Bere Regis Village, Dorset
Bere Regis Village
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History of the Village Congregational Chapel from 1662

onwards

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1662 and all that... The   end   of   the   civil   war   in   England   saw   the   Puritan   cause   in   power,   and   culminated   in   the   execution   of   Charles   I   in   1649.   From 1649   to   1660   England   was   without   a   king,   and   during   this   period,   known   as   the   Commonwealth,   many   puritan   clergy   were instituted   as   vicars   to   various   parishes.   As   puritans   they   had   not   been   ordained   by   a   bishop   so   that   when   the   monarchy   was again   restored   in   1660   under   Charles   II,   and   when   the   church   again   required   episcopal   ordination,   the   non-ordained   clergy presented a problem. Matters   were   brought   to   a   head   in   1662   upon   the   introduction   of   a   new   prayer   book   containing   a   clause   requiring   such ordination,   and   to   which   all   the   clergy   were   required   to   consent   in   writing,   with   the   alternative   of   resignation.   As   the   ordination issue   was   a   matter   of   principle   to   the   puritans,   most   of   them,   estimated   variously   between   800   and   2,000,   chose   resignation. Many   of   them   continued   to   hold   services   in   private,   a   practice   which   was   then   illegal,   and   these   private   meetings   in   1662   mark the beginning of Congregational Churches. Philip   Lamb,   vicar   of   Bere   Regis,   was   one   of   the   puritan   clergy   to   resign,   and   he   can   therefore   be   considered   as   the   founder   of the   Congregational   Church   in   this   parish.   There   were   73   clergy   known   to   have   been   ejected   from   the   Church   of   England   in Dorset, the date of the " Great Ejectment " was 24th August 1662, although Lamb had resigned before being ejected. He   was   a   zealous   minister   preaching   at   Winterborne   Kingston,   his   second   church,   as   well   as   at   Bere   Regis   From   the   age   of   21 he   laboured   at   Bere   and   Kingston,   until   his   ejection,   holding   a   service   every   day   in   the   week   at   Bere   at   6.00am.   In   his   farewell sermon he said, "l may not speak from God to you, yet I shall not cease to speak to God for you." Lamb   secured   a   large   place   in   the   affections   of   the   people,   and   there   was   great   grief   when   he   was   silenced.   For   some   time   he continued to preach privately, and undoubtedly it was under his guidance that the Congregational Church was formed. Later   he   was   forced   to   move   to   Morden,   where   doubtless   he   found   refuge   with   a   stout   friend   of   non-conformity,   Sir   Walter   Erle, who lived at Charborough Park. Later still he moved to Alton Pancras near Cerne Abbas. In   1672   he   was   granted   a   licence   to   be   ‘a   Congregational   Teacher'   in   East   Morden.   Later   still   a   convenient   meeting   house   in Winterborne   Kingston,   probably   the   residence   of   Richard   Woolfreys,   was   provided   for   him,   where   the   people   flocked   from   all parts   to   hear   him.   Persecution   drove   him   to   flee   to   Clapham,   London,   where   he   died   in   1689   at   the   age   of   66.   He   was   offered £600   a   year,   a   princely   salary   in   those   days,   if   he   would   conform,   but   he   was   not   tempted.   He   was   a   man   of   unaffected   piety, cheerful temper and engaging personality. Precise   information   is   not   available   of   the   trials   and   persecutions   of   the   Bere   Regis   dissenters,   as   records,   if   kept,   have   since been lost. It appears that six ministers preached here in rotation once a fortnight until a Mr.Bulstrode settled here in 1670. The   various   laws   against   non-conformity,   although   intended   primarily   to   restrict   the   Roman   Catholic   cause,   fell   equally   on   other sects,   and   a   great   deal   of   secrecy   was   therefore   involved   in   these   early   meetings.   Matters   were   eased   in   1672   when   it   became possible to take out licences for holding non-conformist meetings in private houses. In the list of Ministers which follows, the dates before 1769 are approximate: 1662-1665 Philip Lamb, formerly vicar of Bere Regis 1665-1670 Six different Ministers preached rotation 1670- Mr.Bulstrode & Mr.Webber 1715-1727 John Copplestone 1727-1734 John Waldron 1734-1738 Luke Filmore 1738-1746 Thomas Coad 1746-1760 John Waldron,returned living at Ringwood. 1760-1763 Matthew Jackson 1764-1768 Mr.Lloyd 1769-1773 David Jones 1773-1777 Mr.Rogers 1787-1789 James Holt 1791-1807 Benjamin Howell 1808-1820   Ambrose   Garrett,   during   this   time   a   dispute   arose   and   a   section   of   the   congregation   seceded   and   built   a   church   of their own. (1813-1817)William Laxton was the first minister (1817-1820)John Gay, when Ambrose Garrett resigned (in 1820 the two sections re-united.) 1820-1825 John Gay 1825-1827 Charles Greenway 1827-1830 Thomas Burgess Barker 1830-1844 Henry Stroud 1844-1846 Alfred Crisp 1846-1850 William Foster 1850-1853 James Edwin 1853-1856 James Wood 1857-1869 George Compton Smith 1869-1871 John Constance 1871-1874 William Barwell 1874-1876 John Rose Fuller Ross 1878-1882 Thomas Simm 1882-1886 John Rose Fuller Ross, for a further term. 1887-1891 Alfred Goodall ( Photo ) 1892-1896 Edwin Mansfield Potter 1897-1906 Joseph Blackburn ( Photo ) 1907-1921 Lawrence Crockall ( Photo ) 1921-1923 J.W.Scammell 1923-1927 J.Gardner ( Photo ) 1928-1936 H.J.Wheadon ( Photo ) 1936-1947 C.E.Redhouse 1948-1950 W.L.Duffett ( Photo ) 1951-1960 John E.Laukner 1961-1971 Bernard H.Dawson 1973-1980 Patrick Kellard 1980-2001 Raymond Healey 2001- James Morris In   the   early   days   after   1662   the   private   houses   of   members   were   used   for   meetings   and   no   records   seem   to   exist   concerning them,   but   on   l0th   July   1711   a   house   called   'Lockyers'   was   licensed,   and   the   house   of   Mary   Batrix   (or   Battricks),   widow,   was licensed   on   10th   January   1721.   This   latter   house   may   have   been   the   meeting   house   in   Blind   Street,   which   continued   in   use   as such   until   1820   when   it   reverted   to   a   normal   dwelling.   This   meeting   house   appears   to   have   been   used   as   early   as   1743   and probably   earlier.   In   1813   a   dispute   of   some   sort   arose   and   a   section   of   the   congregation   separated   and   is   said   to   have   built   it’s own   chapel   which   was   opened   on   the   9th   July   1813.   Seven   years   later   on   the   17th   July   1820   the   two   sections   were   re-united and the Blind Street meeting house is said to have been given up. What   is   now   the   Drax   Hall   had   been   the   Congregational   Chapel   prior   to   1783,   and   existed   at   least   before   1777.   On   Isaac Taylor's   map   of   the   village   of   that   date   the   building   similar   in   size   and   shape   to   the   present   Drax   Hall,   is   described   as   a 'Dissenting   Meeting   House',   and   the   tenant   given   as   V.Rawles.   It   is   therefore   difficult   to   relate   the   reputed   building   of   a   new chapel   in   addition   to   the   Blind   Street   meeting   house   in   1813   with   the   fact   that   the   Drax   Hall   chapel   was   already   in   existence. This chapel   is   said   to   have   been   rebuilt   in   1829   during   the   ministry   of   Thomas   Burgess   Barker,   and   the   present   east   facade   probably dates from that time. The    North    Street    chapel    was    held    on    a    life    tenure    basis    and    as    some    difficulty    in    renewing    the    lease    was    anticipated, consideration   was   given   in   1869   to   the   possibility   of   building   a   new   chapel.   It   was   not   then   possible   to   buy   a   site   in   the   village, but   in   1871   the   only   available   freehold   site   in   the   village,   in   Butt   Lane,   was   purchased   from   a   Wareham   tradesman   by   Mr. George   James   Wood   of   Athelhampton,   and   given   to   the   church.   On   this   site   a   schoolroom   was   then   built   costing   £400,   and   in 1877   the   manse   was   erected.   It   too   cost   £400,   but   this   sum   was   provided   by   J.H.Mundell   (proprietor   of   what   became   Bemister's shop) who lived near Bournemouth, but who spent most Sundays in Bere Regis as superintendent of the Sunday school. During   this   time   the   North   Street   chapel   continued   in   use,   but   in   1872   the   lease   had   expired   on   the   death   of   the   last   life   tenant, and   after   long   negotiations   the   lease   was   renewed   at   £5   per   annum,   which   at   the   time   was   considered   excessive.   In   addition   £35 had   been   spent   in   putting   the   building   into   a   good   state   of   repair.   Some   time   later   however   many   members   still   felt   uneasy   about the terms of the lease and arrangements were made to convert the Butt Lane schoolroom into a chapel. This   work   was   carried   out   by   Mr.   Elcock,   a   builder   from   Wimborne,   at   a   cost   of   £255   and   the   new   chapel   was   formally   opened   on 9th   February   1893.   The   North   Street   chapel   was   then   vacated   and   converted   into   the   village   hall.   The vestry   and   associated   rooms   at   the   north   end   of   the   Butt   Lane   chapel   were   added   in   1939.   In   about   1770 it   was   said   that   –“The   number   of   hearers   in   the   forenoon   does   not   exceed   50   on   average,   and   in   the afternoon   from   120-140,   though   some   suppose   that   they   must   be   nearer   200”. You   can   see   the   layout   of   it here. Mrs.   Barbara   Skinner   of   London,   who   died   in   December   1769,   left   £500   in   her   will,   to   be   invested   for   the   benefit   of   the   minister's stipend,   and   £200   to   be   distributed   among   the   'dissenting   poor'   of   the   parish. The   communion   cup   has   the   inscription:   “The   gift   of John King to the Communicant Dissenters of Bere Regis 1802” Our   acknowledgements   and   grateful   thanks   are   due   to   Mr.   Fred   Pitfield   who   supplied   the   information   contained   in   this   historical account. It    is    almost    350    years    since    the    “Great    Ejection    of    1662    and    there    are    five    churches    in    the    Evangelical    Fellowship    of Congregational    Churches    that    date    from    that    time.    They    are   Alton,    Hampshire;    St.Ives,    Cornwall;    Pontefract,    Yorkshire; Wiveliscombe, Somerset; and of course, our own Bere Regis. ”Tis Jesus the First and the Last Whose spirit shall guide us safe home; We’ll praise Him for all that is past, And trust Him for all that’s to come.
© 2003, Bere Regis Village Website.
Bere Regis Village
Bere Regis Village Website

History of the Village Congregational Chapel from 1662

onwards

Click / tap images to enlarge
1662 and all that... The   end   of   the   civil   war   in   England   saw   the   Puritan   cause   in power,   and   culminated   in   the   execution   of   Charles   I   in   1649. From   1649   to   1660   England   was   without   a   king,   and   during this    period,    known    as    the    Commonwealth,    many    puritan clergy    were    instituted    as    vicars    to    various    parishes.    As puritans   they   had   not   been   ordained   by   a   bishop   so   that when    the    monarchy    was    again    restored    in    1660    under Charles   II,   and   when   the   church   again   required   episcopal ordination, the non-ordained clergy presented a problem. Matters   were   brought   to   a   head   in   1662   upon   the   introduction of    a    new    prayer    book    containing    a    clause    requiring    such ordination,    and    to    which    all    the    clergy    were    required    to consent   in   writing,   with   the   alternative   of   resignation.   As   the ordination   issue   was   a   matter   of   principle   to   the   puritans, most   of   them,   estimated   variously   between   800   and   2,000, chose   resignation.   Many   of   them   continued   to   hold   services in   private,   a   practice   which   was   then   illegal,   and   these   private meetings    in    1662    mark    the    beginning    of    Congregational Churches. Philip   Lamb,   vicar   of   Bere   Regis,   was   one   of   the   puritan clergy   to   resign,   and   he   can   therefore   be   considered   as   the founder   of   the   Congregational   Church   in   this   parish.   There were   73   clergy   known   to   have   been   ejected   from   the   Church of   England   in   Dorset,   the   date   of   the   "   Great   Ejectment   "   was 24th   August   1662,   although   Lamb   had   resigned   before   being ejected. He     was     a     zealous     minister     preaching     at     Winterborne Kingston,   his   second   church,   as   well   as   at   Bere   Regis   From the   age   of   21   he   laboured   at   Bere   and   Kingston,   until   his ejection,   holding   a   service   every   day   in   the   week   at   Bere   at 6.00am. In his farewell sermon he said, "l may not speak from God to you, yet I shall not cease to speak to God for you." Lamb   secured   a   large   place   in   the   affections   of   the   people, and   there   was   great   grief   when   he   was   silenced.   For   some time   he   continued   to   preach   privately,   and   undoubtedly   it   was under    his    guidance    that    the    Congregational    Church    was formed. Later   he   was   forced   to   move   to   Morden,   where   doubtless   he found   refuge   with   a   stout   friend   of   non-conformity,   Sir   Walter Erle,   who   lived   at   Charborough   Park.   Later   still   he   moved   to Alton Pancras near Cerne Abbas. In   1672   he   was   granted   a   licence   to   be   ‘a   Congregational Teacher'   in   East   Morden.   Later   still   a   convenient   meeting house   in   Winterborne   Kingston,   probably   the   residence   of Richard   Woolfreys,   was   provided   for   him,   where   the   people flocked   from   all   parts   to   hear   him.   Persecution   drove   him   to flee   to   Clapham,   London,   where   he   died   in   1689   at   the   age   of 66.   He   was   offered   £600   a   year,   a   princely   salary   in   those days,   if   he   would   conform,   but   he   was   not   tempted.   He   was   a man    of    unaffected    piety,    cheerful    temper    and    engaging personality. Precise     information     is     not     available     of     the     trials     and persecutions   of   the   Bere   Regis   dissenters,   as   records,   if   kept, have   since   been   lost.   It   appears   that   six   ministers   preached here   in   rotation   once   a   fortnight   until   a   Mr.Bulstrode   settled here in 1670. The   various   laws   against   non-conformity,   although   intended primarily   to   restrict   the   Roman   Catholic   cause,   fell   equally   on other    sects,    and    a    great    deal    of    secrecy    was    therefore involved   in   these   early   meetings.   Matters   were   eased   in   1672 when   it   became   possible   to   take   out   licences   for   holding   non- conformist meetings in private houses. In   the   list   of   Ministers   which   follows,   the   dates   before   1769 are approximate: 1662-1665 Philip Lamb, formerly vicar of Bere Regis 1665-1670 Six different Ministers preached rotation 1670- Mr.Bulstrode & Mr.Webber 1715-1727 John Copplestone 1727-1734 John Waldron 1734-1738 Luke Filmore 1738-1746 Thomas Coad 1746-1760 John Waldron,returned living at Ringwood. 1760-1763 Matthew Jackson 1764-1768 Mr.Lloyd 1769-1773 David Jones 1773-1777 Mr.Rogers 1787-1789 James Holt 1791-1807 Benjamin Howell 1808-1820   Ambrose   Garrett,   during   this   time   a   dispute   arose and   a   section   of   the   congregation   seceded   and   built   a   church of their own. (1813-1817)William Laxton was the first minister (1817-1820)John   Gay,   when   Ambrose   Garrett   resigned   (in 1820 the two sections re-united.) 1820-1825 John Gay 1825-1827 Charles Greenway 1827-1830 Thomas Burgess Barker 1830-1844 Henry Stroud 1844-1846 Alfred Crisp 1846-1850 William Foster 1850-1853 James Edwin 1853-1856 James Wood 1857-1869 George Compton Smith 1869-1871 John Constance 1871-1874 William Barwell 1874-1876 John Rose Fuller Ross 1878-1882 Thomas Simm 1882-1886 John Rose Fuller Ross, for a further term. 1887-1891 Alfred Goodall ( Photo ) 1892-1896 Edwin Mansfield Potter 1897-1906 Joseph Blackburn ( Photo ) 1907-1921 Lawrence Crockall ( Photo ) 1921-1923 J.W.Scammell 1923-1927 J.Gardner ( Photo ) 1928-1936 H.J.Wheadon ( Photo ) 1936-1947 C.E.Redhouse 1948-1950 W.L.Duffett ( Photo ) 1951-1960 John E.Laukner 1961-1971 Bernard H.Dawson 1973-1980 Patrick Kellard 1980-2001 Raymond Healey 2001- James Morris In   the   early   days   after   1662   the   private   houses   of   members were    used    for    meetings    and    no    records    seem    to    exist concerning    them,    but    on    l0th    July    1711    a    house    called 'Lockyers'   was   licensed,   and   the   house   of   Mary   Batrix   (or Battricks),   widow,   was   licensed   on   10th   January   1721.   This latter    house    may    have    been    the    meeting    house    in    Blind Street,   which   continued   in   use   as   such   until   1820   when   it reverted   to   a   normal   dwelling.   This   meeting   house   appears   to have   been   used   as   early   as   1743   and   probably   earlier.   In 1813    a    dispute    of    some    sort    arose    and    a    section    of    the congregation   separated   and   is   said   to   have   built   it’s   own chapel   which   was   opened   on   the   9th   July   1813.   Seven   years later   on   the   17th   July   1820   the   two   sections   were   re-united and   the   Blind   Street   meeting   house   is   said   to   have   been given up. What    is    now    the    Drax    Hall    had    been    the    Congregational Chapel   prior   to   1783,   and   existed   at   least   before   1777.   On Isaac   Taylor's   map   of   the   village   of   that   date   the   building similar    in    size    and    shape    to    the    present    Drax    Hall,    is described   as   a   'Dissenting   Meeting   House',   and   the   tenant given   as   V.Rawles.   It   is   therefore   difficult   to   relate   the   reputed building    of    a    new    chapel    in    addition    to    the    Blind    Street meeting   house   in   1813   with   the   fact   that   the   Drax   Hall   chapel was   already   in   existence.   This   chapel   is   said   to   have   been rebuilt   in   1829   during   the   ministry   of   Thomas   Burgess   Barker, and the present east facade probably dates from that time. The   North   Street   chapel   was   held   on   a   life   tenure   basis   and as    some    difficulty    in    renewing    the    lease    was    anticipated, consideration   was   given   in   1869   to   the   possibility   of   building   a new   chapel.   It   was   not   then   possible   to   buy   a   site   in   the village,   but   in   1871   the   only   available   freehold   site   in   the village,    in    Butt    Lane,    was    purchased    from    a    Wareham tradesman   by   Mr.   George   James   Wood   of Athelhampton,   and given   to   the   church.   On   this   site   a   schoolroom   was   then   built costing   £400,   and   in   1877   the   manse   was   erected.   It   too   cost £400,   but   this   sum   was   provided   by   J.H.Mundell   (proprietor   of what   became   Bemister's   shop)   who   lived   near   Bournemouth, but      who      spent      most      Sundays      in      Bere      Regis      as superintendent of the Sunday school. During   this   time   the   North   Street   chapel   continued   in   use,   but in   1872   the   lease   had   expired   on   the   death   of   the   last   life tenant,   and   after   long   negotiations   the   lease   was   renewed   at £5   per   annum,   which   at   the   time   was   considered   excessive. In   addition   £35   had   been   spent   in   putting   the   building   into   a good    state    of    repair.    Some    time    later    however    many members   still   felt   uneasy   about   the   terms   of   the   lease   and arrangements     were     made     to     convert     the     Butt     Lane schoolroom into a chapel. This    work    was    carried    out    by    Mr.    Elcock,    a    builder    from Wimborne,   at   a   cost   of   £255   and   the   new   chapel   was   formally opened   on   9th   February   1893.   The   North   Street   chapel   was then   vacated   and   converted   into   the   village   hall.   The   vestry and    associated    rooms    at    the    north    end    of    the    Butt    Lane chapel   were   added   in   1939.   In   about   1770   it   was   said   that –“The     number     of     hearers     in     the forenoon     does     not     exceed     50     on average,    and    in    the    afternoon    from 120-140,    though    some    suppose    that they   must   be   nearer   200”.   You   can   see the layout of it here. Mrs.    Barbara    Skinner    of    London,    who    died    in    December 1769,   left   £500   in   her   will,   to   be   invested   for   the   benefit   of   the minister's    stipend,    and    £200    to    be    distributed    among    the 'dissenting   poor'   of   the   parish.   The   communion   cup   has   the inscription:    “The    gift    of    John    King    to    the    Communicant Dissenters of Bere Regis 1802” Our   acknowledgements   and   grateful   thanks   are   due   to   Mr. Fred   Pitfield   who   supplied   the   information   contained   in   this historical account. It   is   almost   350   years   since   the   “Great   Ejection   of   1662   and there    are    five    churches    in    the    Evangelical    Fellowship    of Congregational   Churches   that   date   from   that   time.   They   are Alton,    Hampshire;    St.Ives,    Cornwall;    Pontefract,    Yorkshire; Wiveliscombe, Somerset; and of course, our own Bere Regis. ”Tis Jesus the First and the Last Whose spirit shall guide us safe home; We’ll praise Him for all that is past, And trust Him for all that’s to come.
© 2003, Bere Regis Village Website.