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History

this month at Furrough Cross?

Here at Furrough Cross we hosts a variety of regular and one-off events, including prayer events, seasonal fayres, game evenings and much more. Check out our latest dates and upcoming events in this month's Church Diary.

As indicated on old maps of the area, Furrough Cross gets its name from "furrow", meaning "a piece of arable land". Its foundation was the result of disunity within the local parish church of St. Marychurch. Yet through its history God's healing hand is seen at work to bring about unity. There are three main stages to its life: the Free/Independent church years (1852 - 1904), the Congregational church years (1904 - 1972) and the United Reformed church years (1972 onwards).

On the 21st of March 1850, a number of parishioners decided to leave the parish church of St. Marychurch after coming to the conclusion that the teaching there"has been contrary to the great standard of religion, the word of God, and not in accordance with the protestant views of the Church of England." Therefore, they decided to form an Independent Evanghelical Church.

A temporary chapel for those who had left the parish was opened on the following Whit Monday and Reverend Hugh Kelly of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Canada was appointed Minister. Following the purchase of a parcel of land at the side of Furrough Cross lane, the foundation stone of the free church was laid on 9th December by the Rev. W. Mitchell of Exeter.

The new church was opened on the 29th of July, 1852 and a great number of people gathered. Rev. John E. Gladstone (who had resigned from the Church of England) was appointed Minister. His photograph can still be seen in the Hall exhibition. The church was built in the Anglican style but it was not linked to any denomination, being known as the Furrough Cross Free Church.

By 1904, the old free church was largely derelict. The Congregational church obtained a 40-year lease from the Building Trustees. Rev. Isaac Pugh was appointed Minister and the church was renamed Furrough Cross Congregational Church. At a later date (1933) they bought the freehold for £500.

In October 1942, the church was considerably damaged during the war. As a consequence, services were held in the hall for over six years. It re-opened in 1949 after repairs that cost £5,700. In 1950, the name of the church changed to Babbacombe Congregational Church. In November 1971, after the union of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists, the name changed again to Babbacombe United Reformed Church, according to the new denomination.

Nine years later, Abbey Road and Babbacombe United Reformed, which shared the same minister, joined as one congregation, forming what we know today as Furrough Cross United Reformed Church.