History of the Old Baptist Chapel
The Emergence of Dissent
A study of a mid-nineteenth century print of Bradford Wiltshire immediately reveals something of the strength of Protestant Nonconformity in the town in the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. Four good size chapels can easily be identified. There were a number of smaller ones as well.
It is clear that at that time these Nonconformist meeting houses could accommodate far more than the parish churches. This visual evidence is confirmed by the complaint of a local clergyman in a letter to Lord Holland in 1837, 'the Dissenters... are very strong in the populous district of Bradford and Trowbridge'.
The nineteenth century strength of Bradford Nonconformity was no mushroom growth. It had roots that reached back at least to the early years of the sixteenth century.