Our History



John Smyth was a clergyman resident in Lincoln in the year 1606 when he decided to separate from the Church of England. He found a group of Separatists in the nearby town of Gainsborough and joined them. This Separatist Church suffered persecution and in the year 1608 emigrated to Holland financed by Thomas Helwys of Broxtowe Hall near Nottingham.

'While in Holland they came into contact with the Mennonites and adopted the beginnings of Baptist views.

1n 1612 Helwys returned to England and founded the first Baptist Church on English soil at Spittalfields, London. During the years that followed the Baptist cause was persecuted; and it flourished!  There arose two main 'streams' of Baptists, the Particular and the General. During the following century they went their separate ways because of their religious doctrines, although they kept in contact with one another.

Centred at Barton-in-the-Beans in Leicestershire in 1741 a new Baptist Movement (partly influenced by the Methodists) was founded. This new Movement spread rapidly and a few years later saw the joining together of Old and New Movements into one Baptist Church.



The Barton-in-the-Beans Church founded a church at Kegworth which in turn took the Baptist cause to Ilkeston, which in about the year 1765 was strong enough to become independent.

On February 18th 1810 Mary Newton of Newthorpe applied for baptism and fellowship with the Ilkeston Church. She was interviewed and accepted on 11th  March. Later that year Anne Stapleton also of Newthorpe applied for baptism. It was decided that this should be administered at Newthorpe.

At a discussion held on July 7th,1811 it was agreed that Brother Holmes should be met on Church Meeting and Lord's Supper Days by the Newthorpe friends with a horse that he might go to Newthorpe to lead and to preach. By 1822 a service was being conducted at least every Sunday morning and the Lord's Supper being administered once at Newthorpe for every twice at Ilkeston. On Christmas day of this year Bretheren Barton and Morley were appointed to look out for a piece of land to procure on which to build a chapel, Sister Morley already having collected five pounds towards this intended purchase. 'The Newthorpe community were at this time meeting in a hired room, the church paying half and the Sabbath School the other half of the rent.

1n 1827 the first plot of land which measured 13yds frontage and 15yds.in depth was purchased for the sum of £19 19s. 6d. On this ground was to be built ".A Meeting House to be used as a. place for the public Worship of God by the Society of Protestant Dissenters of the Denomination called General Baptists of the New Connexion. The building was completed and opened in 1828, it was much smaller than it is today and was probably lit by candles!



Although a Chapel was now built at Newthorpe it was still worked as an offshoot of Ilkeston Baptist Church. The major decisions concerning Newthorpe were taken at Ilkeston during this period. Little is known of the very early days after the building at Newthorpe was completed except that the leader of the Church here was Mr. Hardstaff and meetings were being held every Wednesday by 1830.

From 1841 - 1846 Mr. Peggs was the Minister of Ilkeston/Newthorpe. His stipend was £50 per annum and he was to supply Newthorpe for part of a Sabbath once a month! It is in the year 1841 that we can find the first list of church members that belong to Newthorpe.

On 13th.March 1842 it was arranged for Mr. Peggs to preach the "Sabbath Sunday School Sermon at Newthorpe on the last Sabbath of April, if the Lord wilt'.

Discipline was fairly strict in those days and on the 18th.September, Brett and Noah Levers were excluded as they had been re-baptized and disobeyed the call of the Church. Sarah, Elisha and Thomas Levers were also carried away by the same "new notions" within a month's time and were also excluded. It is quite probable that these people had joined the 'Mormons' who were quite active in the district.



By 1844 the chapel land at Newthorpe needed to be enlarged and on February 11th Mr. Peggs the minister, Mr. Hardstaff and Mr. Meakin the Newthorpe leaders, and Mr. Chambers met Mr. Soar of Castle Donnington, the land owner. Mr. Soar agreed to let the friends have the ground up to the hedge, and a part of the end of the chapel to build a schoolroom at 1/- per yard. He promised to return £10, which was considered a kind offer. On 10th.May, Mr. Peggs and Mr. Hardstaff met Mr. Soar in Derby and paid £19/19/- for the land for the extension of the burial ground. The lawyers’ expenses were £3/10s. The land acquired measured 48 ft. x 143 ft. Eighteen years were to pass before the schoolroom was to be built.

The Church was expanding quite quickly at this time and on 9th March, 1845 six people from Newthorpe requested baptism. They were baptised with seven others on 27th April by Mr. Plowright at Mitchell's Bridge between Ilkeston and Newthorpe. .

The Newthorpe Church Anniversary was fixed for "about the last Sabbath in September" at a meeting at Ilkeston on 14th.July, 1845. Mr Peggs resigned on 7th December and went to Burton-on-Trent.

On 15th.July 1847 it was agreed that the interest due to Mrs. Morley should be paid. She had loaned money for the building of the chapel.

In November of that year a baptismal Service was arranged for the first Lord’s Day in December. The baptism was to be in the canal! Rather different to the heated baptisteries we use today.



On 9th April 1848 it was agreed that the Ilkeston Lay Preachers should come to Newthorpe once in every three months, the vacancies to be filled in from Nottingham for a fee of two shillings a time.

Mr Springthorpe, the new minister of Ilkeston was to supply Newthorpe once every three months instead of monthly and was to administer the Lord’s Supper.

On 19th November it was decided that Brother Springthorpe and Mr William Meakin should visit William Neilson and William Prince who had just joined a sect known as Latter Day Saints They were both excluded on 10th June the following year. During this period people were excluded for immorality and non-attendance of church etc. Those who wished to be baptised had to give their experience either in public or by letter. They were also visited by representatives of the church.

Although discipline was strict the congregations grew and by 1850 the chapel at Newthorpe was again too small and it was agreed on 28th July to erect a gallery, Brothers Barton and Meakin to superintend it.

In 1851 Brother Springthorpe expressed a wish to join the Aged Minister's Fund. This was an early form of superannuation for ministers and it was agreed that Newthorpe should contribute tuppence per year per member towards this.

The "Candle-light era" at Newthorpe ended on June 13th 1852 when Ilkeston, having bought new lamps, decided to give their old oil lamps to Newthorpe. Shortly after this Brother Springthorpe left the pastorate at Ilkeston and was replaced by Thomas Stevenson in January 1854. The following year the decision was taken that at Ilkeston, Newthorpe and Stapleford the congregations should stand during prayers and hymn singing.



On 20th.June,1860 the debt on Newthorpe Chapel was still not paid off and the executors of the late Mrs. Morley had called in the £37 still owing. There were not sufficient funds to meet this and so the money was borrowed from Miss Phyllis Barton of Nottingham.

In 1862 the Chapel and land were mortgaged for securing £200 on loan at 5% to meet the cost of building the schoolroom separated from the church by the wood and glass partition. The church was lengthened by building on the "choir end".

It is apparent that by 1864 the members at Newthorpe were beginning to feel themselves more separate from Ilkeston. Up until now they had accepted the services of the Ilkeston Pastor as quite natural. But on September 28th they sent £3 for the Pastor's labours. This was to be handed to the pastor in addition to his salary.

Quarterly meetings were established on 5th June the following year. They were to be attended by officers and deacons and were to be held alternately at Ilkeston, Stapleford and Newthorpe for the purpose of knowing and improving the state of the branch churches.

It was also decided that more responsibility should be taken by the Newthorpe Friends. The following brethren were elected to assist the Pastor at a meeting on 2nd October 1866. Mr. S. Barton, the only deacon now residing at Newthorpe, Reuben Meakin, Ichabod Woolley, Samuel Woolley, Benjamin Wagstaffe, John Levers and James Wright.

By 1870 the £200 loan was fully repaid. Eight years to pay off such a debt in those far off days speaks of tremendous faith and effort.

It needs recording here that Hannah Ball and Ilza Wright were baptized at Newthorpe on 26th March. .

On 31st January 1879 the Rev T Yates was asked to take up the pastorate of Ilkeston and the branch churches. Mr. Yates accepted and took up residence in Newthorpe.

Mrs. Nellie Straw was visited on March 22nd.1966 and said she could remember saving up 9d. to buy a hymn book which she purchased from Mrs. Yates. She could also remember Mrs. Yates being baptised in the old baptistry in the Chapel yard.



An extract from the Ilkeston Minute book, dated April 26th 1875.

‘A letter was read by the Secretary from our friends composing our branch church at Newthorpe stating their desire that such means should be adopted by our church as should lead to a formal severance of the union existing between the two churches. After hearing the letter, which was a very impressive one, the friends agreed unanimously to grant the request of the friends at Newthorpe and the Secretary was requested to inform them of our decision and also of the pleasure it will give us to recommend them to the next Midland Conference in order that they, through the Conference, may be received into the Association.’

N. C. Hollis. (Secy.)

The Midland Conference was held at Ilkeston on 19th May 1875. The weather was not very pleasant at all but the attendance at the meeting was very good. One of the speakers was Newthorpe's new minister, the Rev. J. J. Hyman. He was a Spurgeon's College Student and this was his first pastorate. He stayed for about a year and a half. The membership of Newthorpe at this time was ninety-four.

At the Association Meetings in Leicester in 1877 Reuben Meakin represented the church, he reported that there were ninety members at Newthorpe and that they were without a pastor, Mr. Hyman having closed his ministry on Whit Sunday. They were looking for another pastor and although there was a depression in trade had managed to raise £170. .



At this point in the Church history there was a steady drop in the number of members at Newthorpe, but those who did belong were certainly not short of faith or willingness to give their all for the work of the Lord.

In 1878 a new pastor had been appointed, Thomas Watkinson, but the member­ship was down to seventy-nine. The fiftieth anniversary building fund was commenced and although it was reported that congregations were increasing the, membership was down to seventy-two by the following year!

Many of the Newthorpe friends must have travelled from Eastwood to the Services, for in 1880 they opened a room in Eastwood to "establish a cause in connection with Newthorpe”. The pastor and young men of the church were to work it! .Three months rent for this room was paid for by a friend and the total membership stood at seventy-five. The following year it could be reported that there was a steady increase at Eastwood and in 1882 there were ninety members in this new church while Newthorpe could claim only thirty-eight.

One year later Eastwood is down to forty-eight members and in 1884, fifty four with Newthorpe still at thirty-eight. The membership for both churches then stayed steady in the middle forties until 1887. .

By 1886 however, Mr. Watkinson had left Newthorpe and Thos. Yates, now a retired minister, was acting as church secretary and moderator. He reports that the church was in a low state and "the disruption of six years ago is not easily forgotten". Was this disruption due to trade depression or was it some “upsets" when Eastwood branch was started? It seems strange that Eastwood's membership should halve in one year!



In 1887 Newthorpe could report that there was a "little reviving" and tracts had been distributed through the village. A loan of £135 had been raised and the boiler room and side classrooms were in the course of erection. This debt increased however and the following year they applied for a loan of £190 from the Association Building fund, but the request was refused.

In 1890 the year that Brother Kirk was appointed "harmonist", the Sunday School undertook to pay  the interest of the £100 debt still on the new extensions and would also try to reduce the debt. To raise the money they wanted to have "tea meeting concerts" and lectures. The Church agreed to allow them to do this but formed a committee to see that nothing ‘unfit or unbecoming’ was brought forth at either concerts or lectures! It becomes obvious that even in those far-off days the older people did not fully trust the morals of the young folk. It is recorded for the first time that on Christmas day the choir went singing round the district and collected the princely sum of £5. 2s. .8d.



During 1891 to 1892 it was decided to hold a prayer meeting every Sunday morning at seven o'clock and another one after the evening service. A book was purchased so that, if the preacher refused, the deacons could take the Lord's Supper which would continue to be held once a month. There were forty-one members and they were to be seen if absent from the Lord's Supper three consecutive times. The Church also lent the Sunday School twelve shillings and eightpence for the purchase of books. .

It was also during these years that running water was connected to the church premises.

The following five years had nothing outstanding about them, the routine of the Church carried on normally.

During 1897, though, it is recorded that Mr. Templeman and Mr. A. Linwood should select the Sunday School Anniversary Music, 'the Anthems to be "out of the cupboard" and the children’s pieces to be from Mr. Linwood’s. Mr. Linwood was also asked to conduct the children and choir at the Anniversary.

By 1899 the Sunday School was stronger than the church. There were only twenty-five church members, ten teachers and one hundred and twenty-­six scholars!



At the annual Church Meeting on 5th.February, 1900 it was decided to write to preachers to remind them of their appointments and to pay them two shillings and sixpence expenses, "starting next week". It was also passed that the secretary should "get tracks to be taken round the village”.

The following year the church account had a balance in hand of £6. 3. 0d. It was carried unanimously that we have an organ for the anniversary and Mr. Linwood was to be seen regarding one.

In 1902 the balance of accounts was £2. 1s. 2d, but spiritually things were improving as on 6th April    Mr. G. Hill baptised Mrs. Mackely, Mrs. Naylor, Mrs. Straw,  Mrs. Smithurst and Mr. Shill.

On the 18th.January, 1904 a Cleaning Fund was opened and the contract  was given to Mr. Whistler to clean the church for £5 on 10th June 1906.

Mrs. Wilcockson, Mrs. Price and Mrs. Spencer were baptised by J. Smith of Old Basford on 2nd.April, 1905. .

Two dozen hymn books were purchased from Mr. Linwood during August 1906 at the price of tenpence each! (How times and prices change).



The year 1907 was a very important one spiritually, to Newthorpe Baptist Church. Whereas the years preceding and following are often recorded on half a page of the Minute book, eleven pages are devoted to this one year, of such is the importance as felt by the Secretary in those days

On the 14th.January it was decided to hold a weeks Mission to start on 17th February. Brother A. Keyworth of Carlton was invited to lead it.

Three Services were held each night from the Monday to and including Thursday, the first was at half-past five, a meeting especially designed for the children. This was followed by open air meetings at which the people who gathered were invited to the main meeting in the Chapel. Mr. Keyworth conducted all these services. There was a total of 235 people present at the four main services. At the young peoples services there were present on Monday 49, Tuesday 78, Wednesday 27 and Thursday 61. He stayed in the area for five days visiting homes with an invitation, and calling on those who used to come but were now "careless". "The Mission has awakened the Church to its responsibility and we pray that the good work begun shall continue and that our Lord's cause at Newthorpe may go on from victory unto victory”.

A Faith tea was held in connection with the Mission on 2nd March which brought a profit of £2. 18. 6. In the evening Mr. Keyworth gave an address on "Baptism by Immersion".

On Wednesday, March 20th five candidates for baptism satisfactorily passed the Deacons Examination! The Baptismal Service was held on Sunday April 14th and Brother A. Keyworth was there to preach and baptise. His subject was "Why should we be baptised? - This question answered from the :Bible".

All the candidates went through the water with great courage and calmness, and showed to the people a peace, which the world can never give. Those baptised were Mrs. Meakin (Stamford St.), Mrs W Bailey,  Miss Straw, Miss M. Clarke, Mr J Saxton and Mr Moses Templeman.

On 7th July, Mr. Edward Shears was the preacher for the Flower Services. Mr. Shears was to become a lay pastor of the church in later years.

Brother A. Keyworth conducted a Baptismal Service on 4th August when Mr W Dodson, F Dodson and A Storey went through the waters.Again on 24th November Mr. Keyworth returned to baptise William Storer,     J Storer, G. Wolley and W Robinson.



On January 3rd 1909 Brother A. Keyworth taught the young people at Newthorpe the following prayer.

May I this day my Lord obey

Be true, obedient kind and sweet?

Attend to all my parents say,

On errands run with willing feet.

I thank the Lord for happy rest

I know He sends me what is best,

And if I sleep or if I wake

I all things ask for Jesus’ sake.


This prayer was revived in 1960 and the Junior Church sang it as their morning vesper!

Brother A. Keyworth conducted another Baptismal Service on 9th April 1911 at which Mr. Edward Shears was baptized.

During 1915 more land was bought to extend the burial ground. The Church Secretary and Leader during the period was Wm. Bailey but the records of the Church have been misplaced or lost and so the information that we have tends to be rather brief.  We do know, however, that Andrew Harrison, Harry Meakin, Mr Pacey and Mr Hazlewood were baptized in 1934.

Due to the two World wars 1914/18 and1939/45 the Church life was greatly disturbed, many of the men of the church being called to serve their country. Between the wars, there was of course a depression in trade which meant that money was rather scarce. In spite of all this, under Wm. Bailey’s leadership the church paid its way, although the membership depleted.

In the early 'twenties a one-manual pipe organ was installed as was electric lighting at the cost of twelve pounds. Mr. T. Davis, a life deacon in the 1960’s remembered the efforts made to raise the money for the electricity. Another superhuman effort and faith produced the funds necessary to provide the chairs for the schoolroom.

These achievements written down so simply do not tell half of the story of the conditions the members laboured under. It was a tremendous effort considering that the Church membership was down to eleven by 1942!  William Bailey's good health had now left him and he had to lay down the burden of the leadership of the Church.



Mr Shears (of Smalley) was invited to the Lay Pastorate of Newthorpe Baptist Church and was inducted on Saturday March 6th.1943. One of the first things Mr. Shears did was to organise a proper Diaconate.  During his ministry, his energetic and inspiring leadership brought out a feeling of unity in the Christian cause at Newthorpe.

The Church membership which was eleven in 1942 rose to over eighty by 1955! In financial matters, too, things began to improve. At the outset of Mr Shear's ministry in 1943 the Church's bank balance stood at sixty-six pounds, one year later it was one hundred and fifty two!

With the feeling of brotherhood and the desire to see the Chapel improving, the members worked hard to raise money for new windows and repairing the roof and doors.

Much sacrifice was made by many members who gave material gifts to improve and beautify the church. Amongst the gifts given were such things as a Communion table, hymn board, carpet, clock, brass vases, Communion Sets, collection plates, pulpit fall and table cloths, cupboards and what is believed to be the first Notice Board in the history of the Church at Newthorpe.

The last Baptismal Service had been held in 1934 and it was not until 1947 that the Baptistry was opened again. On July 24th  the Pastor and Mr. J. Lawrence conducted the service and Mr Knowles officiated in the waters to baptise Mrs. D. Bush, Miss. Marion Meakin, Mrs A. Spencer, Mr. A. Abel, Mr. H. Harrison and Mr. W. Harrison.

Newthorpe was honoured to be the host Church in 1949 for the Centenary Meeting of the Notts. and District Baptist Lay Preachers Association.

After much hard saving a new electronic organ was installed and dedicated on 17th October 1953. A recital was played by the organist Miss. R. Ball and everyone present agreed that it was a most inspiring week-end. The old pipe organ was sold to Long Clawson Baptist Church. The new organ was dedicated to the men of the church who fell during the two World Wars.

After a happy and inspiring period of Church history Mr. Shears closed his ministry to take up a post at Ruddington Baptist in March?1955.



Mr. Keyworth, the son of Brother A. Keyworth was inducted as Pastor on 2nd April 1955. During the two years of his Pastorate the Church was kept very alive spiritually. Two Baptismal Services were held, one in 1956 and one in 1957. The first on August 16th saw Joan Metcalf, Janet Bush, Joan Attewell, Margaret Mellors and Mrs. M Chambers witness for Christ. The second on 6th.January was the occasion of the baptism of Miss. E. Spencer, Mrs .L. Spencer and Mrs. Å. Attewell. After a short but very happy stay at Newthorpe,  Mr Keyworth was called to be Pastor at Burgh-le-Marsh, Lincolnshire and left for there in June 1957.



After a year's gap which helped the Church to realise the value of a Pastor for a leader, Mr Harrison was inducted on 14th September 1958, From the start Mr Harrison (who took his Bachelor of Divinity Degree at Serampore College, India) threw himself into his work with vigour.

During the first two or three years we performed three plays, each one written and produced by the Pastor. The first told of the Easter Story and also revealed some amateur acting talent! The other two told the life story of William Carey, the pioneer Baptist Missionary. The first told the story of his struggle in England, the second took up the story on his arrival in India.

Alterations were made to the premises towards the end of 1962 when the old kitchen and toilets were demolished and new ones erected.

Two Baptismal Services were held early in his pastorate, more later!, the first on Easter Sunday 1963, when John Bush, Pamela Lord and Yvonne Cheeseman were baptised, the second on 28th.June,1964 when Mrs N Kasas, Mr R Fletcher, Mr C K Riley and Mrs U Barlow made their witness.

In the 1960’s the Church was alive in its witness for Christ having over eighty members on the roll, the Sunday School having one hundred.

The organizations of the Church included the Ladies Bright Hour, Young Wives Fellowship, Men's Group, Youth Club, Brownies, Girl Guides and the Choir. Mr Harrison organised Church outings to various places each year, including a Baptist Heritage trail. We visited Hackleton, Barton in the Beans, Castle Donnington, Bedford and many places of religious significance. We visited and worshipped with those other congregations

Mr Harrison was instrumental in organising our twinning with Reinbek Baptist Church on the outskirts of Hamburg. Newthorpe was in the forefront of twinnings by Baptist Churches. We had many visits to them and they to us

Mr and Mrs Harrison started a local Eastwood District Bible Society which during the last 50 years, until 2010, it has raised £50000 for the Bible Society.


Rev B H Keyworth

Having been a deacon, youth leader, lay preacher and ‘curate’ to Mr Harrison for 28 years, Mr Keyworth trained at Northern Baptist College and was ordained and inducted to Newthorpe in 1988.

He built on the work of Mr Harrison and the church continued to flourish with Toddlers’ groups, Prayer triplets, Bible Studies, Brownies and Boys’ Brigade (who had a bugle band) and led parades around the district to advertise our presence for the monthly parade service.

We are a Fair Trade Church and serve and sell Fair Trade produce.

The Church has continued to serve the local village community and we began holding shared services with the local Church of England, Methodist and United Reformed Church. We have sought to present a unified front to the local area and have taken part each year in the Week of Prayer for Unity with all the churches in the local area. When the Post Office wanted to hold a local branch office on one day a week, we hosted that!

We have joined with the local Christian Aid Group in raising money for their work, including street collections.

We began a church music group who have led us into worshipping with more modern songs. The choir has sung most of Roger Jones’ musicals, both at national venues and as our own productions.

Mr Keyworth retired in 2001, having been joined for the last four years by Rev Brenda Abbott. She served her probationary years with us and then moved on to be minister of Eastwood Baptist Church.


Rev J Chapman

Mr  Chapman came to serve his probationary years with us and then was appointed full-time minister from 2005 until he left to move to Sheffield in 2010. Mr Chapman began short weekly prayer meetings three times a week. With the vicar of Greasley he staged two Newthorpe Family Festivals for the community and for some months held a service in a local pub.

Mr Chapman hosted a Book Reading Club in the manse on a monthly basis and he also organises and helps to run Jam, a weekly meeting for the church children.


The Future

We of today have a heritage of which we can be justly proud. This is not the end of the story, because the witness for our Lord Jesus Christ will still go on.

I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go into the House of the Lord." One thing I have desired and that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life.”

Rev. David Alderson was appointed as Minister in 2015.