Minute books of Barking Congregational Church, 1804-1922

Scope and Content

Minute books of church and deacons meetings at Barking Congregational Church, later known as the Barking United Reformed Church on Upney Lane (September 1804-November 1922), providing an insight into the beliefs and activities of an early nonconformist community in Barking.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1782 the Reverend George Gold, Minister of the Brickfields Independent Church, began to hold services in the rooms of a hired house for the people of Barking. The first congregational church in Barking was subsequently founded in 1784, and the church building was erected on the Broadway. Over the next twenty years, services were led once a month by the Reverend Gold, and the rest of the time his duties were performed by visiting Pastors. The first resident Minister, Pastor John Kennett Parker, was not appointed until 1805. It has been said that this is when the life of the church really began. Deacons were elected. Members joined. Meanwhile anyone that did not conform to the new high standard of behaviour that was demanded were crossed off the membership role.

On the death of Mr Parker in 1818, the Reverend J. West took over the Pastorate. He was then followed by the Reverend G. Corney, who served from 1836. A new chapel was built on the same site at the Broadway a few years after his arrival in 1844. In September 1860, Joseph Smedmore commenced his ministry of 19 years. He promoted the building of a third church. This much needed development was realised in 1864. By the turn of the twentieth century, the church was led by asuccession of different pastors, perhaps most notably, Reverend Davies, who introduced and Annual Dinner for Widows in 1883.

Pastor S. J. Maple was appointed in 1921. He set about building the church up again after the suffering and loss caused by the First World War. It became clear that the church on the Broadway was no longer fit for purpose, and was eventually closed. In turn the headstones in the graveyard were transferred to Rippleside Cemetery. The foundation stone of the new church on Upney Lane was laid in March, and then opened in July 1929. The new church seated two hundred people. This along with the community hall built in 1965, enabled the expansion of activities to include social meetings, outings and handicraft classes. The church joined the United Reformed Church and became known as Barking United Reformed Church in 1973.

Access Information

This material is open to research and can be viewed at the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre. To make an appointment to visit the reading room, please telephone 020 8227 2033 or email at localstudies@lbbd.gov.uk.


Catalogued by Clare Sexton, Borough Archivist.

Other Finding Aids

For further information about the contents of this collection, please contact the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre by telephone 020 8227 2033 or email at localstudies@lbbd.gov.uk.

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Geographical Names