The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
Oldest of the Puritan or Nonconformist congregations in Plymouth were the Baptists. It is thought that they arrived here from Holland and were already in residence when the Pilgrim Fathers left Plymouth in 1620 for America. But their earliest records start in 1648, when a fuller by the name of Mr Abraham Cheare, was baptised into the movement. He must have quickly made a name for himself because only one year later he was invited by no fewer than 150 local Baptists to become pastor of their congregation, which he accepted. 
A meeting-houses was erected in 1651 on a piece of land the congregation purchased in the Pig Market, which later became Bedford Street. For a century they continued to meet there until it was rebuilt and reopened on June 30th 1751. 
The oldest of the Baptists chapels in Devonport, second only to the one in Plymouth, was that built in the Liberty Fields area in 1781. In due course this became the Pembroke Street Baptist Chapel. 
In 1789 the Plymouth congregation abandoned the premises in the Pig Market and moved to the How Street Baptist Chapel, which they at first rented and later purchased outright. 
Pembroke Street Baptist Chapel remained the only place of worship in Devonport for Baptists until the Reverend Isaiah Birt purchased the old Wesleyan chapel in Morice Square. Morice Square Baptist Chapel was opened for worship in 1798.
As with most religious bodies of the time, the congregation at How Street Chapel soon outgrew the facilities available and so in September 1845 they moved into the purpose-built George Street Baptist Chapel. 
The Emmanuel Baptist Chapel was erected in 1864 in North Road, Plymouth.
Ford Baptist Chapel, then within Devonport, was opened in May 1868.
Early in 1867 the Baptist congregation at George Street Chapel resolved to build a second chapel for the convenience of its worshippers and that this should be in the rural surroundings of Mutley Plain. Mutley Baptist Chapel was opened in 1869.
At some point, possibly in the 1860s, a former Calvanist building in York Street, Plymouth, was taken over by the movement and became the Trinity Baptist Chapel until around 1900.
The foundation of the Ebenezer Baptist Chapel in East Stonehouse is not yet known but it certainly existed by 1890.
Saint Budeaux Baptist Chapel was opened in 1902.
Salisbury Road Baptist Chapel and Sunday School were opened in 1907.
By 1920 there were several other Baptist chapels in Devonport and the Hope congregation considered moving their chapel out to the newer developments at Peverell. In 1924 they moved temporarily into Pounds House and on November 17th 1926 the memorial stone of their new Hope Baptist Chapel at Peverell Corner was laid. This building was opened for use in January 1928.
Crownhill Baptist Chapel was opened in 1958 and closed down and demolished in 2007.
Mutley Baptist in Plymouth gave birth to a daughter in 1997 when seven worshippers who lived in the Mount Wise area of Devonport set up their own prayer meetings. With Plymouth City Council support they formed the Mount Wise Baptist Church and held their first meeting on September 20th 1998 in the Neighbourhood Centre at Mount Wise. Quickly outgrowing its accommodation, the meeting moved to the local primary school before finding a more permanent home in the former Methodist Central Hall, otherwise known as the Welcome Hall, where it has become known as the Devonport Community Baptist Church. Its first Pastor was the late Reverend Nathan Fisher. 
|© Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK|
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