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Fond Memories 1
I have fond memories of the Chapel as we knew it in Mid Street. I first started going there in the forties with my Gran Emily Wickham to the services and joined the Sunday School. That was when Mr Ashdown was Superintendent with the help of his wife and daughter Joyce whose married name was Ledbetter. She played the organ.
I remember going next door to the tin chapel as we called it for Sunday School lessons, getting an attendance stamp to put in an album, and used to get books as prizes once a year. I remember one book I received was called Mary Jones and her Bible which I was very proud of. In the evenings the tin chapel was used as a Naafi for the servicemen stationed in the village. In the war a lot of the large houses were used as billets for the Air Force and Army.
I have many happy memories of the Sunday School, we used to sing choruses such as “I am HAPPY” and “Build on the Rocks”. My twin sisters attended there also when they were old enough.
Later on we went there when Mr and Mrs Nicholson of Burnside came after Mr Ashdown left, who also used to invite us to their house some evenings. We used to go on walks in the fields around and had competitions to see who could collect the most names of birds, wild flowers or insects.
There were two ladies who lived in a cottage near the bakery who used to invite some us to tea. They used to help at the Chapel, and we had happy times with them. They were called Miss Burtenshaw and Miss Carpenter. After the war we also went on organised trips to the sea.
After I got married years later my son Malcolm and daughter Linda also attended the Sunday School when they were old enough. I believe it was when Mr Howick was Superintendent and later on Rodney Latrobe. Malcolm stayed on to be a Covenanter when Robin Knibbs was a leader. He enjoyed two years camping holiday at Criccieth in North Wales and Polzeath in Cornwall.
In later years my youngest daughter Stephanie also went to Sunday School there until sadly it was closed.
Over the years marriages took place there. I know of several girls who had their weddings there: y cousin Dorothy Abrams was one, and sisters Gillian and Jacqueline Ford, also. (added Feb 2017)
Fond Memories 2
I have very fond memories as I went to free church from age of 7 and became a Sunday school teacher.
Mr Howick married us. Then we moved away but still saw him as he came to our church to preach, and baptised our children. But best of all he brought my husband to the Lord. We have been married for 50 years this September.
I was friends with Mr Ashdown’s grandchildren and was bridesmaid to them. Unfortunately both have died but am in contact with their husbands. We are both very active in NFI church same as Redhill and sometimes meet Angela and Ken. My Mum was very active with the chapel till she moved in 1971. There is not a week goes by that we don’t mention Mr Howick, his favourite hymn passage, and his wisdom. He gave us such a good grounding. We still have many friends in Nutfield as we all went to school together, then all piled on the 8.30 train to work. Last year my cousin gave a Trindles Road tea party.(added Feb 2017)
Mr Owen Ashdown
Chris Bashford recalls on Exploring Surrey’s Past, and has given me permissions to reprint here. Mr Owen Ashdown was for many years the pastor at the Free Church/Chapel in mid street he was also the local agent for the Prudential insurance company making door to door collections around the village using his bicycle. He was a much loved villager and loved a laugh and joke at the door. I remember him at Sunday school where he played the mandolin and we sang choruses. (added Oct 2020)
I came to Faith
I came to faith through South Nutfield Evangelical Church, and so it is very precious to me. I was 14, I think, and had started going to the youth club there on a Friday night. I remember Angela giving an epilogue. I can remember so vividly being challenged by the thought that, if Jesus came back that night, I would be on the wrong side of the line. I thought I was a Christian up until that point, as I ‘believed’ in God. But I knew that there was something different about some people there, who had a personal relationship with God, and I knew I didn’t. I remember praying at home – I don’t know what I said, as I certainly didn’t know how to become a Christian. But that didn’t matter. God took my poorly worded prayer, whatever it was, and changed me from the inside out. I remember suddenly being flooded with a sense of peace and felt clean. After that, I started going to Bible studies at Ken and Angela’s and learned more about that vital step I had taken. Actually, it wasn’t easy being a Christian through those teenage years. It didn’t go down too well at home. My parents thought I was getting involved in some weird ‘hell and brimstone’ church, and they could not understand why I wanted to be baptised (as I had been baptised as a baby). But, although my teenage years were a bit rocky, I could not let go of God, or rather he did not let go of me. Very glad of that! (added Dec 2016)
My Memories (also see Diary)
Mr Howick was the pastor when we first started going to the free church about 1968. Mrs Leadbetter played the organ. Mr Ashdown, who was over 90, welcomed people. Mr Shepherd reads the notices and told jokes to make it more fun. There were about 15-20 people most Sundays and I remember Mr Howick preaching on a verse from Revelation. ‘Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.’ He said his wife cooks very good rice pudding but he likes it best when it is piping hot, not lukewarm. He said God wants us to be like that for him, real Christians all week long not just people who come to church every Sunday.
I went to church on Sunday and then started going to the Covenanter boys youth group run by Rodney La Trobe, pastor after Mr Howick, and other helpers like Chris Howick. We went on covenanter holiday camps for two years.
Then at about age 17 we had a good group of young people who became close friends and did bible studies together and tried to tell other people about Jesus. Six of us decided to get baptised together at the sea near Seaford. We were hosted by people from Seaford Church. On Saturday morning we went down to find the seaside baptismal spot. The beach looked steep and stony and the weather rough. In the afternoon we went down again to the sea in a convoy of 8-9 cars. The sea had gone out revealing beautiful sand, and the sun come out for the first time in ages. The church elders, Ken and Phil, baptised 6 of us in the sea: Ed, Ali, Jane, Andy, Sue and Ian. On Sunday morning we had a time of worship and praise to Jesus. The ministry that morning said that Christians are no longer subject to trying to do the Law, but have died and are alive again in a love relationship with Jesus. Because we love him we want to do what he wants. There was more ministry from Terry Virgo in the afternoon. God loves us as we are. We should develop this love with Jesus more and more, and enjoy everything around us, because it is from God.