Addlestone Baptist Church was formed in 1828, however local people had been worshiping at Baptist “cottage meetings” since 1790. The first pastor of the church was Reverend R. Grace, who stayed eight years and established a Sunday school. The congregation slowly grew over the next ten years to ninety people. In March of 1838, Reverend WC Worley was ordained, and the following year the church was moved to its current site, but “preaching stations” were still maintained at Chertsey Lane and in Byfleet.
On October 27, 1839, the following resolution was passed by the congregation with some dissention: “That from this day forward we received into communion, and church fellowship, members of all denominations, of whose faith and piety we shall first approve.” This statement broadened the church’s mission and opened its evangelical mission, becoming the “glory and strength” of the church. Soon after, Mr Worley retired and the church remained without a preacher for almost 14 years.
By 1857, the congregation was down to 16 members, but that Christmas a “new era” began at the church when Reverend Robert Tubbs became pastor. He “carried the Gospel” into the local towns and won much respect and admiration for the church. He died in 1871 and was succeeded by the Revered Edward Leach, editor of The Freeman newspaper. Around that time, a Mrs Huntsman gave money to have the church modernised. The first foundation stone was laid in 1872 by the Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon, one of the most prominent and charismatic preachers of the time, who afterwards famously preached to 3,000 people under the Crouch Oak tree.
When Reverend Leach resigned in 1873, the congregation had grown again to 41 members. In 1874, the Reverend John Jackson became preacher, resigning two years later. The church was without a preacher again for a year until the Reverend Edward Tarbox became pastor in 1877, and membership rose. Seven years later, after Tarbox moved to Woking, Reverend R Sinler became pastor, followed by a Reverend Bayly and then Reverend Thomas G Pollard in 1906.
One of the most notable members of the Addlestone Baptist Church was Mr Frances John Marnham, MP, JP. Marnham was a privately educated and very well travelled man, whose father had worked for the Baptist Missionary Society. He functioned as the Deacon and Treasurer of Addlestone Baptist Church. He was a member of the London Stock Exchange and in 1906 was a Member of Parliament for Chertsey, Division of Surrey. Before he was elected to Parliament, he was chairman of Chertsey Urban District Council. He was also on the management board for Sir William Perkins’s School for ten years.
Today Addlestone Baptist Church’s membership is around 120 members. With over half of the congregation under 18, it is set to remain a cornerstone of the community, especially given that part of the church’s aim is to “build relationships with the local community through participation in community activities”. Their overall vision statement is “to relate to God in worship and to respond to God in mission” while being “a visible and vibrant family of God’s people, making a difference in the lives of people and families in our community” and “ensuring that the Fellowship is led with vision, integrity and godliness”.
Chertsey Museum Research Room local history boxfiles
Baptist Churches of Surrey, AH Stockwell, 1909