The 1st part of an extract from a booklet written by Mrs N Rickwood outlining the history of the Congregational Church in East Park St. Chatteris.
There has been a church in East Park Street, Chatteris for 150 years, the present church being opened for worship on 27th September 1938 and known as the Congregational Church. Before this services were held in a barn belonging to Mr Adam Lyon. The people attending were probably called Independents.
The first minister of the church was the Rev Robert Robinson who was educated at Highbury College, London and there were seven members. During the next 50 years the Church called nine other men to the ministry of the church. The records of the Church life at this time were rather meagre, but the following names appear with some dates:
Rev Robert Robinson 1839-1843
Thomas Stallybrass May 1844-September 1844
Edwin Joseph Hartland 1845-1847
James Cope 1848
James Reed 1858
George Hunt Jackson
EJ Horton 1879
Newly Goldthorp 1884
The next ten years seemed shrouded in mystery until in 1894 George Nicholls came on the scene. The Church at this time was on the point of being closed but a young agricultural labourer from Whittlesea saved the day. He took on the ministry of the Church for the wage of £50 per year. There were very few members: In the eight years of his stay the congregations grew and the Sunday School had to be enlarged to accommodate all the children. The coming of George Nicholls began a new era in the life of the Church.
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