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Witney Street (south): Baptist chapel

Burford saw an early Baptist presence. In 1660 Joseph Davis, a Baptist mercer of Chipping Norton who was described as a ‘zealous and pious preacher’, was imprisoned at Burford. Samuel Pack, a Dissenter harassed by Bishop Fell in the 1680s, may also have been an Anabaptist. By 1700 meetings were held in an upper room of a house in the town, and in 1728 the Burford Baptists acquired a house in Witney Street, probably on the site of the modern chapel yard.

The present building, on the site of the 18th-century graveyard, dates from 1803–4, and is a plain rectangular construction with four round-arched windows to the street. A gallery inside incorporates re-used 18th-century panelling. The pulpit was probably installed during a major programme of works in 1884–6, which included construction of a schoolroom.

Photo by Richard Shaw, Oxfordshire Buildings Record

See: C Stell, Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting Houses: Oxfordshire (1986), 172; J Packer, A History of Burford Baptist Church (2004); Buildings List (Images of England no. 422183); N Pevsner, Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (1974), 509

For Burford Baptists: M Clapinson (ed), Bishop Fell and Nonconformity (Oxfordshire Record Society), p. xxiv; WJ Monk, History of Burford (1891), 175–81; R and J Moody, A Thousand Years of Burford (2007), 45

Content generated during research for the paperback book 'Burford: Buildings and People in a Cotswold Town' (ISBN 13 : 9781860774881) for the England's Past for Everyone series

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