Bishopstone Primitive Methodist chapel
High Street, Bishopstone, SWINDON SN6 8PH
Take care; there are two villages called Bishopstone in Wiltshire. This one is at the foot of the chalk scarp of the Berkshire Downs. It features well in the early work of the Berkshire Mission.
… a powerful camp meeting, the first held in the county of Berks, was held on Bishopstone Down, near Ashdown Park, on Sunday, May 30th, 1830. Some thousands attended in the afternoon; much divine power attended the word preached, and great good was effected. At night, an excellent lovefeast was held at Bishopstone, and several persons labouring under a burden of sin, found peace in believing. (Kendall History of the Primitive Methodist Church).
British history online reports that:
A chapel for Primitive Methodists was opened in the south-east part of the village in 1833. It was said to hold a congregation of 130 and to be full at the evening service on Census Sunday in 1851. It was replaced by a chapel at the south end of High Street in 1886. That chapel was closed c. 1970.
Wiltshire Online Parish Clerk (OPC) adds detail:
The Chapel was part of the Faringdon Methodist Circuit. The original Chapel was opened to the south east of the village in 1833. It cost £65 6s 2 1/2d to build, the Superintendent when erected was Mr John Ride. There were 10 members in the Society, although the congregation was around 80.
The building was was held by lease/lifehold of 3 lives with no ground rent with seating for 100 split into 68 for members and 32 free sitting.
It was replaced by [a new] Chapel in 1886. Now sited on the corner of Ichnield Way and High Street (south of the village). It possibly closed in 1966 (certainly by 1977).
The OPC also includes photographs of the chapel in 1905 and 1925. There is also a list of elected church officers 1853 – 1867
The 1886 chapel is now a private house.
There is an account by John Ride in the 1835 Primitive Methodist magazine of the opening of Bishopstone Primitive Methodist chapel. Opening services were held on 13th October 1833 and the preachers were Sister E Wheeldon and J Ride. The land for the chapel was given by Mr Smith, a respectable farmer; the stone for the chapel was also given.
The return for the 1851 census of Places of Public Religious Worship was completed by John Smith, the steward. Was that the same man or same family that gave the land?
The 1886 Primitive Methodist magazine includes a note to record the opening of the chapel. No further detail is given.
For more insight into the place of Bishopstone and the surrounding countryside in the early missioning of Berkshire, see David Young’s account here.
British History online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66513#s6 accessed September 1st 2014
Wiltshire Online Parish Clerk http://www.wiltshire-opc.org.uk/genealogy/index.php/parish-directory/item/340-bishopstone-swindon accessed September 1st 2014
Primitive Methodist magazine 1835 p.347
Primitive Methodist magazine 1886 page 187