The Wilstone Rabble

In 1853 the post of Pastor of the New Mill Baptist Chapel became available. New Mill was seen by the local villagers as the Parent Chapel and other chapels were guided by their policies.

Local farmers on the Chapel Committee travelled to Northamptonshire to listen to a sermon by a Mr Warren and were impressed. They installed him as Pastor before a meeting could be called. Many members from the surrounding districts, including Wilstone, Marsworth and Long Marston, were dubious about the credentials of Mr Warren and called a meeting of the full congregation. But when they arrived, Warren and his followers were there, having their own meeting. The leaders of the congregation said this was illegal.

The supporters of Warren – calling themselves the Warrenites – chased their challengers back to Tring, rattling tin cans filled with stones. The Tring Constable was called out to see them safely home.

The Warrenites then caused trouble in Wilstone and a Mr James Grange – of the long standing Wilstone family – succeeded in obtaining a prosecution order against what he called the ‘Wilstone Rabble’ for interrupting a church service. This led to the Berkhamsted Magistrates issuing a severe caution.

The rabble were not deterred however and tried to take possession of Wilstone Chapel. Mr Grange ordered them off the premises, saying that he did not want ‘liars and housebreakers’ in Wilstone. But they later returned carrying an effigy of Grange which they burnt in front of the Chapel Door.

A week later two persons, one from Wilstone and one from Long Marston, appeared before the Magistrates charged with ‘parading the streets of Wilstone in a riotous and disorderly manner which hurt the feelings of respectable people’.

Warren only stayed as Pastor for a year but the old congregation never returned to the Chapel.

This Flashback is taken from Dick Gomm’s ‘short’ history of Wilstone, available in full on the website It is not that short but very interesting. There will be more flashbacks from this source.

One Comment “The Wilstone Rabble”

  • Sue Gascoine


    I’m Not Sure Where That Chapel is in Wilstone !! It Looks Like the Chapel in New Mill as it is on an incline and Wilstone is Flat !!!!

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