Congregational Church / Independent Chapel

In 1816, the small group of Congregationalists in Winslow purchased a barn on Horn Street to use for religious worship. It was fitted out as a chapel, capable of seating 250 people. In 1829, the Congregationalists bought further land nearby to extend the barn with the intention of rebuilding their chapel and adding a vestry and schoolroom.

A transcription of the Congregational registers, with lists of members and abstracts of some minutes, is now available from the Eureka Partnership.

Arthur Clear: A Thousand Years of Winslow Life (1888), p.19

On Wednesday, April 10th, 1816, a building which was originally a barn, situate in Great Horn Street, having been purchased of Mr. Edmund Cox, and considerably altered, was opened as an Independent Chapel. It is described as being a neat chapel, capable of holding about 250 persons and costing £300. For some time previous to this, the Independents had been granted the use of the Baptist Chapel on alternate Sundays; but their growing numbers necessitated, a larger building and more frequent services. It would seem that even in. those days our Independent friends were rather aspiring, for this "neat building" did not long suffice, it being pulled down, and replaced by a more pretentious structure in 1829, of which the following account is given in the Evangelical Magazine of 1830 - "A neat and commodious new Independent Chapel, with School-room and Vestry, capable of containing upwards of 300 persons, was opened for Divine Service at Winslow, on Tuesday, May 4th, 1830. The Chapel is vested in trustees, and built upon the most economical plan, the cost being about £600, of which £400 has already been raised."

Pastors of the Congregational Church


To the Editor of the Buckingham Advertiser and North Bucks Free Press (27 April 1895)
SIR, -  In reminiscences of the Old Baptist Meeting House, Winslow, by Mr Matthews, he says, "About the year 1816,  the Independents fitted up a Chapel for themselves, &c."  The below confirms what he says, and will interest many of your readers.  I take it from the Evangelical Magazine, 1816, page 317.
April 23rd, 1895.
April 10th.  A neat chapel capable of seating 250 persons was opened at Winslow, Bucks.  In the morning, Mr Harrison, of Wooburn, preached on psalm, 89, 15, 16; in the afternoon, Mr Aston, of Buckingham, from Haggai, 2, 9; and in the evening Mr Bull, of Newport Pagnell, from psalm, 118, 25.  In the spring, of last year, a plan was carried into effect by two individuals of the Rev. D. Aston's congregation, here resident, for introducing the gospel into their town; and the students from Mr Bull's academy were procured every other Sabbath.  The place in which they preached being much too small for the congregation.  This building has been purchased, and fitted up at the expense of £300; of which £100 has been raised, and the religious public must be appealed to for the remainder.       

The Autobiography of Joseph Mayett of Quainton 1783-1839, ed. Ann Kussmaul (Bucks Record Society vol.23), p.75

In the month of April 1822 my youngest brother [Thomas Mayett] returned home again and he had been in the habit of attending the independant Meeting in Winslow and had been regularly to the ordinance with them
[The Mayetts were Baptists at Quainton, but General rather than Particular, which is presumably why Thomas didn't join the Winslow Baptists.]

This announcement presumably refers to the Congregational Chapel. The Act which it mentions was the Places of Religious Worship Act 1812.

Northampton Mercury, 5 July 1828
WHEREAS I, the Undersigned, JOSEPH PURSELL, of the Town of BUCKINGHAM, Tailor, did, on SUNDAY the 25th Day of May last, disturb by indecent and improper Behaviour the Rev. E. Adey, and the Congregation assembled for Divine Worship in the Dissenting Chapel at Winslow, whereby I have, by an Act passed in the 52d Year of the late King, incurred a Penalty of £40, or Imprisonment until the same be paid.  The Prosecutor, with the Consent of the Magistrate, having kindly agreed to drop the Prosecution on Condition of my making this public Confession and Apology, and of my contributing a certain Sum to be disposed of to charitable Purposes, I do therefore most humbly beg Pardon of the said Rev. E. Adey and the Congregation whom I so grossly insulted, and do faithfully Promise not to be guilty of a like Offence.
1st July, 1828.

The first Congregational Chapel The photo shows the 1829 Congregational Chapel before the rebuilding of 1884

26 October 1829: Centre for Bucks Studies D 82/4/498

Surrender: George Hawley of Winslow grocer and tallow chandler and Hannah his wife and
James Todd of Winslow cabinet maker
Admission: Rev Thomas Palmer Bull of Newport Pagnell
Rev Enoch Barling of Buckingham
Thomas Lomath of Winslow cordwainer


So much and such part and parts of the yard and Garden adjoining and belonging to a Messuage or Tenement situate standing and being in a certain Street called Great Horn Street in Winslow aforesaid lately occupied by William Bailey and since converted into two tenements now in the occupation of the said William Bailey and John Lomath as will be required to enable the Trustees of the Independent Chapel in Winslow aforesaid to enlarge the said Chapel and the ground thereunto belonging according to certain plans lately agreed upon and intended forthwith to be carried into effect, the Wall of such new Chapel or of the Vestry Room thereto belonging to be considered as the Boundary or the Premises intended to be hereby surrendered on one side thereof such wall to be built 37 feet in length in a straight line from the street at a sufficient distance from the said tenement occupied by the said John Lomath so as to leave not less than 4 feet of ground in width between such wall and the chimney of the said last mentioned tenement and the back wall of the Vestry Room (which is to be erected in a direct line from the back Corner of the first mentioned Wall being agreed upon as part of the Boundary of the said premises intended to be hereby surrendered on the other side thereof from the Corner of which said Vestry Room to the Malting of William Bowler a boarded fence is to be put up at the expense of the said Trustees for the purpose of completing the division of the said premises intended to be hereby surrendered from the premises reserved by the said George Hawley and James Todd such boarded fence to be continued in a straight line from the Corner of the Vestry Room so as to leave for the said George Hawley and James Todd their heirs and assigns a piece of ground between such fence and the garden occupied by Robert Bowden of equal width with the piece of Ground which will after the erection of the said New Chapel according to the Restrictions aforesaid be left between such Garden and the back wall of the Vestry Room And also full and free right of ingress egress and regress way and passage into through and over the ground reserved by the said George Hawley and James Todd to and from a door intended to open into the said New Chapel on the side nearest the said Tenement in the occupation of the said John Lomath and likewise to and from a door or gate intended to open into the premises hereby surrendered on the side nearest the garden occupied by the said Robert Bowden at or near the extremity of the proposed new Vestry Room to which said premises or Tenement ... the said George Hawley and James Todd were admitted 27 October 1823 on the surrender of John Nicholls.

Baptist Magazine 1830, 347
WINSLOW BUCKS A neat and commodious New Independent Chapel with school room and vestry capable of containing upwards of 500 persons was opened for divine worship at Winslow Bucks on Tuesday May 4th 1830. The Rev DW Aston of Buckingham read the Scriptures and prayed, the Rev Andrew Reed of London preached from Luke ix 56 and the Rev E Barling of Buckingham offered the concluding prayer of the morning service. In the afternoon the Rev W Gunn of Aylesbury read and prayed, the Rev James Davies of Totteridge preached from 1 Tim i 15, the Rev E Adey of Leighton concluded by prayer. In the evening the Rev Peter Tyler of Haddenham read the Scriptures and prayed, the Rev Thomas P Ball of Newport Pagnell preached from Heb iv 12, the Rev W Ratcliff of Marsh Gibbon offered the concluding prayer. Messrs Spencer, Madgin and Boaz students of Newport Academy gave out the hymns The chapel is vested in trustees and built upon the most economical plan, the cost being about £600 of which 400 has already been raised. In the year 1816 a barn was purchased and fitted up for worship; it became necessary to take down this frail building and on its site the present chapel and schoolroom are erected. The Rev J Denton formerly of Mill Wall Poplar has accepted an invitation to occupy this department of the Lord's vineyard and has entered upon his labours with pleasing prospects of usefulness

Rev. Joseph Denton, who was minister from 1830, died in 1840.

Banbury Guardian, 7 Oct 1847
TEA MEETING.  On Monday afternoon, September the 27th, the members and friends of the Independent Chapel in this town held a tea meeting in the school room, previous to the departure of their minister, the Rev. George Hinde;  from the scene of his pastoral labourers amongst them, which has been a period of seven years.  The flock of the Rev. gentleman, are at present left upon the mountains, destitute of a spiritual guide, to direct them in their devious course. The financial state of the church, moreover, indicates an ebbing tide.

Rev. T.B. (Thomas) Attenborough was installed as minister by Nov 1850, and remained until at least 1855.

Religious Census, 1851: there was capacity for 290 and an evening attendance of 260.

In 1884, a new Congregational Church was built at a cost of 2,400. The new church seated 240 people on the ground floor and 80 in the gallery. There was a Sunday School to the right of the entrance and a large class room on the left. Prominent amongst the church's supporters were George Wigley, land agent, Edwin French, printer and Robert Williat Jones of Blake House, farmer. For more on the building and its architect, see Ed Grimsdale's article on Arthur Clear. A drawing and plan were published in Building News, 16 Jan. 1885 (click on the image below for full size). While the church was being built, the congregation met in the Assembly Rooms at The Bell.

Drawing and plan of the Congregational Church

Arthur Clear: A Thousand Years of Winslow Life (1888), pp.20-1

The new Congregational Church was erected in 1884, on the site of the older building, in Horn Street, the design is based on the lines of the smaller old English Country Parish Churches of the 15th century. The prominent feature is the tower, a square and massive erection, 58 feet in height, surmounted by a weather vane, in the upper part of which is a commodious room 17 feet square, lighted by seven windows, and used as a Sunday School Classroom - this is a peculiar feature of the building, the idea being taken from the watchman's tower at Irthlingborough Church, Northants. The building is lighted with gothic windows filled with cathedral toned glass, the principal one in the tower is very handsome - its dimensions being about 16 feet broad by 18 high, said to be a reduced copy of a celebrated one in York Minster. The building is both artistic and comfortable, and is in marked contrast to the plain and often unsightly structures to which Nonconformists in the country have long been accustomed. It is designed to seat 240 persons on the ground floor and 82 in the gallery. The total cost of its erection with the School rooms, being £2,300.

Plaque: stone laid by Mrs Verney

Mrs Verney (later Lady Verney) was an Anglican but her husband was Liberal M.P. for North Bucks. She came back in 1924 for the unveiling of the new organ.

If you compare the site of the church on large-scale maps before (left) and after (right) rebuilding, you can see that it moved slightly westwards. Blue = chapel / church, green = chapel land, red = buildings demolished in the 1880s. No.9 Horn Street was also acquired by the Congregationalists and used as the Manse.

Map showwing the chapel before and after rebuilding



AFTER many years of patient waiting and enduring the greatest inconvenience, especially as regards School Accommodation, the Congregationalists of Winslow have at last decided to make a vigorous effort to erect a New Church and Schools, and they earnestly appeal to the generosity of every one interested in the spread of Evangelical Truth in the Rural Districts, to aid them with their contributions.

They submit the following facts - the means of the Congregation are extremely limited, yet their promised subscriptions amount to 800. The total estimated cost, including the site, is 2,000. The Chapel Building Society have approved the work, but can only help by a loan of 200 without interest, thus necessitating 1,200 to be raised

The design of the Building is of the Early 15th Century Gothic. The Tower comprises - on the ground floor the entrance lobbies, in the central part an ample and well ventilated gallery, and the upper a commodious class-room, right and left of the Tower are the New Schools and Classroom, with the Church in the rear. The characteristics of the whole, are ample window lighting, every part of the Building utilised, and nothing built for mere show or effect.

Subscriptions may be sent to either of the undersigned, or can be paid to the account of "The Congregational Church & Schools" at the Bucks and Oxon Union Bank, Winslow.

If preferred, Contributors can specially allot their Donations to the New Church or the Schools.
ARTHUR CLEAR, Secretary.

Treasurers Balance Sheet up to October 1st, 1885.

£ s d
£ s d
Published By amount of Donations from Members of the Congregation only
830 3 11
Subscription By donations outside Congregation over £1
114 13 3
List. By donations under £1
1 1 0
Receipts from various sources, viz-
Jubilee Service
6 19 2
62 10 7 ½
Sale of Luncheon Tickets
5 5 0
Net proceeds of Bazaar
120 10 6
Organ Fund
2 5 10
Sunday School Collecting Boxes
4 16 0 ½
Opening Services
35 14 0
Subsequent Collections
21 5 10 ½
Temperance Entertainment and Service of Song
4 0 0
263 7 0
Balance in Debt
1229 10 6
2438 15 8
Audited and found correct—
£ s d
£ s d
To Mr. Henry Small, Costs of Enfranchisement of Copyholds and Bill of Costs
84 0 3
To Messrs W. B. & W. R. Bull, their Bill of Costs for preparing Trust Deeds and obtaining Mortgage
51 11 0
To "Star" Insurance Co. Fees on Mortgage for £900
5 5 0

140 16 3

To Liberator Building Society, balance of Mortgage on old Cottages
119 4 2
To Mr. W. H. French, Purchase Money of Barns and Premises
30 0 0
To Mr. Geo. Dunkley ditto ditto
100 0 0
249 4 2
To Messrs Yirrell and Edwards amount of Contract and all extras
1838 13 1
To Mr. Sulman, his Bill of Charges
107 0 6
To Mr. Walker, Bill for pulling down old Buildings and Cottages and putting up Gates, Fence and other Work
32 8 0
Messrs Loffler for sundry Furniture
13 4 4
School-room Seats
12 3 3
Secretary's Incidentals

2 1 4

Bucks and Oxon Bank Interest
13 6 9
To Sundry Payments by Cheque
29 18 0
103 1 0
£2438 15 8

Colour photo of the Congregational Church
The Congregational Church around the time of its closure in 1989

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Copyright 19 November, 2018