Hackleton & Piddington
Enjoy a country walk to see the sites of houses where William lived as an apprentice and journeyman shoemaker, the church where he was married and the sites of houses where he lived with Dorothy. Visit the Baptist Church erected in his memory behind the site of the one he helped to found.
The Carey Baptist Church, Hackleton stands close to the site of the Meeting House where Carey worshipped.
Having spent the first fourteen years of his life in Paulerspury, William Carey came to Piddington as an apprentice to Clarke Nichols, the 'corwainer' (a craftsman who made a shoe in all its stages). His cottage was in Church Road and the remains of its stone wall can be seen in the garden of number 21.
Another apprentice, John Warr, engaged him in tireless religious debates. When George III called for a national day of prayer and fasting, John invited William to the Hackleton Meeting House. It was here that William found a personal faith and threw in his lot with the dissenters. He became one of the church leaders, forming the group into a church with nine covenanted members. Before William's apprenticeship was completed, Clarke Nichols died and he transferred to the workshop of Thomas Old in the Jetty (to the left of Baptist Church). At the age of 19 he married Dorothy Plackett, his employer's sister-in-law, at the 12th century church of St John the Baptist, Piddington.
His cottage was in Church Road and the remains of its William and Dorothy set up home in a cottage a little way from Piddington Lane. Here a daughter, Ann, was born who sadly died before her second birthday. Meanwhile the death of Thomas Old left William with many responsibilities as he took over the care of his family and the business. He and Dorothy knew real hardship at this time. The workshop was known as 'Carey's College', for here he began to study Latin and Greek, to read widely and to think deeply about the nature of Christian faith. He would walk miles to hear preachers. In 1783 he was baptised in the River Nene in Northampton, by John Ryland.
At Hackleton Carey grew from boy to man, from casual observer to committed Christian:
- He found a personal faith in God among a humble group of dissenters.
- He helped to form the Hackleton church and became a Baptist.
- He began to study the Bible in earnest.
- Earls Barton invited him to preach and he took his first steps as a lay preacher.
- His interest in languages began to take hold.
- He learned to cope with rigorous discipline at work and to shoulder domestic responsibilities.
- He earned money from teaching in the evenings.
- He learned much from older men from different Christian traditions.
- He became acquainted with important Baptists, like John Sutcliff, John Ryland and Andrew Fuller. These exerted a great influence on him and were to become his lifelong supporters of the Mission.
- Reading 'Captain Cook's Voyages' excited him greatly and started him thinking about world mission.
Church AddressCarey Baptist Church