' LYTCHETT MINSTER.
This village lies on the high road about midway between Wareham and Poole. Though regular Nonconformist worship is of comparatively recent date, there were doubtless many who sympathised with the Parliament in the struggle for liberty, and with the heroic 2,000 who preferred a clear conscience to the retention of their livings. The district abounded in staunch advocates of religious and civil freedom. Sir Walter Erie, of Charborough Park, and the Trenchard family of Lytchett Matravers, took an active part in the civil war 'against Stuart despotism. In the adjoining parishes of Morden and Lytchett Matravers, the ministers, Edward Bennett and Thomas Rowe, M.A., were ejected, and so were the ministers in the neighbouring towns of Poole, Wimborne and Wareham, in each of which the Nonconformist party was strong. Thus the people of Lytchett Minster were compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses for New Testament truth and simplicity, and we may suppose that not a few in the parish shared the convictions of the sufferers for conscience sake. The house of James Madgwick, at Lytchett Minster, was licensed for Presbyterian worship, July, 1719- He was probably the brother of William Madgwick, of Poole, by whom several of his children were baptized, but whether he officiated as minister we have no evidence to show. A building, belonging to the dwelling house of Elizabeth Gage, was certified for religious worship 3rd April, 1733, and the dwelling house of John Stanley i5th July, 1735, ^ut we know not by whom the services were conducted. In the early part of the last century, certain parents at Lytchett, named Taylor, Reeves, and Cellar, had their children baptized by Mr. Madgwick, of Poole, and later on (1740-82) other parents named Brewer, H. and J. Coward, R. T. and A. Knapp, Reeks, Tailor, J. and H. Best, Smith, Glover and Cole, availed themselves of the services of Mr. Simon Reader, of Wareham. In the year 1769, the Rev. E. Ashburner, M.A., of Poole, came out to preach the gospel in the house of Ann Frankland, which was licensed 10th January, 1769, and continued to conduct a service on Monday evenings for 20 years. When the house previously in use was no longer available, Mr. Crue, a member of the Poole congregation, bought " Frankland's " farm, and erected a small building near the farm house, for dissenting worship, which was opened 1819. Here the Rev, T. "Durant, of Poole, preached in the evening once a week, and friends from Poole took the Sunday services.
About this time a congregation met at Organford, in a building now converted into a cottage, Mr. Swaffield and others preaching on the Sunday, and the ministers of Wareham, Wimborne, and the Rev. Samuel Bulgin, of Poole, conducting a service in the week from time to time. It was deemed desirable for the two communities to unite, and a new Meeting-house was erected at Lytchett to accommodate both congregations. Mr. John Wilkins gave the site, and several poor men, unable to contribute money, gave a considerable portion of labour.* The chapel was opened April 28th, 1824,! by .sermons from Messrs. Bulgin. of Poole, and Waller, of Hazlemere, for the joint use of Independents and Baptists...... '
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