Blunsdon Primitive Methodist chapel

Chapel Hill, Blunsdon, Swindon SN26 7BL

Blunsdon chapel
souvenir Official Handbook of the Brinkworth and Swindon Centenary District Synod
Return from Broad Blunsdon Primitive Methodist chapel in the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship
Provided by David Tonks

The souvenir Official Handbook of the Brinkworth and Swindon Centenary District Synod held in 1910 records that:

  • “This Church was erected in 1864, and in a later year several improvements were made
  • Number of sittings: 200
  • Number of members: 18
  • Total cost: £400
  • Present debt: nil”

The 1864 building still exists and is shown on Google Street view to be a private house (September 2012).

A return from the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship shows a previous Broad Blunsdon Primitive Methodist chapel. This chapel was built in 1839 and the 1840 Primitive Methodist magazine records tumultuous times around its opening, including violence, back-swording, window breaking and persecutions.  Joseph Preston tells us about it.

“Blunsdon is a village containing about six  hundred inhabitants. It is situated near the great road leading from Cricklaid to Swindon. The inhabitants, prior to the introduction of the gospel by the P. Methodists, were noted for wickedness and profanity; they were addicted to Sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, wrestling, and the barbarous practice termed back-swording.

The P. M. missionaries visited the place in June, 1825. They met with a favourable reception. But soon the enemy of souls began to rage, and persecution ran high. But,

“The great Captain they had chose, Never did a battle lose.” –

So they persevered; and in November, the same year, they succeeded in getting a house to preach in, and formed a society, which soon increased to forty members. But the enemy stirred up some of the baser sort, who became outrageous ; in consequence of which many went back, and followed Christ no more.

In 1829, Mrs. Newton opened her house for preaching, and the congregation became large. But persecution again rose; the house was beset, the windows smashed, and the people abused. But at the- Christmas quarter sessions of 1830, eleven of the persecutors were indicted, and the cause enjoyed a little more rest.

May 13, 1833 Brother West preached out of doors, and was much opposed by the P—. May 20, Bro. Skinner, a local preacher went to the P—, and disputed with him till daylight. The work of God again revived, and persecution again raged. But in the beginning of the year 1834, three of the persecutors were sent to prison; and after eleven weeks confinement, were found guilty. This had a salutary effect. and we can now worship God in peace.

The house being too small for the increased congregation, we, on Feb. 4, 1839, purchased a piece of land of Mr. Castle; and March 24, the foundation sermons were preached. And on Sunday July 21, 1839, the CHAPEL was consecrated to the service and honour of God. Sermons were preached by the writer and Bro. Holloway. It was a good day and good was done.

This chapel is thirty feet by twenty-one, and twelve high to the wall-plate, and is ceiled from the side trees. It is lighted with four sash windows, two on each side. It is well built, and is an ornament to that part of the village in which it stands; and we have now a good society, and a promising Sunday school. We hereby tender our thanks to all who have assisted us, either with money or labour.




Official Handbook of the Brinkworth and Swindon Centenary District Synod 1910

Primitive Methodist magazine 1840 page 91

Comments about this page

  • I’ve just added an account from the 1840 Primitive Methodist magazine of the tumultuous times that the village went through around the opening of the first chapel – including violence, back-swording, window breaking and persecutions

    By Christopher Hill (28/01/2024)

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