More information on Baptist History can be found here.
Northamptonshire was the focus of substantial growth in this group of Dissenters during the mid 18th century. Most well documented are the origins of the Northamptonshire Baptist Association in 1763, from which the Baptist Missionary Society traces its origins.Early Baptist Churches in Northamptonshire However there were differences among the various churches and by the 1830’s three distinct groupings could be identified.
- The Missionary Baptists, sometimes known as “Fullerites” most of whom became members of the Baptist Union in 1832 and trace their origins to John C. Ryland, Andrew Fuller, John Sutcliff, and William Carey.
If you want to know more about the background of some of these people a good place to start is the Cowper and Newton Museum in Olney, Buckinghamshire. John Sutcliff, John Newton and William Cowper were together in Olney from 1780-1810. Olney was the intellectual focus of the Missionary Baptists together with Andrew Fuller from Kettering, John C. Ryland from Northampton and Robert Hall of Arnesby.
- The Strict Baptists who practised closed communion, subsequently most of these churches have become members of the Grace Baptist Churches.
Charles Vorleywas minister of Carlton Baptist Church from 1797 to 1837.
- The Gospel Standard Baptists or “Gadsbyites” (as they were later known) were led by William Gadsby, John Warburton and John Kershaw with high-calvinist beliefs and practised closed communion.
Edward Vorley was minister of the Ebenezer Chapel, St Peter’s Lane, Leicester from 1807 to 1838.
Subsequently these became known as the Congregationalists and in 1972 joined the Presbyterians to form the United Reformed Church (URC). The three most significant early Independent chapels were in Rothwell (or Rowell) in 1655 and Northampton, Castle Hill in 1662 and Wellingborough in 1662. Philip Doddridge was minister at Castle Hill from 1732-1760.
The Methodists trace their origins to John Wesley a Church of England minister in the mid 1700’s. After his death in 1791 the group finally broke away from the Church of England and several groups evolved. The main groups became known as Methodist New Connexion (1797), Primitive Methodists (1807), Wesleyan Methodists (1836). Eventually these and several other groups became the Methodist Church in 1932. Three of these groups were represented with chapels in Northamptonshire: the Wesleyan, the Primitive and the Wesleyan Reformers.
Methodism in Cambridgeshireis covered in an excellent page by Martin Edwards. It covers some parishes that were originally in Northamptonshire and some general information and links about researching in Methodist archives.
Details of Quakers in Northamptonshire can be found on the Quaker Family History Society website for Northamptonshire, which includes links to other sources. There are also extracts of Northamptonshire Quaker meetings.
Read more about Nonconformists connected with Northamptonshire