"The Chronicles of a Country Parish" - A village appraisal of Sulgrave published in 1995

(Back to Chapter 3 Index)

In 1833 Nathaniel Neal of Stuchbury purchased a cottage with outbuildings attached in Sulgrave. Mr Rust was appointed Missionary Agent and began preaching in the cottage until Mr neal converted the outbuildings at his own expense into a chapel. A Sunday School was started with upwards of 50 children. By January 1834 the Meeting House was finished and opened for public worship. It could accommodate 160 people. The Rev. D. Lemmon became resident minister. By May 1834 the congregation has so increased that a gallery was erected at one end of the chapel. However by 1838 the Society was in such debt to the treasurer that it could no longer employ Mr Lemmon. Various local lay preachers then covered the services but the attendance declined.

In 1840 the Northamptonshire Baptist Home Missionary Society was founded and particular attention was paid to the situation at Sulgrave, Helmdon and Culworth where the population was then stated to be almost 4000! In 1842 Rev. Thomas Burpus was appoionted to minister to the Group. In October 1843 Mr Neal announced his intention to pull down the chapel at Sulgrave which was in a very dilapidated condition. It was then resolved to build a new chapel and £370 was raised to cover the purchase of ground and complete building costs! The foundation stone was laid on 4th March 1844 with a document containing the names of 50 members of the Church built into it.

Throughout the rest of the nineteenth century and the early part of this century membership varied considerably, being fewer than 10 in 1869, 20 in 180 and 42 in 1914. No fewer than 14 ministers served the Sulgrave group of churches up till 1930. At that date it was decided to join with the Weston group of churches so that the financial burden of maintaining a minister could be shared. Thus the six churches of Weston, Helmdon, Sulgrave, Culworth, Moreton Pinkney and Woodend ran their own loacl affairs but were all served by the Rev. William Anderson. At Sulgrave, as there was also a Wesleyan chapel, it was agreed to hold the Sunday afternoon service in the Baptist chapel and evening service in the Wesleyan chapel, the preacher for the day conducting both services and being alternately Baptist and Wesleyan!

Names which constantly appear in the members lists include Gascoigne, Seckington, Branson, Wootton, Jeffs, Tyrell, Whitlock, Osborne and Mawle.

The Chapel was demolished in 1981 and a house was built on the site.