Nonconformity in Tring


from Tring & District in old picture postcards

The area around Tring was a hot-bed of non-conformity - and the Baptists were particularly prominent. A group first met in New Mill in 1655, meeting in a cottage until Charles II passed laws to prohibit such meetings. The group then met in a wood until Richard Sutton, who is thought to be the first leader was imprisoned, and meetings were held in a wood. After Charles II died in 1685 Richard returned to Tring to preach. The current building at New Mill dates from 1818. Urwick, in Nonconformity in Hertfordshire, lists 12 registrations for places of worship in Tring under the Toleration Act of 1689, and details of some are listed below:

In the parish of Tring a place registered at Michaelmas Sessions, 1691

We ... Protestant Dissenters ... desire that the dwelling house of Mr. James Young in the parish of Tring be licenced for a place to be used for public worship and service of God. 19th March 1753. Jas. Young, Thom. Holloway Marshall, Jas. Kitley, Benj. Brittain, Jos. Seeley, Josiah Sale, Rob. Nichols, Jonathan Harding, John Rose, Wm. Adams, Jos. Priest, Hen. Biggs, Joseph Austin.

Tring. A house at Willston for Protestants [Methodists]. 16th October 1818. Edw. Foster, Thos. Butcher, R. Granger. Thos, Caughtory.

In 1847/8 the Rev Upton also carried out a survey (see Religion in Hertfordshire) and made the following comments aboutt the state of religion in Tring and district:

Local Societies etc for Moral Improvement

Lending Libraries at all the Sunday Schools, but not much used. Great numbers of the adults, as well as of the children cannot read. There is a Bible Society and a Temperance Society - but all is feeble.

General Observations

This place painfully illustrates the paralyzing influence of Ultra Sentiment. The different bodies of Christian professors are controversial, captious and disunited. Sunday School teaching seems lamentably deficient in character. The public religious taste is perverted. Illiteracy and Ignorance prevail. There was a British School but it has been allowed to expire. An Infant School followed it which seems likely to share a similar fate.

Long Marston is irreligious and immoral as might be expected from the general apathy of the neighbourhood.

In the 1851 Ecclesiastical Census (Religion in Hertfordshire) the following places of worship were listed for Tring and district:

This concentration of nonconformity means that may people researching their ancestors in the area find progress further back difficult. Before 1837 (when birth registration was introduced) there are no surviving birth or baptism records for a significant proportion of the people living in the Tring area. See Where is my ancestor's baptism before 1837?

Akeman Street Baptist Church

The Akeman Street Baptist Church web site currently contains no historical information but the history is covered by the book The Akeman Street Story. For modern pictures see Akeman Street Baptist Church

The High Street Baptist web site currently contains no historical information.

The New Mill Baptist Church web site  includes a detailed history.

St Martha's Church [Methodist] web site currently contains no historical information.

See also Books relating to Religion in Hertfordshire

January 2007   Page created
October 2015   Update with new links