Cox-Lane church of Christ
1Jo 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
The start of the Restoration Movement in Great Britain, separate and apart from the Restoration Movement in the USA.
The Cox-Lane, congregation (Denbighshire, North Wales in the borderlands with England) under the leadership of John Davies, were meeting in 1809 when they started practising believers baptism having studied Mark 16:15,16. They were meeting in the late 1700s but were independents practising infant baptism. They were overjoyed to learn in 1835 that over 15,000 people in America shared their views, and soon began corresponding with Alexander Campbell and others of like mind in England and Scotland. This is considered the first congregation in the UK of the British Restoration Movement and possibly the first congregation of the 19th century Restoration Movement predating their American brethren. There was though in this time churches of Christ in Europe which predated the Restoration Movements in the USA and UK. This congregation ceased baptising infants in 1809 following the biblical of immersion for believers. On June 12, 1812, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, their wives, and three others were immersed, approximately three years after the members of the Cox-Lane congregation learned of believers' baptism. In 1824 Barton W. Stone met and allied himself with Alexander Campbell and what is called the Restoration Movement began in the USA. The Restoration Movement had no common place or origin and no one person can be claimed to have started it its origins being independent. It is as much British as it is American, further, in Europe including northern England there were churches of Christ which preceded the British and American Restoration Movements. The church of Christ is found whenever men turn to the scriptures only for guidance following the seed principle found in Matthew 13.
Old photo of the house where the congregation met in Cox-Lane, Denbighshire, near Wrexham in 1809. The house was one of the homes of the Davies family who were one of the oldest families in the area since the time of the Great Fire of London from which they fled (1666). The family went on to establish a meeting house in Cam Yr Alyn, which was originally part of their extensive estate. The meeting house sadly was closed and is now two houses, situated near the rebuilt foot bridge over the Alyn, on the old B5102 opposite Stoneleigh.
Below, the house today, sadly dilapidated, pictures taken in October, 2011.
Below, the remains of the baptismal pool, now very overgrown. Here the women for modesty were baptised .
Below, the River Alyn, a short distance from the house at Cox-lane, here the men were baptised.
A rhyme was written about the meetings in the house in Cox-Lane, by Charles Thomas, an elder in the church at Chester in 1866. A portion is reproduced here:
"The Old House at Cox-Lane
"Some people think little about house or home
But o'er the wide world they continually roam;
They hesitate not to cross o'er the deep
Or lie in a tent, on the desert to sleep
But I stay at home and never complain,
For I love my old home - my home at Cox-lane
"The old house in which I contentedly dwell,
Was the home of my birth, which my father's as well:
It was my grandfather's home in years long past,
And fondly I hope t'will be mine to the last;
For I am sure it would cause me to the greatest of pain
To leave my old home - my home at Cox-Lane.
"It was here the Reformers -that brave little band -
Against isms and schisms did first make a stand;
And creeds and opinions and names after man
Were all laid aside for God's divine plan,
And every Lord's Day, in language most plain,
The gospel was preached in my home at Cox-Lane.
"Then, week after week, as Lord's Day came round,
The people came flocking to hear the glad sound;
To sit at the table of Jesus our King
To remember His death and His praises to sing;
And strength to go onward we all seemed to gain
In attending those meetings we held at Cox-Lane.
"Our late brother John - whose name we hold dear -
Would come in his turn to speak for us here;
To build up the faith for which we contend,
Or speak of the unfading crown at the end;
And much precious fruit show it was not in vain -
That labor of love in my home at Cox-Lane.
"How he loved to get out to the old rustic seat
If he felt in the meeting oppressed by the heat;
And there by the gate, in the shade of the trees,
Would sit and enjoy the soft cooling breeze;
Sometimes, by his side, an old friend might remain
To talk of those meetings we held at Cox-Lane.
"Now his labor is ended he has entered his rest,
With the Saviour to dwell in the realms of the blest;
Ever more to enjoy in those mansions above
A glorious reward for his labor of love;
Though great is our loss, far greater his gain -
And his memory, how dear to us all at Cox-lane.
"But now, of late years, in a chapel we meet,
That strangers who come may all find a seat;
And the speakers we have are good men and true -
Unfolding most clearly the truth to our view;
Yet, I humbly confess, that I always retain
More love for those meetings we held at Cox-lane.
"Here, then, I would stay in the home that I love,
Until I am called to my home up above;
Here patiently wait till the Saviour sees best
To take me away to His heavenly rest,
And then I shall have no grief to sustain
In leaving my earthly home at Cox-Lane."
In October, 1835, a brother named Bennion went to John Davies with an exciting piece of information. He had heard from a Scotch Baptist friend who lived in Chester some things that were startling and encouraging about a religious movement in America. From that friend he had borrowed three copies of the "Millennial Harbinger" published by William Jones. The little group of people set for the restoration of New Testament Christianity was thus brought into contact for the first time with others of "like precious faith" with themselves. In the United States at that time there were about 150,000 who were pleading for the ancient order. On the eighteenth day of October they wrote to Alexander Campbell to express their joy and their desire to become better acquainted. They still, however, thought themselves to be entirely alone in the British Isle. Two years later they were again excited and filled with joy when they obtained copies of "The Christian@Messenger," edited by James Wallis of Nottingham, and thus learned of others in Great Britain, who were labouring along similar lines to themselves. In 1847 Alexander Campbell from America visited the Cox-Lane congregation. In 1866 a meeting house, at Cam-yr-Alyn was built and brought into use. Archie Watters wrote in 1948 "The story of the Churches of Christ in Great Britain is of particular value in correcting an error which has persisted for some time that the movement is peculiarly American. Alexander Campbell was at considerable pains to point out the fact that the movement was as much native to Britain as America".
The meeting house built in 1866 at Cam-yr-Alyn, a short walk from Cox-Lane, it is now two private cottages. It was built next to the River Alyn offering more privacy where baptisms could be undertaken. The meeting House was built by the widow of John Davies immediately after his death in 1865.
David Lloyd George, the Prime Minster of Great Britain during World War One had been brought up in the church of Christ at Criccieth, North West Wales, not far from the Cox-Lane congregation, click on the link below to learn more.