Bounds Cross Baptist

History

The Chapel was built in 1880 by James Hickmott a local farmer at Lashenden, and a deacon at Tilden Chapel in neighbouring Smarden. John Kemp of Wadhurst in Sussex was invited to become its first pastor.

The opening services for the chapel were on May 5th of that year and a church fellowship was formed in May 1882. A Sunday school was begun in 1886 and a new school room built next to the chapel in 1907. John Kemp was pastor for 52 years until his death in 1932.

In 1930 Jubilee Services were held to mark the opening of the chapel and Mr Kempís 50 years as pastor. Preparations in expectation of a large gathering included erection of a marquee and provision of microphones and loud speakers. Four policemen and an A.A. man were employed in regulating the traffic. It was estimated that there were some 150 cars and thirty coaches.

An account of the Jubilee services was published in a small book, in which Mr Kemp described the events of that day, including the following:

"Many of our Causes were represented by the large gathering of friends on that day, who came from at least six or seven counties. In addition to the 600 chairs in the marquee, our Schoolroom seats, and many more besides were added so that we could conclude there were probably 750 persons in that place alone. The Chapel was filled both upstairs and down, with seats also in the aisles, and many who could not gain admittance in either place, remained outside as close to the marquee as they could well get......we conclude that there were considerably over 1,000 people present - at one part of the day we believe 1,100 - 28 ministers being recognised."

In 1941 Richard Victor Pearson a local farmer at nearby America Farm, now known as Link Farm, was called to the pastorate. He took up the office in 1942 until 1962.

Phillip Hopkins was our pastor for 25 years from January 1986 to the end of 2010.

Our present pastor is Philip J. D. Hopkins who commenced this office at the beginning of 2011.