History

It all started more than 125 years ago, with a saintly lady called Louisa in the Salvation Army. She was sent to work in Suffolk villages, found a little cottage in Battisford, and started a meeting.

A Battisford lad decided to disrupt one of her meetings in a neighbouring village, but instead came home converted, and told the rest of his large family, who subsequently came to share his faith. That family was the Waspe family who became the founders of the infant church.

From time to time there was resistance in the village – even to the extent of tying a sack to the cottage’s chimney to smoke out the worshippers. But that didn’t work; they had tied it to the wrong chimney!

The work was expanding, so around this time, the local squire, impressed by what the villagers were doing, provided a larger building – the “Tin Hut”. But by 1912 the Tin Hut had become too small, and they needed to add a Band Room and other facilities. And the church continued to grow and spread its ministry.

Squire Harwood died just after the Second World War and the church acquired the building. In 1948 Battisford Free Church affiliated with the Federation of Evangelical Churches, to which it still belongs.

In 1962 the church invited its first pastor, and he and his wife moved into the newly-built Manse. Later that year a fire seriously damaged the church premises, and Battisford Free Church met at the Parish Church. The local Congregational Church also helped, by lending their “Sunday School” for weeknight activities.

With new land donated by neighbours a newer building was erected beside the ruins of the old mission hut.

But the church felt there should be continual growth in outreach. In the neighbouring village of Barking a Friends Meeting House had closed down. It was finally purchased in 1971, and the Members at Battisford got to work and reopened it. Meanwhile youth activities were growing at Battisford and a hall was built at the back of the church, to accommodate them better.

1974 marked the arrival of the church’s second pastor. Since that date changes have been made to the buildings, to accommodate the changing nature of the work. The fellowship now enjoys all the benefits of a modern comfortable church building and facilities.

Musically, the church has progressed from the 1890′s when they used old band instruments, to a modern brass band and two other groups of musicians, to better represent and play today’s range of Christian music.

The ministry and work of the church with the local community and further afield has continued to developed and grow. This includes more recently starting a church on the Cedars Estate in Stowmarket.