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Church History


The Baptist church in Rushden was first established in 1722 with Mr John Wollaston recorded as the first Minister. A Sunday School for children was started in 1810. The church affiliated to the Baptist Union in 1880.


The present impressive Victorian building was built in 1901 and facilities included a Minister’s office, Deacons’ and Choir vestries. An extension was built in 1960 comprising a large hall, kitchen, four smaller meeting rooms and toilets. A further project in 2001 provided a large office, storage facilities, a well-equipped crèche and redeveloped toilets with access for the disabled.  In 2008 the interior of the worship area was renovated and modernised including a new heating system. Glass entrance doors and a glass walled vestibule opened up the front of the worship area creating a modern and welcoming feel for church services, concerts and local events. Pews were removed downstairs and comfortable chairs now seat up to 250 in the main worship area, with additional seating in the gallery when needed.


In 1936 a daughter church was planted at Highfield Hall. It became an independent Baptist Church in 1963.


To date Park Road Baptist Church has had 27 Ministers. Over the years the church has been involved in many different ministries including: Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Life Brigade, Christian Endeavour Society for young people, the Monday Club for the elderly and unemployed, Campaigners – a uniformed organisation for children, church summer holidays for the elderly and families, partnership with FAIR (Family Action in our Region), Meet n Eat Luncheon club, Sunbeams Toddler group, various children’s and youth groups, partnership in the Heavenly Cuppa Christian coffee shop, Bible holiday clubs, Sewing, Knitting and Crafting Angels, Christian drama group, Food Parcel Ministry and Jungle Care – aid to refugees living in the ‘Jungle Camp’ at Calais.


  • Important Dates in Park Road Baptist Church History Open or Close
    1672 The house of "Mr. Wuleston" of Rushden, licensed for worship
    1680 Members from Stevington Meeting appointed to visit members at Rushden
    1689 Dissenting communities allowed to meet freely in their own registered meeting houses
    1722 A properly constituted church already established in Rushden
    1723 Treasurers account book started
    1735 Covenant renewed during pastorate of John Woolaston (1723 - 1737)
    1749 Covenant revised
    1752 to 1794 William Knowles of Keysoe ordained as pastor
    1768 Trustees appointed for the church property
    1777 Two cottages and gardens adjoining meeting house in Little Street purchased
    1796 Meeting house in Little Street built
    1810 Sabbath School opened in the house of John Knowles
    1810 Galleries added to the meeting house
    1827 Cottage in Little Street purchased for a manse
    1848 The minister, Jonathan Whittemore imprisoned in Northampton for debt incurred due to unpaid printing bills for church literature.
    1856 House to house visitation organised by the three Sunday Schools in Rushden
    1857 Derelict cottage bought to improve approach to the meeting house
    1860 New Sunday School building erected and opened on the school's jubilee
    1866 Land in Park Road acquired to enlarge burial ground
    1869 New manse built in Little Street
    1873 New front added to meeting house as part of an enlargement
    1880 Affiliation to the Baptist Union
    1884 Erection of new Sunday school known as the Assembly Rooms
    1892 Land purchased in Park Road or a new chapel
    1896 Centenary of the building of the meeting house in Little Street
    1897 New Austin organ installed in the meeting house in Little Street. The organ was subsequently moved to the new chapel on Park Road.
    1901 New chapel in Park Road opened
    1910 Centenary of Sunday School celebrated
    1915 First Gordon Troop Boy Scouts formed (1915 to 1919)
    1919 Recreation Club founded
    1922 Bi-centenary of the church celebrated
    1922 The recreation field in Allen Road was purchased
    1924 Chelveston Chapel erected
    1926 Girls Life Brigade formed
    1927 Boys Life Brigade formed
    1936 Highfield Hall opened
    1949 Austin organ re-built and memorial plaque installed in remembrance of those who gave their lives in WW1 and WW2.
    1951 Jubilee of the Park Road Chapel celebrated
    1953 Christian Endeavour Society for young people formed
    1958 Manse for Highfield Church constructed
    1959 New Church Covenant
    1960 New Sunday School adjacent to chapel opened on 150th anniversary of the school
    1963 Highfield became an independent Baptist Church
    1964 Assembly Rooms sold
    1966 BBC Songs of Praise recorded at Park Road Baptist Church
    1970 New manse constructed in Park Road on part of the garden of the old manse
    1971 Little Street manse sold
    1977 Part of the Allen Road recreational Field sold for housing, bowling ground retained
    1980 The Monday Club was formed for the elderly and the unemployed
    1981 The church joined the "Campaigners" a uniformed organisation for children
    1982 The first in a long series of Church Summer Holidays took place. These were mainly for the elderly and some families and were usually at the coast.
    1983 Redevelopment of the church considered but not undertaken
    1984 The church burial ground was cleared and grave stones relocated
    1987 Chelveston Chapel sold due to falling attendance
    1989 Burial ground sold and the church took one of the new houses as second manse
    1989 Billy Graham crusade at church via live link.
    1997 Remainder of Allen Road recreation field sold for housing
    1999 Partnership with FAIR (Family Action in our Region) started
    2001 Centenary celebration of the opening of the Park Road Church
    2001 New office, store rooms and disabled toilet constructed
    2007 The children's Campaigners closed
    2007 The second manse in Park Road was sold
    2007 Meet 'n' Eat Luncheon Club started, continued until 2013
    2008 Redevelopment of the main church, new heating, new entrance and chairs replaced pews
    2008 New commercial kitchen installed
    2010 Bi centenary celebration of the Sunday School
    2014 The FAIR family charity closed
  • Ministers Open or Close
    John WOLLASTON 1723 1737
    William KNOWLES 1752 1794
    Joseph BELCHER 1795 1797
    Thomas CLAYPOLE 1798 1799
    John PEACOCK 1804 1821
    James FARLEY 1825  
    James BEAN 1826 1830
    Jonathan WHITTEMORE 1832 1851
    George Griggs BAILEY 1854 1856
    Robert Emms BRADFIELD 1857 1879
    William Alfred DAVIS 1880 1885
    William John TOMKINS 1885 1898
    William Fredrick HARRIS 1899 1909
    Harry John HORN 1910 1916
    Robert Charles LAW 1917 1921
    James Alexander SUTHERLAND 1922 1929
    Thomas Woodman GILL 1930 1939
    Richard Percival JONES 1940 1949
    Alec Stuart ARNOLD 1950 1957
    Vivian C EVANS 1957 1961
    Lewis R MISSELBROOK 1961 1968
    W Ralph MARTIN 1969 1981
    Paul G INNES 1981 1988
    Maurice A WHITTAKER 1990 1995
    Nigel R BROWN 1996 2002
    Martyn THORNE 2005 2012
    Mark DUGGAN 2013 present
    Patrick BARKER 2016 present


  • Memorials Open or Close

    Brass plaque - to right of pulpit [2008 now situated in entrance vestibule (Bottom Right)]
    To the memory of William Richard GROSS of Caldicott in this County Who died October 4th 1887 aged 67 years. He was for 39 years a member, and for 36 years a deacon of this church, and for 28 years a Superintendent of the Sunday School; these offices he sustained with honour and distinction, being foremost in every sacrifice for the welfare of the work he loved so well, his gentle spirit and modest bearing making him beloved of all men.

    Brass plaque - to left of pulpit [2008 now situated in the entrance vestibule (Bottom Left)]
    To the memory of Samuel KNIGHT born August 7 1808 Died March 29 1902. A man of God, a lover of God's House, and a servant of this church in many ways. 68 years a church member, 50 years a deacon, 33 years a Sunday School Superintendent. Under his will he bequeathed most of his property to the church, the fund for the erection of this building receiving therefrom seven hundred & fifty pounds.

    Plaque - on the wall at the back of the church [2008 now situated in the entrance vestibule (Top Left)]
    For Remembrance Charles Arthur Kersey GREEN 1862-1947 An honoured servant of this Church Forty Years a Deacon - Church Treasurer for twenty-two years. "Fervent in Spirit".

    Plaque - on the wall at the back of the church [2008 now situated in the entrance vestibule (Top Left)]
    For Remembrance Frederick CORBY 1863-1940 Devoted His life to the Welfare of this Church Forty-two years a Deacon - Church Secretary for Thirty-Seven Years. "Serving the Lord"

    Plaque - high above the organ
    To the memory of W Cyril GROOM ARCO ATCL Organist at this Church 1931-1975

    Plaque - above the organ
    To the praise and glory of God This organ was rebuilt in 1948 And dedicated In Grateful Remembrance of those from this Church Who gave their lives in the cause of Freedom During The First World War (1914-1918) And The Second World War (1939-1945) Greater Love Hath No Man Than This

    Cornerstone Plaque - situated to the left of the stage.

    Cornerstone of this building was laid on September 26th. 1900 by:-
    Rev. W.F. Harris (pastor) Mr. B.V. Barrow J.P.
    Mrs. R.E. Bradfield Mr. Ald. Cleaver J.P.
    Mr. C. Bayes Mr W. Lewin
    Mr. John Cave Mr. W.B. Skinner
    Mr. W. Timpson Mrs.S. Knight (senr)
    Jesus Christ himself being the chief Cornerstone Ephens. 11-30

  • The Church 1910 Open or Close

  • Church Elders 1901 Open or Close

  • Historical Information on the Web Open or Close

    The Rushden Hearts and Soles Web Site contains a large amount of detail on the history of Park Road Baptist Church.

    The link to the old PRBC Church Building known as the "Top Meeting is:

    The Link associated with the current PRBC building is:

Senior Minister 
Rev. Dr. Mark Duggan
Telephone: 01933 741126

Associate Minister
Rev. Patrick Barker
Mobile: 07821 719736

Park Road Baptist Church
Park Road, Rushden
NN10 0RG