This church in Ivybridge was formerly the Congregational Church although its early history is not well documented since no records were kept before 1862. The origins of Congregationalism date back to the 16th-century when the Puritans wanted further reform of the church which had begun with the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church during the reign of Henry VIII.
The present Congregational Year Book for Ivybridge indicates that the date of the commencement of the church to be 1842, but there are records from other sources which indicate that the church was well established long before this date. Certainly there was a flourishing Sunday School in 1833, the centenary of which was celebrated in 1933, and now the date of 1825 is considered to be the best estimate. The Church originally started in a house in Exeter Road which is still standing and called Trehill Lodge.
In 1836, James A Moreton became Home Missioner to Ivybridge. He was a travelling evangelist. He left Ivybridge and Lee Mill churches in 1839 and in 1840 he was replaced by Mr Adams who stayed until 1842. It was during the time of the next pastor, James Ellis that the Church moved from the house to a room behind the Bridge Inn or Bridge Cottages. At this period the church was officially recognised by the Congregational authority. In 1856 the hall had to be enlarged as the average congregation was around 120.
In the late 1860’s the congregation was still averaging around 90 and it was decided to build a church. John Allen, the owner of Stowford Paper Mill, donated the necessary plot of land and in June 1868 the foundation stone was laid. The chapel was designed by Messrs. Ambrose and Snell of Plymouth, and was built by Messrs. Cornish and Watts of Ivybridge. The church in Gothic style described as ‘neat, airy and commodious’ was opened in June 1869 and could accommodate 250 people. Upwards of 300 people were reported to have attended the opening ceremony taking tea at the public room at Mallett’s Hotel (The London Hotel). The reported cost was around £850. Only a sum of £150 had been raised by collections leaving a £700 debt to be repaid. here was no pulpit, music was played on a harmonium, light by gaslight and heating by a tortoise stove.
In 1888 it was decided to build a Sunday School behind the church. The Hon. J Mildmay MP laid the foundation stone. In 1890, gas was made available to heat the church. The pipe organ was purchased in 1896 at a cost of £61 from a church in London.
During the 1920s the Sunday school thrived. Special outings in ‘a well-scrubbed coal lorry’ owned by Mr Varcoe was always something to be looked forward to. In the late 1920’s they were travelling in more grand style, enjoying the luxury of a char-a-banc belonging to the local garage proprietor Mr Hoare of Park Street. Later still, they were able to travel by train.