Bristol Air Balloon Hill Primitive Methodist chapel

Air Balloon Road, BS5 8LB,

Inscription on the clock presented to Mr AH Iles, organist of Clowes Primitive Methodist chapel, Bristol, by the Choir

The Primitive Methodist magazine for August 1856 and January 1857 contains accounts by Charles Thomas Harris of the opening of Air Balloon Hill Primitive Methodist chapel in the Bristol circuit.

The area was missioned in August 1847 but land for the chapel was not obtained until August 1855, given by CJ Whitack (or Whittuck in the earlier piece), the deed being drawn up free of charge by JP Henderson. Mr Whitack laid the foundation stone on July 1st 1856 (or July 2nd in the 1897 magazine); addresses at the services and tea meeting came from Rev. William Cuttle, minister of Kingswood Tabernacle, J. Butler, Revs. Page, Butler, Bennetts, Wills, and Harris.

The chapel was built in the Gothic style by a local preacher, Mr John Lambert.  It measured 35′ x 22′ and the walls were stuccoed with the roof blue slate.

It was opened on Wednesday October 22nd 1856.  Opening sermons were preached by Mr Harris, Rev Thomas Page, Handel Cossham, Henry Lee, Rev Thomas Hobson, Rev S Bruton.  The tea, for 145 people, was kept for the last meeting on Monday November 3rd.  Sermons came from Messrs Martin, Wells Cattle, Hobson, Hand and Lambert.

The overall cost was £146 of which around half had been raised. JP Hinton drew up the deed.  John Wesley Hall gave the glass.

Mr Harris obviously provided far more information than could be included for want of space – the magazine editor apologised for cutting sections out.

The chapel is marked on the Ordnance Survey map of 1888 as Clowes Primitive Methodist chapel, but the Primitive Methodist magazine for 1908 tells us that “Mr. Sage, Steward of the Bristol Fourth Circuit, was converted forty years ago in the old chapel on Air Balloon Hill, which is now a ruin.” Was the 1856 building replaced?

It surely was, because the 1879 Primitive Methodist magazine records  the laying of the foundation stones for a new Primitive Methodist chapel and schoolroom at Air Balloon Hill in the Kingswood station. It would cost £1,500. It was so designed that a gallery could be added at a later date if needed.

in the November 1880 Primitive Methodist magazine there is mention of the opening in the last few months of a new chapel in Ballorn (sic) Hill and the society was getting on with building a new schoolroom and vestries.

Summerhill Methodist Church was opened in 1989, on the site of the former Clowes (Primitive) Methodist Church, and to accommodate the congregation of two other Methodist Churches in the parish of St George – Bethel Methodist (Clouds Hill Road), and Crews Hole Methodist.


Primitive Methodist magazine August 1856 p.503

Primitive Methodist magazine January 1857 pp. 48-49

Primitive Methodist magazine 1879 page 700

Primitive Methodist Magazine  November 1880 page 701

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1908 p.454


Comments about this page

  • I’ve added a picture provided by Roderick Rhys Jones of the inscription on a large marble clock. The inscription reads:

    Presented to Mr A. H ILES By the members of
    CLOWES P M Choir
    For services rendered as Organist
    January 5th 1897

    Albert Henry Iles was Mr Rhys Jones’ Great Uncle by marriage to Kate Reed, his grandfather Samuel Reed’s sister.

    At the time AH Iles lived in St George, Bristol. He was only 23 when this grand gift was made. He was married early in 1898 so it is conceivable that it was an engagement present.

    By Christopher Hill (28/10/2023)
  • I’ve updated the page with evidence that there was a new chapel built in 1880. Speculation confirmed!

    By Christopher Hill (07/05/2019)

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