Hill Cliffe Baptist Church (1357)

Hill Cliffe has been a place of worship from time immemorial. Some sources maintain that it is the oldest surviving non-establishment congregation in Britain [Goadby C19, Davies 1891]. This seems to be based on a gravestone in the graveyard dated 1357 and suggests a Baptist tradition before the Anabaptists and Mennonite communities that originated during the Reformation.

Others conclude that ‘we cannot claim this as the oldest Baptist church’ [Kenworthy C19] but quote evidence that the first minister, Mr Weyerburton, led a thriving church until his death in 1594.

Being close to the county boundary in the 18th century, when the Lancashire and Cheshire boundary was the River Mersey, the church owned a meeting house in Roe Buck Yard, Bridge St, Warrington. This enabled them to move worship between counties when the authorities tried to close the church and there is also a cellar at Hillcliffe for secret worship in times of persecution.

During renovation of the building in 1841, an old stone baptistery was found from antiquity on the site.

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