Barnstable, Mass. West Parish Church

Collection History

West Parish Church, alternatively called Church of Christ in Barnstable and West Barnstable Congregational Church, was gathered in October 1639 by Pastor John Lothrop and an undetermined number of parishioners. The group had previously been in the colony town of Scituate, and prior to that in Southwark, England. The church traces its gathering back as early as 1616 in Southwark, England under dissenting minister Henry Jacob. The group that would later form West Parish Church was not gathered and Lothrop not installed as pastor until January 1634/35 at Scituate. In 1639 Lothrop and a portion of the Scituate church left to form a new covenant and new gathered body in Barnstable. The West Parish of Barnstable was incorporated in 1716 and Barnstable was divided into two precincts, East and West, a year later in 1717. That same year, the new meetinghouse located in the village of West Barnstable was constructed and then consecrated in 1719. Only a few years later the meetinghouse needed to be enlarged to fit the growing congregation.

For more information about the collection, see the archival finding guide.


Digital Materials

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Record book, 1639-1853

This volume contains the early records of the first church founded in Barnstable, Mass., now known as West Parish Church in the village of West Barnstable. Included in the records are copies of correspondence, proceedings of ecclesiastical councils, meeting minutes, baptismal records, and dismissions and admissions. Of particular note are records pertaining to an early controversy over singing.

A full transcription of this volume is available.


Special Thanks

This digital resource has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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