United Reformed Church
-some interesting historical documents.

Liz James, daughter of Michael Hebditch,  Chapel Secretary and Organist for many years, has recently  completed the formidable task of transcribing many of the historical documents relating to the church into digital form. As will be seen from the pictures  of some of these original source documents, it is a task that took a great deal of care and attention requiring great personal effort. The Winsham Web Museum is very grateful to the Chapel for allowing these archives to be reproduced.

The records are to be found in what is known in Winsham as the 'Green Book'.  This volume was purchased around 1860 at the suggestion of the Rev. John Cook Westbrook. Its purpose was the recording the important aspects of the management of Congregational Chapels or Meeting Houses.

The inside front cover has pasted to it Advice and Suggestions for its use, written by John Blackburn, Statistical Secretary to the Congregational Union, dated December 1847.  It has sections for Minutes (with advice as to how prepare the Minutes), Membership, Births, Deaths and Marriages, etc. At the start of the volume a copy of the 'Rules of the Somerset Association of Congregational Churches' is also affixed, dated May 1873. It also contains a copy of updated rules that were adopted at meetings of the church specially convened and  adopted in 1874.

When this record book came into use, existing records of the Chapel were copied for posterity, after which more regular day to day records were kept. Ironically, The Rev. John Westbrook who suggested the book's acquisition, was not very good at using it himself, perhaps due to his poor health, and weakened by 'the mass of sin and error which for so long had been accumulating in this place' and it was not until he left Winsham in 1862 that the transcriptions began to be made and proper use started.

Documents of historical interest:

The records that have been digitalised can be seen by clicking on the links below:

                                 List of interments on Chapel site-1838-1878 (approx)

                                 List of Baptisms-1810-1836

                                 List of Baptisms - 1859-1926

                                 List of Marriages  1856-1926

                                 List of Burials -1860-1926

                                 Roll of Church Members-1772 to 1791

                                 Roll of Church Members-1799 to 1831

                                 Roll of  Church Members-1838 to 1925

                  'An account of the Establishment of the Dissenting Interest, Winsham'     

                      A record of the ministers who served at Winsham-Part 1 Late 17th Century to 1791

                      A record of the ministers who served at Winsham-Part 2      1791- Late 1927

                      Evangelists that has had the pastoral charge of the church  1895 (Table)

 Church Minutes & Memorandum

                     Minutes from 1791 & Memorandum- 1815

                    Correspondence & Reports of Meetings - 1862-1874

                   Correspondence & Reports of Meetings - 1875-1900

                   Correspondence & Reports of Meetings - 1901-1910

                   Correspondence & Reports of Meetings - 1911-1922


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