HISTORY

It all started in 1883, when a lady called Louisa from the Salvation Army was sent to work in Suffolk villages. She found a cottage in Battisford, and started a meeting.

A Battisford lad decided to disrupt one of her meetings in a neighbouring village, but instead became a Christian and told the rest of his large family, who also came to share his faith. That family was the Waspe family who became the founders of the church.

From time to time there was resistance in the village – even to the extent of tying a sack to the cottage’s chimney to smoke out the worshippers. But that didn’t work; they had tied it to the wrong chimney!

The church expanded and the local squire, impressed by what the villagers were doing, provided a larger building – the “Tin Hut”. But by 1912 the Tin Hut had become too small, and they needed to add a Band Room and other facilities. The church continued to grow.

Squire Harwood died just after the Second World War and the church acquired the building. In 1948 Battisford Free Church joined the Federation (now Fellowship of Independent) Evangelical Churches, to which it still belongs.

In 1962 the church called its first pastor and he and his wife moved into the newly-built Manse. Later that year a fire seriously damaged the church premises, and Battisford Free Church met at the Parish Church.

With new land donated by neighbours a newer building was erected beside the ruins of the old mission hut.

In the neighbouring village of Barking a Friends Meeting House had closed and so it was purchased in 1971. It reopened as Barking Chapel and remains our daughter church to this day. Meanwhile youth activities were growing at Battisford and a hall was built at the back of the church,

1974 marked the arrival of the church’s second pastor Leslie Howson.

Bryan Brown was then minister for a few years before Iain Shaddick Became pastor in 2006.

The church started to employ Jenny Brown as Youth Leader in 2015.

Musically, the church was well known in the county and beyond for its brass band. This remained in place right into the new Millennium but has now been superseded by various groups of musicians, to better represent and play today’s range of Christian music.

The church planted a new church Cedars Church on the Cedars Estate in Stowmarket in 2008. This church is now independent of Battisford though friendships and family ties remain between the churches.

We are so thankful for how God has blessed the church at Battisford through its long history and we now seek his will as we take things forward in the days ahead.