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Bletchley historian John Taylor, in conjuction with the Bletchley Community Heritage Initiative
traces the background of Fenny Stratford Baptist Chapel.

The Baptist Chapel
Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church remained, for nearly a century,
among the most impressive of Fenny Stratford's architectural features.

Sunday Citizen February 10, 2002

Fenny Stratford the origins of a Baptist congregation really dates from the autumn of 1797, when a small number of 'brethren' met in the house of Conyers Burton.

During 1801 a church was formed and by 1803 services were being held at the home of Mr Linnell, Woughton.

Despite Mr Linnell's house being registered for worship, the members decided to build their own church at Fenny and bricked and slated, this was instructed between May and October 1805, at a cost of £100.

Opened on October 13, the first sermon was peached by the Rev William Bull, from Newport Pagnell.

By 1807 18 names were recorded on the church roll and Mr Smith became the first pastor on March 28. He served the ministry well but only briefly, before being called into the foreign mission field.

Easter Monday 1891, witnessed a Public Tea and Entertainment being held at the 'ruinous' Baptist chapel, in aid of funds for the new organ and with the finance duly acquired, a few weeks later the newly arrived American organ then gave its first majestic performance, played by Mr T G Kirby at the Sunday Service.

The Baptist church then decided to invite tenders for the building of not only a new chapel but also a new school, on the site of their existing chapel.

The plans made inclusion for the existing vaults - which would otherwise be overlaid by the new building - to be opened with the bodies re-interred, in a separate vault, to be constructed outside the building.

Tenders for the chapel and Sunday School were invited and at the old chapel the closing services were conducted in March, by the Rev H S Smith.

That month the demolition began and services were temporarily transferred to the Town Hall.

Mr Fathers of Bedford was selected as builder and Mr Sloan, of Leighton Buzzard, the architect, obedient to 'the improved style of Christian Architecture'.

Excluding Mr Sloan's fee the costs totalled £3050 with the completed building able to accommodate 520 people.

By Thursday, April 28 the building stood 'joist high' for the laying of the foundation stone.

The crowds were entertained by the Fenny Stratford Town Band.

Under the foundation stone was placed a tin box including a Bible, a copy of a document relating to the history of the church, a copy of Rippon's hymns and a programme of the days proceedings.

So began the beginnings of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church which for nearly a century remained amongst the most impressive of Fenny's architectural features.

The site, however, is today used for car sales, a reflection of modern worship upon which it is perhaps best not to dwell!