Old Baptist Chapel

History of the Old Baptist Chapel

The Head Family

On 1 March 1832 William Jay of Argyle Chapel Bath preached in the chapel. He was an Independent minister known and loved throughout the country. The occasion of his visit was the funeral of Mrs. Marianna Head. The sermon was subsequently published together with some notes on the Head family.

The family descended from Joshua Head one of the ministers ejected from the Church of England in 1662. After his ejection Joshua ministered at Bourton on the Water. In 1814 Ivimey wrote that 'there are some of his descendants of the same name at present, reputable members of the church at Bradford'.

Interestingly the house at which the late Mr. H. G. Alsop lived, now 5 Trowbridge Road, belonged to the Head family in 1808/9. Marianna Head had been a close friend of the hymn writer Anne Steele and was baptized at Broughton Hants in 1769. Anne Steele lived at Broughton. Marianna Head moved to Bradford when she married. She was a great supporter of the early missionary movement and had been a very generous contributor to the building fund of the new chapel. Her only son George died some years before his mother as a result of an accident, after he had ridden to a neighbouring village in an attempt to reconcile two persons who had quarrelled.

Jay considered that George Head was the originator of the Baptist Irish Missionary Society as he had written to a number of influential men urging them to do something to promote the gospel in Ireland. Jay also preached at the funeral of Elizabeth Theodosia Head in 1825. Elizabeth was Marianna's daughter and had been a well-loved teacher in the Sunday School at the chapel.

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