Wychwood Baptist Church

History of WBC

The first Baptist at Milton was a Mrs Green, wife of a Mr Philip Green, Tailor & Draper. She was a native of Bourton on the Water and a member of the Baptist Church there, on her marriage she came to live at Milton.

Mr Wheeler a Home Missionary evangelising in the villages around Milton was allowed to use the cottage of a Mrs Sarah Pill of Upper Milton as a preaching room. This was about 1805. The few who gathered there met with great opposition and persecution from their relatives and neighbours. But the preaching continued, attendances increased and after a while the services of Mr Smith the pastor of the Burford Baptist Church were obtained and he with others from neighbouring towns preached the gospel and enjoyed hospitality at the home of Mrs Green. As numbers increased the meeting place became too small. Through the efforts of an Ann Upstone and others the adjoining house was also brought into use. As numbers continued to grow a friends of Ann’s from Hook Norton Baptist Church, John Wheeler purchased a property where the church now stands and built a church largely at his own expense. This was opened in 1808 when there were guest preachers from Chipping Norton and Bourton on the Water. Encouraging words concerning spiritual growth were shared from Mark 4 v 28 and Isaiah 46 v 12/13.

A Sunday School was also started at this time and Ann Upstone together with Thomas Groves and others succeeded in gathering a large number of poor children to teach them from the Bible. Weekday evening services were also started sometimes without the services of a Minister.

Ann Upstone lived to see the prejudices of her relatives removed and her brother Edmund Upstone became a true friend of the cause.

In 1828 the Rev Hiorns an agent of the Baptist Home Mission was appointed as a local Home Missionary. His ministry was blessed and a Church was formed in the year 1837 with an initial membership of five. This was called a Baptist Open Communion Church and was under the direction of the Rev Thomas Coles the Baptist Minister at Bourton on the Water. Eight more Members were added later that year.

Two years later a decision was made to replace the church building which was in need of repair and had become too small. The new building was completed in 1839 and celebrated with preaching services morning afternoon and evening. In the morning the subject was worship with reference to John 4 v 24.

In 1842 a Mr Jameson an evangelist from the Home Mission drew large numbers to hear his preaching in Milton and a religious awakening followed with many being added to the church. Mr Hiorns continued to lead the congregation and until a fortnight before he died in 1844.