The Baptist Church in Bewdley is generally accepted as being one of the earliest Baptist churches, having been founded in 1650 following a boisterous debate between John Tombes and Richard Baxter at St Anne’s church. The debate began at 9.00am and continued until 5.30pm, with the magistrates eventually having to restore order.
Although the church was not built until 1764 when this site was purchased, the church members met, like many of the early Christians, in people’s homes nearby. This was made possible by bequest made by a Mrs. Sheward who left £50 to the minister and £100 to assist in the building of a church.
The building has gone through many renovations, extensions and modernisations as the needs of the church and community have changed over the centuries.
Key Dates in the History of the Building
|1764||Purchase of the land and building of the church|
|C1790||Building of a house (to enable Richard Bayliss, who had been invited to be minister, to carry on his hardware business)|
|1794||Repairs to the Vestry, erection of a partition there, purchase of four new pews, and new wainscoting in the minister’s house|
|1811||Repair to the roof which was in danger of collapse|
|1847||Church rebuilt ie extended and the roof raised|
|1925/6||Building of Sunday School rooms at the front of the church|
|1949/50||School room extended, toilets and a kitchen added|
|1978||Land and garages purchased from the Manor House and converted into schoolrooms|
|1984/5||New Kitchen and toilets built and the side wall of the schoolroom strengthened|
|1988||Church closed – structurally unsafe|
|1994||The extended and strengthened building was opened on 1st October|
|2011/12||Front cottage and front garden repaired and modified after water leak|