The first church on this site was built by the Congregationalists of Ware and opened in 1814. There are no known illustrations of this building but it must have been fairly small and basic. What we do know is that after a few years the congregation had outgrown it and the present building was opened in 1859 with great ceremony by the Lord Mayor of London. The construction had largely been paid for by Joseph Chuck, one of the many local maltsters operating in Ware at the time.
The exterior design is of an attractive neo gothic style. Inside it is spacious and light and despite its width does not have any columns. The church had not been altered materially since this time except for some 1960’s interior work and provision of more modern heating.
In 2011 the pews were removed and replaced with chairs to create a more open and usable space, not only for worship but for concerts and exhibitions.
In 1972 there was a national amalgamation of the Congregational, and Presbyterian Churches to form the United Reformed Church. This amalgamation was closely followed locally in 1978 by the uniting of the Methodist Church in New Road, whose church dated from 1839, with the URC to form an LEP (Local Ecumenical Project) based in the URC premises. This is today’s Leaside church.
The union has proved very successful with oversight more or less alternating between Methodist and URC ministers. Our present minister, Rev Kathryn Taylor, was ordained in the URC but today’s church members just think of themselves as “Leasiders”.
In 2006 Leaside Church became part of the Herts and Essex Border Ecumenical Area (HAEBEA), a grouping of seventeen churches (Methodist, United Reformed, Anglican) located in the towns of Hertford, Ware, Hoddesdon, Cheshunt, Harlow, Epping and various villages in between. In response to God’s call, the churches seek to support one another in love, fellowship and leadership to further their Christian witness in their communities and the wider world.