Radstock Primitive Methodist chapel

The Primitive Methodist magazine contains accounts by William Leaker of laying the foundation stone  and the opening of Radstock Primitive Methodist chapel, the first Primitive Methodist chapel in Radstock. Radstock was first missioned around 1825, and “the missionaries met with much persecution until brother George James opened his house for preaching” Later a room was rented. Despite further enlargement, it was not large enough, so land in a “very good situation” was leased from the Countess of Waldegrave on a 99 year lease at a shilling a year.

The November 1851 magazine describes the foundation stone ceremony.  It was held on September 10th 1851 and the stone was laid by Rev T Hobson of Bath.  ”The evening was fine, the attendance large, and the collection £3/6/9.”

The chapel was planned to be 37′ x 27′ and 22′ high.  It had a slate roof, a board floor and “a good gallery five seats deep.” There would also be built a preacher’s house, “an ornament to the village”.

John Parfillt, the Countess’ steward, gave the stones for the building and Charles Ashman, the Countess’ agent for the coal works, gave “most of the lime and all the small coal to mix the mortar.”  There was much self building: all the stones were quarried by members and friends; farmers carried the materials freely.

The opening, described in the April magazine, took place on January 4th 1852. Rev Hobson preached further sermons and a week later more sermons from Rev R Hartley of Chippenham. The subsequent tea meeting, chaired by Francis Skerry was addressed by Rev J Preston, (Frome), N Pascoe and W Leaker. 

At the time of opening, £300 of the total cost of £500 was owing.  It was borrowed “at 4% on notes of hand”.  The article says that the golden system was used to raise further funds – how did that work?.

I’m not clear exactly where it was.  The 1886 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map locates the Primitive Methodist chapel at the gas works just north of the junction of Coomb End with New Bath Road. On the 1903-4 map it is labelled Wesleyan.  Can anyone explain?


Primitive Methodist magazine November 1851 pp. 698-699

Primitive Methodist magazine April 1852 pp. 246-247

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