Herston Ebenezer Primitive Methodist chapel

Bell St Swanage BH19 2SA - Primitive or Wesleyan?

I’m confused.

The Primitive Methodist magazine (February 1861 page 115-116) contains an account by E Rawlings of the opening in October 1860 of Herston Ebenezer Primitive Methodist chapel. The 1889 Ordnance Survey map shows the chapel, explicitly labelled as “Ebenezer chapel Prim Meth”, on Bell Street, almost opposite the globe.

However, on Google Street View the chapel is there, matching the description in the article – except that the stone in the centre says “Ebenezer 1861 Wesleyan chapel”. The current use is not clear.

Any offers?  Later OS maps simply mark it as “chapel” so that doesn’t help.

This is E Rawlings account of the opening:

“For many years we have preached at Herston, a hamlet of Swanage, Isle of Purbeck, and good has been done ; but for want of a suitable place in which to preach, our progress has been retarded. In the early part of the summer of 1860, we bought a site of land in a good situation, on which
we have built a neat substantial chapel, 30 feet by 19 feet, and 12 feet high, from the floor to the wall plate. It is built of stone, and covered with slate, has two windows in front, and one on each side, and a boarded floor. Also a stone in the centre, on which is inscribed ” Ebenezer, Primitive Methodist Chapel, 1860.”

On Friday, October 26th, 1860, in the afternoon, at half-past two, divine service was held in the chapel, when an impressive discourse was delivered by the Rev.J. Herridge, of Southampton. At five o’clock a large company sat down to tea, in the school-room at Swanage. After tea a public meeting was held in the same place, and addressed by Messrs Herridge, Rawlings, R. Hunt, and the Rev.T. Saville (Independent), who expressed his most cordial sympathy with the movement.

The whole of the sand for mortar and the stones for the building were given by the inhabitants, and nearly the whole carted free of cost. Mr. Atkins, of Swanage, gave the pulpit cushions, candlesticks, and £5, Mrs. Atkins gave blinds for the windows. In addition to this, the friends of Swanage have presented a pulpit Bible. We  have obtained, by donations, profits of tea, foundation and opening services, £30, and we have a few pounds more promised, which are to be paid at Christmas. Therefore the chapel will be in easy circumstances. We do not intend leaving more than £40, on the property. The whole of the seats are let. The land is freehold, and the chapel regularly settled on the Connexion.”


Comments about this page

  • According to David Haysom in a book of old Swanage photos published a few years ago, it became the Headquarters of Swanage Girlguiding in 2009.

    By Mark Churchill (25/10/2021)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *