SBC Church History

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 where a Baptist Congregation met until 1835

At Hindley Farm, a baptist congregation met for almost two hundred years before moving to Broomley in 1835. The building was destroyed by fire in 1863 and subsequently rebuilt.

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

Site of Broomley Church & Broomley Church Plaque



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.

Graveyeard Broomhaugh

Graveyard Broomhaugh

Broomhaugh Chapel Stained Glass Window  - The Bible verses are Romans 6:4 and Matthew 25:23


Broomhaugh Baptist Chapel in Riding Mill village, which was the home of a baptist congregation from 1842 until the 1960s. A burial ground at the back of the building includes the resting places of two ministers and several leading members of the church from the nineteenth century.

Then at the turn of the Twentieth Century, under the leadership of Peter Slater, the church's longest-serving pastor, 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. In the following years the congregation grew to its largest size, almost a hundred members.


Architect's Drawing 1905 of "Painshawfield Chapel"  to become know as Stocksfield Baptist Church




Stocksfield Baptist Church Interior 1970's



Stocksfield Baptist Church 2002


Like many British churches, Stocksfield and Broomhaugh Baptist churches saw slow decline in life and membership over the post-second world war years, and the Broomhaugh church was closed in the 1960s, the building being sold to Riding Mill Methodist Church.

However 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 has continued to flourish since the millennium, and seeks to be a significant force for good and for the Kingdom of God in the Tyne Valley and beyond.

God has been faithful to the church for more than three and a half centuries and Baptist people have faithfully witnessed to his power and love through many generations. We believe as a church that our story is also a small part of God's story, and we give him thanks for all that he has done: "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." (Psalm 115 verse 1).  We thank God for our past and look forward to our future!

For full history please follow the link:  History of SBC