UCC North Hampton's History
Prior to 1738, citizens of the North Hampton area were Hampton residents and attended church there. In 1738, a wooden structure (erected in 1734) at the top of North Hill served as the meeting house for a local parish. In 1742, the General Court of New Hampshire enacted a bill incorporating the Town of North Hampton, a population of 500 citizens. The meeting house, namely North Hill Parish, was owned by the town. Town meetings and town business were conducted there. In fact, townspeople kept their gun powder stored under the high pulpit. The town was responsible for hiring the minister, as well as, any other church-like responsibility.
By 1760, the town had outgrown the meeting house and voted to build a second larger meeting house. Money to build this was gained by selling pews. People would sit in the pews they owned. Where the pews were located depended upon how important the family was and how much they paid for their pew.
In December 1761, the first church service was held in the new meeting house. During all these years the people were Puritans. Fifty-five years passed before the steeple was added as terms could not be reached as to whether it should sit on the eastern or western end of the building. Still, they did not have enough money for a bell, but hoped to have one someday.
In the 1780's, a group of Free Will Baptists was formed and asked the town to excuse them from paying taxes for the minister of the North Hill Parish. The town agreed as long as the Baptists were able to pay for their own minister.
In 1816, the New Hampshire General Court gave rights to establish the First Free Will Baptist Society of North Hampton.
In 1819, state law passed the Toleration Act. This separated church from being controlled by the town. The North Hampton Parish honored their contract with the then current Rev. French and he continued to preach there until 1856, however it became the church's financial responsibility.
In 1835, members of the North Hill Parish formed the Congregational Society and tried to buy the meeting house. The town would not sell it to them. However, the town-owned parsonage, lands and investments were divided and given by the town to the Congregational Society and to the Baptists.
In 1838, this church was built on a tract of land across the street from the old Meeting House and the Congregational Church was dedicated. That same year, the Free Will Baptists built Little River Church on land given by John Lamprey at the corner of Woodland Road and Atlantic Avenue.
A group called The Christian Baptists began to meet at a school house across the street from Little River Church. Soon, the Free Will Baptists disbanded and The Christian Baptists bought the Little River Church from them by selling pews to families there.
Membership in both Churches prospered. In 1855, the Congregational church was lengthened and in 1869, the sanctuary was raised to its present second story position and the new vestry was added at the ground level.
By 1949, the population of church goers to both churches fell dramatically (as few as about fifteen people in this church and ten at Little River Church). As early as 1947, the ministerial duties of both churches were assumed by one minister. At first, a service at each church was held every Sunday. But soon the churches were used alternately for three-month periods. Some people from Little River saw what a senseless struggle it was to have two churches. It was proposed that the two churches unite. In 1951, the churches united as the Congregational-Christian Church in North Hampton. Services were to be held at the Congregational Church for most of the year and the Christian Church was to be used during the summer months.
In 1962, we became the United Church of Christ in North Hampton.