Camberley congregation changes its mind?


This small but elegant building, at the northern end of the Frimley Road, started out,  in 1807,  as a tiny chapel for a local congregation of Wesleyan Methodists.

When I first discovered this, I imagine that the congregation must have decided to change its denomination. However, it turns out that the Methodists sold the chapel  in 1819 and moved into a converted cottage in the London Road. I imagine that the Baptist’s purchase must have led to building works as they  had to install some form of tank to allow for complete immersion in the important Baptism service.  (One congregation, in Godalming, went from Baptist to Unitarian and were nonplussed as to what to do with the large empty space below the floor)

At that date Yorktown was called New Town, Blackwater and the Royal Military College was still being built across the road from the church.  By the census of 1815 (a recount of that taken in 1811) there were still only 210 houses in the area.  47 households were in farming, 55 in trade and 119 in ‘neither’.  About 300 people lived along the south side of the London Road, (between the Frimley Road and Blackwater Bridge) and along the west side of the top of Frimley Road (near the church).

Those church-goers who were Anglican would have attended the church in Blackwater, but I am not sure where Catholics would have been able to worship.  The Methodists, of course, were saving to build a splendid church on the corner of The Avenue…..




2 thoughts on “Camberley congregation changes its mind?

  1. In the hall which was once a Methodist Church, the Baptists enlarged it doubling the size. In the part which is nearest the [present] church they built the Baptisty (or large tank in your narrative)
    I rediscovered the baptistry about 1973 when we were replacing the floor of the old church.
    When we were doing some buiding work a few years later we discovered a well about 5 yards from the Baptistry. there was no water in the well, but it would have been very productive, because Baptists use a lot of water to immerse fully their new members.
    On another occasion in the 1990’s a door was found near the old pool where it had been filled in, where the old Baptists would have brought the water by the bucket to the Baptismal Pool.
    The church has now a Baptistry in the buiding (which faces the Frimley Road.

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