1876 – 1900

W P Lawrence
(Pastor from 1876 to 1904)
W P Lawrence (Pastor from 1876 to 1904)

Recorded events from September 1876 to 1899


September 26th
Members asked the Rev. W. P. Laurence of Gillingham to be Pastor.

November 5th
Rev. William Paul Laurence commenced his Ministry.

In his letter of acceptance the Rev. Laurence quoted the verse, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’. He said he would continue in this promise from God to serve the Church.


The Recognition Services were held with several Ministers taking part. Mr J.S. Whittaker of Bratton presided at the tea table. All services were well attended. These meetings were recorded in The Wiltshire Times.

The ninth anniversary services of the opening of the new Church were held, the collections of Sunday and Wednesday meetings were £31.

May 21st
A Sunday School treat was held at the Grassacres Field, kindly lent by A Laverton Esquire.

Missionary Meetings were held every year when Missionaries came on visits as delegates from Ceylon, Jamaica, China and in 1884 the address was based on the work of Tom Comber and lantern slides of pictures sent home by Comber and Bently: Collections were for the Congo Mission.


The Church members decided to have the Church heated by means of hot water pipes laid under the aisles, the work being undertaken by Mr Anderson, the manager of the Gas Works. The cost of this heating system being £50.

All the debts of the church, including the building of the new Chapel and the heating system were paid.


An extract taken from the 1881 Wiltshire Census returns record that: Dwelling in Church Street, Westbury was William P Laurence, occupation: Baptist Minister; also Annie Laurence, Minister’s wife; Emma and Annie, daughters; Edward, son; Emma Wright, occupation: Nurse, Domestic Servant and Sarah Webb, occupation; General Domestic Servant.


February 14th
A Financial Meeting was called as £22-10s-0d had to be paid to the Baptist Building Fund by March and there were no funds in hand, it was proposed to have a ‘Private Collection’.

June 14th
By the time of the Church’s 14th Anniversary of the new building all debts had been paid.

Six young women were baptised being inspired by a sermon preached by the Pastor based on Romans ch. 6 v 3 & 4.

A Harvest Thanksgiving Service and Tea was held, the collection was given to the colportage work of the Association.


As the Church was free of debt it was agreed to start a fund for a new organ at an approx. cost of £100. Many promises of money were made.

October 6th
New Church Organ was commissioned by a series of services.


£12 was still needed for the new organ.

The debt for the new organ was paid.

Prayer Meetings and Cottage Meetings and Pastors Bible Classes recommenced.


Pew rents were made payable.

June 25th
17th Anniversary of the new Church held.


Pastor Laurence fell from his carriage on the journey from Westbury Leigh to the Church, he was absent owing to the fall for three months, the pulpit being filled by local friends during his absence.


May 8th
The Sunday School Anniversary – the proceeds from the offering and tea totalled £31.


March 7th
Thomas Reeves a Deacon of the Church died, he had served the Church as a Deacon for forty years and was one of the oldest members.

Discussion on the improving of the Church by painting at a cost of £62.

November 5 – 8th
Evangelistic Meetings were held in the Church in connection with The Baptist Union, these being conducted by preachers from Cardiff.

December 23rd
Baptism of Mr Sidney Allen.


Improvements were made to the Church, lobby, schoolrooms and lighting at a total cost of £62, this being paid in 1890.


Baptisms of Edward Maby of Storridge Farm and Rose Freestone.


Baptism of Mr Frank Ingram

June 11th
Anniversary Tea, charges 6d each.


Baptism of Mrs Lush. Mr Lush was received from the Church at Warminster. (Mr Lush was Sunday School Superintendent – see plaque in the Schoolroom).

December 31st
Charlotte Laverton Legacy £10-12s-6d was provided for poor and needy of the Church.


The Pastor’s salary was increased to £79-14s-6d per annum. The membership of the Church was 98.

February 4th
On Sunday morning the caretaker discovered that, during the previous night, some live coals had dropped from the heating apparatus, ignited a cocoa-matting plus other damage to an extent of £2.


March 8th Tuesday
The Annual Tea and Church Meeting was held where 70 people sat down for tea. The Church Reports were given during the meeting and the Choir sang accompanied by Mr Lush on the new organ.

March 29th
Church members were given cards to record attendance at the communion.


August 5th
Amy Michael, the Great Granddaughter of the late Pastor Joseph Preece was baptised, but she retained her membership with The Congregational Church at Barnstaple.


October 31st
Mr W Keates, a Deacon for 30 years died. (Mr Keates being the Mason who built the present Church building.)


February 6th
Mr Charles Ingram and Mr Charles Whatley elected as Deacons with Mr Sidney Allen and Mr Frank Ingram acting as auditors at this election.

Choir re-formed under the leadership of Mr Lush.

During the next few years baptisms took place after the preaching of the evangelist Mr Rankin. (Mr Rankin being an Evangelist with the Wilts and East Somerset Association of Baptist Churches).


A legacy was left to the Church called The Hannah Deacon’s Legacy.


Christmas Day
Baptisms of Miss Virtue Daniels (later Mrs Arthur Barber) and Miss Scull


Baptisms of Mr Arthur Bailey, Mr Arthur Barber and Mr Laurence, Pastors Son.

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