March – Centenary Baptist Church

The town’s baptist community existed at the beginning of the eighteenth century and their first place of worship was at the house of Stephen Coward. They obtained a license for worship in 1703, with their pastor, Thomas Speechley, having a congregation of 160 by 1715.

This centenary church was built in 1799 and was rebuilt in 1870 and 1960. The 1870 rebuilding led by John Usher cost £4,600 and it gave seating for 800 people within the church. The 1960 rebuilding was necessary due to the slight issue of the church nearly burning entirely down in 1959. Pevsner refers to the 1960 rebuilding as a “violent modernisation”, which I assume is why the building looks so disparate.