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HISTORY OF EAST BERGHOLT

CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

1689 -2004

 Introduction

 The dissenting movement was very probably active in East Bergholt in the late 16th or early 17th century and it is certain that a non-conformist (Independent) Church was formed in East Bergholt  in 1672. However, because of the Act of Uniformity (1662) with its enforcement of adherence to the Book of Common Prayer, the congregation had to meet privately for fear of persecution. One record suggests that meetings were held in the house of a Mr. Robert Hall, probably the old Manse and Chapel House and were conducted by Mr. Richard Moore and Mr. Samuel Foame. With the passing of the Act of Toleration in 1689, the congregation was free to call Ministers.

 Although some of the earliest records of the Church are missing, it is fortunate that a Thomas Muscutt who was Minister from 1819 to 1836 compiled a record of the Ministers of the Church from 1689 to 1836. So the first part of this history is from that record by Thomas Muscutt.

 The present Church building was erected in 1856/57. However, it is certain that an earlier Church existed and a Thomas Harmer who wrote an account of Suffolk congregations in 1774, notes that a Chapel building was erected during the Pastorate of Rice Williams(1703-1750). This must have been the first Independent Church in East Bergholt, tradition and an 18th century map has it that this stood somewhere near the present Manse. This Church was known as the Independent Meeting House and the word Congregational was not used until some years later. it is recorded that sums of money were granted to Ministers Henry innes. Samuel Brabrook and James Cover from the Presbyterian Fund between the years 1758 and 1810.