Ingatestone United Reformed Church celebrates its bi-centenary in 2012 with special services and events. A history of the work and witness of the church in the local community is reaching its final stages of preparation. Published below is a transcript of the church’s magazine published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary.
OF THE INGATESTONE AND MOUNTNESSING CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES
Minister: REV. R. M. ALDERTON, The Manse, Ingatestone. Tele: 613
Secretary: Mr. L. Whiting, “Lynden”, Pine Drive, Ingatestone
Treasurer: Mr. L. Martin, 31, Ridgeway, Ingatestone. Tele: 2557
Superintendent: Mr. R. Kirkby
Secretary: Mr. C. R. Reynolds
150th ANNIVERSARY NUMBER
1812 - 1962
“Other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4.38)
The following notes and extracts are taken from the Church Records and. Minute Books:
“Ingatestone Meeting House was built for the use of Orthodox Congregational Dissenters in 1812 and opened for the public worship of the true God, October 15th, 1812.”
Through the efforts of students from Hackney College, meetings had previously been held for a number of years in Ingatestone in various houses, and. in 1803 an appeal was made to the Essex Congregational Union for financial help “towards the support of constant preaching at Ingatestone.”
The new building was registered as “a place of Religious Worship by an Assembly of Protestants” by the Bishop of London.
“A Church of Christ of the Independent Order was formed at Ingatestone on the 12th December, 1813 by the Rev. Thomas Thomas of Chelmsford denominated, the Independent Church of Stock and Ingatestone, both places being supplied by one Minister and the Church made up of members from both congregations.” (It would seem that services were held at both places.) The original members were twelve in number. “Benjamin Hayter, from Hackney Academy, was publicly ordained to the pastoral office in Ingatestone Meeting House, on May 5th, 1814. He had. been regularly supplying them from October 3rd, 1813 and had received a unanimous call to be their pastor on 1st April, 1814. The Rev. Benjamin Hayter was pastor of the joint Stock and. Ingatestone Church until the end of 1830. Then he intimated his intention of “leaving the Stock charge and of confining his ministerial labours to Ingatestone, for the following reasons; First, the pastor’s bad state of bodily health; Secondly, the congregation at Stock having become more numerous and respectable, it was thought they were able to keep a minister among themselves.” Mr. Hayter continued as pastor at Ingatestone until 1846 and then, “after a pastorate of 32 years and 5 months, it was found very painful to part.” But it seems that he still lived on here and carried out some pastoral duties, including a number of baptisms. In the last of these entries, dated June .13th, 1850, he signs himself “Benjamin Hayter, late dissenting minister of the Congregational Order, Ingatestone. But now a useless one through palsy. He died in 1856. He had married one of the twelve original members of the Church, Mrs. Jane Stevens; she died in 1833. Memorial plaques to the Rev. and Mrs. Hayter are in the Church.
In 1830, after the separation from Stock, there were sixteen members at Ingatestone. Things were not always easy for the Church and. it is noted “there are some trials to the few who are left.”
The 1812 Meeting House soon proved to be too small, and it was enlarged in 1816.
Between 1822 and. 1825 four burials are stated to have taken place “in the Meeting.” From 1816 onwards, the burials are “in the Meeting Yard.”
In 1840, “a now Independent Chapel was erected in the town of Ingatestone in the parish of Fryerning...near the site of the old Meeting, on ground given by the Venerable Benjamin Hogg, and, is a very neat, substantial Gothic structure.” (This is the existing Church building.) “The cost of the building, fencing, etc., (exclusive of the materials of the old chapel) is about £600.” At the opening on Thursday, October 22nd, 1840, “two excellent and appropriate discourses were delivered” and seven other ministers took part in the services. (A poster, announcing the opening, is still preserved.)
The next Minute Books which are still available begin in 1871. The Membership is reported as 75 at the end of 1870, 123 children on the Sunday School books and 16 teachers,
Many of the Minutes are concerned with routine affairs, but a few are particularly worth mentioning.
“Minute 170. December, 1873. Non-attendance of members. The members of the Church who generally attend its meetings, and on whom devolves the responsibility of transacting its business, much deplore the fewness of number at the week-day services and the little interest shown in the management of the affairs of the Church by a large majority of those whose names are on the Roll, and after making every allowance for those unavoidably prevented from attending, there yet remains many who, with but a little self denial’ (‘little’ has been crossed out afterwards) “might at least occasionally, if not constantly, attend the Church and Prayer Meetings and thus gladden the heart of our Pastor and. materially strengthen the hands of the Church, but who are seldom or never seen on these occasions.”
In 1876, a piece of land on the West side of the Chapel was purchased from Mr. Edgar Disney, J.P., on which to build the (existing) Schoolroom. The Memorial Stone was laid on September 27th, by Mr. F. Wells of Chelmsford. At the same time the Church was re-decorated and. made “more comfortable.” The new Schoolroom was opened and the renovated Church re-opened about April, 1877. £250 was collected, or promised, that day. -
There were 69 on the Membership Roll at the end of 1877.
1878. “a report was in circulation which was likely to bring scandal upon the Church of one of its members (No. 47) specially concerned; resolved that the Pastor and Mr. Deacon “be required to see the said member and expostulate in the spirit of the words of the Apostle Paul - Gal 6. 1.
November, 1879. “The Organ. Letter from Mr. Isaac Rist, of Brentwood.”. . . . “I shall have much pleasure in giving to the Congregational Church at Ingatestone, the organ as it now lays on my premises if it is considered suitable.” This “generous offer” was accepted and. the organ was installed (probably in the Gallery, although this is not mentioned in the Minutes). At the opening of the Organ, after a service and. tea “about 80 friends being present,” the Rev. A. Kluhl of Billericay gave an address on Hebrew music.
August 1881 “New Inkstand. The Chairman reported that a new inkstand had been secured for the use of the Church and the Societies connected therewith, through the kindness of Miss Greedy and. other members of the Mutual Improvement Society.
1881 October 11th. “OPENING OF NEW MISSION ROOM AT MOUNTNESSING” There was a sermon in the afternoon by Rev. Postans of Baddow Road, tea and a Public Meeting, presided over by F. Wells, Esq., with addresses by several minister and other friends. The total cost, including furniture, fencing, etc., was about £245, of which £215 had already been collected. The ground was given by Mr. J. Stacey Reeve, of Chelmsford. “An afternoon school has been opened in the new Mission Room on October 22nd. There are six teachers and about 50 children.
1882. “The Service of Song, entitled ‘Jessica’s First Prayer’ was given in the (Ingatestone) Chapel on Thursday, February 16th. The proceeds amounted to £2.
1882 October. “Resolved that an Auxiliary to the London Missionary Society be organised and that Miss Hemsley be appointed Secretary.” (There had been annual contributions for the L.M.S. and missionary sermons for many years previously.)
1883 August. “A. Ragged School opened in a room at the back of the White Hart Inn on Sunday afternoons 3-4 p.m. About 18 names of poor, neglected children had been entered.
S. S. Anniversary. July 1893; the flowers sent in by the children and. other friends were forwarded f or distribution to Bryant & May’s match girls.
1895 April. Time of commencement of morning service to be 10.45 instead of 11.
1895 July. Miss L Nash became organist, succeeding Miss Houchin.
1897 June 15th. Stone laying of the new Manse by Mr. F. A. Wells. Mrs Bowen of Chapel House, Ingatestone, had given £500 towards it and 15 guineas were placed on the stone -as further donations to the building fund. The Recognition service of the new minister, Rev. A. A. Savage was held at the same time. Mr. Savage had already been at the Church since the beginning of the year and during that time the membership had increased from 49 to 68.
1899 October. A two-day bazaar for the Building Fund was held and £45 was cleared.
1902 August. The Rev. W. Whittley, who bad. become Minister in October 1901, died after several months’ illness. (The present pulpit is in his memory)
1903 October. “Resolved to apply for transfer from the Brentwood District to the Chelmsford. District of the Essex Congregational Union.
1904 February. Annual Meeting. “The pastor made several useful remarks to the meeting.
1904 New Organ purchased for £170 and. the Church renovated. At the re-opening service in October, it was reported that all the money required had already been received., including £110 from Mr. Carnegie.
1906 Ingatestone Bible Reading branch reported to have 146 members.
1906 December. A lecturer on “Mexico” “during two hours sustained the attention of the assembly.”
1907 A new harmonium purchased for Mountnessing.
1910 May. 98th Anniversary. “Two good. and useful sermons were preached by Rev. Alun Roberts of Bocking, but owing to the fever scare there were very few visitors present.”
1910 September. Ordination of new Minister, Rev. L.C. Sellars. “Mr. Stacey Reeve said he remembered 64 years before, sitting in a corner of the Church. Then they used to stand for prayer and sit to sing.”
1910 October 13th. Sudden death of Mr. T. Nash who had. been a deacon for 33 years. An individual cup Go service was given in Mr. Nash’s memory.
1911 August. The students who supplied the pulpit during the pastor’s holiday included. Mr. H. Stock, of Hackney College.
1912 February. Estimate for providing a bath in Manse and. decorating the bathroom, £12. 2. 0, accepted.
1912 June. Church Centenary celebrations. Rev. Silvester Horns M.P. was the preacher at the evening service. “The aisles were packed, every inch of seating accommodation was employed and the doors of the vestries were left open that visitors inside might hear.” In preparation for the centenary the Church and. Schoolroom had been re-decorated inside and out and the manse painted on the outside.
1913 February. “Need of abbreviation of the Church notices; after much discussion the matter dropped.
1912 August. “It was proposed and seconded that something be done to make the blowing of the organ an easier task.
1915 March. Schoolroom to be a canteen for the soldiers stationed locally.
1918 May “Serious condition of the Sunday School; scarcely any scholars and. few workers.”
1920 April 25th. Brass War Memorial in the church unveiled by Lady Petre.
1922 January. Free Will Offering Scheme adopted instead of Pew Rents.,
1928 November. The Church was in considerable difficulties, with no Minister and no Secretary. Mr. H. Savage, a former member and son of a former Minister, agreed to return to become Secretary temporarily, and. was made an Honorary Deacon.
1929. An individual cup Communion Service presented to Mountnessing by Mr. & Mrs. H. Savage.
1930 July. Now that the Church had a new Minister (Rev. P. R. Russell, M.A) and. many of its previous difficulties had been overcome, Mr. Savage resigned the Church Secretaryship “which he had accepted for six months and had held for two years.” Mr. A. E. Lambert became Secretary. (The Chair at the Communion Table was given in memory of Mr. & Mrs. H. Savage.)
193l. Roofs of Schoolroom and Church stripped and renewed. Electric light installed. Choir formed.
1932. Hot water heating system installed. Complete interior redecoration of the Church. Church re-opened in June.
1932 September. Chelmsford. District Meetings held at Ingatestone.
1939 June. An appeal before Magistrates against the Council’s decision to make up Norton Road was successful.
1939. November. Sohoolroom used by evacuated and. other day school children.
1943 May 29th. Golden Wedding of the Senior Deacon, Mr. Anger, and Mrs. Anger.
1943. Monthly Messenger started.
1944. September. “The Chairman intimated that it was proposed to hold public services of thanksgiving in most Churches on the evening of the day on which hostilities in Europe shall cease. Agreed to hold such a service in our Church, at 7.30 p.m.
1944 April. Mr. R. Kirkby elected Mountnessing Superintendent in succession to Mr. H. Purver, who held that office for 23 years.
1945 February 14th. Destruction of the Church at Mountnessing by enemy action.
1945 October. Mr. A. E. Lambert retired from being Secretary, after 15 years’ service in that position.
1946. Miss Nash, organist for over 50 years, resigned; a presentation was later made to her. Mr. Witney became organist.
1948. Mountnessing Church rebuilt and re-opened.
1949. Sunday School to meet in the morning instead of the afternoon.
1956. September. The Church Meeting recommends one of the members, Mr. W. S. Wheale, for the Ministry.
1961. October. Over £200 raised by Autumn Fayre, to meet the cost of external painting of the Church and redecoration of the School room and purchase of new chairs.
1962 150th CHURCH MINIVERSARY SERVICE (to be held) on SATURDAY, JURE 30th. Preacher: The Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and. Wales, the REV. PRINCIPAL JOHN HUXTABLE, M.A.
PRAYER (of Sir Francis) “O Lord God, when Thou givest to Thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same until to be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory. Through Him that for the finishing of Thy work laid down His life - Thy Son, Jesus Christ.”
MINISTERS OF INGATESTONE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
1813 – 1846: B. Hayter
[1848 – 1851/2: H Cocks]
1852 – 1860: G. Moore
1861 – 1866: J. Bevan
1867 – 1870: A. C. Gill
1871 – 1872: G. G. Horton
1873 – 1895: S. W. Houchin
1897 – 1900: A. A. Savage
1901 – 1902: W. Whittley
1903 – 1908: J. Collyer
1910 – 1915: L. C. Sellars
1915 – 1921: A. W. Galpin
1921 – 1928: E. W. Chesher
1930 – 1934: P. H. Johnson
1935 – 1940: S. E. Boorman
1940 – 1945: D. F. Flawn
1945 – 1949: S. I. Lippiatt
1950 – 1958: N. S. Williams
1960 - : R. M. Alderton
Prayer Meeting 10.15 a.m. (in the Vestry)
Family Church 10.45 a.m.
Evening Service 6.30 p.m.
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper at the end of the morning service on 1st July
Monthly Congregational Hymn Singing Practice after the evening service on 1st July
PREACHERS IN JULY
1st. The Minister CHURCH ANNIVERSARY SUNDAY
8th. Mr. Davies
15th. Rev, D. U. Pattinson, Minister-Secretary, Essex Congregational Union
22nd. Mr. Empsall
29th. The Minister
We take the Huskards service on:
1st, 15th and 29th July
CHOIR PRACTICE - Thursdays, 8.15 p.m.
CHURCH MEETING - Monday, 2nd. 7.34 p.m.
Services on Sunday at 6.30 p.m.
Preachers in July to be announced
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper at the service on July 8th
SPECIAL SERVICES - every evening July 9th - 14th Led. by an American team.