Protestant nonconformity in Narborough

Narborough is a village in Blaby, south Leicestershire. Independents were the first dissenters to arrive in the village, and they arrived early, in the seventeenth century. Baptists were also present, although their history in the village is less clear.



The Independent community emerged after the Civil War, when a rector in the village, Rev. Matthew Clark, was ejected in 1662, having refused to conform to the new Book of Common Prayer. Many of his congregation seceded with him.[1]

A chapel was said to have been established in that year, although religious toleration was not achieved until 1689. This early chapel had a capacity to seat 350 worshippers.[2] A new chapel was built in 1763, from a congregation said to have been formed in 1706.[3]

The presence of Independents remained significant in the village, and in 1829 the return of meeting houses counted them at 480.[4]

The religious census of 1851 records that services were held on Sunday mornings, afternoons and evenings, with actual attendance on the day of the census being 120, 200 and 160 respectively, which were also average attendances.

Attendance at Sunday School (attached to the church building) was recorded as 130 for all three times of the day.[5]



The evidence of a Baptist presence in the village comes from a trade directory in 1895, which recorded the existence of a Baptist Chapel.[6] No indication is given as to when the chapel was built, and no mention of it has been found in any other 19th century source.

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[1] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1863) p. 698.

[2]Kelly’s Dir. (1908) p. 539.

[3] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1846) p. 580.

[4] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/173.

[5] TNA, HO 129/411/33.

[6]Kelly’s Dir. (1895) p. 302.