Broadmead Baptist Church, Bristol UK
                                                           "The Church Above the Shops"

David John Hiley

The Revd. David John Hiley was the minister of Broadmead Baptist Church from 1893 to 1907.

He was born in 1880 at Pontymister, Risca, Newport and was brought up in Bethany Baptist Church, Risca. He trained for the ministry for two years at Spurgeon's College, London. Before coming to Bristol he served in the Forrest of Dean, Hornchurch in Essex, Merthyr Tydfil and Dalston Junction in London.

His powerful and persuasive preaching was often on matters of social concern at the time. The 1902 Education Bill proposed support of church schools from the rates and he opposed this vigorously on the grounds that the public should not be forced to pay for forms of religion to which many objected.

He was prominent in working against the Licensing Bill of 1902. In 1907 he initiated a resolution on the atrocities in the Congo which was presented to the Bristol MPs in 1908. He was invited to stand for Parliament but declined, considering his ministry more important.

In his interest in political affairs, local, national and international he embodied the best aspects of the nonconformist Conscience which had a deep influence on the public life on late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

During his leadership the church membership reached its peak. The Baptist Union Handbook of 1907 records 1476 members at Broadmead.

In 1904 the brass plate now on the Concourse giving names, dates and events in the history of Broadmead was placed on the wall of the entrance lobby to the old chapel.

He left towards the end of 1907 to take the post of minister at Norwood, in London despite the church meeting begging him to stay; a resolution which was passed by 408 votes to 11.

His later work as chaplain to the Forces in the First World War led the editor of the Baptist Times to write: "I have always regarded the Revd. D J Hiley as our greatest contribution to the Chaplaincy force, but Dr Mander was a very good second." (H C Mander was the minister at Broadmead from 1923-33)

Philip Dickinson 1998