The Third Meeting-House
The first intimation found on record that such an enterprise was contemplated, is an order of the town, June 30, for the inhabitants to meet for the purpose of raising the frame. No statement is made regarding its form or size. The order is as follows: "Itt is ordered thatt all the Inhabitants of this town of Hampton, thatt are aboue the Age of 20 years shall Attend and Giue their assistance to Raise the new meeting house, who are to meete on two seuerall Dayes and to attend thatt worke: the first day all the towne yt liue from Mr. Cottons House & so Round the town Eastward to the Lane by Hezron Leuitts and so forward to the Eastward of the parth to Pascataqua; and the second Day all the Rest ot the Towne from the west side of Pascataqua way Round to Mr. Cottons House; & also all thatt liue on the other side of the marsh towards Salisburie:--and if any prson of the Age of 20 years doe faile of his appearance att the Ringing of the Bell at six of the clock in the morning, or within Half an Houre Afterward, Hee shall forfitt twelue pence in monie to bee forthwith payd, or else the constable to distraine."
The occurrence of an Indian war just at this time, and the consequent interruption of business--many of the people being called away from home in defense of the country, and those who remained, laboring in constant fear of the enemy--were very unfavorable to a speedy completion of the work, and but slow progress was made in finishing the house. The exact date of its occupancy for religious services, is not known; but that it was occupied as early as the spring of 1680 is almost certain, for at that time the selectmen were instructed to "take down the old Meeting-house and dispose of it for the town's use, according to their best judgment."