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Wiltshire Community History

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Old Broughton Road Baptist Chuch, Melksham

Old Broughton Road Baptist Chuch, Melksham Date Photo Taken 2002
Uploaded 25/10/2007 08:29:35
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

A Baptist congregation was meeting in Melksham by 1669 in John Webb's shearing shop. From a list of Particular Baptist Churches of Engand in 1689 we know that Melksham was one of twelve in the county. In 1701 James Webb's house and the adjoining barn of John Webb were licensed as a meeting house. By 1715 the congregation numbered 300. The first chapel was begun in 1714 and completed by 1716. The first regular pastor was Zebulan Marshman (died 1731), a Broughton Gifford maltster. Registers were kept for births from 1794 to 1837 and for burials from 1794 to 1836. The church in Old Broughton Road was erected in 1776, galleries were added in 1795, it was enlarged in 1806, renovated in 1879 and new heating was installed in 1897. All this activity indicates a thriving and flourishing church. A new schoolroom was built and a Sunday school was in existence by 1840. In 1919 a new Sunday schoolroom (pictured here), containing 14 classrooms and a large assembly hall, was opened. Gas lighting had replaced oil lamps in 1907 and these in turn were superseded by electricity in 1925. In 1919 the 250th anniversary of the church was marked by an extensive renovation and the tercentenary was celebrated by many events and programmes of work in 1969.

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