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Old Book

our history

Creech St Michael Baptist Church dates back to 1824 when the first chapel was built, but people had been meeting together as a gathering of Christians even before that date.

The Baptist Church in Creech St Michael was begun when Mr James Blatch Cox of Silver Street Baptist Church was directed to conduct an ‘occasional’ ministry at Creech. A Sabbath school was formed in 1816 and in 1824 the congregation decided that they needed a more permanent base and the first Chapel was built on land bought by Mr Cox from Francis Gale. Mr Cox moved to Bridgwater and was succeeded at Creech by Mr Gabriel of Stogumber who had been invited by North Curry Baptists to take up the ministry there. He came to live in Creech and naturally looked after both villages. By 1830 the Rev George Medway had become the pastor. The preaching was shared with the Rev Medway taking the Sunday morning services Mr Gabriel the Sunday evening services. After a disagreement of some kind Mr Gabriel’s ministry was terminated. 


Church members in 1874 were:

Mrs Cozens snr, W Couzens jnr, W Couzens jnr, Mrs F Ralls, Jean Godfrey, Edward Perris, Anna Perris, W Wills Thos, Mrs Wills Sarah, Miss Street Jane, Miss Leach, Thomas Bradbeer, Mrs Bradbeer, Mrs Dinah Hurley, Miss Tyler, Mrs Hunt, Thomas Durk, Mrs Poole, Mr J H Nicholls, Mary Ralls, W Thomas, Mrs Thomas, Mr J Dykes, Miss Derrick, W F Lock, W Perryman, Mrs Perryman, William Gully, Mr Sommerville, Mrs Sommerville, Mr Mathewson, Mrs Mathewson, Mr Pendry, Mrs Pendry, Mrs Thos Brass, Miss Smith, Mrs Hunt, Mr Weaver, Mr Vickery, Miss M Leach, Mrs Dykes Miss Philpott, Mr Bale, Mrs Bale, Mrs Lovell, Miss Emma Coppin, Miss Mary Totterdell, Miss Effie Totterdell, Mrs Selina Stevens, Mr William Perham, Miss Clara Wide, Mr Hepper, Miss Amelia Brass, Elizabeth Gully, Elizabeth Totterdell, Ellen Thomas, Sarah Jane Thomas, Alma Gardner,Alexander Mathewson, James Mathewson, Mary Ann Perry, Robert Whitehead, George Spiller, Mrs Vickery, Mrs Bradbeer Jnr,Thomas Sidwick, Elizabeth Sidwick, Robert Doddon, Walter Cozens, William Dyer, Mrs John Coleman, Annie Stevens (Mrs King), Bessie Philpott, Mr Salter, Mrs Salter, Mr Phillips, Mrs Phillips, James Harvey 

In 1875 the church purchased the house and land adjoining the chapel from a John Hitchcock having been leant the money by one of its members, Edward Perris.

These were exciting times and in 1876 much work was carried out to re-plan the chapel. The pulpit was removed, a platform erected in its place and the baptistry was moved in front of the platform. The ends of the old pews were used to wainscot the chapel, the stairs of the north gallery were moved to form an entrance to the gallery from the newly erected school room, the building was painted inside and out, a wooden porch was erected, and a new lobby built.


To raise the funds for all this work the cottage and land purchased earlier was sold. By 1882 the Church has 51 members, and 12 teachers with 140 scholars attending the Sunday School. These numbers changed little over the next five years - in 1887 there were 52 members, 10 teachers and 130 scholars at Sunday School. The Church could had sittings for 160 people. 


In February 1884 the old schoolroom was pulled down and arrangements were made to raise the money via collecting cards and loans to build a new one. The building committee comprised Messrs Perris, Cozens, Sommerville, Mathewson, Pendry, Hepper, Dykes.Sarah Leakey Nicholls a widow of Creech Saint Michael died in 1888 stated in her last will and testament of October 1886 and proved in July 1889, "I appoint my friend Hugh Pengilly Oliver sole executor of this my will. I bequest to the Minister of the Baptist Chapel Creech Saint Michael the sum of three hundred pounds free of legacy duty to be applied by them in such a manner as they may think fit for the benefit of the Chapel, or the Baptist cause and such legacy and duty are to be paid out of my pure personal estate in priority to all other legacies..." This certainly assisted the Church with renovating Chapel and School Room & Class Rooms and was used to pay off the outstanding loan taken out to build the new School Room that had been opened by Reginald Sommerville in 1884 brother of the Paper Mill Owner. The Chapel was used for cookery lessons by children from the Village School and the hall continued to be used as a schoolroom until 1973. 


In 1983 the old Chapel was demolished and The Baptist Chapel as we know it today was built. 



By way of explanation: Instead of giving Saints names to their buildings like Catholic and Anglican Churches, many Nonconformist Churches used place names mentioned in the Bible as 'nicknames' for their Chapels. Hence the prevalence of 'Bethel', Ebenezer' and 'Zion' Chapels across Britain, especially in Wales.

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