Abberley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel: key dates, 1857-1949

According to research carried out by Kate Andrew and Jo Guest, the chapel was built in 1857 on a narrow parcel of land between a pair of semi-detached cottages on the Common (no 67 and 68) and  a house called Rosedale.  According to a map drawn up for Abberley Hall Estate sale in 1866, these residential properties had been purchased by the Abberley Hall Estate on 24 December 1852 and 13 July 1859 respectively, but not the land or sliver of access to the chapel – this belonged to the Methodist Church.

On the 1866 map, the chapel  building is shown to have an access track close to the stream – the surviving wall must have been the left hand side of this track.  The present-day track to the old sewage works down the side of no 1 Rosedale presumably follows the line of this original access.

The following timeline relating to Abberley Methodist Chapel was compiled by Jen Guest, who has been researching the history of the chapel and the other meeting halls in the village.

12   Aug 1857  Deeds drawn up.
31   Aug 1857 Foundation stone laid.  400 people present. (Worcester Herald 5.9.1857)
1880 New board of trustees set up.  One local member: Molseid.
1886 Full quota of preachers  on Circuit Schedule (later known as plan).
1887   – October Abberley   does not appear on the plan.
1888 Persecution of Methodism at Abberley article, transcribed from Methodist Recorder, appears in Gloucester Citizen, 23.2.1888, describing an incident in which Methodists, who had been tenants of Abberley. Hall Estate for 36 yrs, were evicted for accommodating a preacher overnight. The order was later rescinded.
1907 Mention of missionary services where the chapel had an excellent congregation in the afternoon and a large one in the evening (this in November and people had to travel) Wesleyan Church Record Dec. 1907
1911 Local member, G Norton, is mentioned as a steward (his address is given as 50 Witley Hill)
1913 Account of Easter Monday celebrations and description of chapel interior by I.L. Webley appears in ”Twixt Severn and Teme” 1928.
Collections for War Emergency Fund mentioned.
1918-23 no record of services on the plan
1924 record of preachers resumes. Local names as stewards: Baynham, T Holmes, T. then S.   Smith.
1927 Holmes dead and by 1929 officers are all Stourport men.
1928 Trustees letters v. interesting  “not aware my name is still on the trust, in fact ‘I’ve no recollection of being on the trust” etc
1929 form of application for permission to sell produced Price £150. Reasons: no   congregation and no accounts for many years.Conference  of chapel committee recommends1.   Removal of all inscriptions and
2.   to secure the premises against being used for the manufacture and sale of   intoxicating liquor or as a theatre or dancing or music hall (!!!!!!!)
1933 Maurice  Berlyen interested in purchasing—trust now asking £350, then asked him to   make offer.  He would “rather not”
1934 Negotiations with Cathcart Davis to rent for 2 nights a week for the scouts. Suggestions for repair using local labour. Obviously not followed through.
Late   1930s “The chapel was a ruin… I walked past it on my way to school every day…it had no roof and just 2-3 windows”. C.F
1949 Conveyance of Rosedale, Abberley Common—John Ellis Talbot to Doris Mary Dowding… includes small piece of land formerly the site of a chapel and path leading to it.

compiled by Jen Guest, Feb 2013

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