USBC Swindon 1996 after the refurbishment

An online history of
Upper Stratton Baptist Church
from 1861 to the present day.

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click any image to view an enlarged copy

Quicklinks: 1861 : 1880 : 1929 : 1952 : 1961 : 1996

Our special 150th Anniversary book, which records our history from 1862 - 2012 is available online now from www.lulu.com/spotlight/usbcswindon

Upper Stratton village was, for many years, a separate community. With the expansion of the former railway town of Swindon into a large, modern town, Upper Stratton has become absorbed into the larger town but retains its' distinctive sense of community too. Upper Stratton Baptist Church has served the community since 1861 as a place of worship, a meeting place and centre of many community activities.

We are proud to have served God and the community in this way and believe we will continue to form an essential focus for the community for future generations.
 

As the chapel was when first built 1861 Prior to the opening of the chapel in Green Lane (later to become Green Road) there was no school and just one small church (Primitive Methodist) in the village of Upper Stratton near Swindon.

In 1860, Henry Tucker Esq. of Bourton House, Berkshire, became the owner of a large part of Upper Stratton village. As a Christian, he decided to take action to benefit the community and glorify God. So he made plans to build the Chapel to serve the community as a Day School and Free Church. The foundation stone was laid in 1861 and the Church began life in 1862.
The history of the church to 1929 1861
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1929
A wonderfully detailed account of our history from 1861 - 1929 can be found here, written to commemorate the opening of the Sunday School Hall in 1929.
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  1862
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1867
Rev Horatio Gilmore served as the first full-time Minister
  1867
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1871
Rev Issaker Fletcher was the Minister.
Rev Fletcher was a converted Israelite
Samuel Colborne 1867
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1883
Mr Samuel Colborne served as Superintendent of the Sunday School. Many years later, Mr Colborne was the guest of honour at the stone-laying  ceremony for the new Sunday School Hall in 1929.
  1868 Local trustees took over responsibility for the church
The church joined the West of England Baptist Association (WESBA)
  1872
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1876
Rev James Hamilton from Norfolk was Minister
  1876
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1880
Rev Nicholas Rogers was Minister until he emigrated to Australia
Mr Robert Iles was appointed Organist and Choirmaster - a role in which he served for over 50 years 1878 Mr Robert Iles was appointed Organist and Choirmaster - a role in which he served for over 50 years
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  1880
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1891
Rev J W Gardner from Oxfordshire served as Minister
Mr A N Taylor served as Superintendent of the Sunday School 1881
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1900
Mr A N Taylor served as Superintendent of the Sunday School
Articles of Faith and Rules of Practice of the Baptist Church, Upper Stratton, published in February 1883 1883 Articles of Faith and Rules of Practice of the Baptist Church, Upper Stratton, published in February 1883
  1886 The bell fell from use. It was later sent to Jamaica in response to an appeal from the Baptist Missionary Society.
  1891
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1919
Following the death of Mrs Tucker it became a lay Church. Plans to amalgamate with Gorse Hill Baptist Church and for a co-pastorate with Stratton Green Baptist Church fell through and the church became led by a lay pastorate for over 60 years, the first being Mr A N Taylor who was Senior Deacon until 1919
  1902 It became possible to buy the building from the estate of Mrs Tucker at a cost of 300 which was met by loans from WESBA and the Baptist Building Fund
Parades were popular in the life of the church. This photograph is believed to show the Band of Hope parading past the church around 1910 c.1910 Parades were popular in the life of the church. This photograph is believed to show the Band of Hope parading past the church around 1910
Mr T Brett (centre, seated) was Superintendent of the Sunday School from 1910 -  1916. Mr Brett was affectionately known as "Uncle Tom" but sadly died at an early age c.1910 Mr T Brett (centre, seated) was Superintendent of the Sunday School from 1910 -  1916. Mr Brett was affectionately known as "Uncle Tom" but sadly died at an early age
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  1910  
Mr H Garlick served as Superintendent of the Sunday School 1916
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c.1929
Mr H Garlick served as Superintendent of the Sunday School
The foundation stone-laying ceremony for the new Sunday School Hall was a big event on 2nd March 1929. Guest of Honour was Mr Samuel Colborne who gave the address at the the special Service Mr Colborne was Superintendent of the Sunday School some 45 years previously and is pictured here being greeted by the Mr J Usher 1929 The foundation stone-laying ceremony for the new Sunday School Hall was a big event on 2nd March 1929. Guest of Honour was Mr Samuel Colborne who gave the address at the the special Service. Mr Colborne was Superintendent of the Sunday School some 45 years previously and is pictured here being greeted by the Mr J Usher
1929 The foundation stone-laying was marked by a special service
The New Sunday School Hall 1929 1929 The New Sunday School Hall opened just 5 months later in August 1929 to provide a home for the large number of children attending each week.

A wonderfully detailed account of the church history from 1861 - 1929 can be found here, written to commemorate the opening of the Sunday School Hall in 1929.

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Social events were an important part of the life of the church after the war 1945 Social events were an important part of the life of the church after the war.
The Young People's Fellowship began in September 1945 1945 The Young People's Fellowship began in September 1945. It has continued in various forms ever since. Today it's known as 'POGs' -(People Of God, a name chosen by the young people themselves)
Connie Crook, still a church member in 2006, led the Catering Committee in 1952 1952 Connie Crook, still a church member in 2006, led the Catering Committee in 1952
Rev. Ralph E Maycock became the first full-time minister at the church for 60 years 1952 Rev. Ralph E Maycock became the first full-time minister at the church for 60 years
Rev. Ralph E Maycock became the first full-time minister at the church for 60 years 1952 Rev Ralph Maycock and wife Kathleen on the induction.

Back row (L-R):
Frank Benham, Frank Carter, Alf Brown, Vic Hayes, Mr Howell, Jack Maisey, Arthur Simmonds
Front row (L-R):
Herbert Hobbs, Fred Taylor, Kathleen Maycock, Rev. Ralph E Maycock, Herbert Fisher, Mervyn Davis

Swindon Evening Advertiser reported the arrival of Rev Maycock 1952 The Swindon Evening Advertiser reported the arrival of Rev Maycock from Ramsbottom, Lancashire
Special services marked the induction of Rev R E Maycock 1952 Special services marked the induction of Rev R E Maycock on 6th September 1952. He moved into the manse, then at 36 Dores Road, in 1953
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  1955 The 'Rear Hall' was opened as a new home for the Sunday School - September 3rd 1955.
  1961 'The Messengers' band was formed and performed a range of Christian and secular music across the South of England for many years to come. Performing in venues from Plymouth to West Sussex as well as our local area, the Messengers were a popular choice to lead weekend meetings and events.
  1962 The '2nd Swindon Boys' Brigade Company Hall' was opened (now known as Le Shed and used by the youth group called POG's)
  1962 The church celebrated its Centenary with a week of special events
  1977 The Silver Jubilee Flower Festival was held to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee in June 1977
  1981 Rev David Blandford arrived to pastor USBC, fresh from Spurgeon's College together with wife, Heather.
  1987 Special 125th Anniversary Services were held
  1996 A special service of dedication marked the re-opening of the church following extensive renovation and extension
1999 From April to Sept we shipped a number of articulated trucks containing aid, donated by the community, to Albania for refugees from the Kosovo conflict. Working with an English missionary in Berat, Albania (Dudley Powell) we were able to provide much-needed clothes, food and medical supplies to the refugees arriving in that area. Over a 5 month period we sent 15 lorries, thanks to the immense generosity of the people of Swindon and the surrounding area
  2006 We celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the arrival of Rev David Blandford with wife, Heather.
  2008 Rev Chris Priddy joined USBC to work with children and young people both within the church and the community including local schools

2009 A wide variety of services and weekday activities continue. Many members are involved in activities across the town and share their faith with those they meet.
  2014 After more than 33 years serving God, the congregation at USBC and the local community, Rev David Blandford left the pastorate to follow his calling as a chaplain in the health service. Whilst he will be sorely missed, the church wishes him well as he moves forward with the work God is calling him to.

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2016

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