Document Type

Finding Aid

Collection Number


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Last Revision Date



The First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Bridgewater started in what was then called the “South Parish” of Bridgewater. In 1717, John Washburn deeded two acres of land “to the inhabitants of the southern part of Bridgewater to build them a meeting house” and to use part of the land for a burial ground. The first meeting house, built in 1717, was enlarged in 1741. A second meeting house was built in 1760.

The Church and Bridgewater State University have a long history of collaboration as neighbors. The first Principal of the Bridgewater Normal School, Nicholas Tillinghast, was a Deacon and member of the Church. Through efforts of Albert G. Boyden, the Bridgewater Normal School acquired land owned by the Church, using it for a gymnasium building erected in 1904.

“South Parish” has been served by 37 ministers in the last three centuries. The records also show a great many “Supply” or guest ministers. A list of ministers is located at the end of this finding aid.

The collection consists of 26 boxes and 16 volumes. Documents found in the collection include annual reports, Parish Committee meeting minutes and reports to the Committee, Orders of Service and “Bridging” newsletters, receipts, financial transactions, personnel documentation and renovation projects. The bulk of the materials date from mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, with sporadic documents before and after.



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