening gospel meetings attended by 50 to 60. Open-air meetings were also held at that time at Dragons Green. The Sunday evening meetings were discontinued after 1927. (fn. 10)
Two Baptist couples were presented by the churchwardens in 1662, one for having failed to bring children for baptism. (fn. 11) In the later 17th century Baptists in the parish adhered to the Horsham Baptist church. (fn. 12) In 1723 a house, possibly Blonks Farm, was registered for worship, (fn. 13) and in 1724 there were 11 Baptists in Shipley. (fn. 14) The same house was still used for worship in 1744, (fn. 15) and the Baptist preacher John Burgess of Ditchling preached at Blonks green in the 1780s. (fn. 16) Shipley Baptists remained with the Horsham church at its split c. 1818. (fn. 17) The same or another house was registered for worship in 1822. (fn. 18) The last member of the congregation died in 1884. (fn. 19)
The former puritan curate John Buckley carried on an itinerant ministry after his ejection at the Restoration; he was licensed in 1672 to preach to Presbyterians at Goringlee, and was buried in Shipley in 1679. (fn. 20) Thomas Wilmer, the former puritan vicar of Pagham, was licensed as a Congregationalist preacher in Barnard Tully's house at Shipley in 1672. (fn. 21)
A Wesleyan chapel at Dragons Green was registered for worship in 1880 (fn. 22) and in 1901 had 95 sittings. (fn. 23) After falling into disuse it was sold in 1951, and was afterwards used as a scout hut. (fn. 24)
Other buildings in the parish were registered for protestant worship between 1807 and 1840; that registered in 1831 was for the use of Independents, and that registered in 1838 was on the Horsham- Worthing road in the south-east end of the parish. (fn. 25) It is not known to which congregation belonged the house where c. 50 were said to have assembled for dissenting worship in 1810. (fn. 26)