Chester Mount Zion Chapel

Commonhall Street

Chester Mount Zion Chapel

From its earliest days the first George Street chapel  was found to be too small for the growing congregation and in 1864, after a camp meeting in Chester, its society was split into two. One remained at George Street and the other worshipped initially in a rented room in Pepper Street, and then in Cuppin Street before acquiring the Mount Zion Chapel [1], about 200m south west of Chester Cross.

‘Welsh Calvinistic Methodist services in Welsh were being held in Trinity Street by 1804. The church moved to Mount Zion chapel on the north side of Commonhall Street in 1820 … In 1865 the congregation purchased a site on the eastern side of St. John Street, where a church  … was erected in 1866.’ [2]

The Mount Zion chapel was then acquired by the Prims – the Chester Chronicle for 29 December 1866 reported:

‘A tea meeting was held in the Primitive Methodist School Room, St George’s-street [underneath the George’s Street Chapel] on Wednesday last [26 December], on behalf of the fund now being raised for defraying the cost of purchasing the chapel in Commonhall-street, lately occupied by the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists.’ 

The same newspaper of 6 July 1867 reported:

‘PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL, COMMONHALL STREET.  Services were held in this chapel on Sunday last … The object of these services was to help to wipe off the debt of Commonhall Street Chapel, which is a branch of the one in George-street, and which was purchased by the connexion a little more than six months ago.  In further aid of the fund a public tea-party was held in the “parent” chapel …’

The chapel does not appear in the 1867 Register of Places of Worship (at least, not as a PM chapel).  It is labelled as a PM chapel on an 1874 map [3] and marked ‘Seats for 609’.  The chapel stood back from the road and access was through an alleyway between house numbers 38 and 42.

In 1874 the Chester circuit was divided between First and Second circuits, headed respectively by the George Street and Commonhall Street Chapels.

In 1876, a group of young people from Commonhall Street Chapel held a mission in Boughton [about three-quarters of a mile east of the city centre].  From this, a new society was born, which began meeting in a room in Sandy Lane and later [in 1884] built Tarvin Road Chapel  [1].

The 1878 Post Office Directory of Cheshire shows the chapel’s neighbours on the north side of the street (only two house numbers are given):

  • Brewer John, tin plate worker
  • Williams Wm, plumber & brass founder
  • 32 Jones Thomas, dairyman
  • Willams William, basket maker
  • Tatler Mrs Elizabeth, shopkeeper
  • PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL
  • Christy William, coal dealer
  • Brannan William, whitesmith [a metalworker who does finishing work on iron and steel]
  • 46  Dutton Israel John, pawnbroker

In 1889 a third circuit was created out of the First Circuit with Tarvin Road Chapel as its head [1].  The Preaching Plan for the Chester Circuits 1894 Q3 shows the chapels in each circuit; the Second Circuit headed by Commonhall Street Chapel consisted of nine chapels lying in a sector between south and west-south-west of Chester, the furthest being Commonwood, 10 miles south.

The Commonhall Street chapel was replaced with a new chapel in Hunter Street (about 200m west of the cathedral) called the ‘City Temple’; its foundation stone was laid on 20 April 1898 and it was officially opened on 1 February 1899 [4].

References

1.      British History Online; then Browse catalogue>Victoria County History – Chester>A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions>Churches and religious bodies: Protestant Nonconformity>Methodists>Primitive Methodists
2.      British History Online; then Browse catalogue>Victoria County History – Chester>A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions>Churches and religious bodies: Protestant Nonconformity>Presbyterian Church of Wales

3.      https://www.old-maps.co.uk/#/Map/341290/366567/13/100096

4.      ‘Bicentennial History: Wesley Methodist Church, Chester’ by Brian C. Heald 2012 page 21 accessed online Jan 2021

See also:

Chester and Primitive Methodism

Chester: The Introduction of Primitive Methodism
The coming of Primitive Methodism to Chester and Saughall

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