York; Ebenezer PM Chapel, Little Stonegate

Photo:This photograph was taken in 1988

This photograph was taken in 1988

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'York; Ebenezer PM Chapel, Little Stonegate' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'York; Ebenezer PM Chapel, Little Stonegate' page
Photo:A plaque of the Ten Commandments still on the wall inside the wine bar

A plaque of the Ten Commandments still on the wall inside the wine bar

Photo:Interior view of the building as a wine bar and restaurant

Interior view of the building as a wine bar and restaurant

Photo:Interior view of wine bar and restaurant

Interior view of wine bar and restaurant

Photo:Interior view of the well of the old chapel building

Interior view of the well of the old chapel building

This chapel was opened on November 13th 1851

Before this chapel was built the Primitive Methodists had worshipped in Grape Lane in a chapel previously used by other denominations. By 1851 it was not easy to maintain and so it was decided to build a new chapel close by in Little Stonegate. The Ebenezer Chapel was designed by J.B.Pritchett a York architect and it sat on the site once occupied by George Hicks Seymour's house. It could seat around 700 people.  'The façade was of white brick with two main entrances on either side. Two large round headed windows brought light to the staircase behind it. Rectangular windows on the main floor as well as the gallery lit the interior of the chapel. The façade also contained the words 'Ebenezer Primitive Methodist Chapel 1851' in iron letters.' (Maria Staal - From Dissenters to Fire Engines 2008)

The chapel remained open for fifty years .It closed in 1901 when folk started to move out of the centre of York to the suburbs, and the congregation decreased in numbers. A printer Messrs. Coultas and Volans bought the property and in 1946 they sold it to another printer Noel Richardson. He used it until 1998 brfore selling it to Borders' Bookshop. In February 2014 the premises are being used by Banyans Restaurant and Wine Bar. The building is listed.

Photos taken February 2014 

This page was added by Elaine and Richard Pearce on 11/10/2014.
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The Primitive Methodist magazine for April 1852 includes an account by Jeremiah Dodsworth of Ebenezer Primitive Methodist chapel in York. The account is the longest of a chapel opening I have read, so shows the importance attached to the new chapel.

The society had met previously in Grape Lane, but decided to move because of "the ineligible situation of the old chapel." They managed to buy for the considerable sum of £800 the house of the former Lord Mayor which was located right in the centre of town.  The plans drawn up by Pritchett and Sons, architects, were ambitious - a chapel for up to 1,200 worshippers, with two vestries,  a large school room, four class rooms and two dwelling houses which would cost them overall £1,200.

How were they to raise the money? "Firstly we must give all we can; secondly we must beg all we can; and then thirdly we must borrow the rest." So they did. Tea meetings catering for hundreds of people, both Prims and other denominations, at which tickets were sold raised significant amounts. Speakers included the Lord Mayor of York, James Meek, Alderman Leeman, Mr Horsnip, Mr Simpson, Mr Bennett, GP Bainbridge, Messrs Leigh, Franks, Rumfitt, Wade, Sleight, Acomb and Hill. It is significant of attitudes that most of the extended account is about raising the money.

The foundation stone was laid on Good Friday, April 18th 1851 and the chapel opened in November 1851. It was "beautifully lighted by one splendid gas chandelier of eighteen burners, suspended from the roof through a ventilator." Over the course of building the chapel, membership increased by 50 people.


Reference

Primitive Methodist magazine April 1852 pp.242-244

By Christopher Hill
On 06/02/2017

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