The history of Cannington URC.

The original Church, built in 1823 at a cost of £300, was situated in High Street opposite the Rose and Crown.  It was known as The Free Church and it was funded by the Home Missionary Society and in 1826 the Church became a Congregational Church.

In 1923 at the Centenary Celebrations, the Old Church was re-named The Lecture Hall and it was used for children’s work, lantern slides and concerts. It was also used by The Cannington Brass Band, the Women’s Institute, Girl’s Club and the British Legion.

In 1869 the present Victorian building was erected at the cost of £750 and it was built to seat 300 people.  The Church was part of the Cannington Group of Congregational Churches which included Nether Stowey, Stogursey and Steart and the Minister visited the other congregations by pony and trap.  The pony and trap were kept in a stable behind the original Manse in High Street which is now split into the two cottages with the bay windows.

At the start of World War II, a Top Secret Agreement was made with the War Department to requisition the Lecture Hall for the use of the Home Guard.  It was also used as a canteen for the Americans troops based at Brymore School but no alcohol was allowed on the premises.

After the war The Lecture Hall had various uses but fell into disrepair and it was eventually sold at auction by Messrs Tamlyns for the sum of £250.00.  It was finally demolished and the site cleared in 2004.  During these works, three graves were found and the remains were re-interred in Cannington Cemetery.  A small estate of low cost housing was built on the site now known as Rose Villas.

In 1972 The United Reformed Church was formed by the union of the Congregational Churches of England and Wales with the Presbyterian Church.  Cannington joined this new Church as did most Congregational Churches with few exceptions, one in Taunton.

In 1977 the Church became a Joint Pastorate with Westfield United Reformed Church, Bridgwater and in the same year it was decided to remove the pews in the Cannington Church to provide a multi-purpose building giving better facilities for Youth Work and other activities.  A Supper Club was set up in 1987 with 20 members which proved very popular and finally closed in 2005 with 70 members.  The Church now provides a Lunch Club on a weekly basis for 50.

In the mid 1990’s the congregation grew and the decision was made to renovate and extend the present Church.  The cost of the scheme was £165,000 which was funded by numerous activities such as regular Coffee Mornings, Concerts, Sales of Work, sponsored activities and three visits of the Cor Meibon Cwm Rhondda Male Voice Choir.  While the work was going on the congregation met in the Priory Barn, now part of Bridgwater College at Cannington Court.  The Harvest Festival that year was held at Brymore School in the barn where the congregation sat on straw bales.

The renovated Church was re-dedicated in 1998.  It is now used as a strong community base with many groups using the premises.

The Church now looks forward to the future and its bicentenary in 2023.

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