TAUNTON UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
(At Paul Street & Bishop's Hull)
The Church has its roots placed firmly in the 17th century. George Newton, vicar of St Mary Magdalene Parish Church, and his curate, Joseph Alleine, were ejected from the Church of England in 1662 by the Act of Uniformity.
They continued to meet with dissenters in the local area until the death of Alleine in 1669. In 1672 the Act of Toleration issued by Charles II made it possible for non-conformist churches to be established in England.
A building was then erected at Paul Street and named "Paul's Meeting", with George Newton as the first minister.
In Bishop's Hull, another dissenter, called Nathaniel Charlton, established a congregation there and in 1672 his home was licensed as a Presbyterian Meeting House.
Such were the beginnings of Taunton and Bishop's Hull Congregational Churches. The present buildings were erected in Bishop's Hull in 1718 and Paul Street in 1797.
In 1968 three Congregational Fellowships came together under one minister - Paul's Meeting (today called Paul Street), Bishop's Hull and Rowbarton. A year later the site on which Rowbarton Church stood was needed for road widening and the congregation united with the Fellowship at Paul Street. Services continued at both Taunton and Bishop's Hull.
In 1972 these two fellowships became Taunton United Reformed Church, following unification of the English Presbyterian and Congregational Churches, with Churches of Christ joining the partnership in 1981 and the Congregational Church in Scotland joining as recently as 2000.
In January 2003 the morning Services at both Paul Street and Bishop's Hull were combined at Paul Street and the evening services continued in the chapel at Bishop's Hull. In March 2005 a decision was taken to dispose of the chapel in Bishop's Hull, and following negotiations, our evening service moved to the Parish Church of St Peter & Paul here in the village. This means the village is well served from one worship centre and both Church of England and Free-Church traditions are offered each Sunday. We have been truly welcomed by the Church of England fellowship continuing a tradition of close cooperation which we have held for many years. Long may we continue.
A book has been written on some of the history of Bishop's Hull Chapel and is available for those with an appetite for such things.
Today Taunton United Reformed Church enjoys good relationships with all the other churches in the town and is an active member of Taunton Christians Together. In 2001 we approved a vision statement for the mission of the church.
Our Vision Statement
Taunton United Reformed Church,
as a community of God's people,
aim to further the Kingdom of God
by enriching people's spiritual
and social lives
the Christian Faith
and love for God's creation.