Baptists

Baptists were worshipping in the town by 1651 when a letter was sent to Oliver Cromwell from Robert Stotesbury and Thomas Cumberlidge on behalf of the congregation. By 1831 Sunday services were held in Robert Benton’s house in New Street, and later in the assembly room at the Black Boy Inn, also in New Street.

In 1833 a chapel and school were built on the corner of Freer Street and Goodall Street, which were both enlarged in 1849. The site continued in use until 1918 when the buildings were demolished. In 1919 The Crescent Baptist Church opened on the corner of The Crescent and Lumley Road, built of wood and asbestos. A Sunday school was added in 1934. It is still in use today.

In 1845 some of the worshippers from Goodall Street acquired the former Primitive Methodist chapel on the corner of Newport Street and Lower Hall Lane, and in 1910 opened the Strict Baptist Chapel in Midland Road, which still survives today.

Another group from Goodall Street built Ebenezer Chapel on the corner of Stafford Street and Littleton Street West. It opened in 1847. In 1972 the congregation moved to a new church in Green Lane.

Plymouth Brethren

In 1863 members of the Plymouth Brethren were meeting at a building in Bridge Street. In the 1870s they were meeting in a room in Burrowes Street, which closed in the 1960s. Other places of worship included Caldmore Gospel Hall in West Bromwich Street, Delves Gospel Hall, in Talke Road, Stephenson Hall in Stephenson Square, and meeting rooms in Lower Hall Lane, Sandymount Road, and Wolverhampton Road.

The United Reformed Church

It began in Walsall with the formation of two Congregational churches, one in Bridge Street and another in Wednesbury Road.

Bridge Street Congregational Church was built by a group of Congregationalists who began to hold services in 1763 at a meeting house in Dudley Street. By 1790 this had become too small, and so work began on the new church under the control of the Rev. William Boddily. The new church, built on the south side of Bridge Street at a cost £2,125.1s.3d. opened on 14th September, 1791. The interior of the church was renovated in 1875, then in 1894 a new façade, designed by H. H. McConnal of Walsall, was  added to extend the church closer to Bridge Street.

A Sunday school, the first in Walsall, had been started when the Dudley Street meeting house was still in use. It began in a room in Freer's Yard, High Street, but later moved to a warehouse in the Old Square. In 1818 new school rooms opened which were replaced by a purpose-built school in 1878-80.

Wednesbury Road Church opened in 1859. It was built of brick with stone dressings, and had two towers. It had a projecting porch, and built-in school rooms. The building was enlarged in 1901, and partly rebuilt in 1916 after suffering from bomb damage.

In the 1920s both churches suffered from a declining congregation, and so the decision was taken to unite the two congregations who would meet at Wednesbury Road. In January, 1945 Wednesbury Road Church became Walsall Congregational Church, and Bridge Street Church and the school was sold to Walsall & District Co-operative Society for £25,500. It was leased to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, then sold to a property developer in 1966. It was soon demolished to make way for shops and offices. The school was initially used by the Co-op for its education department, and later its fuel office. The buildings were later demolished.

 
Walsall Congregational Church. From an old postcard.

By 1970 Walsall Congregational Church was in a bad state of repair. It was demolished in 1973 and replaced by Glebe United Reformed Church, which included a sanctuary, meeting rooms, a reading room, and a gymnasium. In 1993 it joined forces with Broadway Congregational Church which had opened in September 1959, to become Broadway United Reformed Church. Glebe United Reformed Church is now the Glebe Drop-In Centre which offers support services to the local community.

Hatherton United Reformed Church has its roots in Presbyterianism, which became popular in the town in the late 17th century when church members met at various houses. In 1876 services were held in the Exchange Rooms in High Street, and in the following year moved to the Temperance Hall in Freer Street.

In May 1882 the group opened a church on the corner of Hatherton Road and Darwell Street, which now stands next to the modern Civic Centre. It was designed by John Cotton & Henry Hill McConnal in Gothic style, built by W. Trow & Sons in brick with stone dressings, and a plain tile roof with a tower, which originally had a spire. It consists of an aisled nave with cast iron columns, and a northern gallery. An organ was installed in 1891. To the south is a two story Sunday school and parish hall. The spire was removed in 1947, and in 1972 it became the Hatherton United Reformed Church. The building is now Grade II listed.

Other Congregational Churches

In 1819 and 1820 Congregationalists were meeting in houses at Bloxwich. In 1882 the Congregationalists took over the former Methodist Free church on the corner of Blakenall Lane and Booth Street, which had been built in 1871. It continued in use until 1933 when work began on a replacement church, on the corner of Chantry Avenue and Blakenall Lane. It opened in 1936, was built of brick with stone dressings, and faced with stucco. It has since been replaced with the modern Blakenhall United Reformed Church. The original church on the corner of Booth Street was taken over by Harden and District Community Association, and later became a commercial premises. It was demolished in the early 1970s.

In 1860 a church opened on the corner of North Street and Mill Street. It was designed by J. C. Jerome, and is built of brick with stone dressings. The church closed in 1972 and has since become Walsall Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Primitive Methodists

By 1830 a group of Primitive Methodists were meeting in a room in George Street. In 1833 they opened a chapel on corner of Lower Hall Lane and Newport Street, where services were held until 1845 when the building was taken over by a group of Particular Baptists. In 1850 the Primitive Methodists moved into the former Ragged School at Townend Bank, where there was also a Sunday school. By 1876 they had built Mount Zion chapel on the corner of Blue Lane West and Margaret Street. The building continued in use until 1960, and was demolished in the early 1970s.

Pinfold Methodist Church, a Primitive Methodist church and Sunday school was built at the southern end of Bloxwich High Street in1842. It was rebuilt in 1895 and 1896, and a new school was added in 1902. It closed in the 1960s and was demolished in the early 1970s.

Another Primitive Methodist church and a Sunday school was built in North Street in1845. It continued in use until a replacement chapel and Sunday school opened in Stafford Street in 1905. The new church was built of red brick with terracotta dressings, and had a tower with a spire. It closed in the mid 1960s. Other Primitive Methodist churches were built in Caledon Street, Chapel Street, Darlaston Road, and Victor Street.

Methodist Free Church

In 1862 members of the Methodist Free Church opened a chapel in Whittimere Street which continued in use until the 1880s. In 1865 other members of the church opened a chapel in what became Revival Street, Bloxwich. It remained in use until a replacement chapel opened in nearby New Street in the mid 1890s. The chapel closed in the mid 1960s when the congregation moved to the new St. John's Methodist Church in Victoria Avenue.

Unitarians

In the late 18th century a Presbyterian meeting house in Bank Court, High Street became Unitarian. In 1827 the congregation moved to Christ's Chapel in Stafford Street. The small hall was built of brick and had a stuccoed façade. It had a school attached which was funded by the Dissenters School Charity.


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