Protestant nonconformity


Victoria County History



A F Wareham, A P M Wright

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'Kirtling: Protestant nonconformity', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10: Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (north-eastern Cambridgeshire) (2002), pp. 77. URL: Date accessed: 28 November 2014.


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There were no dissenters in Kirtling in 1676 (fn. 62) but by c. 1690 a group of presbyterians had been receiving a fortnightly lecture and were reportedly willing to hire a Sunday preacher. (fn. 63) The later Baptist chapel traced its foundation to 1670, on uncertain grounds. (fn. 64) About 1709 there were eight dissenters, (fn. 65) apparently members of the large Independent congregation at Burwell. (fn. 66) The minister of the Isleham chapel, a paedobaptist serving a congregation still partly presbyterian, preached at Kirtling in 1758, and several Kirtling people attended the Isleham chapel in the early 1780s. (fn. 67)

By 1775 there was a meeting house on the south side of Kirtling green 100 m. west of the junction with the Street. It belonged to the wellto-do grocer Thomas Canham. (fn. 68) The congregation was Particular Baptist by 1825 (fn. 69) and never joined the Baptist Union. (fn. 70) A new chapel seating 200 was built on the site in 1847, under a long-serving resident pastor who claimed attendances of 120 and 170 at his morning and afternoon services on Census Sunday 1851. (fn. 71) The chapel apparently closed in the early 1920s (fn. 72) and was demolished.

The Primitive Methodists of the Wickhambrook (Suff.) circuit were active in Kirtling in 1866. (fn. 73) By 1874 they had built small red-brick chapels at Kirtling Green and Upend. (fn. 74) Upend was disused by 1953 and sold in 1956; (fn. 75) Kirtling held its last service in 1975. (fn. 76)


62 Compton Census, ed. Whiteman, 232.
63 Freedom after Ejection, ed. A. Gordon, 13.
64 Baptist Handbk. (1871), 120.
65 W. Suff. R.O. 806/1/96 (1709).
66 Dr. Williams's Libr., Evans list, f. 9; below, Burwell, nonconf.
67 Isleham Ch. Bk. 1693-1805 (C.R.S. vi), 68, 124, 198, 217.
68 C.R.O., R 52/9/23A; P 101/26/1, schedule no. 317; P.R.O., RG 31/2, Sudbury archdeac. no. 259.
69 V.C.H. Cambs. vi. 176.
70 Baptist Handbk. (1884), 162; omitted from ibid. (1895).
71 Ibid. (1871 and later edns. to 1885); P.R.O., HO 129/189, f. 7; C.R.O., P 101/28/8 (pencilled note).
72 Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1922, 1925).
73 Camb. Chron. 18 Aug. 1866, p. 5.
74 R. S. Blair, 'Brief Hist. of Nailing up the Old Barn Door' (1894 printed poster: copy in C.R.O.); Methodist Ch. Bldgs.: Statistical Returns, 1940 (1947), p. 14.
75 C.R.O., uncat. trustees min. bk. (listed in C.R.O. Annual Rep. (1983), p. 15).
76 Newmarket Jnl. 18 Dec. 1975.