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Wymondham Baptist Church turns 100

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 November 2010

The laying of the first foundation stone in May 1909 by then MP for North West Norfolk Sir George White.

The laying of the first foundation stone in May 1909 by then MP for North West Norfolk Sir George White.

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The congregation at a south Norfolk church has celebrated its centenary.

Parishioners enjoyed a ceilidh and a special service this month commemorating 100 years of worship at Wymondham Baptist Church.

Although the church building in Queen Street opened its doors in 1910, its origins stretch back more than 200 years.

Rev Alan Davies, minister at Wymondham Baptist Church, said: “The abbey has been here for years and years and we would not want to claim priorty over it, but the Baptist Church must be the second oldest place of worship in the town.

“It’s good to be a part of. It actually has a very nice history.”

Worshippers first gathered at premises called Provenance Chapel in Friarscroft Lane in 1796. But when the congregation outgrew the building the church moved into old stables in Queen Street in 1897.

In May 1909 building work began on a new church next door with the first foundation stone being laid by Sir George White, the MP for North West Norfolk.

The builders were Benjamin Blazey and Son, of Damgate Street, who were paid £1,200 to construct the church which seated 300 people.

Just like it does today providing services including baby and toddler groups and counselling, the church has been helping address its community’s needs - early records even include approval for buying one parishioner a corset.

But it has also had its dark days. One record from 1833 tells of the minister Mr Welch, who was removed for some reason from the building by the police but only after he had damaged or destroyed some items inside.

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