The History of First Church
As in every New England community, the history of Marlborough, and of its early Church, are closely interwoven. In 1656, thirteen inhabitants of the town of Sudbury sought a grant of eight square miles to make a Plantation. The petition was granted although a portion of this land was the home of the Indians. In 1660 this Plantation was incorporated under the name of Marlborow, later changed to Marlborough.
In 1662 it was decided that a House of Public Worship should be erected and known as the Church of Christ of Marlborow. This Meeting House was a small, one-storied building with oilpaper in the windows for light and a thatched roof, built on the site of the present Walker Building. The services were long. The sermon was usually one hour in length, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and was measured by an hourglass placed on the pulpit. Since the Meeting House was unheated in those days, it was the custom for the worshippers to bring a small tin box of live coals with them. The Indians burned down the Meeting House in 1676 and a new Meeting House was built on the same plot of land in 1677. A much larger House was again constructed in 1688.
During the period 1719 through 1744 the land occupied by Marlborough was further divided and those newly created towns were named Westborough, Southborough and Northborough.
It was not until 1806 that a Church building was erected at the present site on Spring Hill. This building housed the first casting of the Paul Revere Bell. During the spring of 1836 a decision was made to take down this large Meeting House, and build a smaller one. The 1836 building was destroyed in 1852 by fire. A new Meeting House was completed in 1853 and the bell was recast due to damage from the fire.
The Church, which stands today, is the one that was built in 1853. At a special meeting of the Church members, on March 28, 1913, the name of the Church was changed to First Church in Marlborough (Congregational). The Church has gone through major renovations and repairs over the years.
During the hurricane of 1938, the steeple and bell toppled into the Church auditorium taking with it nearly the entire roof and partially demolishing the church. Many changes were made in the new structure to include the replacement of the high steeple with a bullfinch belfry. In 1958-1959 additions were made to the rear of the building to include the Parish Hall. The most recent work was in the summer of 2005 and involved the replacement of the old steam heating system with a new hot water system.
Since January 1962 First Church has been a member of the United Church of Christ. Over 30 Ministers have served at First Church from 1666 to present. We are a family, old in tradition and history, respectful, secure, diligent, uncertain about the future, asking God for guidance.