Monday, May 23, 2011

Clipston Baptist Church

There is a plaque in the entrance of the church with the date 1803. Pevsner has it right:
The brick side with the three arched windows belongs to that date.The gross and townish front of 1864 is by E.F. Law.
"Gross and townish" is just right, and it is an extraordinary building to find in what is still a small village. Finding it is even more of a surprise than discovering that Clipston still has two pubs.

The 1803 church seems to owe its existence to what sounds like an outbreak of religious mania led by a young man called John Gulliver. A leaflet tells the story of this revival, concluding:
Meeting for Prayer was the cause of this revival more than preaching, Preaching however has led many to inquire about the way of salvation. The youth Invited others to church meetings and many who came were deeply touched. In tears and weeping they have sought the way to Zion.

This work has effected a change among the youth in Clipston. Their behaviour is now mild and gentle. The streets during summer evenings were thronged with misbehaving idle youth, now they are silent and still. They walk together in groups praying and talking about religion.

The effect is mainly among the youth.

The Clipston congregation experienced considerable growth averaging 700 - 800 people in a service.

In 1803 a new church building was commissioned.
And that new church must have been substantial, even before the intrusion of the gross and townish front later in the century.

No comments: