1665-2015: Celebrating 350 years of Abbey Lane Church


Martin Luther nails his “95 Theses” to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, propounding two central beliefs—that the Bible is the central religious authority and that humans may reach salvation only by their faith and not by their deeds—sparking the Protestant Reformation.


John Calvin publishes his Institutes of the Christian Religion, setting out the theology of reformation.


The English Civil War. Conflicting attitudes towards royal authority and religion brought about a series of events which escalated into armed conflict.


Charles II asked to return to England to restore the monarchy.


The Act of Uniformity decrees that clergy of the Established Church who refused to give ‘unfeigned consent and assent’ to the Anglican Prayer Book would be deprived of their living.

Rev Jonathan Paine LL.D. deprived of his living at Bishop’s Stortford.


According to early records Rev Jonathan Paine laboured greatly among the Non-Conformists in Essex and, three years after his ejectment he had gathered a congregation. He does not appear to have had a settled charge at Saffron Walden but he preached with great acceptance in the town and district for several years.


The Act of Toleration granted Non-Conformists the right to worship as they wished. A new spirit of freedom led to more than one thousand chapels being built in England over twenty years. One was the chapel at Abbey Lane. A piece of land known as Froggs’ orchard was purchased for the sum of £18. With the erection of a meeting house the Church at Abbey Lane secured a permanent place of worship.


The current Church building at Abbey Lane replaces the old Meeting house.


Erection of the schoolroom (Church hall) to celebrate the Jubilee of the Church building.


The Congregational Church joins with the Presbyterian Church to form the United Reformed Church.


Newport United Reformed Church joins with Abbey Lane to form one Church worshipping on two sites.


Saffron Walden Methodists join Abbey Lane & Newport United Reformed Church.

West Essex & Bishop’s Stortford (WEBS) pastorate formed bringing together Abbey Lane & Newport URC, Saffron Walden; Stansted Free Church; Clavering Local Ecumenical Partnership and Water Lane URC, Bishop’s Stortford