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A List of Early Baptist Churches from
Compendium of Baptist History

By J. A. Shackelford

      It is worthy of mention that the present pastor of this old church, Rev. A. Kenworthy, to whose courtesy I am indebted for its published history, has been preceded in the pastoral office at Hill Cliffe by his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather, but not in regular succession. Rev. A. Kenworthy, Sr., served the church for a period of thirty-seven consecutive years.

      "Eythorne Baptist church," says Mr. Davies in the letter already referred to, "was founded not later than 1550. Joan Boucher, or Joan of Kent, was a member of this church. She was a lady of means, a zealous Christian, and on May 2d, 1550, she was led to the stake. The church still exists.

      "Braintree, sometimes spoken of as Bracking and Braintree, but now known by the one name, is in Essex, and the church was existing here in 1550, and still exists."

      Mr. Davies then gives me a list of twenty-three additional churches, none of which were organized later than 1640, and all of which are existing at the present time, and all regular Baptist churches. The list is as follows:

Crowle, Lincolnshire county, organized in 1599;
Epworth, Lincolnshire county, organized in 1599;
Tiverton, Devonshire county, organized in 1607;
Plymouth, Devonshire county, organized in 1640;
Kingsbridge, Devonshire county, organized in 1640;
Dartmouth, Devonshire county, organized in 1640;
Warford, Cheshire county, organized in 1600;
Stoney Stratford, Buckinghamshire Co., organized in 1623;
Newbury, Berkshire county, organized in 1640;
Kingstanley, Gloucestershire county, organized in 1640;
Smarden, Kent county, organized in 1640;
Bethnalgreen, London, organized in 1640;
Stoke Newington, London, organized in 1638;
White Chapel, London, organized in 1633;
Misterton, Nottinghamshire county, organized in 1610;
Oxford, Oxfordshire county, organized in 1600;
Bridgewater, Someraetshire county, organized in 1600;
Wedraore, Somersetshire county, organized in 1600;
Alcester, Warwickshire county, organized in 1640;
Coventry, Warwickshire county, organized in 1626;
Warwick, Warwickshire county, organized in 1640;
Wrexham, Wales, organized in 1630;
Dublin, Ireland, organized in 1640.
      Here we have a list of twenty-six regular Baptist churches, all of them existing at the present time, the youngest of which is more than two hundred and fifty years old, and the oldest certainly three hundred and seventy, and most probably more than five hundred years old. The circumstantial evidence is strongly in favor of the existence of this old church in Cheshire as early as 1357.

      This carries us back of the reformation of the sixteenth century in a regular line of church succession, with every evidence, except the church records which were destroyed, that churches of this faith had long before this time existed in England.


[From J. A. Shackelford, Compendium of Baptist History, 1892, pp. 277-278, reprint. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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