Chapel of the Month – February 2015

Yelverton BC Chapel 1908Roger Thorne, past Council Member and leader of well received visits in the south west, responded to our appeal for candidates for ‘Chapel of the Month’ with this suggestion – the Bible Christian Chapel in Yelverton.

Roger writes: “This year is the Bicentenary of the Bible Christians whose heart land was always the South West.  I am compiling a CD of pictures of their chapels in Devon.

Their very last BC chapel was opened on 7th August 1907 at Yelverton, in the parish of Buckland Monachorum, on the edge of Dartmoor, north of Plymouth.

Yelverton BC Chapel (1885)Yelverton was served by the railway from Plymouth and a number of business men from Plymouth built villas there.

So the last Bible Christian chapel was most untypical in that it was expensive and elaborate and designed by a known architect, W Beddoe Rees.

Today it is without its tower but I can’t remember if the tower was taken down because of the war-time aerodrome nearby or later structural problems.”

We hope that you enjoy these evocative images – including the post card shown above.

Yelverton BC ChapelYelverton BC Chapel

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Chapel of the Month – January 2015

For the first Chapel of the Month feature in 2015 we thought we might offer readers a mystery to solve…

Hope Baptist Chapel - location unknown

Hope Baptist Chapel – location unknown

Yvonne Emerton sent us this photograph of ‘Hope Baptist Chapel’. Although the photogaph has been in Yvonne’s family for many years they do not know the location of the chapel and would like to identify it if possible. It looks somewhat similar to the Hope Chapel at Horsham, which is also set on a corner, but Yvonne doesn’t think that it is the same building.

Yvonne’s great great grandfather, William Bray, was an itinerant Baptist preacher. On the 1871 census of Hitchin, Hertfordshire he is recorded as a Baptist minister in various places though his home was in Hitchin. On the 1891 census he is recorded as a Baptist minister and is a visitor at a home in Croydon, Surrey.

The Strict Baptist Historical Society have a listing for a W. Bray as minister at Haynes, Bedford from 1863- c.1870.  At that time my William Bray would have been living at Walkern, Hertfordshire.  His son later became a cycle shop owner in Haynes.

These are the only clues as to the possible location of the chapel so any thoughts from readers would be most welcome!

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Mission-shaped Heritage

Conference ~ 16-18 July 2015 at Cliff College, Derbyshire

Methodist Heritage is committed to enabling Methodism to use its heritage for mission.

With keynote speakers and academic papers, site visits and workshop/seminar streams, the Methodist Heritage Conference 2015 will reflect on themes relating to heritage and mission, and consider innovative ways of being missional in the context of historic religious buildings, museums and archive collections. This promises to be an engaging and packed programme for anyone interested in the theory and practice of preserving and extending the use of Methodist Church heritage.

To be added to the mailing list for a draft programme and booking details contact Diane Foster, Heritage Administrator, on 020 7467 5117 or email fosterd@methodistcheuch.org.uk

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HCT Launches Photographic Competition

The Historic Chapels Trust (HCT) are on the look out for high quality photos of their churches, chapels and meeting houses to use in publicity, fundraising and on the website.  If you are a keen photographer you could win £250 of equipment of your choice in our competition.

Closing date: 31 March 2015

For entry details email lorraine@hct.org.uk

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Chapel of the Month – November 2014

Dissenters' Chapel

Dissenters’ Chapel

The Dissenters’ Chapel stands in the historic cemetery of All Souls, Kensal Green that had been established by Act of Parliament in 1832.

It was London’s first public cemetery, available for use by all regardless of religious allegiance. Kensal Green is Grade I on the National Parks and Gardens Register and lies within a designated conservation area.

It was originally divided into two parts, a smaller eastern part allocated to Dissenters (including non-Christian faiths) and a larger western area, over which the Grade I Anglican Chapel, positioned on an ‘eminence’, majestically presides. The divide was originally marked by a ‘sunk fence’ and gated path. At the western edge of the cemetery is a non-denominational crematorium of 1938-9 with two chapels in active use . Its arrival effectively put the Dissenters’ chapel out of use.

Dissenters' Chapel

Dissenters’ Chapel

The architect of both the Anglican (1836) and Dissenters’ (1834) chapels was John Griffith of Finsbury (1796-1888) who based his designs on the well-established Greek Revival style that had yet to be superseded by the nascent Gothic Revival. He drew on various Ancient Greek sources for the Dissenters’ chapel – placed to fit neatly inside the curve of the long brick cemetery wall where it backs onto Ladbroke Grove. The chapel was suitably off-centred and out of view from the Anglican chapel 1/4 mile away! Griffith seems to have relied on an amalgam of ideas for his designs. The Dissenters’ chapel portico recalls the long lost Temple on the Ilissus River near Athens that Stuart and Revett admired and illustrated.* The colonnades resemble the demolished Choragic Monument of Thrasyllus in Athens but the curved plan form and use of the Thrasyllus ‘antae’ as paired columns seem to be unique to Griffith.

The chapel was restored from dereliction in 1996/7 by the Historic Chapels Trust which holds a long lease from the General Cemetery Company, and is let on licence to the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. The main body of the chapel has been recreated following Griffith’s drawings; a later OwenJones – inspired 1860s paint scheme was retrieved, following investigation. An new exhibition space and modern facilities are available, thanks to an early HLF grant – the first to a cemetery project. Additional funding came from City Challenge, English Heritage and smaller donations. Below the chapel is a catacomb with coffins deposited on racks.

Dissenters' Chapel

Dissenters’ Chapel

Kensal Green Cemetery achieved prestige and popularity following the arrival of several royal burials in the 1840s, including HRH the Duke of Sussex (1773-1843) and HRH Princess Sophia (1777-1848), both children of George III. HRH the Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904), son of Queen Victoria, is buried here too. The connection was rekindled on October 30th when HRH The Duke of Gloucester visited the cemetery at the invitation of the Heritage of London Trust and was entertained at a reception held in the Dissenters’ chapel organised by its Friends.

* James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, The Antiquities of Athens, Vol 1, Haberkorn, 1762.
See also James Stevens Curl (ed), Kensal Green Cemetery, Phillimore, 2001, especially Chapter VII.

With thanks to Dr Jennifer Freeman for contributing this post.

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Methodist Heritage

Heritage News

Heritage News

The Autumn 2014 edition of the excellent Methodist heritage newsletter has now been published.

The latest edition of Methodist Heritage News includes articles on the transformation of the garden at Wesley Memorial Church in Epworth, cataloguing an archive of the Evangelical Revival and an update on the award-winning My Primitive Methodists Ancestors website.

If you haven’t yet signed up to receive the newsletter directly you can also ‘sign up’ on the website and view archive copies of past newsletters too.

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For Liberty Against Tyranny

Date: 10th – 15th November

Location: Regent’s Park College, Pusey St, Oxford, OX1 2LB

The Angus Library and Archive is the leading collection of Baptist history and heritage. Their next exhibition will commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The exhibition looks at the events of the First World War and how these affected the thoughts and actions of non-conformists. Featured will be never before seen items such as correspondence from Prime Minister David Lloyd George, emergency passports issued at the outbreak of war and photographs from international war fronts.

There will be two additional events and talks:

10th November – 6.30pm – First World War talk with Dr Adrian Gregory

11th November – 6.30pm – ‘War, Peace and the Nonconformist Conscience’ with Professor Keith Robbins

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New Welsh Chapels website

Addoldai Cymru (Welsh Religious Buildings Trust) is a charity set up to take into ownership a selection of redundant chapels that are historically and/or architecturally significant to the story of chapel building and Nonconformity in Wales and that are valuable to their local communities.

It has recently launched a new website to promote Welsh Chapels with assistance from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

The new website includes information about the chapels owned by Addoldai Cymru as well as a range of useful pages containing advice on the care of chapels as well as the history of Nonconformity.

 

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Chapel of the Month – October 2014

October’s Chapel of the Month is the picturesque North Lopham Wesleyan Chapel, Norfolk listed at Grade II. Dating from 1812, it is alleged to be one of the oldest Methodist Chapels existing within Norfolk and is now in the Diss Circuit of the East Anglia District.

North Lopham Wesleyan ChurchThe chapel has a brick front with side walls of flint pebble with brick dressings and a hipped pitched roof covering of dark glazed pantiles except for the front slope which is of slate. A broad principal elevation consists of three bays with two round-arched doorways and a flat brick string course between corner pilasters. Three segmental mid C19 sash windows exist to the first floor.

The interior has its original panelled three sided balcony on circular cast iron columns all with original seating intact. At ground floor late C19 benches and rostrum remain. A Wesleyan day school dating from 1864 exists to the rear of the chapel and a burial ground with headstones dating from early C19 and later to the front.

According to “Methodist Church buildings – Statistical Returns including seating accommodation, as at July 1st, 1940″ published by The Department for Chapel Affairs, Manchester in 1947, North Lopham Chapel had seating for 202 souls, all in pews at this time.

The chapel is currently at risk, recent news reaching the Society of its closure citing a lack of funds for ongoing repair and maintenance. It is understood that discussions have taken place regarding placing the chapel on the property market for development.

More news regarding its closure can be found on the Diss Express website.

With thanks to Michael Atkinson for contributing this post.

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C20 Chapels Conference – Booking extended!

We have extended the booking period for the Chapels Society’s conference on C20 nonconformist chapels until 08 October 2014.

This excellent and stimulating conference – with a range of well known speakers including Elaine Harwood, Andy Foster and Andrew Saint – will take place in Birmingham on 08 November 2014.

For more details and a booking form visit the event page.

Book now in case you miss out!

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