Celebrating 150 years in Watton

Rapid Growth to Slow Decline

In 1862, to mark the bi-centenary of the ejection of "the Immortal 2000" from the Church of England - those clergy and schoolmasters who refused to confess their consent to everything contained in the book of Common Prayer, a schoolroom was built on the back of the church.

Further improvements were made eight years later, when a gallery was erected in the church, because of the increase in congregation over the previous two years. The access to the gallery was up a wooden spiral staircase in the tower. The money for this project, and two brass gas standards, was given by the Alexander family, a family that had much influence on the church at that time. In spite of this expansion, giving accommodation for 200 people, at the reopening services on 17th July 1870 it was so crowded that not everyone was able to get in.

congregational church 1920
The Congregation Church 1920

Things in the building did not change much for about ninety years, though deterioration did slowly begin, and in the 1960's the turret on the tower in the southwest corner became dangerous, and the upper half had to be removed. The balcony probably ceased to be used around this time too. In the 1970's the Congregational Church became the United Reform Church, but on Easter Sunday 1976, because of a dwindling congregation, the church closed down.

The picture above shows the roof structure and the original gas pipes and electrical wiring all now obsolete




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