Reach
Nonconformity

Sponsor

Victoria County History

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Author

A F Wareham, A P M Wright

Year published

2002

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229

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'Reach: 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. 229. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18859 Date accessed: 22 October 2014.


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NONCONFORMITY.

A house was registered for dissenting worship in 1741. (fn. 98) About 1820 a Burwell merchant, Edward Ball, shocked by the Anglican clergy's neglect of Reach and the supposedly resulting Sabbath breaking, gambling, and cock and prize fighting, began to preach there in a shed, probably one of the buildings registered in 1819 and 1827. He long continued to minister occasionally (fn. 99) at the newly built Independent meeting house, which his managing clerk registered in 1830, apparently reconstructed 1838-47. In 1851, when it had 260 sittings, 187 free, an average attendance of 190 was claimed at the two afternoon and evening services held, besides up to 95 children at the morning Sunday school. (fn. 1) A gallery had been inserted by 1860. After a young revivalist preacher attracted larger attendances in 1862, Ball gathered funds to rebuild the chapel in 1863 at the north-west end of the green (fn. 2) to seat up to 350 people. Normally linked from the 1860s to Burwell Congregationalist chapel, the Reach chapel remained in use, full membership gradually falling from 26 in 1925 to only 6 after 1960, (fn. 3) until its closure c. 1963. The partly derelict building, for sale from 1968, (fn. 4) still stood in 1993.

Footnotes

98 P.R.O., RG 31/2, Ely dioc. no. 155.
99 Ibid. nos. 371, 521; C.R.O., P 150/25/125, deposn. of Edw. Ball; Camb. Chron. 4 Mar. 1854, p. 8; 27 June 1863, p. 5. For Ball, below, Burwell, intro.; econ. hist.; nonconf.
1 P.R.O., RG 31/2, Ely dioc. no. 546; ibid. HO 129/189, f. 20; cf. Camb. Chron. (BC), 16 Nov. 1861, p. 5; Trans. Congregational Hist. Soc. vii. 14.
2 T.T. Ball, Life & Labours of Jas. Smith (Ely, 1897), 30-5, 39; Camb. Chron. 27 June 1863, p. 5.
3 Congregational Year Bk. (1865), 101; (1895), 252; (1905), 206; (1925), 214; (1945), 72; (1955), 115; (1964-5), 125.
41 Camb. News, 11 Sept. 1968; Camb. Evening News, 6 Apr., 18 Oct. 1972.


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