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United Reformed Church

The present URC building was built in 1850, in front of the Independent Chapel (built in 1735). It served the needs of nonconformist worshippers who had been active in the town since the mid 17th century. Special trains were laid on for the opening, when 1600 people attended.

The old chapel behind was converted into a Sunday School, which at one time had around 300 scholars.

One of the Superintendents of the Sunday School was Thomas Armstrong, who had a timber business in the town.

In the 17th century nonconformists were not allowed to be buried in the churchyard and, until the opening of the cemetery in the mid 19th century, such people were buried at what is now Sepulchre Close, on land given for the purpose in 1671 by a Mrs. Lowry.

With the national amalgamation of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches in 1972 came a new name for the Independent or Congregational Church - the United Reformed Church.

Gloria Edwards

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