The Baptist Chapel


Oakington Baptist Chapel

The Baptist Chapel congregation has met on this site for over 200 years.  In 1815, John Stittle obtained a licence to hold services ‘in a certain outhouse or building belonging to me…’ Unfortunately, the original wooden chapel was burned down on 20th May 1865, after a boy named Albert Doggett playing with matches near the chapel set light to some straw and the fire spread to the chapel. Although Albert lived into his eighties, it is said that he never outgrew his label as ‘the boy who burnt the Baptist chapel down’. From the newspaper report of the event, it seems that the fire destroyed not just the chapel but much of the whole Stocks Green area, including Mrs Doggett’s farm and a nearby barn and cottages, and would have consumed more had it not been for the efforts of the men working the parish fire engine.

Newspaper report of the fire of 1865

The congregation continued services in the barn next to 35 High Street and within weeks began construction of this current building.  The work took only three months and cost £394 0s 9d. In 1877, the Chapel was lengthened and a vestry and Sunday School built onto the side.  The names of the Trustees involved were engraved on bricks which can still be seen in the side wall of the porch.

Children probably from the Sunday School. Notice the small size of the tree.
Baptist Chapel, 1922
The wooden shed at the rear of the chapel may have been the former boiler house. The road crossing the green went to the rear of the cottages facing the High Street.
This photograph shows the garage, former stable, and the Baptist Chapel. Ralph Warboys recalls “My father, when a boy, would meet the Minister on the Green and having put the Trap in the garage, he would take the pony home to his father’s stable for the day, bringing it back after the evening service”.

Renovation work, 2017–2021

During restoration work, March 2020

The brick building of 1865 had no damp proof course, and by 2017 the building was showing signs of damp. The roof timbers were infested with woodworm, the gallery was unsafe ,and the floorboards and joints were rotten. The latter collapsed one Sunday morning, much to the surprise of a visiting Dutch family sitting on the pew above. Large scale restoration work began, and by January 2018 the building was reduced to an open brick shell. Despite setbacks (common to many old buildings) from concealed rotten timbers, unsafe brickwork, and subsidence, as well as the covid-19 lockdowns, the building was saved and is now back in operation complete with a new Sunday School. You can visit the Baptist chapel website here.


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