At the sign of the Barking lion...

Baptist church, Wetherden

At the sign of the Barking lion...

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Wetherden Baptist

Providence 1926

    This substantial red brick building sits on the western edge of the village on the road to Elmswell, and at first I took it to be the old village school, the car park appearing to me like an old playground. I had noted from the 1851 Census of Religious Worship that the Baptists had built a chapel in Wetherden in 1837, but this building looked too recent. And so it proved, because the foundation stone was laid as recently as 1926. I wonder if the yellow brick pediment with the inscription Providence Baptist Chapel was reused from the earlier building - except that it looks late Victorian, in which case there may have been three churches on this site.
In comparison with the increasing liberal movement within the Baptist tradition, Wetherden church appears to adhere to the much more traditional Grace Baptist movement, if their website is anything to go by. They are obviously a busy community, with lots of events throughout the week, and their facilities must be a boon to this small village.

Out the back is the old Baptist graveyard. These are not uncommon in Suffolk, and they are always a pleasure to wander. They are a reminder of the separatist character of some of these earlier non-conformist communities, a separatism which, in some places, is still practiced enthusiastically today.

  Baptist graveyard

Simon Knott, May 2010

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