This record is held by Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

Details of NR12
Reference: NR12

The United Reformed Church was founded in October 1972 by union of the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England. However not all the churches belonging to these two denominations agreed to accept the 1972 Scheme of Union. The records of those Hertfordshire churches which remained separate are catalogued under the reference NC.




NR12/1 Church Books


NR12/2 Church Meeting


NR12/3 Deacons


NR12/4 Registers


NR12/5 Committees and Church Organizations


NR12/6 Church Finance


NR12/7 Church Property


NR12/8 Sunday School


NR12/10 Membership


NR12/11 Charities




NR1 Barnet, Wood Street United Reformed Church


NR2 Bushey United Reformed Church


NR3 Barley United Reformed Church


NR4 St Albans, Trinity United Reformed Church


NR5 Letchworth Free Church


NR6 Ware United Reformed Church


NR7 Royston United Reformed Church


NR8 Hitchin United Reformed Church


NR9 Radlett United Reformed Church


NR10 Wheathampstead United Reformed Church


NR11 Hemel Hempstead, Adeyfield Free Church (affiliated to the United Reformed Church


NR12 Bishops Stortford United Reformed Church


NR13 Harpenden United Reformed Church


NR14 Hertford United Reformed Church


NR15 New Barnet United Reformed Church


NR16 Knebworth United Reformed Church

Date: 1763-1971
Related material:

For Walkern United Reformed Church see D/EX838

Held by: Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Bishops Stortford United Reformed Church, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire

Bishops Stortford Congregational Church, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire

Physical description: 53 files
Immediate source of acquisition:

Records concerning Bishops Stortford United Reformed Church deposited in the Record Office on 4 November 1975 by the Church Secretary.


Accession 1483

  • Hertford, Hertfordshire
  • Religion
Administrative / biographical background:



Bishops Stortford Congregational Church has a long history back into the seventeenth century although many of the early documents relating to the church have not survived. It is believed by popular tradition (although there is no direct evidence of this) that the congregation was begun in 1662 by the Revd John Warren in Basbow Lane, Bishops Stortford. The community was registered on 2 May 1672 in the house of Hugh Glover as a meeting for Protestant dissenters. The first documented minister is Samuel Cradock in 1696. By 1706 the congregation had begun to worship in a barn in Water Lane which they purchased in 1712.


In 1717 the barn was replaced with a Meeting House on the same site and the congregation numbered in the region of 600 men and women. In 1723, under the pastorate of Mr Rawlin, the first trust deed was drawn up. Whilst its terms of reference are unambiguous whether or not it was at this stage it was "congregational" or "independent" is unclear. However, by the time the second trust deed was drawn up in 1869 it is clear that the church was "congregational".


In 1767 a new meeting house was built again on the same site with the addition of extra land donated by the the then pastor, the Revd John Angus. He also raised at least half of the £700 7s 8d that the Chapel cost by travelling around and raising funds. It is not clear how the church maintained itself financially. In 1763 there were about 53 subscribers which out of a large congregation is not a big proportion. There were also collections for the poor. In the late eighteenth century, however, the church received several large bequests which enabled them to support the minister.


A graveyard was added in 1805 and was closed in 1866 when it became full. In 1810 the pastor William Chaplin helped to form the Hertfordshire Union (which became known as the Hertfordshire Congregational Union in 1878). The Bishops Stortford Congregational Church provided many chairmen for the Union from amongst its pastors and was considered to be one of the leading free church congregations.


In 1858 it was clear that repairs costing somewhere in the region of £1200 were needed on the meeting house. As it would only cost £2500 to build a new one, the church decided on the latter course of action. The chapel was to seat 850 adults and 300 children. Although the membership was under 300 the congregations were much larger than that, indeed at one time the Sunday School numbered nearly 400 children. The new chapel was opened in April 1860.


The Church supported the poor of the area by collections, but also in 1866 Johns Coal Fund was established. In his will Mr Johns bequeathed money to buy coal for distribution amongst 40 poor widows in Bishops Stortford regardless of their religious faith. In September 1868 the Non-Conformist Grammar School was opened with the support of the Congregational Church.


By 1914 the accommodation for the Sunday School had become totally inadequate so the money was raised to build a new church hall. The foundation stone was laid on 15 July 1914 and the hall opened in April 1915. In the 1940s the Sunday School became known as the Junior Family Church and became involved in the central activities of the church.


A manse was purchased in 1952 in Warwick Rd, until then the ministers had lived in their own accommodation.


The Congregation had many contacts with missionary organizations, the church sent a donation to the newly formed London Missionary Society in 1815 and remained closely linked with it. The church also oversaw the mission in Manuden.


In 1971 Bishops Stortford Congregational Church became Bishops Stortford United Reformed Church.

Link to NRA Record:

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