As a church of the Baptist tradition, Kingsbridge Family Church has a long history.
In 1662, clergy who objected to the “Act of Uniformity” were ejected from their established churches and faced persecution. They became known as “nonconformists”, and Baptists were identified as such.
Kingsbridge became a centre for nonconformism, and small groups would meet on high ground (with lookouts), secluded places (such as Tacket Wood) or on the Saltstone in the estuary.
The Baptist movement had started in the early 1600s. The Baptist Society in Kingsbridge was founded in 1640, possibly the earliest outside London.
The first Baptist minister in Kingsbridge (1700) was the son of an ejected clergyman. The first Baptist chapel (on Baptist Lane, close to where the church building is today) was built in 1702. Our current building started in 1799 and has been enlarged and refurbished several times since then.
Today, churches that are independent of the Church of England (such as Baptist churches) are often called “free churches”, meaning free from state control.
We like to think that we are continuing with some of those early values: meeting together, with independent thinking and a pioneering spirit.
To find out more about the history of Kingsbridge Nonconformists, do take a look at the U3A document here