BHO

Rodborough: Nonconformity

Page 232

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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Citation:

NONCONFORMITY.

From the 1660s the Nailsworth Quaker meeting had a few members at Rodborough (fn. 1) and they presumably comprised the four nonconformists recorded in the parish in 1676. (fn. 2) Presbyterians registered a house in 1701 (fn. 3) and the dissenting preacher recorded in 1716 probably served that group. (fn. 4) Independents registered houses in 1749 and 1799. (fn. 5)

The preaching of George Whitefield in the area led to the formation of a society of his followers in the parish, and c. 1766 their leader Thomas Adams built a chapel, the Rodborough Tabernacle, on the western slope of Rodborough hill. Adams, although often absent on preaching tours, was the pastor (fn. 6) until his death in 1770. (fn. 7) The Tabernacle became the chief Whitefieldian meeting in the county and attracted a large membership. Additional premises were registered in 1797, at Bagpath in 1817, and at Rooksmoor in 1822, (fn. 8) and in 1837 the Tabernacle was enlarged and remodelled. (fn. 9) In 1851 it had an attendance of c. 450 including the Sunday school children. (fn. 10) In 1898 the chapel, which was called Congregational from the late 19th century, had 140 members and 300 scholars. (fn. 11) In 1973 as the Rodborough United Reformed church, it had a membership of 120 and a larger number of regular adherents. Several relics of George Whitefield were preserved at the chapel, including the chair he used on his visits. (fn. 12)

The Primitive Methodists, who may have been among the unidentified groups which registered six houses between 1777 and 1835, (fn. 13) built a small chapel at Butter Row in 1856; (fn. 14) it remained open as a Methodist chapel in 1973 with a congregation of c. 12. (fn. 15)

Footnotes

  • 1. Glos. R.O., D 2052.
  • 2. Compton Census.
  • 3. Glos. R.O., Q/SO 3.
  • 4. Ibid. D 2052.
  • 5. Hockaday Abs. cccxxiv.
  • 6. Memorial of Nonconformity (1866), 50, 52: copy in Glos. Colln. 8187.
  • 7. Glos. N. & Q. ii. 60.
  • 8. Hockaday Abs. cccxxiv; for the identity of the first, cf. Glos. N. & Q. ii. 61.
  • 9. Memorial of Nonconformity, 58, 66.
  • 10. H.O. 129/338/5/3/10.
  • 11. Glos. R.O., D 2052; O.S. Map 1/2,500, Glos. XLIX. 3 (1885 edn.).
  • 12. Ex inf. the minister, the Revd. J. W. McMinn; cf. Glos. N. & Q. ii. 61-2.
  • 13. Hockaday Abs. cccxxiv.
  • 14. Glouc. Jnl. 4 Oct. 1856.
  • 15. Ex inf. the minister, the Revd. E. D. Edwards.