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List of West End Baptist Pastors

Plaque to Joseph Such inside West End Baptist Meeting December 2009
Plaque to Joseph Such inside West End Baptist Meeting December 2009

This list of pastors is drawn from the guide to the meeting: Stevington Baptist Church 1655-2005: 350 Years Praising the Lord. Notes on some of the pastors are taken from H. G. Tibbutt's history of 1955:

  • Stephen Hawthorne senior: 1655-1694/5; he came from Turvey and licensed his own house there as a meeting in 1672
  • John Reade: to 1672; he died on 14th April 1672;
  • Stephen Hawthorne junior: 1691-1706?
  • Daniel Negus: 1691-1710; An entry in the church book for 1672 reads: "Daniel Negus was by the Church Chosen and appointed to provide for them, bread and wine &c. and to receive that which is their's in the stead of Brother John Read". He became co-pastor with Stephen Hawthorne senior and junior in 1691 due to the scattered nature of the congregation. He died of smallpox in 1710;
  • Nathan Brown: after 1695; he was ordained elder in 1695; he probably died in 1706;
  • Simon Hearcock: 1711-1716; he came from Hail Weston [Huntingdonshire]. He wished to avoid making baptism a bar to membership and allowed singing "at the Lord's Table" in 1713. By the time of his death the church had just eighteen members;
  • William Bowyer: 1718-1745; he was blind from about 1736. Under him the church built the current [2009] meeting, which was finished in 1721;
  • Joseph Clayton: 1751-1790; he was born in Gamlingay [Cambridgeshire] in 1710 and first preached at Stevington in 1750. He made acceptance of the pastorate conditional on the acceptance of singing at services. His second wife was not a Baptist, which caused further friction, particularly with William Bowyer's family. He died on 10th September 1790;
  • James Pratt: 1790-1794; he had helped Joseph Clayton in the last four years of his pastorate. He was not ordained;
  • John Millard: 1795-1802; he came from Olney [Buckinghamshire]. He added twenty six members during his pastorate. He had a wife and child to support and his "circumstances continues very low" it was reported in 1799. He earned money as a cordwainer (shoe maker). The 1799 report continued: "We hope Mr. Millard labours not in vain" but he had to resign in 1802;
  • Joseph Such: 1804-1830; the church had just twenty three members when he was ordained. A split may have occurred with some members as another place was registered as a meeting in 1808. He set up a Sunday School in 1813. He left a long account of his life, written in 1822. He resigned in 1831 and died in 1832, aged 86, and is buried at West End;
  • George Herbert Orchard: 1832-1843; he came from West Haddon [Northamptonshire] and built a baptistery to replace immersion in the River Great Ouse. By 1843 there was opposition to him in the congregation. He resigned in June and left the country;
  • John Haigh: 1843-1850; he had several periods of illness and had to resign on 6th April 1850. he left Stevington on 19th by ail to Yorkshire and died there eleven days later;
  • Wilkinson Rowe: 1850-1860; by the end of his pastorate relations with the Anglicans and Primitive Methodists in the village were good and united prayer meetings were held every Thursday evening in the winter at the village school. He resigned due to ill health;
  • Thomas Hayden: 1861-1863;
  • J. C. Wooster: 1865-1869;
  • Thomas Smith: 1871-1872; he was asked to fill in after Wooster's resignation but mistook this as an invitation to be permanent pastor. He stayed for over a year then emigrated to America;
  • William Brightwell: 1874-1881; he had recently returned from Australia;
  • Benjamin Williams: 1882-1883; he came from Hail Weston and left for America in 1883;
  • Evan Probert: 1883-1890; by the end of his pastorate the meeting was at  a low ebb;
  • George Thomas Gillingham: 1891-1893; he came from Windsor [Berkshire];
  • Samuel Williams: 1984-1900; he died at the Manse in January 1900, with membership of just 29;
  • Henry C. Field: 1900-1906; by the end of his pastorate membership had risen to 54
  • A. E. Johnston: 1906-1907; he died in 1907 after a severe illness;
  • W. Cleugh Black: 1907-1909; he left for Australia in November 1909;
  • Thomas Gardiner: 1910-1916; by 1912 membership was just 35; he died in December 1916 after a ten week illness;
  • H. A. Hunt: 1918-1919; he lived in Bedford;
  • E. Victor Whittle: 1920-1922; he worked very successfully with young people; he worked in London during the week;
  • J. Stanley Reed: 1924-1928;
  • James H. Brooksbank: 1928-1930; he came from Leighton Buzzard; he left after being injured, and his wife killed, in a motoring accident
  • Frank W. Hurford: 1931-1932; 13 young people joined the church in 1931;
  • George A. Griffith: 1933-1940; membership was 56 in 1933 ;
  • E. Victor Whittle: 1940-1952; his church in Eltham had been severely damaged by enemy action and he returned to Stevington; membership was 73 in 1949; he left to go to Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard;
  • Ronald H. Rust: 1953-1959;
  • J. R. Cooper: 1960-1964;
  • D. Tregaskis: 1965-1967;
  • F. W. Trout: 1969-1976;
  • R. F. Mitchell: 1979-1986;
  • Stephen Phillips: 1989-2001;
  • Trevor Ogden: 2002-2004;
  • Frank James and Michael Jarvis: 2004 -