Bishop's Castle Primitive Methodist Chapel, Shropshire

Two chapels: 1864 and 1904

1st Chapel, built 1864, in use as a Library in 2000
Keith Guyler, 2000
1904 Chapel
Richard Jennings
2nd Chapel, built 1904
Keith Guyler, 1993
Bishop's Castle Primitive Methodist chapel interior
Christian Messenger 1908/313

Information about this chapel can be viewed by following the link to Shropshire’s Nonconformist Chapels.

Further information about the chapel can also be found at the Shropshire and Marches Methodist Circuit website.


However, the two chapels pictured here are not the start of the story.

The Primitive Methodist Magazine for 1832 contains an account by J Morish of the opening of an earlier chapel opened on 25th September 1831. The opening services were taken by Bros Haslam & Richards.

The new chapel measured 21′(w) x 30′(l) and the society was expected to grow. The chapel was built to take a gallery when needed, despite much opposition from the ‘wicked’ Bishop’s Castle folk.


Primitive Methodist magazine 1832 page 356

Comments about this page

  • It is interesting to read the contemporary accounts of the opening of the Bishops Castle Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1904. The last time I read about this chapel was in early 2018 when Shropshire Council intervened to prevent its demolition, citing it as a “non-designated heritage asset and making a “significant contribution to the character and amenity of this part of the town”, also having “historical interest through its links to the development of the Methodist faith in south-west Shropshire”. The local church membership obviously faced a very real difficulty, lacking the funds to repair and maintain it in a usable condition; also finding that their adjacent church hall suited their current needs much better. It looked such an impressive and interesting building and I wonder what has happened since?

    By Alison Shepherd (03/02/2021)
  • LUDLOW ADVERTISER, 27 February 1904, page 5.
    FOUNDATION STONE LAYING. On Wednesday afternoon the ceremony in connection with the laying of the foundation stones of the new Primitive Methodist Church, took place, and attracted a large gathering … The Rev. W. Wilcock, resident minister, was accompanied to the ground by the Mayor (Alderman Greenhous) wearing his chain of office, Rev. Theophilus Parr, M.A., West Bromwich, a native of Bishop’s Castle, whose father ministered in the local circuit 1848 and 49, Revs. J. Binns (Clun), L. Miles (Minsterley), W. H. Thornley (Biship’s Castle Congregational Church), Messrs. G. Strawson, and R. W. Brown (Bishop’s Castle Wesleyan Church), Mr. George Davies (Edgbaston), the church officials and others … Altogether 23 stones were laid, the ceremony occupying about an hour and a half. The total sum realised was about £150 … ”
    LUDLOW ADVERTISER, 16 July 1904, page 5.
    “THE NEW CHAPEL. At a meeting of the officials this week it was notified it would be impossible to complete the new Primitive Methodist edifice in time for July 27, the date fixed for the opening ceremony. An indefinite postponement was agreed to by the meeting. The date will be formally announced in the ‘Advertisers’ public announcement column in due course as usual.”
    WELLINGTON JOURNAL, 27 August 1904, page 12.
    The opening of the new Primitive Methodist Church at Bishop’s Castle took place on Wednesday. It is a most substantial building, and is certainly among the finest Primitive Methodist churches in the county. Its style is late English Gothic, treated freely. The walling is of local stone, with tracery windows glazed with cathedral lights, and dressing of Grinshill stone. The roof, which is surmounted by a turret, is covered with dark brown red tile. The entrance is through an enamel porch with adamantine tile, with outside oak door and inside swing doors. Wood block flooring inside the church, pitch-pine principals and seats, and pulpit. Seating accommodation is provided for 200 people, and the edifice will be heated by hot water radiators, and lighted with the incandescent system by three suspenders with 28 lights. At three o’clock a large assembly had gathered in front of the edifice. The Rev. S. Buckley announced the hymn … and on behalf of the trustees, he presented a handsome nickel-plated key to Mrs. W Wilcock (formerly of the Bishop’s Castle circuit), who acknowledged the compliment, unlocked the door and declared the building open … A collection, taken on behalf of the building fund, amounted to £20 9s. 8d. A public tea was afterwards served … A crowded public meeting was afterwards held, presided over by the Mayor (Alderman Greenhous) … The Rev. W. Wilcock feelingly replied to the presentation, after which he read the financial statement, which showed that the income from all sources was £1,203, and the outgo £1,271, leaving a balance due to the treasurer of £67; the contractor’s and architect’s approximate charges were put down as £1,376 5s. … The amount of money still required to complete the financial position is about £306. It is further intended to place a pipe organ in the new church, to cost about £270, and Mr. Wilcock said that through correspondence with Mr. Carnegie that gentleman had decided to contribute the last £100 for the organ, providing the other money was forthcoming at the time the organ was placed in the building. …”

    By Janice Cox (01/02/2021)
  • Shrewsbury Chronicle, 23 October 1863, page 7.
    “Laying the foundation stone of a new Primitive Methodist Chapel and School. For a number of years Primitive Methodism has been retarded in its progress in this town for want of a larger place of worship, the present chapel having become too small, and getting out of repair. On Friday, October 15th, the interesting ceremony of laying the first stone of the new building was performed in the midst of a large concourse of people by Mrs. Nott, of the Farlands, and Miss Farmer, of the Down. The service was commenced by the Rev. J. Webster, the resident minister, giving out a hymn; the Rev. C. Smallman, of Ludlow, engaged in prayer; and the Rev. W. Chubb, read the 22nd chapter of the 1st book of Chronicles. Mr. Smallman delivered an address. A collection was made, which amounted to the very handsome sum of £71 13s. A public meeting was afterwards held in the Town-hall, when addresses were delivered by the Rev. R. Smith, J. Webster, W. Chubb, C. Smallman, and Mr. Evans, of Ludlow. Mr. J. Nott, of the Farlands, occupied the chair. The hall was much crowded, and the meeting was of a deeply interesting character.”

    By Janice Cox (05/11/2020)
  • The photograph of a stone-built chapel in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, is incorrect. The photograph  is of the old Independent (Congregational Chapel) not the early Primitive Methodist Chapel. Have a look at the website: “Shropshire’s Nonconformist Chapels”.

    By Janice Cox (30/04/2018)
  • Shropshire Archives:

    Ref. NM4942/4/3/6: Regarding W. Willcoch (or Willcock), Superintendent Preacher of Primitive Methodist Circuit, relating to a piece of garden on the east of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Station St., Bishop’s Castle, 26th Nov., 1903, with a Plan. 

    Ref. XNMB15: Various Documents for the PM Chapel, Bishop’s Castle, 1843-1932, 1933-1985. Established in 1831, rebuilt 1864. Sunday School Minutes 1867-1872. Marriage Registers 1908-1924, 1926-1931. Later Marriage Registers. Seat Rent Accounts 1917-1930. Bazaars, etc., 1887-1932, etc. Photograph & Drawing 1984. Deeds & Related Papers, 1864-1932, 1933-1952. Copy Conveyances, 1900, 1903, 1904. Schedules of Deeds 1860-1904, listed in 1931. Other documents.

    Ref. …..? (to be located): Primitive Methodism in Bishop’s Castle, by Rev. A. Bateson, 1828-1916.

    Ref. NM4942/1/11/6: Trustees of Primitive Methodist Chapel House & the Garden, 8th Sept., 1873, Bishop’s Castle.

    Ref. D3651/B/19/F/1/7: Bishop’s Castle PM Chapel (2 documents). Plans, some damage. To be only handled by staff when consulting).

    By Raymond E.O.Ella (30/04/2018)

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