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Congregational Church

In 1644 at the height of the Civil War, the Puritans of the village declared their rector to be 'malignant' and replaced him, eventually leading East Bergholt to have a licence for a 'dissenters' chapel and from which  this non-conformist and Independent Church was formed in 1672.


Details

Many of the earlier records of the Church are missing, so only sketchy details have been compiled from the Ministers records of the Church between 1689 and 1836, however looking back further to 1553 when Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon came to the throne, she did so amid widespread revolts between Protestants and Catholics, so the next year when she married Philip of Spain (who declared himself as King of England), parliament voted to reunite with Rome so the new Church of England was having a hard time.

By the early 1670's  in East Bergholt, clergyman Robert Samuel was denounced and taken to Ipswich to be burned at the stake for his Protestant views, an act which certainly contributed for East Bergholt to have a licence for a 'dissenters' chapel and from which this non-conformist/Independent Church was formed in East Bergholt in 1672,  that said, the congregation had to meet privately for fear of persecution and one record suggests that meetings were held in the house of a Mr Robert Hall, probably the Old Manse or Chapel House.

This current Church in Cemetery lane was built in 1856/57 (for the cost of £913), but it is certain that an earlier Church existed as 'Thomas Harmer' who wrote an account of Suffolk congregations in 1774 made mention to a Chapel building being erected somewhere near the present Manse and would have been known as ‘The Independent meeting House’ as the word ‘Congregational’ was not used until some years later.

If you have any additional information and would like to contribute further to this story then please do get in touch.

©N.Reed

 

 

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