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The Baptistry


Prior to the construction of East Boldre's chapel in its current form in 1844 we understand that full immersion baptisms were carried out at Hatchet Pond or at Lymington. From 1845, following the rebuild of the chapel, a large baptistry (roughly 3m x 1m x 1.4m deep) allowed baptisms to finally take place inside. 

There was no mains water onsite until 1949 when water was laid to a single tap in the back store (now the kitchen). Prior to that we understand that the baptistry was filled with water brought from Hatchet Pond in barrels on a cart.

There is no plug or drain from the baptistry so the water had to be bailed out by hand. Rumour has it, given the work involved sometimes, it was left full ready for the next baptisms, possibly months later.

It is made of smoothed concrete with four cast concrete steps and is painted blue - whether that is the original form is unknown.


Our works to renovate the chapel preserved the baptistry intact. It was filled in with bricks found around the site and sand before capping it with concrete. Teak parquet flooring from the lobby was used to match it into the existing floor. A subtle detail in the layout of the parquet floor outlines its position near the shop fridges. You'll have to look closely but the entire outline can be seen.

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Most Baptists will require that a baptism is done as an adult, or at least at an age where a person can make a conscious profession of their faith. Traditionally, it is done by full immersion. 


Before being baptised an adult would be proposed two separate times then would be invited to profess their faith and experience before the church members. Only once they were baptised would a person become a 'church member'.

The church minutes record on 16th Feb 1845

"Mrs Elizabeth Redford, William Gibbs and Henry Bound was baptised and received into the church the same day by Mr Millard. They were the first that was baptised in the New Chapel."

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