Datchet

Baptist Church

HISTORY OF DATCHET BAPTIST CHURCH 1801-2001
 CHAPEL IN THE HIGH STREET : 1841 - 1955

In 1811 William Bailey, a local business man, joined the church, moving to ‘Little Dene’ in the High Street in 1813. He was soon elected a deacon and began to preach. On 29 August 1819 he was ordained and became minister of the church. Not only did he play an active part in the leadership of what was to become the Berkshire Baptist Association, but also it was his energy and vision that led to the building of the chapel in the High Street.

The church continued to hold its meetings in the Old Manor House until 1828, when it had to move back to a barn in the High Street. However, William’s work and generosity meant that this was replaced by a brick built chapel which was opened on 24 October 1841.This is now the parade of shops, which includes the Candy Box beside the level crossing. The building remained the church’s home for more than 100 years. Unfortunately, William was not in good health and in June 1844 he died.

The chapel had only been open four years when the Windsor, Staines and South Western Railway Company opened its line to Datchet - extending the line to Windsor a year later in 1849. The church was not pleased as the trains passed within a few feet of the chapel. Eventually they accepted an offer of a plot of land from the railway company as compensation, although the noise problem remained.

During the later part of the nineteenth century the church began to decline in numbers and in 1902 Thomas Rush, who had been lay pastor for over 40 years, died. The same year Herbert and Ruth Ridgway became tenants of the cottage next door to the church. Herbert ran a boot and shoe repairing business in a workshop beside the chapel. They both joined the church and in 1905 Herbert became a deacon. He preached regularly in the chapel and, as the church had no minister or pastor, he led the church for the next 31 years.

 








(c1900) Datchet High Street: Level Crossing
and Baptist Chapel opened in 1841   
                                  
                                                                                 

      


                             
 
(c1900) High Street from Village Green with Baptist  Chapel in distance




1914 : High Street with Chapel on left







 Harvest Festival 1930s showing Herbert  & Ruth Ridgway                                          


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