History of the Baptist
Church in Dorchester Dorset (1645-2017)

(Also known as 'Dorford Chapel' (1830-1915) Fordington)

© Compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington Feb 2009 (Revised Jan 2013) (Last updated Oct 2017)

Founding of the English Baptist movement
Amsterdam (1611) (1)

'Anabaptists': Long before the English Baptist movement came into being there had been 'Anabaptists' in England. 'Anabaptists' held that infants were not punishable for sin because they had no awareness of good and evil and thus could not yet exercise free will, repent, and accept baptism. Denying the validity of infant baptism, they accepted adult baptism, which was regarded as a second baptism by those outside the group who identified them as 'Anabaptists'. Although there were many differing factions, they should not generally be confused with the Baptists who were to establish a church in London in 1611. From the earliest of days Dorchester had been a place to which non-conformist religious sects gravatated. Although many of these suffered persecution there were many others that surfed the changing political climate such as the Rev John WHITE (1575-1648) who worked tirlessly to create a more Godly community within the existing church of England.

In 1611 the English Baptist movement was founded in Amsterdam by John SMYTH MA (1570?-1612)

His life is covered in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He was an English Puritan in exile from England since 1608, who reformed his church in Holland in 1609 and who died there of tuberculosis in 1612. One of his followers, Thomas HELWYS (1550-1616), drew up 'A Declaration of Faith' in 1611 and isolated in Holland, and desirous to further the cause of his newly discovered religious beliefs, Helwys and his group returned to England, probably in the winter of 1612–13, to form the first Baptist Church in England in Newgate Street (one authority says in Spitlefields). His life is also covered in the Dictionary so I will not repeat it here.

This however was the origin of the General Baptist denomination. They gained their name because they believed with the followers of the Dutch theologin Jacobus Arminius, that Christ died for all men. They therefore believed in 'general redemption' from their first beginings. They repudiated infant baptism and Calvinistic predestination, and affirmed the Armenian view of individual responsibility for the salvation of one's soul.

In 1633 A church of independents broke away and formed the first Calvinistic or Particular Baptist Church in Southwark. They believed that Christ died only for the elect, but they too rejected infant baptism and shared a very similar position on many aspects of the doctrine of the church to the General Baptists.

In 1640 The first local Baptist Association was founded in Bristol.

In 1644 A Confession of Faith was published by the Particular Baptists. This was a theological agreement, but not an organisational conjunction, between the General and Particular churches. They adopted baptism by immersion, and most Baptist churches admitted only those who had been so baptised. the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire churches, influenced by John Bunyan, were the chief exceptions to this rule.

1642-1651 - The English Civil War was essentially a dispute between Parliament and King for ultimate sovereignty over the affairs of the nation. However there was a strong religious undercurrent to the dispute as on the one hand the Crown drew its support from Roman Catholics and the strong Anglo Catholic wing of the Church of England. Whilst, on the other hand, Parliament was greatly influenced by the new Dissenting churches, the Presbyterians, the Baptists and the Independents. Although few in number Baptists were to hold a large number of important posts in Cromwell's new army and Government.
    Colonel Denzil HOLLES (1598-1680) the younger son of the Earl of Clare who later became Lord Holles of Ifield lived in Dorchester and is buried in St Peters church where there is an impressive memorial tablet to him. He was imprisoned by the King in 1629 for dissent in Parliament but released in 1630 when he was banished from London. Paying his fine in 1637/8 he was subsequently elected MP for Dorchester for both the Short and Long Parliaments of 1640 and was one of the chief opponents to Charles attempt to raise a tax through ship money without the consent of Parliament. According to Laud he was now "one of the great leading men in the House of Commons," and in Clarendon's opinion he was "a man of more accomplished parts than any of his party" and of most authority.

    The King believed that Puritans (or Dissenters) encouraged by five vociferous members of the House of Commons, John Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, Arthur Haselrig and William Strode along with Viscount Mandeville (the future Earl of Manchester) who sat in the House of Lords, had encouraged the Scots to invade England in the recent Bishops' Wars and that they were intent on turning the London mob against him. When rumours reached the court that they were also planning to impeach the Queen for alleged involvement in Catholic plots, Charles decided to arrest them for treason. On Tuesday, 4 January 1642, the King entered the House of Commons to seize the five members but forewarned they were absent. After his failure to capture the five members and fearing for his family's lives, Charles left London for Oxford and the Country descended into Civil War.

    Denzil Holles therefore, although not a Baptist himself, was from the outset at the heart of the Parliamentary cause and later served in the Parliamentary Army having command of a Regiment at Edghill (Oct 1642) and Brentford (Nov 1642). Within his command was an Anabaptist trooper called William ALLEN.

    William ALLEN was a typical example of the growing influence of Baptists at this time. A mere trooper at the outbreak of war, a feltmaker from Warwickshire, he served in Essex's Army under Denzil HOLLES. They were defeated at Brentford and he was one of 500 prisoners taken that day. After seven days of captivity he was condemned with seventeen others to be hanged, joining others that had been tried. When it came time to carry out execution every tenth man was drawn out to be hanged and William ALLEN was lucky, being dismissed with the remaining survivors. He was wounded at the first battle of Newbury (Sep 1643) , and again at Henley (May 1644) gaining all the time the respect of his comrades and superiors.

Founding of the 1st Baptist church
In Dorchester (1645) (2)

In July 1644 Parliamentary Commanders won a decisive victory at the Battle of Marsden Moor in which Cromwell played a prominent part leading to his ascendancy. Simultaneously, Essex pursued his campaign to conquer the West Country coming to Dorchester. The baptist Church in Dorchester has long maintained that William ALLEN is recorded as having preached somewhere in the town and that the church dates its earliest origins to this event. It's easy to see how this would have occurred. Denzil Holles was held in high regard in Dorchester being one of its most prominent citizens and William Allen by now had his own growing reputation and it was standard practice for the Religious amongst the Army to preach wherever they went. As far as I can see William Allen was described as an Annabaptist at this date but this was not a strict term during the war, he clearly converted to become a true Baptist and we are dealing with views often expressed well after the event. There can be no doubt however that the arrival of the Parliamentarian Army in Dorchester stimulated religious fervour and before the Earl of Essex moved on he was arguably at his finest hour. The climate was right, and I have no doubt that this led directly to the formation of a Baptist Church in Dorchester as within a few years we know it was to become strong enough to actually host a convention.

Military movement however soon took the Army and William Allen into Devon but before we move on we need to cover another Parliamentarian who was with the Army in the shape of John VERNON. In 1644 the very year they arrived at Dorchester he published a pamphlet called "The young horseman or the honest plain-dealing Cavalier". This was intended to bring 2 years of experience of war in the cavalry as an update to existing Military instructions. The only known cuirassier units to see action in the Civil War were the bodyguard troop of the Earl of Essex and the regiment of Sir Arthur Haslefrigge. Both William Allen and John Vernon moved with the Army and whilst they were in Devon they married two daughters of James HUISH Esq of Sidbury(23).

Essex suffered a major defeat at Lostwithial in September 1644 which effectively ended his career and opened the door for Cromwell to establish the New Model Army in 1645. Both William Allen and John Vernon were just the sort of dedicated religious soldiers Cromwell was looking for and they continued to gain influence.

In 1651 William ALLEN was appointed Adjutant General of Cromwell's Army in Ireland and John VERNON Quartermaster General. More than once William Allen's name appears in Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell. To Carlyle, Adjutant-General Allen was "a most authentic, earnest man . . . a strenuous Anabaptist . . . a rugged, truehearted, not easily governable man; given to Fifth Monarchy and other notions, though with a strong head to control them." When Cromwell dissolved the Barebones Parliament in Dec 1653 and made himself Lord Protector there is no doubt that it did not go down well with those of firm republican ideals. Even among those who favoured Fifth Monarchy views there were wide differences of approach and it is quite possible that the views of individuals may from time to time have flucuated considerably. There is some evidence to believe that both John Vernon and William Allen who were now powerful army officers in Ireland (Allen had become a Baptist by, at latest January 1652) may have shared Fifth Monarchy views and they were certainly strong republicans. Allen was personally fond of Cromwell but toward the end of 1654 he returned to England for an interview with him at which he seems to have made plain his hostility to the institution of the protectorate and angered Cromwell. Although in the autumn of 1655 he returned to Ireland, in December 1656 he and Vernon resigned their commissions and returned to England. In the meantime events at Dorchester were progressing.

In 1655 the celebrated Baptist Henry JESSEY, visited the congregation at Dorchester, together with many others in the West of England.(3 & 6)
    Henry JESSE MA (1601-1663) Born in West Rounton, Yorkshire on 3rd Sep 1601 the son of David JESSEY who had been rector of Rounton since 1574. He matriculated at St Johns College Cambridge in 1619 and converted to puritan principals the following September and was awarded his BA in 1623 and MA in 1626. In 1627 he was ordained a priest at Llandaff in Wales and in June 1626 he was licenced to preach serving his curacy at Assington. He studied medicine but in 1633 was appointed curate of Aughton in Yorkshire where the vicar William Alder had been deprived for nonconformity. The following year Jessey was himself ejected for removing a crucifix and refusing to practice ceremonies demanded by the prayer book.

    His subsequent career and persecution can be found in the Dictionary of National Biography but after finding refuge for a time as Chaplain to Sir Matthew Boynton of Barmston, near Bridlington, Yorkshire he was appointed as an Independent pastor at St George, Southwark, 1645-6. Jessey remained unconvinced of the merits of believers' baptism but came to believe that sprinkling or pouring was a mere modern invention, and that the proper form was immersion. For many months he baptized infants by this means and according to 'The English Baptists of the 17th Century' published by the Baptist Historical Society, his church was predominately Baptist but continued to include members who had only been baptised as infants. By 1650 Jessy's church was in Swan Alley Coleman street a famous centre of radicals and of many conventicles. Here Jessey preached on Sunday afternoons with George Barrett as his assistant, but he was also from 1651 a weekday lecturer at All Hallows-the-Great, Thames Street. In 1650 Jessey visited other open membership Independent churches in the north-east. He was also in touch with churches in the west of England which had been influenced by another open membership Baptist, John Tombes.

    Jessey became acquainted with the open membership church at Broadmead in Bristol where he seems to have baptized its pastor, Thomas Erwin, and its ruling elder Robert Purnell in 1654, and helped to steady them during the offensive of the Quakers in the city which followed shortly afterwards. In 1655, on the suggestion of the Bristol church, he visited Wells, Cirencester, Somerton, Chard, Taunton, Honiton, Exeter, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Lyme, Weymouth, Dorchester, Southampton, and Chichester. He died September 4th 1663 and was buried in Bunhill Fields.
Also In 1655 Mr George Fox (1624-1691) (7) the founder of the Quakers left London via Surrey and traveled to Dorchester. His journal has survived and gives the following account which I have quoted in full as it gives an insight into the Baptist church in Dorchester at that time:
    "We went to Dorchester, and alighted at an Inn, a Baptist's house; we sent into town to the Baptists to let us have their meeting-house; to meet in, and to invite the sober people to the meeting; but they denied it us. We sent to them again to know why they would deny us their meeting house; so the thing was noised in the town. Then we sent them word, if they would not let us come to their house; they, or any people that feared God, might come to our Inn if they pleased. they were in a great rage; and their teacher and many of them came up. and slapped their Bibles on the table".

    "I asked them why they were so angry; were they angry with the Bible? But they fell into a discourse about their water-baptism. I asked them whether they could say they were sent of God to baptize people, as John was; and whether they had the same Spirit and power that the apostles had? They said they had not. Then I asked them how many powers there are; whether there are any more than the power of God and the power of the devil? They said there was not any other power than those two. Then I said 'If you have not the power of God that the apostles had, then you act by the power of the devil". Many sober people were present, who said they have thrown themselves on their backs'. Many substantial people were convinced that night; a precious service we had there for the Lord, and his power came over all. Next morning, as we were passing away (on the road to Weymouth), The Baptists, being in a rage, began to shake the dust off their feet after us. "What said I 'in the power of darkness! We who are in the power of God, shake off the dust of our feet against you".
By May 1658 the church in Dorchester was strong enough to host the annual meeting of the Western Baptist Association attended by over 300 delegates(4). Both William ALLEN and John VERNON attended. The towns governors however were distinctly unfriendly, the current mayor of Dorchester, Phillip Stansby , refusing to let the Baptists meet in any of the churches, so they had to use the George Inn instead, where their discussions were observed by a government spy.
    The spies account is the only record that we have of this meeting. They reported that the evening after their arrival for the gathering 'a great contest arose about their joining with the Fifth Monarchy men but for that time not concluded by reasons of Captain Kiffin's opposing it'. Kiffin was a Captain in the London trained bands and a known supporter of Cromwell but the spies thought appears to have been that Allen and Vernon were arguing for the Fifth Monarchy men. Ever since William Allen's interview with Cromwell he and Vernon were marked out as men to watch which if anything was reinforced by their joint resignations. In all likelyhood therefore the reason there were Government spies present had as much to do with their attendance as the convention itself. Whether the spies interpretation was right or not is another matter, for even their information that this was the issue debated was clearly secondhand. Just before the restoration in September 1659 however Vernon and Allen joined with a number of others in publishing 'An Essay toward settlement upon a sure foundation', which denounced government by a single person, demanded the repentance of those who had supported it in the past and sought a number of legal and electorial reforms. In April 1661 both men were exciled.

In 1659 George FOX paid a second visit to Dorchester. The entry in his journal records the meeting he had there although he does not appear to have encountered the Baptists on that occasion:-

    "At Dorchester we had a great meeting in the evening at our inn, which many soldiers attended, and were pretty civil. But the constables and officers of the town came, under pressure to look for a Jesuit, whose head (they said) was shaved; and they would have all put off their hats, or they would take them off, to look for the Jesuit's shaven crown. So they took off my hat (for I was the man they aimed at), and looked very narrowly, but not finding any bald or shaven place on my head they went away with shame; and the soldiers and other sober people were greatly offended with them. But it was a good service for the Lord, and all things wrought together for good; we had a fine meeting, and people were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ, their teacher who had bought them and would reconcile them to God."

In 1660 - The Restoration of the Monarchy led to a period of persecution of Dissenters throughout the country and once again Dorchester found itself at the center of political events. In 1662 all the Ministers of the 4 main churches in Dorchester were ejected from their livings. Out went Rev George HAMMOND (1620-1705) the Rector of Holy Trinity and St Peters, out went Joshua CHURCHILL (1627-1693/4) the Vicar of St Georges Church at Fordington as did the Rev William BENN (1600-1680) the Rector of All Saints Church.
    With such a direct attack on all the main churches there is no doubt that the Baptists and other non conformists would have gone as well. In many ways this was counterproductive as parishioners held firmly to their views and supported all these ministers in their hour of need as is evidenced by the many bequests of money left to them during this period. As a direct result of his ejection the Rev William BENN went on to found the Presbyterian Chapel in Pease Lane assisted by Rev Joshua Churchill who took over from Benn when he died in 1680. The fact that Benn was able to do so was due in no small measure to the continued support given to non-conformists by Denzil Holles who later allowed Benn to use the Priory (his home) as a meeting place for his growing congregation.

    The seriousness of the situation however was described by David Underdown in his book 'Fire From Heaven' about Dorchester at this time. He states:- "In September 1665 the King came to Dorchester. He was greeted with loyal enthusiasm: the bells were rung and the Corporation spent freely for his entertainment. The Court was at Salisbury, having been driven out of London by the plague, and Charles took the opportunity to make a leisurely tour through Dorset, which he had not seen since his escape after Worcester. But his visit to Dorchester had a more politically symbolic purpose. While in the town the King ceremonially gave the royal assent to an act recently passed by Parliament. The measure had been carefully chosen as one conveying an important message for Dorchester. It is known to history as the 'Five Mile Act' because it prohibited nonconformist ministers who would not swear the oath on nonresistance from living within five miles of any corporate town, or any place where they had previously held a living. The act was to prove something of a paper tiger, but in the short run it led to a swift clerical exodus from Dorchester and many other places".
In 1666 - The church's minister of Sherborne, Mr. Francis BAMFIELD, was from about 1666 imprisoned for nine years in Dorchester prison along with six other ministers (6) . One of these was another Baptist John MILLER who had possessed great wealth but been ruined by fines and penalties(24) . Bamfield however formed a church within the prison and preached every morning in the yard listened to by people who gathered outside the prison walls. He suffered greatly and eventually died in Newgate prison, London, one of a large number of Baptist Ministers who died in this way.
    The non conformist minister Francis Bampfield (Bampfylde) (1616-1663/4) was the 13th of 15 children of John Bampfield (1586-) of Poltimore in Devon by his wife Elizabeth Drake. His grandfather was Sir Amias Bampfield (1560-1625/6) the Sheriff of Devon. Francis according to the Oxford Alumni was educated at Wadham Hall College Oxford where he matriculated on 16th May 1634 at the age of 18.(Note:- DNB say 1631 aged 16?) He was awarded his BA there 4th July 1635, and his MA 7th July 1638. He was appointed Rector of Rampisham in Dorset in 1640 and spent his income from his living of £100pa on his parishioners, supplying his own wants from a small private income;

    He was elected canon of Exeter in 1641 and collated to a prebend in Exeter Cathedral in which he was reinstated at the restoration. A conviction that the church was in urgent need of reform he fell out with his parishioners and after much solicitation accepted in 1653 the less valuable living at Sherborne; Here he remained until the Act of Uniformity forced his ejection in 1662; In September of that year he was arrested at home and compelled to find sureties for his good behaviour. Soon afterwards he was again arrested and detained for nearly nine years in Dorchester Gaol where he continued to preach nearly every day forming a church, but whether that which he had formed in the goal was part of the one of the same faith in the town is now not known. At his discharge in 1675 he traveled through several counties ending up living in London.

    He preached at his home for a time before in March 1676 forming a Sabbararian Baptist church which met in Pinner Hall. Here he met with the usual disturbances, the congregation being often broken up by the officers of miss-called justice. On February 17th, 1683, while he was preaching, a constable entered and interrupted him. "I have a warrant from the Lord Mayor to disturb your meeting," said the constable. "I have a warrant from Jesus Christ to go on," replied the preacher, and was proceeding with his discourse, when he was seized and taken, with six of his brethren, to the Lord Mayor, who fined them ten pounds each. Nevertheless, they met again in the afternoon, but were compelled to separate, on which they retired to Mr. Bampfield's residence, where he finished the exercises of the day. That day week he was apprehended once more, and committed to Newgate. At the next Quarter Sessions he and several others were placed at the bar, and the oath of allegiance was tendered to them. They declined to take it, because it was understood to comprise an obligation to conform to the Church of England, to which they could not bind themselves; whereupon the Recorder passed sentence to this effect: -- "That they were out of the protection of the King’s majesty; that all their goods and chattels were forfeited; and that they were to remain in jail during their lives, or during the King's pleasure." It was not "the King's pleasure" to release them. Death in jail was a common thing during the reigns of Charles II and James II. Mr. Bampfield died in Newgate, February 16th, 1684, being in the seventieth year of his age.

    Wood the historian says of him "that he was first a churchman, then a presbyterian afterwards and independent, an anabaptist, and at length almost a complete jew. He died in Newgate prison 16 Feb 1663/64

1665-1670 Throughout this period the Baptists continued to suffer persecution. A baptist conventicle at Fordington for example, some of whose members were Dorchester people, was broken up by soldiers in March 1665. Four years later there were said to be two hundred dissenters in Fordington, that number presumably including members of Benn's and Churchill's congregation as well as Baptists. Governed as it was by Anglican county magistrates, Fordington was a more dangerous place for nonconformists than Dorchester: In 1670 the JP Robert Williams levied fines totaling over sixteen pounds from people caught at a conventicle there. But juries were more inclined to be sympathetic. When Williams brought another charge against members of the Fordington conventicle they were acquitted at Bridport Sessions. (5)

1685 - The Bloody Assizes at Dorchester. Another indication of the level of persecution at this time was the Bloody Assizes that were held at Dorchester by Judge Jeffries and must have been a fearsome event for practising Baptists in the town and surrounding area to witness at first hand.

    When Charles II was succeeded by his brother James II, an avowed Roman Catholic, on 6th Feb 1685 many dissenters reached a point of desperation. As a result there was considerable support that June among many dissenters, particularly in the West Country, for the ill conceived attempt by the Duke of Monmouth to capture the throne. A number of prominent Baptists were involved among the rebels. For example after the failure of the rebellion Sampson LARKE the Calvinistic Baptist of Lyme Regis was executed at Lyme.

    To deal with the immediate aftermath of the rebellion an Assizes were held at Dorchester presided over by the infamous Judge Jeffries (1645-1689). The house he stayed at during the trial still exists today in Dorchester High street. The prisoners were transferred from Salisbury and Winchester gaols and according to John Hutchins in his The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset 30 were tried in 3rd Sep 1685 and 29 found guilty, and on the following day 292 found guilty and 80 ordered for execution.

1689 Under William III the Act of Toleration ends persecution.

Desperate as the plight on non-conformists seemed, help was at hand, and from an utterly unexpected source. In the spring of 1686 the new King himself reversed his earlier policy and turned from supporting the Church of England towards easing the lot of dissenters. On 10th March he issued a general pardon freeing from gaol all those of his subjects that had been imprisoned on grounds of religion. Whilst persecution continued from the Church of England and its many supporters the change in the wind was made clear and in November the King's protection was made more generally effective through the establishment of a Licence Office. There for fifty shillings a licence could be purchased to protect a whole family from all legal proceedings for their nonconformity, and as a result open dissent gradually increased. In 1689 the Act of Toleration cemented protection in law allowing Protestant Dissenters other than Unitarians to engage in organised public worship as long as their meeting places were registered and they were organised separately. The Particular Baptists then grew to become more numerous than their General Baptist brethren.

From the year 1689 to 1692 Mr Thomas COX was the pastor of the Baptist congregation at Dorchester and represented it in each of the 3 years at the general assembly in London (6). Little is known of its subsequent history as all the papers relating to this congregation were lost; but it is certain that the Baptists had for many years a small chapel here, which was converted into a beer store, and a burial ground, then used for gardens. Long after the Baptist congregation had declined the few remaining members continued to have a sermon preached once a year.

18th Century it is clear from the Will of Caleb BROOKS who died in 1730 that prior to 1709 when his father wrote his Will that baptists had been meeting on a regular basis in the High Street in All Saints Parish and were still doing so in 1730:-
    "Whereas Richard BROOKS deceased my late father by his will and Testament in writing duly proved did (among other legacies) give unto Elizabeth BROOKS my late mother since also deceased an income to the said Caleb BROOKS of an Annual Rent of Twenty Shillings issuing out of a certain Meeting House situate in the parish of All Saints within the Borough of Dorchester aforesaid in the North side of the said High East Street where divers persons (under the denomination of Baptists) then did and yet do usually convene in exercise of their Religion To which said Rent I now stand lawfully entitled for the remainder of a certain term of one thousand years now I do hereby give grant and assign over unto my said son Caleb BROOKS the said yearly Rent of twenty shillings and all my right title and claim thereto--"

Interestingly the BROOK family were anabaptists as Caleb BROOKS was the brother of the infamous Mary CHANNING (1687-1705/6) who was executed at Mambury rings for the murder of her husband.

There is also reference in The Baptist Magazine issued in 1829 to "When the Countess of Huntingdon's ministers first visited Dorchester, they were accommodated by the Baptists with the use of their chapel". In consulting their parish register they seem to have only operated in Dorchester between 1822 and 1826.

DORFORD Baptist Chapel - Fordington (1830-1915)
(See above for earlier history of the Baptist church in Dorchester)

The Old Dorford Baptist Chapel (1830-1915)

Foundation 1830: In the 19th Century membership of the Baptist church recovered to such an extent that they were able to build a new Chapel at Fordington in 1830 which they named 'DORFORD' . It still stands today at the bottom of High East street by the side of the river Frome, adjoining Fordington. It was built in 1830, and opened for divine worship, on 3rd June, on which occasion Mr. Stephen SINCOX was ordained pastor of the congregation (6). The name DORFORD is a combination of the words (Dorchester) and (Fordington) by which name many local people still identify it. The name is derived from the fact that it sits on the old boundary between Fordington and All Saints Parish. in Dorchester.

Location:: Because of its location the address over the years seems to have varied between High East Street, Fordington High Street, and Durngate Street or Durngate Lane. We have access to several maps one for 1771 on this site, one for 1890 on the British history website and the 1901 Ordnance Survey Map, again on this site. The 1771 Map shows the layout prior to the construction of the Chapel in 1830 and the 1890 map after it was built from which its fairly clear that it replaced an existing building. It is actually situated just round the corner after the end of High East Street before it becomes the London Road (re-named East Parade on the 1901 map). In 1771 it was a real junction of roads with 'Durn' or Durngate Lane [marked 'E' on the 1771 map]. Although not clear I think at this date that Durngate Lane extended right round the corner to join Fordington High street. Durngate Lane was renamed Durngate Street by 1852 and the turn of the street became Salisbury Street extending past the end of the re-named Durngate Street to join Salisbury Walks. The Chapel actually fronts onto the start of Fordington High Street ( See picture 7 taken in 2012). As such it was never properly in High East Street. There was no accommodation within the Chapel so Ministers lived nearby, some of them in Durngate Street.  Later in the 19th century a new roof was built with the eaves at a lower level, small gables being formed over the upper windows.

Roberts directory of 1839 and Pigots' of 1844 confirm that apart from Baptists there were also chapels in Dorchester for the Wesleyans, Independents, and Unitarians. Several local Baptist churches were founded during the Victorian era, namely Buckland Newton (1864), Winterbourne Abbas (1872) and Piddletrenthide (1875). Sadly all are now closed.

Closure 1915: When they moved to a better and larger church at the top of town in 1915 the building was sold and renamed Kingdom Hall. It was Grade II listed by English Heritage on 8th May 1975 and today (2013) it houses the 'Dorset Teddy Bear Museum' in one part and the 'Terracotta Warriors Museum' in the rest of it.

Baptists tended to refer to Pastor but both terms are used frequently throughout historical documentation
    Mr Stephen SINCOX (1799 - 1873) (Pastor of Dorford 1830-1852) (9)
    He was born at Shaldon in Devon circa 1799 and educated at the Bristol Academy(10) run by the Baptist Education Society. He married Ann Louisa CHASE (1791-1875) at Ross-on-Wye in Hereford on 25th September 1827. She was a native of Maldon in Essex. After arrival as Baptist Minister in Dorchester in 1830 they lived in Back South Street Dorchester and had 2 children born in Dorchester as shown below.
      (1) Edward Stephen SINCOX (11) born on 21st March 1831 he became a Chemist and lived at Shirley then in the County of Southampton.
      (2) Louisa SINCOX (12) born on 15th Dec 1832. She married by Licence on 31st Oct 1854 at St George Bloomsbury in London to a farmer Frederick Cardinal PAYNE from Great Totham in Essex. Louisa's address at the date of her marriage was given as 50 Hunter street London and her mother signed as one of the witnesses. They raised a family at Great Totham

    Stephen then seems to have had a period of time away from Dorchester with his family as he is shown in the 1841 Census as staying at the Horsefair Cherville Street Romsey Infra in Hampshire. He may have been attending the local Baptist Chapel in Bell Street in Romsey but I have not found any direct evidence to enlighten us. The Baptist Magazine for 1841 has survived and on page 354 of Volume 33 there is reference to the Mr C EVANS (1781-1864) having resigned the pastoral charge of the church assembling ar Dorford Chapel in Dorchester. I have not been able to find out anything further about him.

    Stephen SINCOX certainly returned to Dorchester as there is reference to him in the 13 June 1846 edition of the Sherborne Mercury preaching at the Dorcford Chapel Sunday school and the 1849 Post Office Directory for example records him as still being "The Baptist Minister of Dorford Chapel" in Dorchester and the 1851 Census shows him still living close to the chapel in Durngate Lane Dorchester. On the 5th June 1852 several newspapers reported "The anniversary of the opening of the Dorchester baptist chapel will be celebrated on Tuesday next by two special services. A tea meeting will take place in a large barn, kindly lent for the occasion, after which several gentlemen are expected to address the company" (13) This seems to have been the handover point to the next Minister Mr George Kerry and by 1861 Stephen is shown as living with his bachelor son at Millbrook South Stoneham in Hampshire. Stephen died in the 1st quarter of 1873 and his wife in the 1st quarter of 1875 at South Stoneham.

    Mr George KERRY (1826 -1906) (Pastor of Dorford 1852-1856) (14)
    George Kerry was previously Pastor at fishponds near Bristol and accepted an invitation to become pastor of Dorford in April 1852. He married in the Baptist Chapel at Wellington Square at Hastings in Sussex on 11th Oct 1853 to Ann SKINNER (1819-1894) a native of the town, and they had six children. The first child was Anne Sophia KERRY born 1st qtr 1855 at Dorchester. By the time the second was born (Edith Jane KERRY 3rd qtr 1856) they had left Dorchester as her birth is registered at the GRO in Hastings Sussex.

    George Kerry became a Missionary and was ordained by the Missionary Society as such 26 August 1856 at Hastings. He traveled to India arriving in Calcutta in January 1857 and was posted on arrival to Howrath as the existing pastor Mr Morgan returned to England. He had a son born there (John George KERRY) circa 1859; He was the Acting Pastor at Lall Bazaar Church Calcutta from 24 Jan 1861 - 1 Dec 1863. He was given charge of the Entally Institution for several years and also supervision of the City Mission. In 1880 he was appointed the Indian Secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society, which office he held till his retirement from the Mission in 1897. Through the Press and by appeals to the Government he rendered great service to the Native Christians and the rural population of Bengal in times of distress and oppression. His wife Ann was also active in the church and for several years prior to her death devoted herself to the work of looking after the native Christian girls and women at Entally.

    On 11th January 1894 Ann died at Calcutta and was buried in the Lower Circular Road Cemetery. He remarried to Mary Jane COMPSTON in 1895 at Serampore in India and when 70 returned to England where he settled and served the Society until his death in December 1906 at the age of 80

    Mr Josiah MILLER (1832 - 1880) (Pastor of Dorford 1856-1860) (15)
    Born at Putney in Surrey on 8th April 1832 the son of Revd Edward MILLER (died 1857). When he was thirteen he was articled to an engineering surveyor at Westminster, but gave up his articles to enter Highbury College, where he studied for the Congregational ministry. He graduated BA with first-class honours in 1853 and MA in 1855 at the London University. He was appointed pastor at Dorford in Dorchester from 1855 a position he retained until 1860. One of the marriages he carried out at the Baptist Chapel was advertised in Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian on 22nd March 1858 between Thomas GALLOP a builder and Susan EDWARDS(16). He then served at the Baptist Chapel at Long Sutton Lincolnshire (1860-1868). Whilst there in 1861 he married Harriette Anne the eldest daughter of HM Aldridge of Poole in Dorset and had at least 2 sons. In 1868 he was appointed minister at Newark in Nottinghamshire where he stayed until 1872 when he became secretary of the British Society for the propagation of the Gospel among Jews. He later succeeded the Rev J Robinson as secretary of the London Mission. He died at 77 Fortress Road on 22nd Dec 1880 and was buried at Abney Park

[Note:- Information regarding the Chapel and its Pastors/Ministers during period 1861-1915 is fragmentary and I would be grateful for any addition information. Those facts that I know about are listed below to help aid further research.]

    1861 - Letter from Dorford Baptist Church acknowledging the congratulations sent by the Congregational church, on appointing a new Baptist pastor held but not viewed at DHC Ref NP5/DC/3/1 1861
    1861 - Census For Dorchester St Peters South street shows a Baptist Minister called Mr. J HILL aged 56 born London Middlesex as a visitor. The Census for Fordington includes an entry under 'near the Court House ' for a Frederick PERKINS (1808-1892) aged 52 born St Lukes Middlesex(17), a Baptist Minister 'now without a church', living with his daughter Matilda Mary Ann Perkins aged 15 born Leatherhead Surrey. The Surman index suggests that he was a graduate of Cheshunt in 1830 - in Reading in 1839. In the 1851 census Frederick Perkins was living in Battle Sussex with his wife Maria (born Birmingham) & 5 children Frederick born 1849 Thanet? Alfred 1850 Matlock Maria 1852 Sussex worthing William H 1854 and Matilda Mary Ann both born Leatherhead Surrey: By 1871 he had become the Minister at the baptist Chapel in Keysoe Bedfordshire so its not clear what his role was in Fordington. He died 22nd July 1892 at Keysoe Bedfordshire.
    1865 - Mr Edward MERRIMAN (1821-1870) (Pastor of Dorford in 1865?-1869) (18)
    Born in Hackney Middlesex; In 1851 an unmarried Baptist Minister, a lodger at Redruth Cornwall aged 30. Resident in 1861 at All Saints parish St Marylebone London with wife Emily (b1826 Surrey) & 3 children (1) Emma Harding b. Barnstable district 1855, d. Bromley Kent aged 27 ; (2) Henrietta Elizabeth 1857 (3) Lewis Edward (1861-1943) born St Johns Wood London. Lewis married to Helen J Roberts and they had a daughter Marie M born in France. He died at the age of 82 in 1943 in the district of Croydon. there is a nrewspaper report in te Western Gazette for Friday 21st May 1869 saying that the Rev Edward Merriman had resigned his pastorate at Dorford Baptist Church because of ill health. The Rev Edward Merriman died at 2 Morden-villas Russell Street in Reading Berkshire on 13th January 1870 aged 48. I have not however been able to locate anything about his career in the church or his term of office at Dorford.
    1875-1888 - Mr Joseph HARRINGTON (1848-1927)(22) (Pastor of Dorford pre 1875? - 1887?)

    He was born on 23 Jan 1848 & baptised at Broadwater Worthing Sussex the son of Joseph Humphrey HARRINGTON by his wife Mary Amelia STARTIN. A graduate of Bristol Baptist College in 1862 he is said to have been at Stoke Devonport in 1873: He married Kezia HARMAN (1859-1921) at Poole in Dorset the daughter of Joseph & Ann HARMAN in 2nd qtr 1879 at Poole: He carried out a marriage in the Dorford Chapel in Dorchester in 1875 (listed below) and his son George Alfred was born whilst he was in Dorchester in 1887. This tenure seems to overlap with that of Robert Ridgeway below. He is described in the 1901 Census as a Baptist Minister and Farmer.

    They had following children (1) Lydia Mary b. Boscombe Hants c1881 (2) William Joseph b.Boscombe Hants c1885 (3 ) Annie Helen b. Boscombe c1887 (4) George Alfred Dorchester Dorset (1887-1960) (5) Susie Beatrice b. 3rd qtr 1889 Manorbier Pembrokeshire Wales, buried there 1st qtr 1891 (6) Mary Amelia born and buried 4th qtr 1892 at Manorbier (7) Reginald Humphrey b. Manorbier Pembrokeshire Wales c1894 (8) Alice Adelaide b. Manorbier 1896 (9) Grace Victoria b. Manorbier 1897 (10) Albert E Startin b. Manorbier 1900 (11) Rhoda May b. Manorbier c.Feb 1901.

    Kezia died at the age of 63 at the Tudor Lodge at Manorbier in 1921 and Joseph died on 21st June 1927 leaving an estate of £1,276.10s.

    Photograph by kind permission of © Ruth Roberts: The Harrington Family (apparently this photo and inscription are still on view in the Lodge) Back row L-R –Will Harrington, Lydia Harrington, George Harrington, Lena Harrington, Reg Harrington, Alice Harrington. Front row L-R – Grace Harrington, Mrs Harrington, Rhoda Harrington, Rev’d Joseph Harrington, Bert Harrington.
    1881-1889 - Mr Robert Ridgeway ALBIN (1838-aft.1910) (Pastor of Dorford 1881-1884) (19)
    He was baptised on 27th July 1837 in St Peters Southport Liverpool the son of Leonard & Charlotte ALBIN, originally an Inspector of the Constabulary (1841) and later a wine merchant (1861) by his wife Charlotte. Robert also joined the Police serving as a Constable at Stones End Greenwich. On 13th Oct 1861 he married by Banns to Agnes BOORMAN (born circa 1841 at Harrietsham in Kent the daughter of a wheelwright John BOORMAN) at St George the Martyr church in Southwark. They had a daughter and Agnes Ruth born at Depford, baptised at St James Church Hatcham on 18th May 1862 and another Annie Eliza baptised at Hatcham on 17th July 1863. He retired from the Police Force circa 1874 to become a Baptist Minister & they adopted a young girl Ethel Woodlhouse (born in 1880 in Middlesex) before bringing his wife and 2 children to Fordington to serve as the Minister at Dorford. I have not however been able to locate anything else about him after his arrival until he emigrated to the United States in 1884. In the 1900 US Census he was living at ED 167 Shenandoah, borough ward 3, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania with his wife Agnes and a 20 year old daughter Esthell Alpin. By the time of the 1910 US Census he had moved to live at Woodstown Salem New Jersey where he is shown to be aged 72 with his wife Agnes aged 70.

    1889 - Mr Robert Bone CLARE (1828-1914) (Pastor of Dorford circa 1890 until between 1895 and 1901)(20)
    Born in Grimsone in Norfolk the son of a gardener William CLARE by his wife Amy, he grew up in Grimstone near the Wash and followed his father to become a gardener. He was to marry 4 times. The first was to a school mistress Elizabeth MATTHEWS a native of Swaffam who was working at the nearby school of Congham whom he married in the 1st quarter of 1851. She had a son they named Robert E CLARE born at Congham in 1852. Elizabeth died there however in the 2nd qtr 1854. His 2nd marriage was to Sarah BRIGGS (b.1834) a native of Herringfleet in Suffolk and they married at Mutford in Suffolk in 3rd qtr 1855. They lived in St Johns Parish Margate where Robert worked in the town infirmary and Sarah produced at least 3 more children for him (Harriet A circa 1857; Emma M circa 1859 and Frank circa 1864) . Sarah must have sickened as they returned to Norwich where she died at the age of 34 in 4th qtr 1867. His 3rd marriage was to Harriet GOOCH (b. 1845) in 1st qtr 1869 at Norwich and she gave birth to another child they named Emma born at at Norwich in 1871 by which time he was already a Baptist Minister. He may then have been appointed to a Baptist Chapel in Devon as a further son Edmund G CLARE was born at Appledor in Devon. By 1881 however he had moved again being resident in Baptist street in Watchet Somerset with Harriet and their 2 children by her. Harriet also died in 4th qtr 1887 in the district of Wilton Somerset. His final marriage was to Louisa Wansborough POLE (b.1830) also in Wilton Somerset in the 4th qtr 1889. Kelly's Directory for that year shows the Dorford Chapel in Dorchester to have ''No Minister' so it looks like Robert was appointed shortly thereafter as the Minister as he and Louisa are shown as resident at Fordington in 1 Gordon Terrace in the 1891 Census together with his 2 children by Harriet. In Kelly's Directory for 1895 he is still shown as being the Minister of the Chapel but by 1901 he has retired to live at 2 Seldown Terrace in Longfleet now aged 72 with Louisa who is 71. A long and hopefully happy retirement saw them move again by 1911 to live at 11 Selbourne Place, Minehead in Somerset, before Robert died there on 25th January 1914 at the age of 86. His estate amounted to the princely sum of just £10.10s.

    1893 The 70th Annual Meetings of the Western Baptist Association commenced at Dorchester on Monday and continued on Wednesday. Mr TS Penny of Taunton is the president elect; the retiring president the Rev A MacDonald of Chard. The proceedings began with a luncheon given by the Pastor and deacons of the local church to the committee who subsequently met for business in the chapel. In the evening a sermon was preached at the Baptist Chapel by the Rev E Francis of Fivehead. The delegates assembled at the Dorford Baptist Chapel on Wednesday morning when the president was introduced and the usual business of the association transacted. Source:-The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (Bristol, England), Saturday, June 17, 1893; Issue 14072

    1904/7 - Rev James SEAGER referred to as Pastor of the Baptist Chapel in Dorchester Source: Western Gazette 19 Feb 1904 Page 8 and 5th July 1907 Page 3:4

Dorford Chapel Registers:

I would like to display in this section photographs of wedding etc that took place at the Chapel
please make contact if you have any photographs or are aware of other marriages baptisms etc
russellmike1946[insert the @ symbol here]

Before 1754 marriages were sometimes performed in meeting houses, the fact of public contract making it lawful. From 1754 to 1837 Baptists could only marry lawfully in a licensed church of England church or chapel so the records of the ceremonies will be in one of the other parish registers. Dorford Chapel was duly licenced for the solemnisation of marriages in 1837 and this was announced in the Gazette Orders in Council of the Houses of Parliament and the Salisbury and Winchester Journal on 18th Sept 1837. Between 1837 & 1840 nearly all Baptist Registers were deposited with the Registrar General, and are now at the National Archives at Kew under references RG4, RG5, and RG8. New Registers were started from 1837. Other archives are at Dr Williams Library in London (formerly the accepted place for registers of non-conformist marriages). The Dorford Baptist Church: registers and papers 1893-2004 are held at the Dorset History center under(NB9)

A register of births was kept as some are known to be at Dr Williams Library. I do not currently have access to any of these registers and only know of the following Births and Marriages mainly from newspaper reports so it would be necessary to order the certificates to be sure of actual day of event.

    21 Mar 1831 - BIRTH: Edward Stephen son of Stephen & Ann Louisa SINCOX Maternal Grandfathers name Edward Chase place of birth Dorchester Dorset Source Dr Williams Library in London and is held in the Dissenting Deputies Registers (1728-1837) [Note:- Also on IGI where refers to RG5/159]

    15 Dec 1832 - BIRTH: Louisa daughter of Stephen & Ann Louisa SINCOX Maternal Grandfathers name Edward Chase place of birth Dorchester Dorset Source Dr Williams Library in London and is held in the Dissenting Deputies Registers (1728-1837) [Note:- Also on the IGI where refers to RG5/159 and film 815951 and index batch C-14622-g]

    27 Jan 1844 - MARRIAGE: At Dorford Chapel Dorchester Mr George ATKINS (brother of Samuel Ralph Atkins see 23 July 1853 below) and Ms Eliza Adria TARZEWELL and GRO 1st qtr 1844 Ref 8/111

    30 Oct 1848 - MARRIAGE: At Dorford Chapel Dorchester Mr William VINCENT to Miss Emma REYNOLD Sources Sherborne mercury 11th Nov 1848 and GRO 4th qtr 1848 Ref 8/151

    Aug 1849 - MARRIAGE : At Dorford Chapel Mr Richard LOCKETT a Harness maker of Piddlehinton to Louisa 4th daughter of Mr SQUIRE Sources Sherborne Mercury dated 18th aug 1849 & GRO 3rd qtr 1849 Ref 8/119 also 1851 Census resident at Piddlehinton Richard born at Dorchester aged 31 louisa aged 37

    23 July 1853 - MARRIAGE : At Dorford Chapel Mr Samuel Ralph ATKINS (brother of Mr George Atkins see 27 Jan 1844 above) and Miss Harriette BUCKLAND Sources:- Salisbury & Winchester Journal dated 23rd July 1853 & GRO 3rd qtr 1853 Ref 5a/609

    03 Aug 1853 - MARRIAGE August 3 at the Baptist Chapel Dorchester by the Rev G Kerry ; Charles GREENING Senior to Mrs [Sarah] SATCHELL of the same place . The united ages this couple ......Sources: Dorset County Chronicle 4th Aug 1853 Page 4 and GRO 1853 3rd qtr Dorchester district Ref 5a 610

    27 Nov 1854: MARRIAGE John BARTER to Elizabeth TAPP Certificate of Marriage located 1854 marriage solemnized at the Dorford Chapel Dorchester Ref 187 27th Nov 1854 between John BARTER aged 25 years a bachelor a dairyman resident at Frome in the Parish of Holy Trinity dorchester father John BARTER Dairyman married Elizabeth TAPP aged 22 years a spinster resident at Bradford Peverell father William TAPP Grocer were married at the Dorford Chapel according to the rites and ceremonies of the Baptists their signatures in the presence of James and Mary GEALL by Rev George KERRY Minister John Petty ALDRIDGE Registrar Source Marriage Certificate on Barter Family website

    22 Mar 1858 MARRIAGE: Mr Thomas GOLLOP to Mrs Susan EDWARDS On the 22nd Inst at the Baptist Chapel Dorchester by the Rev. J MILLER; Mr GALLOP builder and Mrs EDWARDS both of Dorchester were married: Source: Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian (Southampton, England), Saturday, March 27, 1858; pg. 8; Issue 1804 : [Note:- GRO marriages Mar Qtr 1858 Thomas Gallop married Susan Edwards Dorchester District Ref 5a 539]

    28 Jan 1866 MARRIAGE: Jan 28th at thge Baptist Chapel Dorchester by the Rev J Allin Mr Robert PORTER to Miss Mary [B] MITCHELL Source Bridport News 3rd Feb 1866 Page 8 and GRO 1866 1st qtr Dorchester District Ref 5a 568

    06 Feb 1866 MARRIAGE: Feb 6 at the Baptist Church in Dorchester by the Rev J Allen ; Mr Charles BAKER off Cheselbourne to Miss SMITH of Weymouth Sources: Bridport News 24th Feb 1866 Page 8 and GRO 1866 1st qtr Dorchester district Dorset Ref 5a 569 Charles Baker to Elizabeth SMITH.

    1875 - MARRIAGE John HODINOTT and Emily BROWNSEA were married in Dorford Chapel by Rev Joseph HARRINGTON.

    15 Aug 1887 MARRIAGE: Isaiah John, son of John and Elizabeth POOLE married to Jennie ADKINS of Dorchester, at the Dorford Chapel by the Rev. J Scott of Westbourne, 15th August 1887. Source Sue Clayton (New Zealand and GRO 1887 3rd qtr Dorchester Reg district 5a page 597.

    Wedding Day Photograph - probably taken at Dorchester
    Back Row: Annie, Miriam, and Isaiah John POOLE (groom); Henry Boulton Adkins (brides father); William and Rhoda
    Seated Elizabeth, Jennie (bride), Sarah Ann Adkins (mother); John (on the grass) Sarah Ann
    © Picture by kind permission of Cybersuezee 21 Feb 2008
      [Note:- Isaiah John POOLE (1859-1922) was born on 8th Feb 1859 at Poole in Dorset the second of three children of John POOLE (1826-1895) and Elizabeth Child SILVERTHORN (1825-1906). His father was a master carpenter who in 1891 is also recorded as an occasional preacher. Jane (known as Jennie) ADKINS (1861-1888) was born on 3rd Nov 1861 at St Andrews London the eldest child of Henry Boulton ADKINS (1835-1904) a master watchmaker and Sarah Ann ANDERSON (1836-1913) Jennie died at Poole aged 26 on 19th Oct 1888. John remarried at St James Church in Poole to Isabel POOLE (1871-1955) the daughter of Samuel POOLE (1843-1918) & Isabel (known as Belle) WATSON (1849-1909) on 7th Aug 1893 and raised a family of 6 children in Poole]

    22 Mar 1891 - MARRIAGE: Mr Samuel DEMMER to Miss Amelia MITCHELL On the 25th March 1891 at the Baptist Chapel Dorchester; Mr Samuel DEMMER of Dorchester married to Miss Amelia MITCHELL of Winterbourne Abbas. Source The Hampshire Advertiser (Southampton, England), Saturday, March 28, 1891; pg. 4; Issue 4674 also GRO 1st qtr 1891 5a/613 & 1901 Census living Chilmark Wiltshire him 36 born Haselbury Bryan her aged 34 at Piddletrenthide Beer Seller and Baker

    18 Apr 1892 - MARRIAGE : April 18th at the Baptist Church Dorchester by the Rev E.B.Clare ; Mr Walter Henry NORMAN to Miss Caroline SKINNER both of Dorchester. Source Western Chronicle 22nd Apr 1892 Page 8 and GRO 1892 2nd Qtr Dorchester District Dorset Ref 5a 720

    28 Mar 1895 - MARRIAGE At Dorford Chapel George Henry SALISBURY to Charlotte PALMER Sources Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser & GRO 1st qtr 1895 Ref 5a/473

    06 Jun 1897? - MARRIAGE At Dorford Chapel Robert Elias FUDGE of Poundbury Farm to Lavinia Amelia SHEPPARD Sources :- Western Gazette dated 11th June 1897 and GRO 2nd qtr 1897 Ref 5a/779

    24 Oct 1898 - MARRIAGE At Dorford Chapel Charles GREEENING was married to Jane the daughter of the late Mr Henry MARTIN by the Rev J McClune UFFEN Sources:- Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser dated 2nd Nov 1898 & GRO 4th qtr 1898 Ref 5a/798

    04 Sep 1900 - MARRIAGE At the Baptist Church Dorchester by the Pastor, Henry John THOMPSON of Weymouth to Rose only daughter of Mr George CLARKE late town Missionary. Sources: Bridport News 7th Sep 1900 Page 8 and GRO 1900 3rd Quarter Dorchester district Dorset (Rose Clarke to John Harry THOMPSON) Ref 5a 712

    1904: MARRIAGE: Joseph Henry JOHNSTON to Eleanor Edith STOVEY. I have been researching my grandparents who lived in Dorchester. My grandmother Eleanor Edith Stovey married Joseph Henry Johnston (a private in the RAMC) in Dorchester around 1904. I have a letter on file from one of their daughters stating that they married at "the Baptist Church at the bottom of town". - Henry Johnston Pembrokeshire. Source Rootsweb [Note:- Marriage at the GRO between Henry JOHNSTON & Eleanor Edith STOVEY 3rd qtr 1904 Dorchester district Ref 5a/749 - They are in the 1911 Census living at 16 Colliton Street Dorchester with 3 daughters]

    1914: MARRIAGE: At the Dorset Baptist Chapel Dorchester by the Rev F.E.Boorman Percy Arthur Leonard younger son of John BROWNSEY of Draycott Shepton Mallett to Ethel Frances eldest daughter of Albin TREASURE of Dorchester Source: Shepton Mallett Journal dated 2nd Oct 1914 and GRO 1914 3rd qtr Dorchester Ref 5a/758

    The New Church

    11 Oct 1928 MARRIAGE: An interesting wedding took place at Dorford Baptist Chapel Dorchestrer yesterday (Thursday). The bride was Miss Georgette Diane Anne VAN LOO daughter of mr & Mrs A Van Loo of Chantilly Paris, and the bridegroom...... Groom Leslie E JACKMAN - Sources: Kent and Sussex Courier, Sevenoakes Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser and GRO 1928 Dorchestrer district Dorset Ref 5a 867

    17 Aug 2006 DEATH: Robert & Joyce PEINKEY: Thanksgiving Service for church's landmark couple - A special thanksgiving service marked Dorchester Baptist Church's tribute to the longest serving member couple in the history of the church, who recently died. Bob and Joyce PEINKEY , 94 and 89, respectively, died within a few days of one another. Married for 67 years they were members of Dorford Baptist Church for 72 years landmarks that no other couple of this church have attained according to the church Minister the Rev. Clive JARVIS. Bob and Joyce lives revolved around the two bedrocks of the family and their faith, the latter in terms of their devotion and commitment to Jesus here at Dorford Baptist church said Mr Jarvis. --- Baptist Times See Newspaper transcripts for 17 Aug 2006

The New Dorford Baptist Church - 1915

© Picture Copyright Michael Russell OPC for Dorchester & Fordington 2012

In 1902 a New Church was first mooted at a Church meeting, this becoming a reality in 1915 when the new (and present) Dorford Baptist Church was built and opened on a new site at Top o' Town. The establishment of a new much larger church was achieved by a Membership of about 60, clearing the debt on the building by 1930. Its existing Pastor the Rev Robert Bone CLARE took the opportunity

In 2005 to celebrate the end of ten months of refurbishment, costing over £1 million, Dorchester Baptist Church hosted two weeks of events. The refurbishment project saw most of the original 100-year-old church, originally, pulled down and rebuilt. The plan was to create a building that's more inviting - a modern and functional place of worship with access for the disabled and a youth centre. The new church, housed in the newly named Dorford Centre, now has seating for 350 people and boasts an administration suite, a creche and several community rooms.

2008 - The church had 167 members an increase of 10 on the previous year.

    Rev Frederick Edward BOORMAN ( 1882-1950)(21) (Minister of Dorford 1911 to 1917)
    Born in the small village of Frant on Rowden Farm in Sussex in 2nd qtr 1882 the son of a farmer Charles BOORMAN by his wife Mercy Hephzibah (nee) Hill. He grew up on the farm and by the age of 18 was a sorting clerk and telegraphist at the Post Office in Frant. He soon left to join the Baptist Church and Frederick was already living in Dorchester by the time of the April 1911 Census recorded as a Baptist Minister, single and aged 28. He served at Dorchester for six years leaving in June 1917 to take up his new appointment at Minister of the Baptist Church at Calne in Wiltshire. He married to Elsie Christina THORNHILL in Wiltshire (Calne district) in 3rd qtr 1920. He left to become the Minister of the Baptist Chapel at Albermarle Taunton in Somerset where he is recorded in Kellys Directory in 1923, he lived at 6 French Weir Ave Taunton. He remained at Albermarle up to 1946. He died intestate at the Manse Bratton in Wiltshire according to court records on 30th October 1950, administration of his estate of £599 being granted to his widow on 18th Nov 1950. He was buried at Bratton where his memorial inscription states " With Christ Which Is Better' Rev. Frederick Edward BOORMAN Pastor of Bratton Baptist Chapel 1946-1950 died 31st Oct 1950 aged 68"
    1999 - Rev John PEARCE left in November 1999
    2002 - Rev Justyn HOPKINS joined as their youth pastor in May 2002 and completed his accreditation period as a Baptist Minister in 2007
    2007 - Rev C JARVIS Minister moved to Seaford Baptist Church August 2007 [Source Trustees report for the year ended 30th Sep 2006]
    2008 - 2013 Rev Harry PLACE joined the Dorchester Baptist Church in Oct 2008 having previously served at Lliswerry Baptist Church in Newport, South Wales for 16 years.

Genealogical Notes:-

(1). Background on the foundation of the Baptist church see The Dictionary of Genealogy by Terrick VH FitzHugh revised edition 1988 & The English Baptists of teh 17th Century published by teh Baptist Historical Society [Link to ExLibris for more information on the History of English Baptists. ]

(2). The Baptist Church in Dorchester is still in existence today and situated on the Bridport Road across from the junction with Poundbury Road and the Car Park. It has its own website which originally included a brief history of their development since 1645 which forms the basis of the first section of this account.

(3). See the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography where there is an interesting and long account of the life of Henry JESSEY (1601-1663).

(4). This event is mentioned by David Underdown in his Book 'Fire from Heaven' - page 219; and also "The English Baptists of the 17th Century" by Baptist Historical Society (1986) Page 88.

(5). David Underdown also mentions page 242 "A Baptist Conventricle at Fordington, some of whose members were Dorchester people, was broken up by soldiers in March 1665"

(6). See extract from The History of Dorchester, During the British, Roman, Saxon, and Norman Periods By James Savage published 1837, Pages 201/202.

(7). See the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography where there is an interesting and long account of the life of George FOX (1624-1691) : Also George FOX's Journal pages 156/7 and 289

(8). The Judgement of Mr Francis BAMFIELD late Minister of Sherborne. It is followed by Mr Benn's answer to Mr Bamfields paper.

(9). Stephen SINCOX (1799 - aft 1871) Census return for 1841 at Romsey Hampshire Class: HO107; Piece: 401; Book: 14; Civil Parish: Romsey Infra; County: Hampshire; Enumeration District: 11; Folio: 13; Page: 16; Line: 22; GSU roll: 288802: --Census 1851 at Dorchester Class: HO107; Piece: 1858; Folio: 58; Page: 42; GSU roll: 221005-221006. --Census for 1861 at Millbrook Hants Class: >RG 9; Piece: 683; Folio: 76; Page: 1; GSU roll: 542684. --Census 1871 at Mill brook Class: RG10; Piece: 1199; Folio: 83; Page: 11; GSU roll: 827816. His marriage is on the CLDS Film 1040022

(10). Background to the Bristol Acadamy can be found in the American Quarterly Register published in August 1839 Page 68 available to view on Google books. Stephen Sincox is listed as being educated at the acadamy on page 69 his entry states "SINCOX, Stephen late of Dorchester. Or this link to the Bristol Baptist Acadamy Academy (From 1720)

(11). His birth certificate is held at Dr Williams Library in London and is held in the Dissenting Deputies Registers (1728-1837) RG5 159 :- "Edward Stephen son of Stephen & Ann Louisa Sincox born 21 Mar 1831 Maternal Grandfathers name Edward Chase residence Back South Street Dorchester Dorset". It also appears to be in RG4_4676 where the address is given as Cripplegate?

(12). Her birth certificate is held at Dr Williams Library in London and is held in the Dissenting Deputies Registers (1728-1837) RG5 159 :- "Louisa daughter of Stephen & Ann Louisa Sincox born 15 Dec 1832 Maternal grandfathers name recorded as Edward Chase" Also in the IGI under film number C146229. A copy of her marriage certificate can be viewed on; 1871 Census Class: RG10; Piece: 1199; Folio: 78; Page: 1; GSU roll: 827816:: 1881 Census Class: RG11; Piece: 733; Folio: 162; Page: 39; GSU roll: 1341171.: 1891 Census Class: RG12; Piece: 39; Folio: 14; Page: 25; GSU roll: 6095149:

(13). Source: Jackson's Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, June 5, 1852; Issue 5171

(14). George KERRY (1826-1906 ) See newspaper report Nottinghamshire Guardian (London, England), Thursday, May 06, 1852; pg. 8; Issue 318. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II where they incorrectly gave his initial as 'T' istead of 'G@. Their marriage was reported in the Sussex Advertiser - Tuesday 18 October 1853. Kerry—Skinner.—October 11, at the Baptist Chapel, Wellington-square, Hastings, by the Rev. J. Stent, the Rev. Geo. KERRY, Baptist Minister Dorchester, Dorsetshire, to Miss Ann Skinner, of Hastings. We know he replaced the Rev Sincox from another newspaper report of 9th Jan in the Sherborne Mercury reporting on fund raising and stating that George KERRY was together with the Rev C.EVANS the successors to Rev S Sincox. George and Ann's other children were ; Lucy Elizabeth, Thomas Farrendon; and William Winger: I am Grateful to Gillian Gwatkin for alerting me to the fact that he became a Missionary in India. See also The story of the Lall Bazar Baptist Church Calcutta: being the history of Carey's church from 24th April 1800 to the present day Edinburgh Press, 1908 - 575 pages: This confirms his pastorate and his ordination at Hastings. Baptist Historical Society (BHS) Ref Baptist Union (BU) Handbook Obituary Data Base 1908 Page 472 + Photograph.

(15). See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for more information. Also national Probate Register for 1880. Congregational Year-Book 1882 page 319; Nonconformist 30 Dec 1880 p 1334

(16). 1858 - 22nd March at the Baptist Chapel Dorchester by the Rev. J MILLER; Mr GALLOP builder and Mrs EDWARDS both of Dorchester were married: Source: Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian (Southampton, England), Saturday, March 27, 1858; pg. 8; Issue 1804 : [Note:- GRO marriages Mar Qtr 1858 Thomas Gallop married Susan Edwards Dorchester District Ref 5a 539]

(17). 1851 Census Frederick Perkins at Battle Sussex Class: HO107; Piece: 1636; Folio: 366; Page: 16; GSU roll: 193539. BHS BU Handbook Obituary 1894 page167; National Probate Register 1892

(18). 1851 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 1915; Folio: 80; Page: 21; GSU roll: 221069. - 1861 Census  RG 9; Piece: 89; Folio: 85; Page: 19; GSU roll: 542571. - Birth Emma Harding Merriman GRO 2nd qtr Barnstable district 5b 435: Death GRO Bromley Kent 3rd qtr 1882 age 27 Ref 2a 202 - national probate Register 1870. Ref to him in the BU Handbook Obtuary 1871.

(19). Robert Ridgeway ALBIN (1838) Shown in the 1881 Census All Saints Parish:- the Minister of the Baptist Chapel Dorchester aged 43 born in Liverpool with his wife Agnes aged 40 (born Harrietsham Kent) & 2 daughters Agnes Ruth aged 19 born Depford and Ethel Woodlhouse age 1 born Middlesex who was adopted. 1841 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 445; Book: 1; Civil Parish: Hitchin; County: Hertfordshire; Enumeration District: 3; Folio: 41; Page: 4; Line: 20; GSU roll: 288832. 1851 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 1748; Folio: 505; Page: 10; GSU roll: 193645.1861 Census Class: RG 9; Piece: 399; Folio: 84; Page: 19; GSU roll: 542630 Marriage GRO St George Southwark London 4th qtr 1861 Ref 1d 138 Also Certificate available see National Archives Ref MEPO 21/12/4155 regarding his retirement from the National police Force.

(20). Robert Bone CLARE (1828-1914)- 1841 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 768; Book: 14; Civil Parish: Grimstone; County: Norfolk; Enumeration District: 7; Folio: 36; Page: 17; Line: 19; GSU roll: 438857 -- 1st Marriage Elizabeth Matthews GRO 1st qtr 1851 Kings Lynn district Norfolk Ref 13/311: Her death GRO 2nd qtr 1852 district of Freebridge Lynn Norfolk (Freebridge Lynn Hundred covered an area to the east of Kings Lynn) ref 4b/214 --2nd Marriage to Sarah Briggs GRO 3rd qtr 1855 Mutford district Suffolk Ref 4a/1658--1861 Census Class: RG 9; Piece: 535; Folio: 85; Page: 4; GSU roll: 542657--Her Death GRO 4th qtr 1867 Norwich Ref 4b/70 -- 3rd Marriage Harriett Gooch 1st qtr 1869 Norwich district Ref 4b/264 -- 1871 Census Class: RG10; Piece: 1821; Folio: 82; Page: 25; GSU roll: 830840 -- 1881 Census Class: RG11; Piece: 2355; Folio: 31; Page: 10; GSU roll: 1341566. Her Death GRO 4th qtr 1887 Wilton Somerset Ref 5c/197 -- 4th Marriage to Louisa Wansworth Pole GRO ---1891 Census Class: RG12; Piece: 1653; Folio: 34; Page: 34; GSU roll: 6096763. -- 1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 1980; Folio: 69; Page: 6 -- 1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 14116; Schedule Number: 63; Ref BHS BU Handbook 1915 Page 446 Obituary

(21) Frederick Edward BOORMAN (1882-1950) BHS BU Handbook 1952 Page 319: -- 1891 Census Class: RG12; Piece: 781; Folio: 24; Page: 10; GSU roll: 6095891. -- 1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 895; Folio: 25; Page: 12 -- 1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 12385; Schedule Number: 97-- Birth GRO Ticehurst 2nd qtr 1882 2b/124 --Kellys Directories 1923 and 1939 -- Marriage 3rd q 1920 Calne Wilts Thornhill 5a/227 -- National Probate Register 1950 -- Memorial Inscription

(22). Joseph HARRINGTON (1847-1927) BHU BU Handbook 1928 page 309--1881 Census Class: RG11; Piece: 1192; Folio: 25; Page: 15; GSU roll: 1341292.-- 1891 Census Class: RG12; Piece: 4527; Folio: 91; Page: 1; GSU roll: 6099637 --1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 5120; Folio: 87; Page: 7. --1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 33135; Schedule Number: 1;

(23). The names of Allen and Vernon stand on the church-roll of Dalewood . At this date Dalewood was technically a detached part of Dorset in Devon but changed by Act of Parliament in 1842 to be part of Devon. Their names occur together in later records and books as in the prefaces they both contribute to the religious autobiography of Deborah HUISH their sister, the third daughter of James HUISH. This was called "The Captive taken from the Strong" and was taken down from her own lips by William ALLEN but was published in 1658, after his disillusionment with Cromwell. This account clearly states that she was the third daughter of John HUISH. Her own words also confirm that John VERNON married her sister Anne HUISH and that she went over to Ireland in 1654 where she caught smallpox. She joined the family of John VERNON and was there when her sister the wife of William ALLEN died at Dublin. John Vernon had bought Clontarf Castle off John Blackwell who had been granted it by Oliver Cromwell on 14 Aug 1649 so was clearly now a man of means. Deborah clearly accompanied them when they returned to England in 1658 landing at Milford and taking another boat to Minehead.

(24). The Baptist magazine published for the year 1829 page 164/5 See Account of the Baptist Church at Dorchester.

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