Archive centreWhitehaven
ReferenceYDFCCL 4
TitleWorkington Congregational Church
DescriptionFounded 1760 and became part of the United Reformed Church in 1972
Registers; record books; minute books of church and deacons' meetings; Sunday School minute books; The Lookout, church magazine.
ContextIn 1779 Henry Gaitskell leased land in Priestgate later South William Street, Workington, to the Rev John Colquhoun of Whitehaven, the Rev James McEwan of Workington and Peter McGaa of Workington, shopkeeper, for the erection of a place of worship for Protestant dissenters and apparently opened for service as the Independent Chapel or Low Meeting House in February 1780. In 1783 McGaa released his co-lessees from further responsibility and had the chapel and minister's house conveyed to himself. In 1786 Lady Glenorchy paid the remaining debt on the property and her executrix, Lady Maxwell of Pollock, purchased a small plot of land in 1801 to add to the original burial ground. Both grounds were closed in 1855 and an additional plot for burials was purchased.

The church premises were vested in six trustees appointed by Allan McGaa, son of Peter, in 1837. A Sunday School was constructed behind the church in 1838, and replaced by a larger building in 1878. The church was enlarged and remodelled in the period following the appointment of the Rev Thomas Hind as Pastor in 1855. Further enlargement and decoration occurred during the ministry of the Rev Charles Burrows, commencing in 1883, due especially to the influx of worshippers brought by him to Workington following the removal of Cammell's works to Workington.

In November 1920, the church suffered the secession of many members following an attempted vote of no confidence in the Pastor. The separated members formed the Independent Congregational Church, formally constituted in June 1921, and which worshipped in the Dent Hall, Fisher Street, Workington, for the next three and a half years (records at YDFCCL 4/4/6, 5/1 and 7/2). This body reunited with South William Street in 1924. Following the formation of the United Reformed Church (URC) from the amalgamation of the Congregational and Presbyterian churches in 1972, both Thompson Street Presbyterian Church and South William Street continued as United Reformed churches in Workington. Sustaining two churches was ultimately not possible and Thompson Street closed on 31 Dec 1980.

In October 2008, the Workington United Reformed Church formally combined with Workington Trinity Methodist Church to form the Workington United Church.
Catalogue levelFonds
Subject termsSunday Schools

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CodePerson/Corporate namesDates
NA876Workington Congregational Church; 1779-; Congregational Church/United Reformed Church1779-
CodePlace names
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