Kingswood Primitive Methodist chapel
The Primitive Methodist magazine for August 1842 contains an account by John Coxhead of the opening of Kingswood Primitive Methodist chapel in 1841.
“Kingswood is situated about three miles distant from the city of Bristol. Its population is numerous, and widely but irregularly extended. Formerly it was a place eminently noted for profanity and wickedness, and the very name of Kingswood colliers used to strike terror into the hearts of neighbouring people.
For near a century Methodism has had a footing in this place; and its beneficial influence has been felt through this part of the country, and it is still prospering. The school founded by Mr. Wesley is situated here, and adjoining it is a chapel, which is well attended by the inhabitants. The Independents have a commodious chapel, and a flourishing cause; and the Moravian Brethren have a chapel and society here.
Kingswood was visited about nine years ago, by Brothers West and Turner, who were sent as missionaries to Bristol by the Brinkworth circuit. The first time they preached at Kingswood, they took their stand but a few yards distant from the identic spot of land on which the chapel is now erected; and a person who kept a public house hard by, invited them to preach within doors. They entered the public house; it was soon filled with people, and while Brother West was preaching from “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” a backslider behind the door was arrested by the power of the word, and his soul was instantaneously restored into the enjoyment of the favour of God.
About that time, “so mighty grew the word of the Lord, and prevailed,” that many were turned from darkness to light, from sin to holiness, and from the power of satan unto God; some of whom have since died happy in the Lord, and some are still living witnesses of the power of God to save. In this place for nearly nine years past we have had no place wherein to preach and worship God but dwelling-houses; and, praise God, many comfortable, happy, and refreshing seasons have been experienced in them.
The society in this place have long wished to have a chapel, believing it would contribute to the establishing and prosperity of Primitive Methodism. Through the providential kindness of Him “who maketh the clouds his chariot, who walketh upon the wings of the wind,” we succeeded in purchasing a piece of freehold land, and have erected on it a Connexional chapel. It is twenty-six feet by twenty-three in the clear, and sixteen feet high from the floor to the ceiling. It is built of good hard stone, covered with pantile. The roof spans the long way of the chapel, and we have ground to enlarge when necessary. The chapel has four circular-headed sash windows, and each opens by the falling in of the circular head on hinges, by the means of pulleys and lines. It has a boarded floor, nine pews, and two ventilators in the ceiling; and it is reckoned a neat chapel.
It was opened December 25 and 26, 1841. Mr. Taylor, Independent minister from Bristol, Mr. Wilshaw, from Bath, and Mr. West, from Wallingford, preached on the occasion, and good satisfaction was given. It was well attended, collections liberal, and we have upwards of ten pounds on the Golden System promised for the anniversary of 1842. The chapel will be in easy circumstances. Brother Coxhead had to see to purchasing materials, and planning the work; and by so doing, upwards of thirty pounds were saved in building it. Since it was opened, the congregation and society have much increased, and our prospects at present are very pleasing. O may God grant that it may be a birthplace for thousands. Amen and Amen.”
transcribed by David Tonks
The Primitive Methodist magazine for March 1857 contains a further account by Charles Thomas Harris of the re-opening of the chapel after renovation.
By 1857 the chapel was too small for the rapidly growing Sunday School and in need of much repair due to dry rot. In fact, they almost built a new chapel, retaining only “a part of three walls, a small part of the floor and part of three windows.” The renovated building, measuring 45′ x 26′ and 19′ high, was gas lit and had a pulpit donated by the builder, James Iles. JW Hall donated the glass
The re-opening services were held on January 15th 1857 and following weeks. Sermons were preached by Rev M Harvey (Bath), Rev EA Telfer, Rev G Warner (Malmesbury), Henry Lee, Samuel Bridgett, Rev CF Harris, Rev W Cuttle.
Amongst money donations, Robert Charlton donated £6.
Primitive Methodist magazine August 1842 pp.298-299
Primitive Methodist magazine March 1857 p.174