own Baptist Church first met for worship on 3rd December 1972
at Don and Brenda Dutton's home at 21 Highfield Close. The
Church was founded
by four young couples all of whom had moved to Newport Pagnell,
and one of these founding
couples, Richard and Marylyn Beesley, remain as active members
of our church.
By the following
May increased numbers led the church to move to the Health
Authority's Orthopaedic Clinic, an old wooden hut
next to the Youth Club in Wolverton Road. The worship was held
in the largest room in the centre of the building, whilst the
Sunday School met in rooms at the back. The congregation sat
on well used metal and canvas chairs. Whilst the facilities were
quite basic, the warmth of the fellowship endeared the premises
to those who met there.The church had already generated a strong
midweek programme of homegroups and children's activities,
which had to be held at various locations around the town.
At this stage the church had the highest ratio of children
to adults in the Baptist Union Handbook! Eventually the
Health Authority decided that the building was surplus to their
requirements and put it
up for sale in 1977. We were outbid and so we had to find somewhere
else to worship very quickly.
The Parish Church owned Church House in the High Street, and
we held our first service there on 12th June 1977, worshipping
in a somewhat depressing room at the end of a dark corridor.
The Sunday School met in the Coffee Shop, an adjacent room. Peter
Faulkner, our organist and pianist, played an old harmonium that
came from the Gospel Hall in Silver Street and there was also
a piano. At first Church House lacked the intimacy of the wooden
hut, but at least there was plenty of space and we had a regular
base for worship. Richard Beesley, Church Secretary for many
years, led the search for our own premises that started as soon
as we heard that we had to move from the Old Wooden Hut. However,
every avenue that was explored seemed to finish in a dead end.
Where was the Lord leading us?
March 1981 we were surprised to hear that the Parish Church
had decided to sell Church House as it felt that they had too
many buildings to support in the town. We didn't hesitate to
submit an offer. Our bid was accepted but it wasn't until over
2 years later that the Charity Commissioners decided to agree
the sale and we took ownership of the building - a further frustrating
delay. During this period in seeking funds we were visited by
a high level delegation of Baptists led by Rev Bernard Green
and Dr John Biggs, General Secretary and President of the Baptist
Union respectively. The purchase was marked by a well attended
and enthusiastic prayer meeting at 7.30am on Friday, 1st July
funding had become available, extensive alterations were planned.
Although these were primarily downstairs, they
were fundamental to the fabric of the building and necessitated
the closure of the building for all purposes. Fortunately the
Parish Church again helped us and offered us free use of their
facilities following their morning worship, and so on 5th February
1984 we met in this new temporary home. As there were relatively
few of us in such a large sanctuary, we rattled around in
the building! We moved back to Church House on 10th June with
the opening of the building planned for the following Saturday,
16th June. Much preparation had gone into the opening, but it
was touch and go whether we would be ready. The carpet was laid
in the worship room downstairs on the morning but everything
was finished on schedule and the opening took place on time in
the afternoon. The opening was performed by Rev Ernest Grant,
President of the Northants Baptist Association when the church
was founded, and who had assisted in forming the church. It was
also good to reunite the four founding couples for the day.
was well served with lay preachers until we had a minister.
Several within our own fellowship led worship, notably
Richard Beesley, Don Dutton and Ken Faulkner, Peter's father.
Other preachers came from local Baptist churches, and Gordon
Mead and Tom Gollins from the URC and Methodist churches were
Church having its own premises, we enjoyed steady growth. On
27th September 1986 Paul Rosier was inducted
as the minister and the growth accelerated. We could squeeze
up to about 180 people into the worship room at Church House
and we soon filled up each week. Although we tried worshipping
upstairs on occasions and a Sunday School class met in James
Whysall's house across the road, it was apparent that the church
had to address the issue. On 23rd September 1990 Paul Rosier
led the first service at Portfields School when the church opened
its second congregation in the town. A year later on 5th October
1991 John Layzell joined the church as the Student Pastor with
special responsibility for the Portfields congregation. John
and his wife Judith contributed greatly to the development of
the church, and the fellowship were sad when they left in February
1995 when John was appointed as the minister of Winchmore Hill
Baptist Church in Enfield. The last service at Portfields was
on 24th September in the same year, after the church had decided
to seek a new, larger base in the town.
following week we met for our first service at Lovat Hall.
When the Borough decided to sell the building, we decided to
bid for it as it had quickly become apparent that the larger
premises would meet our needs for both Sunday worship and the
burgeoning programme of midweek activities. However, the church
has never found that it had an easy ride in purchasing new
this last purchase proved to be no exception. After considerable
public consultation which included a survey conducted in the
town, we finally completed the purchase on 27th March. A few
days earlier on 23rd March we held our last service in Church
House. The sale of Church House was delayed but was finally completed
in Summer 1997. The building has now been converted into apartments.
two phases of improvements had been planned to Lovat Hall,
the first of which were just completed prior to our opening
of the premises on 20th September. This was performed by Rev
Roy Freestone, Superintendent of the Central Area of the Baptist
Union and one of our church members. The improvements included
converting the bar into the chapel, creating two offices from
a small meeting room, refurbishment of the kitchen and better
use of space in the building. Further improvements to the building
were made in 2000 and 2001. Our first Minister, Paul Rosier,
retired in February 2011, and we are seeking a successor. The
Church continues to grow in numbers
and new ventures regarding our mission in Newport Pagnell are
The First Baptist Church in Newport Pagnell
been a Baptist congregation in Newport Pagnell since the 1660s
when a group of Dissenters, with the encouragement
of John Gibbs, the Rector of Newport Pagnell, began worship in
cottages in the town and were re-baptised by immersion. Gibbs
was ejected from his living as Rector and guided the Dissenting
congregations in the area for some years afterwards.
The first mention of the formation of the Baptist Church comes
in 1707 when Mr. Robert Hanwell became its pastor. In 1716 Robert
Hanwell, John Palmer, John Robinson, Bartholomew Course, Samuel
Porter and Matthew Adams purchased premises in the name of the
Baptist congregation to pray, read and hear Divine Service. David
Evans succeeded Robert Hanwell as pastor in 1748. Other pastors
named in these years were William Coles, Mr. Hewson, George Foskett,
William Early, Robert Abbott and Joseph Wilkins.
Day 1829 was a memorable day. The church held a "day
of fast, humiliation and prayer for the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit". It was recorded that the "attendance was numerous",
that a "deep solemnity pervaded the meeting" and that "the prayers
of the brethren were fervent". From that time on the cause revived,
membership rising to 30 by 1831.
In 1861 a schoolroom was added to the front of the chapel and
by 1870 membership had reached 48 with some 100 children in the
Sunday School. The pastor left after some disagreements in 1875
and the final pastor moved on in 1892.
First World War the church so declined that eventually services
ceased and at the request of the surviving trustees
the premises were taken over by the Baptist Union Corporation.
The monuments were removed, the remains interred in the town's
new cemetery and in 1929 the chapel was sold by auction, and
was finally demolished during the 1950s. However, a section
of its wall still stands as part of the garden wall of the Vicarage
in Market Square and can clearly be seen from the High Street.