Burton Latimer Baptist Church is regarded as one of the better examples of the early ironstone meeting houses built at the start of the non conformist movement. The formation of the church resulted from the Puritan movement in Northamptonshire, leading to the founding of the first local Baptist cause at Fuller in 1696. In 1744, Mr. John Yeomans, a local landowner, provided most of the money for the original meeting house. He became the Church’s first pastor at the age of 34, until his death in 1776, leaving his property and small library for future Ministers’ use.
In 1813 a Sunday School was started in a cottage opposite the chapel, now Nutcracker Cottage. Several baptisms took place during the years 1828 to 1842 and these were recorded as having taken place in the river.
In 1829 the membership stood at just below 60. In 1832 the chapel was enlarged to seat 280 at a cost of £340. Mr. Ashford’s salary was £60 per annum, together with the manse. By 1843 the Sunday School had 50 scholars and the church, with 52 members, was accepted into the Northamptonshire Baptist Association.
During the period 1843 to 1881, under the pastorate of the Revd. William May, there was growth and consolidation, often recording a packed church on Sunday evenings and a number of important improvements were made including laying out a burial ground and today headstones from after this date still exist at the end of the new car park. Exceptional growth is recorded during the next 40 years, there being at one stage 168 members.
This led to the building of the Assembly room and 1889 saw another enlargement of the church with the addition of an upper story being added in 1892. Growth was maintained into the twentieth century under three very able pastors and in 1907 the Revd. T.S. Burrows was appointed covering the crucial period of the First World War. He was greatly loved by the people bringing them great comfort in the absence of their men folk on military service.
The new hall in Meeting Lane built in 1993 replaced an earlier utility building known as the Lower Schoolroom that was opened on 19th July 1848. Kettering Borough Council approached the church to acquire 1.25 acres of land on which they wished to build a new sheltered accommodation development. The agreement included council use of the existing manse for wardens accommodation and the provision of a new manse for the church’s minister.
The sheltered accommodation development was named Yeomans Court after the Baptist Church’s first minister Mr. John Yeomans. The new Baptist Church Hall was officially opened by John Barfield, manager of the Baptist Union on July 14th 1993 and is now used every day of the week for a variety of church and town functions.