Baptist Tabernacle

Woman standing outside front of Baptist Tabernacle, early 1900s

Keach's Meeting House catered for Baptists from 1695, but a Victorian resurgence of interest in the General Baptist cause was beyond its capacity:

Bucks Chronicle, 4 Oct 1856
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1856,
The Rev. C. H. SPURGEON, OF NEW PARK-STREET CHAPEL, LONDON,
WILL deliver TWO SERMONS, at WINSLOW, Bucks; that in the Morning at Twelve o’Clock, and in the Afternoon at Three.
  Persons will be admitted by Tickets, to be had of Mr. Wigley, Winslow; Mr. Stallworthy, Buckingham; and Mr. Marshall, Aylesbury, free of charge.
COLLECTIONS WILL BE MADE AFTER EACH SERVICE.
  A COLD COLLATION will be provided, in the large room of the Bell Hotel, between the services, for which separate Tickets may be obtained, 1s. 6d. each, of the parties above-named, and at the Bell Hotel.
An early application for Tickets is requested.

Bucks Herald, 6 Feb 1858
REV. C. H. SPURGEON’S VISIT TO WINSLOW, BUCKS.On WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10th, 1858,
TWO SERMONS WILL BE DELIVERED (D.V.) IN THE LARGE ROOM OF THE BELL HOTEL, WINSLOW,
By the Rev. C.H. SPURGEON.
Services to commence - That in the Morning at half-past Eleven; Afternoon at Three o’Clock.
INVITATION CARDS for the Morning Service will be issued, which will admit to Reserved Seats from half-past 10 to quarter to 11, after which time the doors will be open to the public.  A few of these Cards may be had on application to the Bell Hotel.  The Morning Service is chiefly designed for Members of the Church of England.
Collections will be made after each Service.
  A Cold Collation will be provided after the Service, 1s. 6d. each.
  It is probable an Evening Sermon may also be given by Mr. Spurgeon, at 6 o’Clock.

Bicester Herald, 19 July 1861
  BAPTIST RE-UNION AT WINSLOW.- The Baptists of Winslow, and other friends, had a union tea meeting on Monday.  An effort is in progress for obtaining the services of a resident minister.

Oxfordshire Telegraph, 16 Sep 1863
  HARVEST TEA MEETING AT WINSLOW.- On Tuesday, the 8th instant, there was a gathering of the friends belonging to “The Union Tabernacle,” at Winslow, in order to “Return thanks to Almighty God for the most abundant harvest with which it has pleased him, in his loving mercy, to bless us.”  There were upwards of 130 persons present, who after partaking of tea, which had been provided on the occasion, were addressed by several gentlemen belonging to the connection, and a very agreeable evening was spent.


Buckingham Advertiser, 7 May 1864

LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE OF
THE NEW BAPTIST TABERNACLE.

Tuesday, May the 3rd, 1864, will for the future be a red letter day in the history of the Baptist Church at Winslow.   The day had long been looked forward to with interest and pleasurable anticipation, being the day appointed for laying the foundation stone of a new Baptist Tabernacle.   A large and commodious tent was erected on the Chapel ground, and over the entrance, in which was displayed in large characters, “Welcome Rev. C. H. Spurgeon,” while over the platform was to be seen, “We preach Christ and Him crucified;” above this the very significant words – “Every man shall give as he is able;” on other parts of the tent were the following  - “Other foundations can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ,” “and are built upon the foundation of the Apostle and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.”  The fair fingers of the young friends must have been busily employed for some time on these decorations.   The morning service commenced at a quarter-past 11 by a few words of prayer by the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon;  after singing and the reading of a portion of the Scriptures, prayer was offered by D. L. Marshall, Esq., of London.  Mr. Spurgeon took for his text the 1st Romans, i., 16 – “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ;  for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth:  to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

After the morning service  Mr. Spurgeon, accompanied by a few friends, visited the old Baptist Chapel;  and we could not help feeling, as we gazed at the quaint and out-of-the-way building, looking like something belonging to a by-gone age, that it symbolized the faith of those who worshipped there.  ....  Excellence and abundance characterised the repast, which did great credit to the good taste and liberality of the worthy host, Mr. Neale.

In the evening the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon preached from Mark vii, 32, to at least 1,600 persons.

Donations at laying the foundation stone.

  £ s d
H. Kelsall, Esq. 52 10 0
Rev. C. H. Spurgeon   20 0 0
John Neale, Esq., London  20 0 0
Mr. M. Fulks, Winslow 20 0 0
Mr. W. George, ditto  20 0 0
T. Olney, Esq., London    5 5 0
J. Olney, Esq., ditto          5 0 0
W. H. Paismore, Esq., ditto  5 0 0
J. Orchard, Esq., Hemel Hempstead  5 0 0
Mrs. Fulks, Tring 1 0 0
A friend, per J. Neale   0 10 0
A friend, per W. George 0 10 0
Mr. Madder, Aylesbury  3 0 0
Collections at services  28 0 0
Collecting cards  30 0 0
Profits of tea 12 0 0
 
--------------
  Making a total of   £227 15 0

In addition to the above Mr. Spurgeon also promised to give the last £20.   The attendance at the several services, and the amount contributed to the Building Fund must have more than realised the most sanguine hopes and expectations of those who have taken the lead in this good work, and compels all who are interested in the undertaking to say, “What hath God wrought;” and while ascribing all the praise to Him to whom alone it Is due, and with hopes radiant for the future, to thank God and take courage.       


The Sword and Trowel (1866), printed in Buckingham Advertiser, 20 Feb 1892

The savour of the Gospel has never utterly left Winslow, and there have always been a people in the town who knew the truth and loved it, but a revival was greatly needed and graciously vouchsafed.

For many years previous to 1863, there was little spiritual life in the place, when an evangelist visited the town and the minds of many were awakened.  A desire arose to perpetuate the good work, and a small out-building was converted into a preaching room.  Such was the success the Lord granted, that in September it became necessary that someone should attend to pastoral visitation.  As the friends held Baptist principles they applied to Mr. C. H. Spurgeon and our pastor, Mr. Robert Sole, then a student of his college, was sent.  The work prospered, persons accustomed to a place of worship began to attend, souls were saved, and a church of 8 members was formed in November of the same year.

In the beginning of 1864 increased accommodation became absolutely necessary, and one of the brethren, on his own responsibility, secured for a sight an eligible piece of freehold land in the best part of the town, which he has since transferred to the church.

Mr. John Neale of Edgware Road, London, a native of this place, having for many years desired to do something for the spiritual benefit of the town, immediately volunteered his active assistance, in connection with Mr. Spurgeon, in furtherance of the work.

The first stone of the new chapel was laid by Henry Kelsall, Esq., on May 3, 1864, at which time he generously gave 50 gns. towards its erection.  On the same day Pastor C. H. Spurgeon preached twice, and by his aid, the exertion of friends on the spot, and the liberality of friends at the Tabernacle, who were invited to Winslow and hospitably entertained by Mr. Neal, the place is almost free from debt, and only requires a little more aid to be entirely so.

The chapel was opened by J. A. Spurgeon in September, 1864, and is well attended.  The church has increased to 62 members since its formation.  Among those recently converted are four young men, who are labouring with much acceptance in the open air.  The Sabbath school contains 70 children, and there are 12 district visitors who, while they circulate tracts, seek spiritual conversation with the people.  The brethren say of themselves: “Although Baptists, we love all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and rejoice in the work of the Lord among any people.  Our great object is not to spread a sect but to extend the kingdom of Jesus by bringing souls to him.”


Buckingham Advertiser, 9 May 1868

When the Baptist cause in the town of Winslow was commenced during the summer of 1863, no one could have anticipated that in such a short space of time it would have grown to the strength and stability which it has now attained.  Probably the highest hopes, and most sanguine expectation of its early promoters have been more than fulfilled in the fact which we have to record.   Both those who supported and those who opposed the movement have been surprised at the success which has continually attended it, and this fact ought greatly to encourage, those who are now engaged in carrying on the work. 

It is just four years ago, since on Tuesday May 3rd, 1864 the first stone of the new Tabernacle was laid by Henry Kelsall Esq, of Rochdale, - the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon on the same day preached two sermons to large crowds of people attracted by the fame of the great gospel orator.   Since that time he has always taken the warmest interest in the new cause at Winslow, and has rendered very considerable help.   Until severe and repeated attacks of gout laid him aside, to a great extent, from country work, he paid regular visit to this town, and preached annually on behalf of the liquidation of the debt incurred through building the new place of worship.   This debt it has been the constant effort of all supporters of the place, to remove, and it is in connection with this object that we have to report the recent proceedings in celebration of the laying the foundation stone of the new Chapel.

These services took place on the Fourth Anniversary of the event, Tuesday, May 5th.  The Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, we regret to say, was unable to attend, though [sic] weakness of health and press of buisness [sic], but his place was efficiently supplied to the satisfaction of all present, by his esteemed brother, and co-pastor, the Rev. J. A. Spurgeon.

The morning service was appointed for a quarter past eleven o’clock, when Mr. Spurgeon preached to a good congregation, an excellent discourse from “Mark, xvi., 6.”

Dinner was provided at the Assembly Room, Bell Hotel, by Mr. W. Neal, in his usual praiseworthy style, and at three o’clock in the afternoon;  a public meeting was held in the same place.  At this gathering John Neal, Esq., of London, but a native of Winslow, who has taken a prominent part in the establishment of this church, occupied the chair.   After the usual devotional exercises the Chairman declared the object of the meeting to be the entire removal of the debt, which still rested upon the Baptist meeting house.   Such churches as the one recently formed in Winslow were needful, even if for no other purpose, to dispel the ignorance exiting in the public mind, upon  many important subjects, and perhaps nowhere more than in Buckinghamshire.  In support of this view, he made reference to the late debate in the House of Commons, upon Mr. Gladstone’s first resolution concerning the Irish Church.   But above all, earnest gospel preaching was needed, because many were daily perishing for want of the knowledge of Christ.   It was to help supply this want that the present effort was made.

The Chairman then called upon Mr. Walker, the pastor of the church, to present the financial statement, which showed a debt on the building of £52..13..0½, while three instalments of £10 each remained to be paid to the Metropolitan Tabernacle Loan Fund.   As it was sought to repay these at once, without waiting until they absolutely became due, the total sum required would be £82. 13..0½.

Next came the Rev. W. Julyan, of Ridgmount, Beds, with an address of a gentle, brotherly spirit.

Mr. Fulks, from the first an earnest supporter of the causes made an appeal for subscriptions, practically enforced by his own example, and the Chairman read out a list of donations promised.

The Rev. J. A. Spurgeon then addressed the meeting, congratulating them upon the progress which had been made, and stimulating them to further effort.   After two young men, officers of the church, Mr. E. Braggins and M. H. George, had spoken, the proceeding were bought to a close.

A number of friends took tea in the chapel at five o’clock, and at half-past six the evening service commenced.   The place was crowded to the doors, the aisles and entrances being all occupied.   The Rev. J. A. Spurgeon again preached, this time from 1 Samuel, xxx., 6, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”   Though we have often listened to Mr. J. A. Spurgeon, we can honestly say that we never heard him with more unmixed pleasure and profit than on this occasion.   This visit, we believe, has proved a great spiritual blessing to those who heard him preach, and will be productive of abundant good in the church to which he spoke.       


Buckingham Advertiser, 17 Sep 1864
NEW BAPTIST TABERNACLE, WINSLOW.
The opening Services of the New Tabernacle, were commenced on Thursday the 15th of September, at 11 o'clock, by the Rev. J.A. Spurgeon, of London, preaching an excellent sermon from a part of the 10th verse of the 3rd chapter of the 1st book of Samuel, "Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth," to a respectable though not a crowded congregation.
  At half-past one, a goodly number of the friends partook of a cold collation, provided at the Bell Hotel.
  A Public Meeting was held at half-past 2. J. Neal Esq. of London occupied the chair ... The meeting which was a crowded one, was addressed by the Rev. J.A. Spurgeon, and other friends, who urged upon the meeting the necessity of immediate and persevering effort, till the Building they had erected was free from debt.
  The thanks of the meeting were proposed and carried by acclamation, to the chairman, the Rev. J.A. Spurgeon, the Ladies who had so kindly volunteered their services to preside at the tea, and to Mr. W. George, the indefatigible Secretary of the Building Committee, to whose zeal, energy, and untiring exertions, the signal success that has crowned their labours is mainly to be attributed ...
  A Public Tea was provided at the Bell Assembly Room, at half-past four.
  In the evening, at six o'clock, the Rev. J.A. Spurgeon again preached to a very crowded and attentive congregation ...

Buckingham Advertiser, 24 Sep 1864
BAPTIST TABERNACLE, WINSLOW.
  The following particulars relating to this place of worship were omitted in our last impression.  The opening services were continued on Friday, the 16th.  In the afternoon the children belonging to the School took tea in the Chapel, and appeared to enjoy themselves heartily.  Amusements were provided for them in a field kindly lent for the purpose by Mr. Yeulett. 
  In the evening a public service was held in the chapel, when the ordinance of baptism by immersion was administered to five candidates, who were afterwards admitted by the pastor into church fellowship.  The amount realised at the opening services, including a donation of £10 from W. Hauley, Esq., Adstock Fields, was £33 4s.
  The chapel is built of brick, and will seat about 300 persons.  There is a front gallery for the use of the choir, and also commodious vestries.  The entire cost of the building was £600.  It was erected by Mr. J. Munday, builder, Chandos Road, Buckingham, and does him much credit, and is highly satisfactory to all concerned.  There is a nice space left in front of the building, which is to be made into a grass plot, and will be bounded by an iron palisade.  Mr. J. Neal, of London, has very kindly presented a handsome clock for the use of the Chapel.
  The opening services will be brought to a close on Sunday next, September 25th, when two sermons will be preached by the Rev. Thomas Ness, Assistant Minister to the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon. Service in the morning at half-past 10, in the evening at 6 o’clock.


Buckingham Advertiser, 9 Dec 1865 [only part of the very long report is included]
The Rev. R. Sole was publicly set apart and ordained at the Baptist Tabernacle, Winslow, on Friday, December 1st, as the Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  A goodly number of ministers were present, beside those who took part in the solemn ceremony, and the congregations were large and respectable.
  The services commenced in the afternoon at half-past 2 by the Rev. George Rogers, Tutor of the Metropolitan College where Mr. Sole was student, giving out the 675th hymn of the new selection, after which the Rev. G. Walker, of Fenny Stratford, read II Corinthians, iv., and offered prayer, simple, devout, and appropriate to the occasion.
  The Rev. Robert Shindler, of Tring, put the usual questions to the Church, when the young minister and Mr. Fulks, the deacon, gave a brief outline of the rise and progress of the Church, and how he came among them, and the success that had attended his services.
  The Rev. R. Shindler next asked Mr. Sole to tell them of his conversion, of his introduction to the ministry, his doctrine, and his teaching, the answers to which were simple, clear, and highly satisfactory.
  At the evening service Mr. Neal, of London, presided, and the service commenced by the Chairman giving out a hymn.
  The Rev. Mr. Ray, the Independent Minister of Winslow, gave out a hymn, after which Mr. Neal read a few verses from the 17th chapter of John.
  The Rev. Mr. Ray being called upon by the Chairman, said he thanked God for this opportunity of meeting with his Baptist friends.  He could, and he did, from his heart wish them all prosperity.  He would hope that what they had heard and enjoyed so much might be long remembered, and become very influential.
  The Rev. Mr. Hood, of Ford, near Aylesbury, offered prayer for the Divine sanction and blessing on the services of the day and the people engaged in them.
  The Doxology was then sung, and the people separated about half-past 9.
  Between the services about 100 of the friends sat down to a social tea, in two separate companies, one in the vestry of the chapel, the other in the chapel house [160 High Street].  The repast being excellent in quality and quantity was enjoyed by all.


Bicester Herald, 2 Aug 1867
  THE BAPTIST CHURCH AT WINSLOW.- On Tuesday, July 16, there were services at the Baptist Tabernacle, at Winslow, to commemorate the settlement of Mr. Alfred Walker (late student of Mr. Spurgeon’s College) as pastor of the Baptist church at Winslow.  In the afternoon there was a recognition service, the chair being taken by John Neal, Esq., of London.  The opening devotional service was conducted by Mr. C. S. Madder, of Aylesbury, after which Mr. M. Fulks, late a deacon of the church, stated the reasons which led to the invitation of Mr. Walker to the vacant pastorate.  Mr. Walker then gave a short account of his Christian experience, of his call to the ministry, and of the motives which led him to settle at Winslow.

Bucks Herald, 24 Aug 1867
  MISS HOOPER AT WINSLOW.- This celebrated lady preacher was announced to preach at the Tabernacle, Winslow, on Wednesday and Thursday, 14th and 15th inst.  On Wednesday the doors were besieged by the crowds in attendance from the towns and villages around, and some time before the service, the building was thronged to excess.  On Thursday, notwithstanding the unpropitious state of the weather, the congregation was again very numerous.


This very cryptic notice inserted in one of the Liberal local papers probably means that someone had lost his job with the Hubbards of Addington for being a nonconformist.

Bicester Herald, 18 Oct 1867

NO TOLERATION!!!
WANTED, a Situation for a Thorough Good AGRICULTURAL LABOURER, living within one hundred miles of Addington, who is under notice to leave because he finds it convenient and profitable to attend the Winslow Conventicle!  Address, No. 90, Post Office, Buckingham


Bucks Herald, 11 Feb 1871

The Reverend J. Smith, late of Bellingborough, Lincs, has accepted an invitation to the pastorate of the Baptist chapel.

Buckingham Advertiser, 3 March 1877

Mr. Smith, of Middleton Cheney, has been invited to accept the Pastorate.

Oxfordshire Telegraph, 6 Nov 1878

Mr F.J. Feltham, of the Pastor's College, has accepted a call to the pastorate.


In 1877 the Tabernacle was the venue of a public meeting of the National Agricultural Labourers' Union.


Bicester Herald, 14 Nov 1879
BAPTIST ANNIVERSARY AT WINSLOW.
  The first anniversary of the Rev. F. J. Feltham’s pastorate at the Baptist Tabernacle, Winslow, was celebrated therein on Tuesday, November 11.  In the afternoon a sermon was preached by the Rev. J. R. Wood, of London, after which a public tea was provided, to both of which there was a good number of persons.  In the evening a public meeting was held in the chapel.  Sir Harry Verney, Bart., took the chair.  After prayer by Mr. C. Madder, of Aylesbury, The Chairman called upon the Rev. F. J. Feltham, who, in the course of his remarks, said with the enjoyable  service of the afternoon, and with the happy gathering and large attendance that night, and with the presence of their noble Chairman and able speakers, he felt greatly encouraged on his first anniversary…
  There had been added to the church twelve new members, and two more were ready to unite, and would do so next month.  This might appear rather small, but when they considered the church was in anything but a prosperous condition twelve months ago, they must not despise the day of small things, but would take courage and hope the next year may far eclipse this one.  The Sunday school was now in a very prosperous condition.  The prayer meetings had been well attended, as well as the meeting for lady friends on Friday evenings for prayer, which he thought contributed greatly to the success of the cause.  They had taken two cottages, one at Singleboro’, and the other at Tinker’s End, which had both been put into repair, and services had been held in them on Sunday and other times, and he gave his sincere thanks to those young friends who had helped to carry them on, and who had helped much to their success…  The one at Tinker’s End had all along done well, and had been well-filled. ...
  Mr. John Neal, of London, in seconding the vote of thanks, said he was exceedingly glad to see Sir Harry in the chair.  He was a ready promoter of good works, and a consistent Liberal in his ideas.  The speaker here commenced a bold maintenance of Baptist principles, and strongly supported the theory of baptism by immersion as a great point in the Christian religion.  The Baptists claimed an important part in securing the civil and religious liberty of our country.  They had always led the van in religious liberty.  The town of Winslow could bear witness to the religious persecution they had sustained, when Richard Neal, the constable, had taken Benjamin Keach and placed him in the pillory for writing a child’s primer. 

Buckingham Advertiser, 13 Dec 1879
  MAGIC LANTERN ENTERTAINMENT.- On Tuesday last, a lecture  was delivered with the aid of a lantern, in the Baptist Tabernacle, by the Rev. F. J. Feltham, entitled “The Life Boat and its services.”
  BIBLE CLASS.- A young men’s Bible Class and Mutual Improvement Society has been started in connection with the Baptist Tabernacle.- The first meeting was held on Monday last, December 8, the subject for discussion being the life of St. Paul.


Buckingham Advertiser, 28 Feb 1880
TO  BUILDERS.
TENDERS for the Erection of a NEW SCHOOLROOM, adjoining the Baptist Tabernacle, Winslow, will be received up to SATURDAY, March, 6th, 1880.
Plans may be viewed, and particulars obtained at Mr. William George’s, Stationer, High-street, Winslow.

Bicester Herald, 12 March 1880  
  BAPTIST EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS AT WINSLOW.- The following tenders were sent for the erection of a new School-room, with class rooms, adjoining the Baptist Tablernacle, Winslow- Mr. W. Brown, Buckingham, £570; Mr. Cowley, Stoney Stratford, £559 10s.9d.; Mr. Holton, Buckingham, £499; Mr. King, Quainton, £458 10s.; Mr. Hawkins, Brackley, £435; Mr. J. Munday, Buckingham, £425; Mr. Gibbs, Winslow, £343 3s. ; the last named has, we hear, been accepted.

Buckingham Advertiser, 17 July 1880
Preliminary Notice.
Opening of the New Baptist School-rooms, Winslow.
On Tuesday, the 3rd August, (D.V.) Rev. C. SPURGEON, (London,) (Son of the Rev. C. H. SPURGEON,) will PREACH.
Further particulars to follow.

Buckingham Advertiser, 7 Aug 1880
OPENING OF NEW BAPTIST SCHOOLROOMS. – On Tuesday, August 3rd, public meetings were held at the Baptist Tabernacle, to celebrate the opening of a newly-erected commodious building for the purpose of Sunday Schools.  In the afternoon, the Rev. Charles Spurgeon, of Greenwich (son of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon), preached to a large congregation, from Haggai, 2nd chap., 19th verse, “From this day will I bless you.”  The preacher remarked that in most almanacks or calendars we could find certain days distinguished from the rest – as red letter days;  so each Christian must have experienced in his life’s history some golden days for which he might erect Ebenezers along the road of life.  Surely that day might be entered in the annals of their Christian Church as a day of special blessing;  but they must set to work with increased energy, even from this very day, if they would receive richer blessings from above.  They now possessed large schoolrooms, and they must use every effort to fill them.   The husbandman must labour and toil for the harvest; there must be a holy industry for those that would prosper; slothfulness always brings evil, and therefore he would beg of them not to neglect their work, as the fire constantly requires fresh fuel, and we daily need renewing and winding up.   The rev. gentleman divided his subject into five portions, or heads, viz.; First, “From this day I will bless you;” secondly, “the nature of the blessing;” thirdly, “the certainty of this blessing;” fourthly, “who are the objects of this blessing;” and lastly, “the time of blessing.” – A collection was made in aid of the building fund.  A public tea followed, in the new schoolroom, at which a good number of visitors and friends were present. – The meeting in the evening was presided over by John Neal, Esq., of London.  The Rev. F. J. Feltham (pastor) gave a detailed statement, from which it appeared that the total cost of the new building amounted to £450, towards which sum they had collected £198 11s. 7d., and he hoped to take up the amount to £250 before the close of the day.  Stirring addresses were given by the Chairman, Mr. C. Madder (Aylesbury), Rev. C. Spurgeon, Rev. W. J. Tompkins (Ridgemount), Rev. T. S. Smith (Little Kingshill), Rev. A. Walker (Houghton Regis), and the Rev. – Mote (Bramton, Cumberland).  The pastor announced that the collection in the afternoon was rather over £5, and that the evening amounted to £36 1s. 2d., upon which the Chairman most liberally offered to give the sum required to bring the total amount up to £250.  He strongly suggested that the new building should be called the “Winslow Centenary Hall.”  A cordial vote of thanks was given to the Chairman, to Mr. Spurgeon, and the brethren who had taken part in the proceedings, and the meeting closed with the Benediction.

Buckingham Advertiser, 20 Nov 1880
  LECTURE.- On Thursday evening November 11 the first entertainment of the season in connection with the Baptist Tabernacle, was held in the large room at the rear to which the name of Centenary Hall has been given, when a lecture was given by the Rev. W. Evans, Hurndall, the subject of which was “Loose Screws” was treated in an interesting manner, and was attentively listened to.

The name Centenary Hall was chosen because it was the 100th anniversary of the Sunday School movement.  

Buckingham Express, 26 March 1881
  FREE TEA.- On Wednesday evening, March 23rd an invitation tea to the working classes, was given in the Centenary Hall, Winslow, when about 30 attended.  After the good things had been disposed of an adjournment was made into the Baptist Tabernacle, where an earnest and practical address on “Thrift” was given by Mr. W. H. French, and speeches on the same subject were also made by the Rev. F. J. Feltham, and Mr. G. O. Tite.


Bicester Herald, 10 June 1881
BAZAAR AT THE CENTENARY HALL, WINSLOW.
  About ten months ago the Centenary Hall, which is in fact the School-room connected with the Baptist Tabernacle at Winslow, was opened for the purpose for which it was built.  Its total cost was about £500, and of this sum £150 remained to be defrayed before it could be declared free of debt.  It was with the aim of reducing this sum, and if possible to remove it entirely, that a bazaar was projected.  The hall is capable of accommodating from 400 to 500 persons, and is especially well adapted for Sunday school work.  At the end there is a platform which is very convenient for the purposes of the superintendent, and will also serve for a rostrum, as it did on Monday, June 6.  On either side of the platform is a class-room, and three other rooms of a similar character are situated at the opposite end.  Over these is a gallery of fair size.  The roof is open, and gives a lofty appearance to the place…
  A flower stall, in a central position, containing various window plants was in charge of Miss Lizzie Benbow and Miss Walker.  Mrs. Feltham, senior, assisted by Master D. Osborne, were dealing in the “bride cake” at “threepence per slice.”  There was also a refreshment stall where Misses Hayes and Cole were busily engaged.  A microscopical entertainment, an incubator and an “art gallery,” were also in readiness as soon as the bazaar should be opened.  The Hon. Rupert Carington, M.P., had been announced to open the bazaar, and previous to this ceremony, he was entertained at luncheon by the Rev. F. J. Feltham, who invited a number of friends of Liberal principles to meet the hon. gentleman …
  Mr. G. O. Tite superintended the microscopical department, for which instruments had been lent by Messrs. Kingerlee (Buckingham), B. M. Tite, and G. O. Tite.  A variety of natural objects, animate and inanimate, with suitable observations from the operator proved a very gratifying source of information.  A number of photographic views were also at the disposal of visitors in their department.  Another really interesting item was the exhibition of the Surprise Incubator, which was constructed by, and was under the personal superintendence of Mr. W. H. Ray, lecturer on natural science, etc., Winslow.  The apparatus consists of a shallow tank, which is filled with water heated (by means of a paraffin lamp) about 104 degrees.  Following the plan which nature suggests the eggs (about 80 in number) are placed in drawers beneath the heating apparatus, and a slight vapour, supplying the perspiration of the sitting fowl, is obtained from a lower drawer which contains a pan of gravel and water.  The process of hatching occupies about four days less than the ordinary course, and the cost of oil used for heating is about 1s. 6d …
  The receipts on Monday, amounted to £90, and on Tuesday, when many of the articles were sold by Mr. George Wigley, by auction the receipts were £45.

The Bicester Herald gave full reports (not transcribed) of the very political speeches made by Mr Carington and other Liberals, leading to this outburst from the Bucks Herald (11 June):

LIBERALISM AT WINSLOW.
  The curious medley of self-gratification and political bombast indulged in by the company who assembled, ostensibly at least, to open a bazaar in aid of a new hall which has been recently erected in connection with the Baptist Tabernacle at Winslow, on Monday, could not have failed to strike an impartial and unprejudiced observer as most painfully out of place.  With the questionable taste which not unfrequently characterises their proceedings, the Liberals assembled, unmindful of the object for which they had met, plunged into a vortex of politics more fitted to the heated struggle of a Parliamentary election than the inauguration of a bazaar in aid of any religious object.  It is difficult to see whence Mr. FELTHAM derived such prodigious comfort as his words seemed to imply, from what he was pleased to term the success of the Liberal cause, though we fully appreciate at its true value his assertion that they – meaning, we presume, himself and the circle around him – would not give up their Liberal principles for anything.  It is difficult to imagine any remarks conceived in worse taste than these, bearing in mind that the meeting was not supposed to be in any degree of a political nature ...

To which the Bicester Herald retorted (17 June):

  KEEP SILENCE ALL YE POLITICIANS, for a political Goliath has arisen; and all the minor scribes of the Press may be awed into silence, and the oracles of Liberalism be struck dumb; for an Editor hath written an article - the editor of the Tory Bucks Herald, in the exuberance of his own verbosity, has penned an article on “Liberalism at Winslow.”  He has assumed a Pharisaical air and has insinuated that Conservatives are “not as other men are,” and are not in the habit of mixing up politics with religious objects …
  And what a knock down blow the gifted Editor has delivered at Liberalism in the column of the Tory trumpet ! Query, Will this blast be listened to and heeded; or will the men of Winslow heed the call of the golden horn of Liberalism, and declare on the side of civil and religious liberty and equality, and fight for the glorious principles of peace, retrenchment and reform ! - RUSTICUS.


Leighton Buzzard Observer, 27 Sep 1881
  ADULT EDUCATION.- The Rev. F. J. Feltham is starting free classes for the purpose of teaching men and women to write.

Bicester Herald, 7 Oct 1881
  YOUNG MEN’S MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY.-  The re-union meeting of this society for the coming season was held at the Centenary Hall, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 4, the Rev. F. J. Feltham presiding.  Tea was provided, to which about 30 sat down, and lantern slides, illustrative of different industries, were afterwards shown.

Leighton Buzzard Observer, 10 Oct 1882
  THE CENTENARY HALL CONFERENCE.- On Thursday week, upon the invitation of the pastor (the Rev. F. J. Feltham), a Christian Conference was held here, and was attended by a large number of friends, many of them coming a long distance.  The proceedings commenced soon after three o’clock, and the first half-hour having been spent in prayer, Mr. Feltham rose and expressed the pleasure he felt in seeing so large a company present, and gave them one and all a hearty welcome.  The subject for the consideration of the meeting in the afternoon was “Spiritual Adoption,” and it was opened by the Rev. J. Tomkins, of Ridgmount, in a very earnest address.  At five o’clock about eighty friends sat down to tea in the class-rooms, and at six o’clock the conference was resumed, when a far larger company was present than in the afternoon.  After singing and prayer, the evening subject of “Consecration” was announced, and in a very solemn and fervent address the Rev. J. Riordan opened the same.  Addresses bearing upon the above-mentioned subjects were delivered during the conference by Mr. Cole (Luton), the Revs. J. Jones and G. Holland (Buckingham), J. B. Vincent (Great Horwood), Mrs. Heley (Wing), Mr. Thomas Heley, and Mr. J. French, sen. (Winslow), Mr. G. O. Tite, and the Rev. F. J. Feltham.

Buckingham Advertiser, 27 Oct 1883
  BAPTIST TABERNACLE.- The Rev. F. J. Feltham has resigned the pastorate of Winslow Baptist Church, in favour of a cause in the Isle of Wight.  The health of Mrs. Feltham and family is said to be the principal reason for leaving Winslow.

There was a presentation and tearful farewell later in the year. In 1885 Mr Feltham moved from Sandown IOW to Luton, and often returned to Winslow.


The Centenary Hall was used for a pro-School Board meeting during the controversy in 1885. It was also effectively the local headquarters of the Liberal campaign in the 1885 general election and 1886 general election.

Bucks Herald, 11 April 1885
  THE BAPTIST TABERNACLE.- RECOGNITION SERVICES.- The services in connection with the recognition of the Rev. J. S. Poulton, as pastor of the above place of worship, were held on Wednesday, April 8th.  The Chapel had been prettily decorated for the occasion.  A large inscription, “God bless our Pastor,” on white letters with a green border, was placed over the pulpit, and the words, “No Cross, No Crown” over the doors leading into the School.  In front of the gallery, over the clock, were the words, “Prosper Thy work, O Lord,” in gilt letters, on a scarlet ground, with green border, while the platform rails were neatly twined with ivy, and handsome pot flowers were tastefully arranged on the table.  The day commenced with an afternoon service, at which the Rev. J. Riordan, of the Winslow Congregational Church, presided, and there were a number of other pastors of neighbouring churches present.- Mr. M. Fulks, one of the deacons, explained the circumstances under which Mr. Poulton accepted the pastorate.-  The Rev. J. S. Poulton then made a brief statement of facts as to his conversion, and his call to the ministry and to that Church....

Bicester Herald, 11 Sep 1885
  WINSLOW BAPTIST CHAPEL.- In consequence of the fall of a large portion of the ceiling, the services for the past three weeks have been held in the School Hall, at the rear, pending the completion of a new boarded and varnished ceiling by Mr. John Ingram, who undertook the contract.  The chapel was re-opened on Sunday last, when sermons were preached by the Rev. J. S. Poulton, pastor, and the Rev. W. H. Broad, of Poplar.

Buckingham Express, 19 June 1886
  ... The friends of the Baptist Chapel Sunday School held their festival on the same day [Whit Monday], marching down in gay procession at the beginning of the afternoon to the old brickyard field where they speedily commenced enjoying themselves, but presently down came the rain and they were glad to wend back to the Centenary Hall where under the care of the Rev. J. S. Poulton, Mr. Fulks, Mr. Cox, and other friends they had a capital tea and made the best of the circumstances, in which they were aided by the drum and fife band, until about 8.30 when they dispersed.

Buckingham Advertiser, 6 Nov 1886
Winslow Baptist Tabernacle Anniversary.
  The Twenty-second anniversary of this place was commemorated on Tuesday last.  The proceedings commenced with a public luncheon in the Centenary Hall, which was very prettily decorated for the occasion- over the gallery was a long motto, “Prosper thy work O Lord,” and over the platform another, “God bless our efforts.”  There were flowers everywhere, especially on the tables which were very prettily garnished.  About 40 sat down...
  In the afternoon the Rev. C. Spurgeon preached to a crowded congregation from Numbers xxi., 16, 17, and 18 verses.
  A tea was afterwards partaken of by 140.  After the tea, the Rev. J. S. Poulton said that friends belonging to the Independent congregation had rallied to their support that day, and they would glad of a few words from Mr. W. H. French.  Mr. French explained that having to take train in a few minutes, his words on this occasion must be few.  He rejoiced at the hearty union of Independents and Baptist, not only expressed in utterances of denominational matters, but inspiring the feeling of such congregations scattered over the land in such places as Winslow.  The public of Winslow were heavily in debt to the Baptists for the use of the hall (so readily granted in the cause of civil and religious liberty) in which they were now assembled.  The two denominations being as Mr. Riordan said, not only in harmony, but in unity, must together uphold their common Nonconformity principles.  For Dissenters to go to the Church parson to marry them, or to bury their dead, was an insult to their own ministry, Nonconformity and Liberalism being both based on the right, were one in the main.  This Nonconformist hall had often resounded with cheers, because of victory for Liberalism, and should again (great applause), in the midst of which Mr. French left the room, to support Captain Verney as Chairman for the Baptist anniversary meeting at Fenny Stratford…

Bicester Herald, 30 March 1888
  FAREWELL MEETING AT THE BAPTIST TABLERNACLE, WINSLOW.- A large gathering of friends met in the class-rooms of the Baptist Tabernacle, Winslow, on Thursday, March 22, to bid farewell to Mr. and Miss Buckingham who are leaving for America… In the course of the evening the Pastor presented Miss M. S. Buckingham with a very pretty silver brooch from the children of her class, who had been permitted by their parents to come to the meeting “to say good-bye to teacher.”  It is pleasing to record that Mr. John Buckingham has been elected deacon in the place of his father.- At a previous meeting held on March 8th to receive the resignations of Mr. E. Buckingham and Mr. J. H. Cox as deacons of the church, other presentations were made by the Pastor from the members and congregation.  Mr. Buckingham was presented with a very beautiful Bible, and Mr. J. H. Cox with a handsome inkstand of polished oak.  The teachers of the Sunday-school also presented Mr. Cox with a Bible, on his retirement from the office of superintendent, in which capacity he has worked so zealously for the past two and a half years, never once failing to be present at his post of duty.


Interior of Baptist Tabernacle with leading members seated, 1926
Baptist Tabernacle, 4 February 1926

Memorial to Frederick Benbow, 1917

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Copyright 29 April, 2021