Bishop's Stortford United Reformed Church, Hertfordshire

In 1662 John Payne, vicar of St. Michael’s, the parish church of Bishop’s Stortford, was ejected from the living and prohibited from preaching within 5 miles of St. Michael’s because of his non-conformist views. It seems, however, that he decided to flaunt this ruling and began preaching in Basbow Lane, a mere metres away within site of the church!

After the Act of Toleration in 1689 such meetings were allowed once more and the first “Independents” church began to meet in a nearby barn in 1706. This barn was bought in 1717 and converted into a proper meeting house. This meeting house was demolished in 1767 and the first proper purpose built church was constructed.

However, by 1858, this church was in a poor state of repair and so rather than renovate a decision was made to demolish and rebuild. The church which stands today as the United Reformed Church was opened in 1860 at a cost of just £2,500. Parts of this building were remodelled in the 1920s and again in the 1980s. In 2000 the entirety of the roof was removed and rebuilt and for around six months the congregation had to meet in the church hall. Work was completed in February 2001 and a service was held to celebrate completion of the work and reopening of the church.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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