The origins of the church go back more than 350 years, when in 1651 Thomas Tillam was appointed to the post of lecturer at Hexham Abbey. A passionate evangelist with Baptist convictions, he baptised his converts and formed them into a Baptist church in July 1652. After Tillam left the Abbey a few years later, and with the restoration of the monarchy, the church was prevented from meeting in Hexham and for the next 180 years met in homes and farmhouses.

It soon expanded into the Derwent and Wear valleys, and eventually separated as congregations, each erecting its own premises for worship, firstly in Hamsterley, then Rowley. The Tyne Valley congregation met primarily in the kitchen of Hindley farmhouse, and also at Juniper Dye House. During these years evangelists and ministers from the church travelled widely through the North of England, helping to establish churches in new places such as Conston and Stockton. The church was also a founder member of the Northern Association of Baptist churches in 1690.

Hindley Farmhouse


In 1835 the Hindley congregation moved to a new purpose-built chapel in the village of Broomley.

Site of Broomley Church


A fruitful period of growth then saw the church build a second chapel in Broomhaugh (Riding Mill) in 1842. This was built on land which belonged to the Angus family, the distinguished leading family in the church for most of its life, who had already established a Baptist burial ground there. These two congregations remained a similar size - about 50 members - throughout the rest of the nineteenth century.

Broomhaugh Church Interior


Early photograph of Stocksfield Baptist Church

At the turn of the Twentieth Century the Broomley congregation took the strategic decision to move to Stocksfield, which was then a growing commuter village, while Broomley had suffered from depopulation. The Broomley chapel was demolished and the stones were used in the building of the new premises on the main road in Stocksfield.

The 1980s and 1990s saw new growth whilst Andy Fitz-Gibbon was minister, as God's Holy Spirit brought new life and power to the church through charismatic renewal. The church continued to flourish since the millennium seeking to be a force for good for the Kingdom of God in the Tyne Valley and beyond. We thank God for our past and look forward to our future!

Baptists in the Tyne Valley

In 2002, to mark the 350th anniversary of the church, Paul Revill, the minister wrote an in depth history of the church.  This was updated in 2009.