1638 - HAMPTON TERCENTENARY - 1938
Congregational Meeting Houses
By Rev. Herbert Walker
In 1640, two years later, they erected a building for the meeting house whose dimensions are given as 40 x 22 feet with the studding 13 feet high, girt for the windows and a place for the bell. This served them for forty years.
The third meeting house was built during the troublous years of Indian Wars between 1675 and 1680. No record of its size is available but we do know that the whole male population 20 years of age and over was ordered to assist in its erection. This was in use for 49 years. It was during the time the people worshipped in this meeting house that the famous silver beakers were purchased and used in the Communion Service. The money was raised by subscription, a total of £38 11s (about $150) being secured. Eight beakers were bought at first. They were made by the famous silversmith, John Cony, and are still in the possession of the First Congregational Church.
By the year 1719, a more pretentious and a handsomer place of worship was demanded. It was 60 x 46 feet and had a steeple and a turret. This was the last built on Meeting House Green and was occupied for 78 years.
This building was once the Congregational Church which belonged to the town, although the site belonged to Christopher Toppan and the pews to the individual owners. Subsequently the site was purchased, and in 1860 the pew owners recompensed. At this time considerable remodeling was done and a new bell weighing nearly three quarters of a ton was hung. Radical changes were again made in 1888 and the Town House has remained practically the same ever since.
The Presbyterians, who had become strong enough, turned out the Congregationalists from the old church and they were obliged to build a new church, which they did. It is the building now standing and used by the Town of Hampton as its Town Hall. It was in use 47 years. (Ed. note: This Town Hall burned in March 1949)
By the year 1840, the town had surrendered its control over religious affairs and the present edifice was built, and for nearly 100 years, has served the Congregational Denomination, independent of the town.
The Methodist Church
Methodism was introduced in Hampton during 1835 but preaching was intermittent until 1837 when a small house which was converted into a place of worship was occupied. In 1848, a church building was erected at the corner of Ann's Lane and Lafayette Road where it stood until it was moved to its present location and remodeled in 1881.
Catholic Church -- St. Patrick's Parish
Organized as Mission of St. Michael's Parish, Exeter, N.H., in 1907. First Mass at the Casino in July 1907. Services held there during the summer until 1914.
In 1913, the present site of Church acquired and church building erected in 1914. Masses said here during the summer, and in winter months in hall at Hampton.
In 1921, made a Mission of St. Joseph's Cathedral, Manchester, N.H., and continued as such until 1928. During this period, the Rectory was remodeled and enlarged and tract of land now used as parking space was procured.
In 1928 a Rector was named. Beginning in 1935 services were discontinued in the hall at Hampton, and Mass said at Community Hall, Hampton Beach, during winter months. Grounds graded and landscaped. An addition serving as a winter chapel was erected in 1937 and Mass now said regularly throughout the year.
Community Church -- Hampton Beach
In the early years of the development of Hampton as a recreational center, church services at the beach seemed a necessity and were held for a time in the Casino.
In 1925 it was decided to erect a house of worship and subscriptions were solicited and received a ready response, donations being received from visitors at the beach and residents of both town and beach, but the venture undoubtedly would not have been made possible without the generosity of Lemuel C. Ring, a civic minded citizen who gave willingly his time and money. The church building, seating about four hundred, was dedicated in July 1925, and has been open ever since, each Sunday during the summer in July and August and the first Sunday in September. All denominations attend the services and ministers from leading churches throughout the country fill the pulpit.
The Advent Church
When William Miller proclaimed through the country the second coming of Christ in 1843, a few Hampton people embraced his doctrines. Not much enthusiasm was aroused however until 1871, when a plot of land was leased and the present church erected. The organization of the church body itself did not occur, however, until 1877, and by 1890, they were able to raise enough money to buy the land on which the building stands.
The Baptist Church
The Baptist Church was organized in 1817 and shortly after began petitioning for a share of the ministerial money raised by taxation. They did not succeed in this, but by an act passed in 1819, they were no longer compelled to pay a tax to the town for the support of the town minister. The first church building was given the Society by an ardent member. In 1834 this building being inadequate a new one was built and is still in use. Up to 1878 the structure was situated near the road on the front of the lot, but in this year it was set back on its present foundation, raised and a vestry built undernearth. In 1885 further remodeling took place, the interior being redecorated, and new pews installed.