Our Heritage

Our Church was founded in 1673 and is now part of the United Reformed ChurchIn the United Kingdom.  This denomination was formed in 1972 on a national level when the Congregational Church and the Presbyterian Church came together. They were later joined by the Churches of Christ. It is commonly called the 'URC' and is committed to working together with other churches as much as possible.


Historical Pictures

Contains historical photos and drawings of our church, including the first ever church building built on the premises.

Church 1796 to 1862


Church 1796 to 1862

church 1863


Church in 1863

Historial pictures of Hertford URC New Hall Church c1892


New Hall & Church c1892

1891 Drawing of New Hall


Drawing of New Hall 1891



Our Ministers


Revd. William Hayworth M.A.

1673 - 1703


Formerly Vicar of St. Peter's Church, St. Albans. 

He lost his living by refusing the sign the Act of Uniformity in 1662.    On Charles II issuing his eclaration of Indulgence in 1672, he came to    Hertford as our first minister. His ministry began under Charles II,      lasted through the second Stuart period under James II, saw the coming of William of Orange, and ended in the reign Queen Anne.

Revd John Guise

Revd. John Guise

1705 - 1727

He was a resident of Hertford. His twenty-two year ministry at the      Hertford Congregational church was a great success. Some eighty   members joined the church during his pastorate. However, he had his  problems. It would seem that morality was at a very low ebb in the eighteenth century, "Christianity in England had almost ceased to      count..." (Silvester Horne).  It is not surprising that our church passed through a trying period




Revd. John Saunders

1728 - 1768

Notes of general interest from Church Records under May 28 1735:" Agreed to declare non-membeship against X. for not      coming to the Church to answer for herself and for other heinous crimes alleged against her, which was accordingly done....... Agreed that Y. and      Z. go to A. and charge her with the sin of drunkeness and bad words, and      desire her to abstain from the Lord's Table till she manifests her    repentance." 43 members were received into the Church.




Revd. Nicholas Phené

1769 - 1773

Although      only a short ministry. we have no information about the condition and work      of the Church during these years. We do know that 6 new members were added      to the Church and that while at Hertford Mr. Phené married Sarah Everitt.

We      would also have welcomed some reference to current events which led in      1775 to what the historian Green calls " the darkest hour in English      history" - the outbreak of war with America 




Revd. James Kello

1776 - 1781

For some time the Church was without a minister. At length, however, in April, 1775, the Rev. James Kello came and created so favourable an impression that he was invited

to take the services for a period of nine months.....' He was accepted for the vacant     Pastorate in April 1776 and      ordained the following August.

He stayed for five years. Hardly any information is  given of this ministry. There were eleven

additions to the Church Roll.


Revd. John Crisp

1781 - 1800

The Church removed to Cowbridge. "In the year 1796 the Divine Providence so      ordered it that the old      meeting-house, a capacious building with a double tier of galleries round three sides of it, and situate near the School of Christ's Hospital, was      pulled down to enlarge the said school...." The building erected on the new site in Cowbridge preceded the present church building. In 1793 there were     only 18 members. 35 members joined in Mr. Crisp's time.




Revd. Ebenezer White


"Dec.24th, 1801, E. White, discouraged by the treatment of some members of the church, but more by the limited prospect of usefulness which this sphere      affords, thought proper this day to give in a resignation of his pastoral  office" ..... "Although six members were added to the  church, yet its condition does not seem to have improved but rather to have become more precarious."

 Rev. Charles Maslen  

Revd. Charles Maslen

1805 - 1824

The Revd. Charles Maslen's ministry did much to revitalise the Church. The  membership roll increased by 55 new members and in 1813 a Sunday School  was formed and also an auxiliary of the London Missionary Society. A short time afterwards, between 1815 and 1817, side galleries were added to the chapel at a cost of £200. A Good Samaritan Society came into existence, and in 1823 a chapel was built at Hatfield, of which Mr. Maslen had charge. Five young men were led to enter the Christian Ministry.

 Revd Isaac Anthony  

Revd. Isaac Anthony

1825 - 1848

During the Revd. Isaac Anthony's ministry, the Church joined the newly formed General Union of Congregational Churches and Ministers throughout England      and Wales. "The work that Mr. Anthony did for the Church can never be estimated. Coming to a cause which had for many years been weak, and at times almost hopeless, and which might have failed completely but for the      efforts of his predecessor, he was the Divinely appointed means of making it strong and influential in the town. Great as were the difficulties, Mr.Anthony applied himself to his task with energy and enthusiasm......"

 Rev John Hay Bowhay  

Revd. John Hay Bowhay

1848 - 1857

Twelve months after Mr. Bowhay began his Ministry, more accommodation was needed for the greatly increased congregation. Accordingly, the school-room at      the rear was taken into the church, the walls of which were raised about two or three feet, and a commodious school-room was built above it for the Sunday School, in which were nearly 300 children. This gave accommodation for 200 more worshippers., and the cost, which exceeded £700, was      defrayed within 18 months. During his nine years Ministry 92 members were received into the Church.



Revd. William Spencer
   1858 - 1860

"In February 1858, the Revd. William Spencer, who came from Rochdale, became minister of the Church. A serious accident, which befell him on the Hertford and Welwyn railway in 1859, incapacitated him for many months. His ministry lasted for little more than two years and was closed on July 1st, 1860, when he took up work for the British and Foreign Bible Society. The Church was strengthened by the addition of 47 members, which is some      index of progress and success."

Rev James Wonnacott

Revd. James Wonnacott

1860 - 1866

"The Revd. James Wonnacott, of Morley, near Leeds, commenced his      ministry on December 2nd, 1860, and began to draw large congregations by his able and eloquent preaching." During his ministry, land adjoining the church was acquired and the church      building itself was demolished and replaced with the present church. Most of it stands on the old site, but part on the new ground. Originally, the church was built to accommodate 650 worshippers. During Mr. Wonnacott's ministry, the Church Roll records the admission of 92 persons.

 Rev William Manchee  Revd. William Manchee
1867 - 1872

"In July 1867, the Revd. William Manchee was invited to and accepted the pastoral office (at Hertford), commencing his duties two months later.  A strenuous and successful effort was made in 1870 to extinguish the debt on the church. Interest had evidently been maintained in the work of the Sunday School, for in 1874 its numerical strength was 23 teachers and 176 scholars. The Church Roll records the addition of 34 names.    Mr. Manchee resigned in may 1872, with the intention of taking up missionary work in Madagascar."

Rev Robert E Forsaith Revd. Robert E. Forsaith
1872 - 1882

The Revd. Robert E. Forsaith "was well known to the people, having often preached their anniversary sermons during the previous twenty-five years; and it was thought from his age, experience, and standing in the ministry, and from his general acceptance as a preacher, that he would be a suitable person to become their pastor and would be likely under the Divine blessing to build up again the Church and Congregation that had been brought down so low.


Revd. Brabazon Tuke Hallowes B.A.
 1884 - 1893

The Revd. B. T. Hallowe's pastorate was a busy one. "In 1887, deacons and a church secretary were appointed. In the year 1888 a site known as Cowbridge yard, adjoining the church, was purchased with a view to the erection of a Church Hall and Sunday School. The necessity for more adequate Sunday School accommodation, in a building      which would also be suitable for services and social meetings, had long been felt. The British Schools had hitherto been the only place of   meeting. The building was opened on April 6th, 1892..100 persons joined the church.


Revd. Samuel Barrett Handley
1893 - 1908
Mr.Handley was minister of the Church for 15 years and 162 members were admitted by him. "His activities extended beyond the Church to the town, where he interested himself in everything that concerned the well-being of the people. His kind and generous heart never failed to respond to the appeals of those who required advice or assistance, and it is no exaggeration to say that he was beloved by all who new him......It      is well to mention that for a long time Mrs. Handley was superintendent of the Sunday School and leader of the Ladies' Working Meeting...",      besides assisting in other departments.


Revd. Oswald Lockhart Whitmee
1909 - 1914
"Mr.Whitmee was an eloquent preacher who, unfortunately, was often handicapped by indifferent health. It was during his pastorate that the Church obtained, at a cost of £525, a fine new organ, which was built by Mr. T. C. Lewis, of London, and opened in July, 1911. The size of the new organ      necessitated a re- arrangement of the choir seating, which had previously been in the organ gallery. New raised seats were provided at right angles      to the pews and on the west side of the pulpit....A Young People's      Institute was formed in 1912..The Church Roll records the addition of 47 names."


Revd. R. O Skinner B.D
1916 - 1926
The Revd. Frank Johnson, Editor of the Sunday School Chronicle and a member of the Church performed the duties of the pastoral office until the Revd. R. O. Skinner was called to the pastorate on New Year's Sunday 1916. Church membership at the time numbered 96, but owing to the exigencies of the War the effective strength was below this figure, while the congregations were relatively small.The new minister applied himself with      energy and by the end of 1922 a total of 119 new members had been added. The revised Church roll now stood at 171.


Revd. Herbert S. Hayman
1927 - 1940
During the Revd. Hayman's ministry the young people of the church were able to enjoy a number of activities specifically directed to them. Among these was the formation of a League of Service for Sunday School scholars; a      Young People's Social Hour after the Sunday evening service at which many young people of the town attended; also, the Young Peoples Association mid-week meeting was instituted at which various topics were discussed and  special speakers engaged. In 1936 an electric blower for the organ was installed. 103 new members joined in this ministry.


Revd. Richard C. Wood M.A.
1941 - 1950
The Revd. Richard C. Wood M.A. was ordained and inducted as minister in September 1941. Both the church hall and the manse in North Road were occupied by the Military at this time. In 1944, a site for a new manse was bought in Westfield Road, and the old one sold for £1000. In 1947 the      Celebrity Lectures commenced, running in the autumn and winter months. (These were to run for 45 years before closing on 6th April 1992). They were well supported by the other churches and people of the town.123 new members joined, though some moved on after the war.


Revd. William Fenwick
1951 - 1958
In November 1951, Revd.William Fenwick moved into the new manse in Westfield Road. New organisations sprung into life: The Young Wives Fellowship, The      Men's Circle, The Cowbridge Fellowship, the Under Fifteen Club, and House Meetings. At a church meeting on 29 Sep.1954 it was agreed that the choir would sing the Lord's Prayer using the music specially written by Mr. E. J. Powell, our organist. 62 new members      joined the Fellowship during this ministry.


Revd. Edward Parsell B.A
1959 - 1970
The Revd. 'Ted' Parsell, as he was affectionately known, the minister who travelled everywhere on his bicycle, came from Northamptonshire and soon      became popular in the district. Additions were made to the weekly  programme of the church: the Sunday Evening Fellowship, Guest Services, week night meetings, Bible Study meetings and an annual Lay Preacher's Sunday were instituted. In 1963 a new oil-fired heating system was      installed and a new kitchen and toilets provided in Cowbridge Hall. Revd. Parsell passed away in September 1970. 116 new members joined in his ministry.


 Revd. Derek Newton
1971 - 1980
At the first Church meeting of this ministry, a decision was taken to accept the Scheme of Union which led to the formation of the United Reformed Church on 5 October 1972. The Tercentenary Anniversary Services were held      on June 10th 1973 and followed by a month of special events. Elders    started sharing in the pastoral care of the Fellowship. The Manse in      Westfield Road was sold and replaced by a smaller one in Grange Close. The Cowbridge Ramblers came into existence and walked the Essex Way (59 miles). 85 new members joined the Fellowship 


 Revd. Paul Snell
1981 - 1988
Ordination and induction of Revd. Paul Snell took place on 12th September 1981. His ministry saw the initiation of a regular transport scheme for the elderly and infirm wanting to attend church. A 'Drop-in' centre, for the young      unemployed of the town, supported by the Council of Churches, came into existence for a short time. Regular involvement of members in worship. Family services became a regular event. Home Group meetings began. Church      refurbishment feasibility studies. Visions for the future considered. 43 new members joined the fellowship. 



Revd. Jeanne Ennals

1989 - 1995

The ordination and induction of the Revd. Jeanne Ennals took place on 8th July 1989. Move towards regular Elders' and Church Fellowship days involving prayer and workshops. Involvement with All Nations Christian College      developed into a regular feature of church life and of Students' training. Church objectives and vision for the future reviewed. Work commenced on the first phase of the church refurbishment programme. 'Open House' - a weekly drop-in centre in the church vestibule was started 1992. 35 new members joined the fellowship. 


 Revd. Christine Willis
1997 - 2006
The Revd. Christine Willis was Inducted as minister of Hertford URC on the 6th December 1997. The newly refurbished church was rededicated on Saturday 19th September 1998. The Fellowship celebrated the new millennium with  Hertford Churches Together, and its own special services, a special    Millennium Exhibition on our church life and history was staged in June as well as various social events, held in the church. A church hall      refurbishment programme is currently being studied. Up to 4th November 2001, 13 new members had joined the fellowship. 
alt   Revd. Derek Jones
   2007 - 2011
The Revd. Derek Jones was inducted as part-time Minister to Hertford on Saturday 21st July 2007. He also as Minister at Christ Church URC, Hatfield, and had responsibilities in the St Albans Area of the Thames North Synod. Although Minister to two churches Revd. Jones gave the impression of being in two places at the same time, managing to put in an appearence at both churches on sunday mornings, even if not taking the Service at one of them. Whilst at Hertford Derek encouraged a strong prayer life and bible study, preaching a strong Christian message. The Hall was refurbished and it became an effective addition to the life of the church and to the Community. derek retired in October 2011 and moved with his wife Rosemary to Ringwood in Hampshire to be near their family.
 Davids head

 Revd. David Bradburn

2011 - 2018

The Red. David Bradburn was inducted to Hertford URC on the retirment of Revd. Derek Jones. Hertford is one of three churches that form the North Lea Valley Area of Shared Ministry (with Broxbourne and Cheshunt Free URCs) and David is the only Stipendiary Minister in the Area. He Lives in Broxbourne. The Hertford Foodbank was formed on 8th April 2013 and this operates from our premises. David oversaw its instigation, continues as Chairman of the Management Committee and takes an active role in its operation. Although an ecumenical project it is seen very much as part of Hertford United Reformed Church's mission to the community. A renewed prayer garden at the side of the church is under going construction and a prayer outreach to the community surrounding the church is to be launched in the autumn of 2015. 

David retired on the 31 December 2108.