First Parish/Bedford Town Common

The first meetinghouse build in 1729 in Bedford, Mass., was replaced by this towering structure — the second meetinghouse of the First Congregational Society — constructed in 1817.

Bedford housewright Joshua Page (1779-1842), working with Levi Wilson, dismantled the original meetinghouse to build this one on the same site. Some timber from the original was used.

The new meetinghouse was dedicated July 8, 1817, with Rev. Samuel Stearns as the minister. The following year, members of the Congregational Society voted that it was to be used solely as a church, not a place for town meetings or secular business.

Eventually, the church split into two theologies, and those that aligned with Unitarian theology remained in this building. Rev. Stearns left to join the new Trinitarian society, while Rev. A. Davis was named pastor of this church.

It continues to be a Unitarian church — First Parish — and remains at the heart of Bedford, attached to its Town Common.

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