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Brief History of the Chapel

The Baptist chapel operated in Chapel Lane for 200 years, closing in 1995. It served as a centre for a worshipping community which covered a wide area on the Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire wolds.

Upper Broughton Free Church (Baptist)

The chapel building stands on land first purchased on 12th Jan 1796 from William Grice, a farmer who may have lived at Church Farm, with land adjoining the chapel. There were 10 trustees to this deed of sale whose details give an insight into the people ready to support a new Baptist congregation in the area;

William Neale; Broughton Sulney; Cordwainer

Benjamin Watson Junior; Saxelbye; framework Knitter,

William Blount; Costock; Farmer and grazier

John Tong Junior; Wimeswould; Breeches-Maker

John Sleath, Normington Hills; Servant

Thomas Hoe, Hoton Hills; Servant

Thomas Harrison, Burton on the Wolds, Cordwainer+

William Wood Jnr; Wimeswold; Framework Knitter

Walter Waters; Wimeswould; Framework Knitter

Joseph Wright; Broughton Sulney; Husbandman

The number of trustees from villages on the Leicestershire wolds supports the theory that Broughton chapel started as an outpost of the Baptist chapel founded at East Leake in 1757.

A Dissenters Certificate was issued by the Diocese of Southwell  for the Chapel  on 25th July 1796

By 1809 more land was needed to extend the burial ground. The Minute Book records that;

Benjamin Tuckwood & Philip Hawley of Dalby, & Wm Neale of Broughton bought for the church at Broughton of Wm. Grice, a piece of ground adjoining the West end of the Meeting House measuring 107 1/3 square yards at 1/- (shilling) per yard.

The trustees for this purchase show the growth of the local congregation;

As well as those named above the list comprises;

Joseph Wright, Broughton Sulney, Husbandman

Jeremiah Butt, Stanton; Farmer and Grazier

Samuel Mantle: Hose, Framework Knitter

Henry Mantle; Hose; Grazier

William Stevenson; Stanton; Grazier

John Hopkin; Nether Broughton; Framework Knitter

Gabriel Hebb; Broughton Sulney; Grazier


This purchase appears to cover only the small piece of land immediately to the west of the chapel so there must have been a third purchase at a later date to account for the much larger area of burial ground to the north.




Church Meetings

The Minute Books which survive at Notts. Archives record the business of the church meetings as well as a list of Rules ’By which the Church requests the members to act are as follows’

1st In case of none attendance on the means of Grace, or at Church meetings, they are meekly to enquire of such persons the cause thereof; which if unsatisfactory they are desired to reason with them on the subject in a candid manner, in order that the one may be convinced of his error or the other satisfied with his excuse.

2nd. In like manner they are to enquire into the truth of any report respecting any kind of misconduct in their Brethren or Sisters; which if real they are likewise candidly to make them sensible of their crime and bring them to true repentance.

6th None of the persons appointed shall have any authority to administer any severe rebuke of in any case whatsoever.

It seems remarkable that anyone was persuaded to give up their offence, and must certainly have been a very time-consuming process for the faithful members involved!

The meetings also discussed expansion and by 1860 Broughton Church was also responsible for Meeting Houses in Widmerpool, Hose and Long Clawson. Deacons were elected annually to oversee  every day running matters ;’ Agreed that friends Mantle and Goodall take the lamp under hand at Hose to try if they can by any means make it burn properly’

‘Christmas Meeting1841, Agreed that Fd. Walker clean the Meeting House at Broughton during the next year and that he be paid £5’

The issue of private pews was raised in the 1840s. Some were let by the year but others it seems were erected by members for their own use;

May 26t.h 1856 Agreed that Mr Grice be allowed to erect a pew against Mr Brown’s. Agreed that Mr Cross be allowed to erect a pew against the vestry door.

Eventually it was decided that all the public benches be ‘backed’ so that all could hear a long sermon in relative comfort.

Preachers and Pastors

The preacher mentioned most frequently in the Minute Books is Thomas Hoe. He was one of the founding trustees of the church named in the Deed of 1796 and was still preaching in 1858 when Broughton church could no longer afford to pay him and he had to move elsewhere. He was not the only preacher retained but the cost to the church seems to have become too much for them;

1844 Christmas Meeting, Agreed that we suggest to Mr Stocks the necessity of reducing his salary to £70 a year, and that, with a view to meet the reduction, we propose that his Sabbath Day travelling be abridged by his preaching at Clawson in the forenoon and at Hose in the in the afternoon and evening of one Sabbath and at Widmerpool (When Practicable) in the forenoon and at Broughton in the afternoon and evening of the other.

20th Century

In the late 19th century church membership began to fall and the future looked bleak, in 1902 the church was left without a pastor and ‘the members requested the Nottingham County Committee of the East Midlands Baptist Association to take oversight of our church at Upper Broughton’

With the help of the Association, Rev Leo Humby was appointed as Pastor in 1904 and almost immediately began plans for renovation.  It was decided to re-align the church by moving the pulpit and altar table from the north to the west wall. This would mean moving all the pews from their established places, needing the agreement of families who were used to sitting in their own place. Heating and lighting were also considered; with a plan to move the stove and to ask four individuals to each sponsor a new hanging light.

One of those contacted was a Mr Stevenson of Nottingham who had briefly been pastor himself in 1901-2 and his enthusiasm led him to cycle over to Broughton on Sunday May 21st 1905 and to push for a larger scheme to cost £100! This would include new seating, heating apparatus, lamps, ventilation, stained glass windows and a seat in the pulpit.

Mr Stevenson immediately pledged £5 towards this work on condition that Broughton ’friends’ would pledge the same; promises were made as follows; Mr Stevenson, £5 and would collect another £25, Mr H W Woolley £5, Mr Brooks £5, Mr Slack £5, Mr Humby £5, Revs Handford and Coombes to be asked to get £5 each. This, with about £12 in hand totalled about £72.

By June there was a meeting with an architect, Mr Barker, whose services had been arranged gratis by Mr Stevenson, plans were agreed and the work went ahead very quickly.

The Reopening Service took place on the afternoon of Thursday October 12th 1905 and afterwards a Public Tea was held in a tent on Mr Worthington’s field, opposite the chapel. In the evening a public meeting was held, addressed by several Gentlemen from Nottingham.

Having restored the chapel building, changes in its membership were now planned.

In 1908 at a General meeting of the Church and Congregation the Mr Frank Heafford, the newly appointed Secretary, spoke of the need of forming ‘a Free and Open Church in which all Non-Conformists would feel able to share.’ This large ambition was however soon compromised by the ever-present financial problems. In 1912 it ‘was definitely stated that the place would have to be closed unless monetary help were forthcoming to liquidate debt of £6, and also an annual sum to assist us in carrying on the cause.’

Mr Heafford drew in his horns and proposed that the offer from East Midlands Baptist Association of taking on Broughton as an Associate Church be accepted. This effectively meant relinquishing all financial responsibility for the church to the EMBA.

Following this move church membership began to rise, particularly after 1920 with the arrival in the village of the Jalland family. Mr Richard Jalland was a Methodist lay preacher and two of his daughters served as organists. A Sunday School and a choir were established and in 1936 a pipe organ was installed at a cost of£28.

During the 1950s and 60s the Chapel was supported by several local families ;The Baileys, Smithsons, Ecobs and descendants of the Jallands , as well as other individual members  attended regularly, ran the Sunday School and raised funds when needed. Gradually however younger generations moved away and in 1995 the Chapel was closed for worship.

The building was sold as a private house and has been sensitively converted with the stained glass and several monuments preserved.

The burial ground was retained by the EMBA and is still open for burials, it is a small green haven open to all who wish to visit it.






Upcoming Events
Visit to the William Booth Birthplace Museum Jan 11, 2023 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM — Notintone Place, Sneinton
Honest Men but Destitute, the Plight of the Framework Knitters Mar 09, 2023 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM — Upper Broughton Village Hall
The Mayflower Pilgrims Sep 13, 2023 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM — Upper Broughton Village Hall
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