Newbury, Mass. Second Church

Collection History

Please note that as of January 2022, the Newbury, Massachusetts. Second Church records, 1696-1857, and all future digital collections are now hosted on the library's new digital archive.

The Second Church of Newbury was organized in 1698, after the township of Newbury had expanded across the Artichoke River into what is now West Newbury. Congregants of the First Church wished to build a meeting house closer to their new homes, and so the Second Church was formed with the Rev. Samuel Belcher as its first pastor. In 1731 the burgeoning congregation divided again, with 120 members departing to form the Fourth Church of Newbury. The former Second Church remains active today as the West Newbury Congregational Church, which is a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC).

The digital collection below is subdivided into a bound volume of church records, a bound volume of correspondence, and a document containing the church's 1729 articles of agreement. The church records detail administrative concerns such as meetings, member listings, seating lists, and a record of baptisms. The correspondence pertains entirely to a dispute between the church's minister Rev. Christopher Toppan and aggrieved members of his congregation during 1743-1744, including letters written to an ecclesiastical council which was called to intervene.

The original manuscripts in this collection are owned by our project partners, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum. Further information about the collection can be found in the Phillips Library's finding aid.


Digital Materials

Church records, 1696-1857

This bound volume contains accounts, meeting minutes, member lists, seating lists, a copy of Samuel Tomb's acceptance of the ministerial call, and lists of baptisms.

Correspondence, 1744

This bound volume contains copies of letters recording a dispute between aggrieved brethren and the First Church's pastor Rev. Christopher Toppan, with whom they were in doctrinal disagreement.

Articles of agreement, 1729

This document establishes the parameters of a new meeting house "at Newbury New Town" to accommodate the Second Church's congregation.


Related Materials:

Newbury, Mass. First Congregational Church, 1634-1828


Special Thanks

These digital resources have been made possible in part by the Council on Library and Information Resources, through a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the Council on Library and Information Resources.