History

The current Rothbury United Reformed Church came into existence in 2011 when the congregations of the Rothbury United Reformed Church and Thropton United Reformed Church agreed to merge and worship in one place, the Rothbury United Reformed Church building in Market Place, Rothbury. A Uniting Service was held on November 27th.

In one way, this was the culmination of a process that had begun in 1944 when the Elders at Thropton, then Thropton Presbyterian Church, submitted to Presbytery a scheme for uniting with Rothbury Congregational Church, as it then was. Presbytery rejected the proposal.

Then, in 1963, the Deacons of the Rothbury Congregational Church invited the Reverend William Irving, at that time minister of Thropton Presbyterian Church, to take the joint pastorate of Rothbury Congregational Church and Thropton Presbyterian Church. Mr Irving was inducted to this additional charge on Wednesday, 27th November, 1963 and the arrangement was agreed to be mutually beneficial.

In 1972, the United Reformed Church came into existence nationally by the merger of Congregational and Presbyterian Churches in England and Wales. At that point, the congregations of the two churches became part of one national church. Although there had been talk ever since of the two congregations merging, nothing came of the conversations until 2011.

The congregation at Thropton had itself absorbed the congregations of Harbottle in 1981 and Birdhopecraig in 2005, the latter having absorbed the congregation of the Otterburn church in 1988, so the last 30 years have seen consolidation of a number of free church congregations in the foothills of the southern Cheviots.