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Congregationalists in Willington

There are two references to a meeting for Congregationalists in Willington in records held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service. One is in 1829 when Cotton End Congregationalist minister John Holloway registered the house of John Day [ABN1/2, ABN2/243, ABN3/3 and ABN3/92].

The secular authorities wished to know how many people in the country attended worship and the rough proportions for each denomination. Thus a census of worshippers was held on Sunday 30th March 1851, known as the Ecclesiastical Census. It was not a particularly popular exercise and the day itself, cold, wet and unpleasant, did not exactly encourage people to go outdoors. Nevertheless, the independent meeting in Willington had sixty people attending evening service.

The lay preacher, William Brimley, noted that the meeting house had seats for just this number of people, sixty and that this was the number in the average congregation. He also wrote: "No regular Preachers but supplied generally by laymen or Preachers". The meeting was, for lack of evidence to the contrary, presumably the house of John Day registered in 1829.