A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 4, the City of Gloucester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1988.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Religious nonconformity (fn. 1) in Gloucester was insignificant before the early 1640s when it was encouraged by preachers from elsewhere. (fn. 2) Baptist and Quaker meetings had been established by the later 1650s when Independents formed a church under James Forbes. (fn. 3) Nonconformist groups met with opposition but a report in 1659 of a plan to massacre Independents, Baptists, and other sectaries was denounced by the mayor as a calumny. (fn. 4) After the Restoration the tradition of nonconformity was maintained principally by James Forbes and his Independent church, but smaller and less influential groups of Baptists and Quakers continued to hold services. The nonconformist conventicles were persecuted and in 1671 Walter Clements was imprisoned at Gloucester for giving legal advice and encouragement to Baptists and Quakers in the shire and adjoining districts. (fn. 5) The Independents registered several meeting places in Gloucester and Longford in 1672 and 1673, but the Baptist church was apparently dissolved soon after 1674. In 1676, when it was reported that conventicles in Gloucester had greatly increased, (fn. 6) 110 protestant nonconformists were recorded there. (fn. 7) They presumably included Thomas Merrett, a former curate of Churchdown who leaned towards antiTrinitarianism. (fn. 8) The Quakers had opened a new meeting house by 1682 and the Independents built a chapel in 1699. The chapel had become Presbyterian by 1716 and Unitarian by the later 18th century. Although prominent families continued to attend it, it declined in importance. In 1735 membership of the Independent, Presbyterian, and Quaker meetings in Gloucester totalled 220. (fn. 9)
In 1708 Samuel Jones came to Gloucester and opened a nonconformist academy. (fn. 10) It had attained considerable repute by 1710 when Thomas Secker, later archbishop of Canterbury, entered it, and in 1711 it had 16 students. The following year Jones came under pressure from the ecclesiastical authorities, which accused him of undermining Church and State, and he moved the academy to Tewkesbury. (fn. 11) John Alexander, who took over the training of ministers in Gloucester, left the city in 1716. (fn. 12) Methodism was introduced to Gloucester by George Whitefield in 1735 when the Independent meeting was already a centre for evangelical revival. Whitefield retained close links with the city, his birthplace, and preached to large crowds there in the late 1730s and early 1740s. In 1739 he was excluded from St. Michael's church on weekdays by opposition to his use of its pulpit during working hours and he preached publicly in the Boothall and in a field belonging to his brother. (fn. 13) In 1741 he preached one Sunday in St. John's church, the rector, his opponent, having died recently. By then Whitefield and other revivalist preachers were holding meetings in a barn, which had been enlarged by 1743. (fn. 14) In the late 1740s and early 1750s there were several meetings in Gloucester of Calvinistic Methodist preachers (fn. 15) but the Whitefieldian society there has not been traced after 1747, when it was under the stewardship of Gabriel Harris, an alderman. (fn. 16) Some members may have drifted towards the Independent chapel. The Wesleyan Methodists, who did not attract much support until the last quarter of the century, opened a chapel in 1787 or 1788. At the same time the countess of Huntingdon provided a meeting place for those who had favoured Whitefield's brand of revivalism. At the end of the century Gloucester had five protestant nonconformist meeting places, each belonging to a different denomination. (fn. 17)
In the 19th century Gloucester nonconformity expanded and diversified with the extension of the main denominations into the burgeoning suburbs, the opening of evangelistic missions, and the arrival of many new groups. Between 1811 and 1851 nonconformist groups registered 46 places of worship in Gloucester, Barton Street, Kingsholm, Longford, and Twigworth. Many were small and short lived and the doctrines and even the location of some have not been identified. (fn. 18) In 1851 congregations totalling c. 2,802 were claimed for 12 dissenting meetings in the city. (fn. 19) At a religious census of the city conducted by the Gloucester Journal on 13 November 1881 about half of the worshippers were at nonconformist meeting places, which comprised 16 churches or chapels, belonging to 11 denominations, and 11 mission rooms. In the evening 6,610 people attended nonconformist meetings as opposed to 4,203 at Anglican and 248 at Roman Catholic services. (fn. 20)
The main denominations, the Wesleyan Methodists and the Independents or Congregationalists, gained in strength and wealth in the 19th century, and the Baptists, who formed a church in 1813, became an important group. The Countess of Huntingdon's chapel closed in 1869. New churches were formed following schisms in the Baptist and Independent meetings, and there was a division within the Wesleyan Methodist Church in the late 1840s. In the later 19th and early 20th century Wesleyan Methodism, which prospered in the new suburbs, retained the largest nonconformist following in Gloucester. The smaller Methodist denominations made comparatively little impact, although Primitive Methodists built several chapels in the suburbs.
Nonconformists took the lead in opening the Sunday schools and missions which characterized religious work in the slums and working-class suburbs in the 19th century. Most missions evinced a concern for the social and moral welfare of the poor and many, particularly those in which Quakers were involved, were run on non-sectarian lines. Several were directed at particular groups of workers connected with Gloucester's commercial growth. In the later 19th century the Congregationalists and the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists consolidated the work of missions to the Barton Street, Tredworth, and Bristol Road areas by building chapels, (fn. 21) and the Countess of Huntingdon's chapel was reopened for a mission to the St. Mary's Square area. The main chapels were also centres from which outlying villages were evangelized, the Independents having resumed village preaching by the later 1790s and the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists and the Baptists taking up similar work. New Connexion Methodists and Presbyterians began the evangelizing of areas of growing population outside Gloucester at Longlevens and Coney Hill.
From the early 20th century the older churches declined and new groups started, including fundamentalist and pentecostal sects. The fortunes of the older denominations were in part determined by the movement of people to new residential suburbs east and south of the city and by the growth from the 1950s of a non-Christian population in the Barton Street area. The Baptists opened four churches on new estates between the late 1920s and the 1950s. The Methodist Church, which took over nine chapels in Gloucester, Wotton, and Hucclecote on the union of the Wesleyan, Primitive, and United Methodists in 1932, opened one in 1934. There were then seven Methodist chapels in the south part of the city and five of them, including the new church, were closed between the late 1940s and the mid 1960s. The two Congregational chapels in Gloucester, both of which joined the United Reformed Church, were closed in the mid 1970s. By 1981 all the principal chapels in the central area, save for the former Presbyterian church which belonged to the United Reformed Church, had been demolished, but the Methodists, who took over an Anglican church in 1972, the Baptists, who opened a new church in 1974, and the Quakers continued to meet there. From the late 1950s the new sects, some of which moved from older parts of the city, built meeting places in the expanding residential suburbs to the east and south, and in some older suburbs people of West Indian origin formed pentecostal churches, which in three cases used former Methodist chapels.
By 1642 two preachers from London, invited by a nonconformist group under the curate of Whaddon, presumably the Independent John Wells, had gained converts in Gloucester. The converts, who were baptized, many in the river Severn, were later described as Baptists or Anabaptists and their meeting flourished in the mid 1640s. (fn. 22) The Gloucester Baptists were evidently drawn from the poorer trades, and their church was without means and on the brink of collapse in 1674 when they made several appeals to the Broadmead church in Bristol to help them carry on meetings in Framilode and Whitminster. The Gloucester church was apparently dissolved soon afterwards, (fn. 23) and in 1735 Baptists were attending the Independent chapel in Gloucester. (fn. 24)
In 1813 seven Baptists who had recently settled in Gloucester formed a church worshipping in a room in New Inn Lane. They included George Box Drayton, a surgeon, from whom the room was hired. The church, which opened a Sunday school c. 1815, evangelized outlying villages and hamlets, including Birdwood in Churcham and Hucclecote. Thomas Flint, the minister, discouraged by the smallness of congregations, resigned in 1817. During the next three years there was no minister and the church experienced many difficulties, including disagreements with Drayton over the conduct of its affairs and method of worship. In 1819 there was a reconciliation with Drayton and a management committee was formed. (fn. 25) In 1820 Drayton became minister and a chapel was built at his expense in Parker's Row (later Brunswick Road). The chapel, which opened in 1821, included two schoolrooms. Under Drayton the church began a mission to the Barton End suburb and increased its support among the working classes, and by 1824, when he resigned, the congregation at the chapel had risen to over 200. The church also evangelized outlying villages (fn. 26) and established a chapel in Little London in Longhope. (fn. 27) The continuation of a settled pastorate in the late 1820s was jeopardized by lack of funds and the debt on the Parker's Row chapel, which was mortgaged in 1827 to pay Drayton's building costs. (fn. 28) In the early 1830s there was considerable dissatisfaction with the ministry of Edward Elliott, who resigned in 1835, and in 1836 the church was re-formed with 16 members and an open communion. The admission of Paedobaptists to the new church and communion caused dissension and in 1839 the church was re-formed with an adult membership of 38, some drawn from other churches. (fn. 29)
The new church prospered and in 1847 the chapel was rebuilt to provide more accommodation. (fn. 30) The new chapel, which opened in 1848 and was designed and built by Joseph Sims, had a pedimented street front with round-headed windows and a schoolroom to the south. (fn. 31) In the late 1840s the average congregation was c. 450. (fn. 32) The church grew during the ministries of William Collings, 185669, and John Bloomfield, 1870 86. (fn. 33) In 1864 classrooms were built in the chapel and an organ loft and gallery placed over them. The schoolroom was demolished in 1872 and the chapel was enlarged and reoriented. The new building, which opened in 1873 and incorporated external features of the old, was designed by Searle & Son of London with galleries on three sides. (fn. 34) It had morning and evening congregations of 375 and 531 in 1881. In 1884 the Baptists built a schoolroom and hall next to the chapel as a memorial to Robert Raikes. (fn. 35) J. E. Barton's ministry from 1888 occasioned dissension at the chapel and in 1893 he withdrew with a large part of the congregation to form a separate church. (fn. 36) By the 1960s the membership of the Brunswick Road church had declined considerably, partly as the result of the move of population to new suburbs. (fn. 37) In 1972 the chapel was sold and the building of a new church in Southgate Street was begun. Known as Brunswick Baptist church it opened in 1974 (fn. 38) and had an average congregation of c. 135 in 1981. (fn. 39) The Brunswick Road chapel was demolished in 1972 (fn. 40) and the Raikes Memorial Hall later, the sites of both being used for an extension to a shop.
In 1823 the Baptist minister built a small school-chapel in Back Barton Terrace (later Albany Street) for a mission to Barton End. (fn. 41) The building was for sale or lease in 1825 (fn. 42) but was used by Baptists in 1830 (fn. 43) and was replaced by a new room in Barton Terrace (later the north part of Tredworth High Street) in 1840. Anglicans then used the older room for services until St. James's church was opened. (fn. 44) The newer mission room, which was restored in 1878, had morning and evening congregations of 100 and 30 in 1881. (fn. 45) It was closed in 1903, when the Sunday school was moved to the Hatherley Road school, and was demolished in 1906. (fn. 46)
In the late 1860s the Parker's Row church sent preachers to Little Witcombe, where a preaching station was established, and Matson. A mission to Suffolk Street in Kingsholm, which Baptists had begun by 1870, was at first hampered by lack of a room. (fn. 47) Three houses acquired later that year were converted for the mission, which had morning and evening congregations of 44 and 60 in 1881. (fn. 48) The buildings were used by the Salvation Army from 1906 and were sold in 1919. (fn. 49)
In 1879 Baptists began an undenominational mission to the south part of the city in South End Hall in Weston Road. (fn. 50) In 1881 it had morning and evening congregations of 90 and 177. (fn. 51) It had closed by 1913, (fn. 52) and in 1981 the hall, which had a timber front, was used for commercial purposes.
By 1843 a group of Particular or Calvinistic Baptists had withdrawn from the Parker's Row church and had built a chapel in Worcester Street. The chapel, which had a gallery, was acquired in 1846 by Anglicans and they altered it for use as a school. The Particular Baptists may have moved to a meeting place in Russell Street where Richard Cordwell, who is said to have built a little chapel there called Zoar, (fn. 53) registered a room in Russell Terrace in 1847. (fn. 54) The Particular Baptists, who had a chapel in Bell Lane by 1894 and had moved to Berkeley Street by 1906, have not been traced after 1923. (fn. 55)
Gloucester Baptist Free church, formed in 1893 following the schism at the Brunswick Road church, met at the corn exchange in Southgate Street. It had its own minister and thrived as an open evangelical fellowship. (fn. 56) By 1901 it had opened a mission room in Eastgate Street, (fn. 57) which was replaced in 1911 by two dwellings, converted as an institute, in Priory Place, Greyfriars. (fn. 58) All services were held in the institute from 1938, and in 1940 the congregation moved to a new church, built with the help of the Forward Movement of the Baptist Union, in Kendal Road in Longlevens. (fn. 59)
Trinity Baptist church in Finlay Road was formed by the Brunswick Road church in 1929 to serve a new housing estate in Tuffley. A timber Sunday school built near the corner of Selwyn Road that year was used for services and in 1930 a timber hall was erected next to it. (fn. 60) A permanent church had been built by 1957. (fn. 61) In 1981 it was independent and evangelical. (fn. 62)
From 1942 Baptists led by the pastor of Trinity church held services on an estate being built in Lower Tuffley. In 1947 they erected an army hut in Grange Road for worship, and in 1955 they built a permanent church there. (fn. 63) It was remodelled in the early 1980s. In the early 1950s the pastor of Trinity Baptist church formed a congregation on an estate being built at Matson, where in 1956 a church was erected in Matson Avenue. (fn. 64)
In 1848 a congregation of Brethren worshipped in the former Quaker meeting house in Park Street (fn. 65) and in 1851 it numbered c. 45. (fn. 66) The congregation moved to a meeting place in St. John's Lane, where premises were registered in 1854. (fn. 67) That place, known as the Ebenezer preaching room in the late 1850s, (fn. 68) had morning and evening congregations of 45 and 56 in 1881 (fn. 69) and ceased to be used by Brethren in the late 1880s. (fn. 70) An unidentified group which in 1862 registered a room over a warehouse in Russell Street (fn. 71) was presumably the Brethren congregation with a meeting house near the corner with Clarence Street. (fn. 72) That meeting house, which had morning and evening attendances of 65 and 57 in 1881, (fn. 73) closed in the early 20th century. (fn. 74) In the late 1860s there was a Brethren meeting in Whitfield Street (fn. 75) and in 1872 a group of Christian Brethren built the Ebenezer Gospel Hall in King Street. (fn. 76) The hall, which had morning and evening congregations of 78 and 203 in 1881, (fn. 77) was demolished during redevelopment of the area c. 1970 and replaced by a new hall at the corner of Russell and Whitfield Streets registered in 1971. (fn. 78)
A group of Brethren met in a room behind a house in Cromwell Street by 1894 (fn. 79) and until the mid 1960s. From then the room was used by other groups. (fn. 80) W. R. Hadwen, a doctor who came to Gloucester in 1896 to champion the antivaccination cause, was an active member of the Brethren. He opened a mission in the Glevum Hall in lower Southgate Street and by 1906 he had built Albion Hall, a brick building behind cottages further south, to accommodate the congregation. The new hall, to which two classrooms were added, was later known as Southgate Evangelical church and was in use in 1981. In 1896 Hadwen also organized a mission to Tredworth where he renovated a hall in Nelson Street. (fn. 81) That hall, which apparently had been built in 1882, (fn. 82) was registered in 1953 (fn. 83) and called the Nelson Street assembly in 1981. By the early 1940s there was a Brethren meeting place in Bloomfield Road. (fn. 84) Christian Brethren registered a meeting room in Brunswick Square in 1956 but had ceased holding services there by 1959. (fn. 85)
In Hucclecote a group of Christian Brethren, which originated in a Sunday school begun in 1949, held services from 1957 in Colwell Avenue in a former R.A.F. hut, known as Hillview Gospel Hall by 1964. In 1969 the meeting, called Hillview Evangelical church, built a permanent church to replace the hut. (fn. 86) In 1954 a group of Exclusive Brethren registered a meeting place in Church Road in Longlevens, (fn. 87) and in the 1970s a similar group built a meeting place in Old Painswick Road in Saintbridge. (fn. 88)
CONGREGATIONALISTS AND INDEPENDENTS.
The Independent or Congregational church, which was the most important dissenting meeting in Gloucester in the later 17th century, was led by James Forbes. Forbes came to Gloucester in 1654 on his appointment by the Council of State as lecturer and minister at the cathedral. He received the stipend which had been paid to augment the living of the minister of St. Mary de Crypt. (fn. 89) Forbes's followers formed a nonconformist church, which worshipped in the great hall of Edward Fletcher's house near the little cloister in the college precincts; by will dated 1660 Fletcher, minister of Bagendon, left the reversion of the house in trust to Forbes and five members of the congregation, including inhabitants of Barnwood and Saintbridge. The church, which may have been formed by 1658 when Forbes attended the Savoy Conference, evangelized the countryside (fn. 90) and urged Increase Mather to come to Gloucester. (fn. 91) Mather, who arrived late in 1659 and became minister of St. Mary de Lode, left early in 1660 and was later prominent in the affairs of the colony of Massachusetts. (fn. 92) After the Restoration Forbes was deprived of his lectureship and was twice imprisoned, the second time for a year. By 1664 he had moved to London. (fn. 93)
In 1672 Forbes returned to Gloucester (fn. 94) and held services in Sampson Bacon's house behind Blackfriars or Greyfriars. (fn. 95) At the same time one of his followers, John Badger, was licensed to hold services in a house in Longford; another, Thomas Cole, was also named in the request for the licence. (fn. 96) For a time Congregationalism or Independency enjoyed some security and by February 1673 three more houses in the city, one belonging to John Wall, the ejected minister of Broadwas (Worcs.), had been licensed. (fn. 97) Forbes's congregation, which included several prominent citizens, (fn. 98) continued to worship in Bacon's house after the renewal of official persecution, (fn. 99) and according to one estimate in 1677 numbered over 100. (fn. 100) Services were sometimes followed by meetings in Richard Till's house. (fn. 101) In late 1680 or early 1681 the mayor imprisoned Forbes under the Five Mile Act and the meeting place was ransacked. On his release Forbes held services outside the city at Elmbridge Court until the owner William Craven, earl of Craven, intervened in 1682 to stop them. (fn. 102)
During the reign of James II the meeting's fortunes improved. Forbes, who had left the area, came back to Gloucester in 1687 (fn. 103) and resumed his work, including visits to outlying villages. (fn. 104) In the early 1690s, when he was training students for the ministry, he actively supported the Happy Union of Independents and Presbyterians and was moderator of an association of ministers in Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Wiltshire. (fn. 105) In 1692 Forbes and Jonathan Greene, a member of his congregation, entered into a theological debate with the Gloucester Quakers, which was marked by the publication of pamphlets. (fn. 106) In 1699 the Independents built a small brick meeting house in Barton Street near the east gate. (fn. 107) Forbes, who had an assistant from 1706, remained the minister until his death in 1712 but during his last years factions emerged in the church. Under his successor, Joseph Denham, some members, presumably objecting to changes in church government, withdrew to form a separate church under John Alexander. (fn. 108) They took the library and four tankards of 1702 which Forbes had settled on the chapel. (fn. 109) The larger part of the congregation remained at the chapel, which was described as Presbyterian by 1716 and later became Unitarian. (fn. 110)
In 1716 the secessionists' church, described as Independent, had a congregation of 250 and in 1718 Thomas Cole, a descendant of the Thomas Cole mentioned above, became its minister. (fn. 111) In 1720 the Independents took a lease of a great hall in Blackfriars for services. (fn. 112) In 1725, 1728, and 1730 they registered houses in Southgate Street, the last being Cole's house outside the south gate, (fn. 113) where later in 1730 they built a meeting house. The site, in front of that of St. Owen's church, was near land which had been used by dissenters as a cemetery. (fn. 114) Under Cole the Southgate meeting was an important centre for evangelical revival. From the later 1720s its members registered many houses in outlying towns and villages, especially in the Stroud area, for worship, (fn. 115) and in 1735 the chapel, which had a membership of 100, was attended by Baptists. (fn. 116) In the late 1730s Cole, whose followers registered four houses in Gloucester between 1736 and 1742, (fn. 117) became an important ally of the Methodist movement. (fn. 118) He worked in close harmony with George Whitefield and followed his example by attending private religious meetings, holding fortnightly lectures in remote country places, and conducting weekday preaching tours; sometimes he preached in the open air, as at Quarhouse in Stroud. He died in 1742, (fn. 119) and in 1768 a testimonial, which Whitefield signed, was published as a model for gospel ministers. (fn. 120) The Southgate chapel remained sympathetic to the evangelical revival after Cole's death, and in the later 1740s Howell Harris, a leading Calvinistic Methodist and associate of Whitefield, preached in it several times. (fn. 121) In the mid 1730s a vestry was added to the chapel to hold Forbes's library and in the late 1750s a house for the minister was built. (fn. 122) In 1744 a house in Barton Street was registered for another group of Independents. (fn. 123)
The Southgate meeting declined in the late 18th century but flourished again during the ministry of William Bishop, 17941832, who promoted philanthropic ventures in the city and county. (fn. 124) The side galleries of the chapel were enlarged in 1803 (fn. 125) and two schoolrooms were added in 1820; a Sunday school had been held from 1812. The chapel and schoolrooms were enlarged in 1830. (fn. 126) Under Bishop the meeting supported missions to outlying villages, where some churches were formed, (fn. 127) and its influence reached Newnham and Lydney. Bishop was also active in the Forest of Dean. (fn. 128) In 1831 and 1832 Job Bown, a village preacher of the Southgate church, registered several houses in and around the city, (fn. 129) and by 1833 the Independents had opened a school in the west part of the city, presumably in the Island where they ran a mission. (fn. 130) The growth of the meeting and its involvement in missions continued under Joseph Hyatt, minister 183357, and the chapel gave financial help to many smaller churches in the county. (fn. 131) In the late 1830s and in the 1840s the average congregation at the chapel was 550. (fn. 132) In 1850 the minister's house was demolished and the chapel rebuilt on a larger scale and reoriented. The new chapel, which opened in 1851, was faced with stone and designed by James Medland in a 14th-century style with north and south galleries, vestries, and a schoolroom. (fn. 133) The street front was richly decorated. (fn. 134) In the late 18th and the early 19th century the meeting received a few gifts to maintain the minister, including in 1770 land at Wotton from John Beale and by 1838 300 under the will of John Garn (d. 1835). From 1848 the meeting used part of the land as a cemetery. (fn. 135)
In 1862 a schism occurred within the Southgate church, and the minister James Kernahan, who wanted a more open communion, and some members resigned. (fn. 136) They formed a free church, which leaned towards first Anglicanism and then Presbyterianism. (fn. 137) In the 1870s the Southgate Congregational church became involved in evangelizing new working-class areas of the city and the St. Mary's Square area. (fn. 138) In 1881 the chapel had morning and evening congregations of 337 and 264. The schoolroom was replaced in 1889 by a larger hall with classrooms on two floors. (fn. 139) The church, which had financial problems from the early 20th century, sold James Forbes's tankards in 1923 and his library to Toronto University in 1966. In 1973 it united with the Presbyterian church in Park Road to form the James Forbes United Reformed church, and in 1974 regular services at the Southgate chapel ceased. (fn. 140) The chapel was demolished in 1981.
The Independents' mission to the Island, which occupied a schoolroom in Levy's Yard rebuilt c. 1844, had an average congregation of 30 at evening services in 1851. (fn. 141) The room, which was reopened for Sunday evening services in 1898, (fn. 142) was sold in 1941. (fn. 143)
In 1877 Independents converted the St. Mary's Square chapel, which had belonged to the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, as a mission hall known as St. Mary's Hall. (fn. 144) The mission, which was run by a committee including members of the Southgate Congregational church, (fn. 145) had morning and evening attendances of 84 and 220 on the day of the religious census in 1881. (fn. 146) In the early 1890s it was led by D.S. Hollies, a Congregationalist minister, (fn. 147) and in 1905 it was taken over by the Southgate church, which paid for alterations to the hall; (fn. 148) a gallery was replaced by a floor with five classrooms on it. (fn. 149) Services were held there until 1958 when the congregation moved to a new building in St. Mary's Street. The old hall was demolished as part of a slum clearance programme. (fn. 150) St. Mary's Hall, which became a separate Congregational church in 1974, had an adult membership of 47 in 1981. (fn. 151)
Tyndale Congregational chapel originated in 1871 when the Southgate church opened a mission to lower Barton Street and acquired land at the corner of Stratton Road for a chapel. The mission, which William Hurd ran from a room opposite Blenheim Road until 1873, was revived in 1874 under John Bennetts. He held services in a room above the co-operative society's stores in Stratton Road. Tyndale chapel, begun later the year and opened in 1875, was built of brick faced with stone and was designed by James Tait of Leicester in an early 14th-century style. The principal benefactor was William Somerville of Bitton. A Congregational church, which was formed with 37 members in 1876, was reorganized after Bennetts resigned in 1877 and for a time attendance declined. (fn. 152) By the day of the religious census in 1881 the morning congregation had risen to 345. (fn. 153) At first the chapel, which had a north gallery, was divided by a temporary wall, the south end, including the transepts, being used as a Sunday schoolroom. (fn. 154) The partition had been removed by 1883 to accommodate the congregation, (fn. 155) and in 1884 new schoolrooms were opened on the south side of the chapel. (fn. 156) In the late 19th century the Tyndale church began missions to Tredworth and Saintbridge and, outside Gloucester, to Bulley (fn. 157) and to Cooper's Hill in Brockworth. (fn. 158) Congregations at the chapel declined in the mid 20th century and by 1966 winter services were held in a schoolroom. The room, which was refitted as the chapel in 1970, closed in 1975 and the congregation joined the James Forbes United Reformed church. (fn. 159) The former Tyndale chapel and schoolrooms were demolished in 1979.
By 1883 the Tyndale church had built a mission room in Wellesley Street in Tredworth. The mission, which from 1887 was run on undenominational lines, had closed by 1964. (fn. 160) The building was derelict in 1981. In 1887, following the severing of the connexion with the Wellesley Street mission, the Tyndale church built a mission hall in Saintbridge at the corner of Painswick and Cemetery Roads. (fn. 161) Services were held there until 1973, (fn. 162) and in 1980 the African Methodist Episcopal Church reopened the hall for services. (fn. 163) It was not in use in 1981.
COUNTESS OF HUNTINGDON'S CONNEXION.
Selina Hastings, countess of Huntingdon, acquired a large building on the south side of St. Mary's Square, which was fitted and registered in 1788 as a chapel for followers of George Whitefield. (fn. 164) It was of brick and had been erected a few years earlier as a theatre. (fn. 165) The chapel was run by local trustees (fn. 166) and was supplied by ministers of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, for whom a house was provided at the back. (fn. 167) Robert McAll, one of the chapel's earliest ministers, enjoyed a settled pastorate in the later 1790s (fn. 168) when he was also working with Independents in the Forest of Dean. (fn. 169) The St. Mary's Square chapel, which between 1799 and 1821 was usually served by visiting preachers, (fn. 170) was said to be frequented by a large and respectable society in the late 1820s. (fn. 171) In 1830, after some internal divisions and at the beginning of F. G. White's ministry, the church was re-formed with 30 members. (fn. 172) White, who stopped using Anglican liturgy and promoted political and social causes, was minister until his death in 1849. (fn. 173) In the late 1830s the chapel supported Sunday schools in Sweetbriar Street and Longford; (fn. 174) a Sunday school had been held at the chapel from soon after its inception in 1810. (fn. 175) In 1832 the chapel was repaired extensively and the ensuing debt had not been cleared by 1841 when the schoolroom remained dilapidated. (fn. 176) Further alterations were made in the mid or late 1840s. (fn. 177) In 1851 morning and evening congregations of 200 and 400 were claimed for the chapel, (fn. 178) which was refitted in 1863 when more seating for the poor was provided. The growth of slums in the neighbourhood and competition from more imposing chapels contributed to a marked fall in attendance in the late 1860s and the trustees decided to build a memorial church to George Whitefield in Park Road. It had not been started by 1869 when the St. Mary's Square chapel was closed (fn. 179) and the congregation united with the Presbyterians. (fn. 180)
Later in 1869 the chapel was renovated with the help of the Independents as an interdenominational mission station and an evangelist was appointed. The venture failed but in 1870 the chapel was reopened by J. F. T. Hallowes, a Congregationalist minister who built up a large congregation. Attempts to continue the mission after he left in 1876 were unsuccessful and in 1877 the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion ended its involvement in the chapel's affairs. (fn. 181)
LATTER DAY SAINTS.
Mormon missionaries entered Gloucestershire in 1840 and gained converts in villages near Gloucester. Some of them emigrated by way of the city to America in 1841. The same year a Chartist, the first Mormon missionary to Gloucester, preached in a room in Worcester Street and took part in a public debate. (fn. 182) The Latter Day Saints, who from 1851 worshipped in a room in a passage off Westgate Street formerly occupied by the mechanics' institution, (fn. 183) encountered hostility in Gloucester. In 1855 a lecture on polygamy was broken up and the magistrates dismissed the case against the culprits on the ground that the assembly had not been a religious service. (fn. 184) In 1856 the Latter Day Saints registered a building in Worcester Street and although services had ceased there by 1866 (fn. 185) local people attended a small Mormon conference in the city in 1876. (fn. 186) In 1912 a group of Latter Day Saints (Reorganized) registered a mission hall in Stroud Road. In 1942 the same group registered a hall behind Wellington Street and by 1965 it had built a church in Newton Avenue at Coney Hill. (fn. 187) In 1963 Mormons registered a house on the main road in Barnwood. In 1970 they moved to a new church next to the house, (fn. 188) which they demolished for a car park.
John Wesley came to Gloucester with George Whitefield in July 1739 and preached to large crowds. (fn. 189) In August Charles Wesley addressed a society, which included three clergymen, and preached to large crowds in a field belonging to Whitefield's brother, but when he returned in 1740 he found his reception lukewarm. (fn. 190) Wesleyan Methodism took a long time to become established in the city and John Wesley, who addressed a gathering when he passed through Gloucester in 1744, did not preach there again until 1766. (fn. 191) His followers, who were few and poor, were without a permanent meeting place until they took over the cordwainers' hall, in the former St. Kyneburgh's chapel, (fn. 192) which John Brown, a local preacher, and others registered in 1767. (fn. 193) There was local opposition to the Methodists at that time. In 1768 Wesley was confronted by a hostile mob (fn. 194) and in 1769 a preacher was flogged through the streets for disturbing the peace of the city with his rant. (fn. 195) From 1777 support for Methodism grew and Wesley preached there regularly. In 1785 his large audience in a public building included many people 'of the better sort'. In 1786 he preached in the chapel of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. The Methodists had opened a subscription for building a chapel by 1787 (fn. 196) when George Conibere provided a site for it behind cottages in lower Northgate Street. (fn. 197) The chapel, which had a gallery, was open by 1788 and Wesley preached in it several times. (fn. 198) The chapel became the head of a circuit which covered the north part of Gloucestershire, (fn. 199) and in 1795 a house was built alongside it for the use of preachers. (fn. 200) The circuit, which had two, occasionally three, ministers, (fn. 201) was reduced by the creation in the late 18th century and the early 19th of the Stroud, Winchcombe (later Cheltenham), and Tewkesbury circuits. (fn. 202) Chapels and meeting places opened in Gloucester's suburbs in the 19th century were attached to the Gloucester circuit, which was re-formed in 1933 to include Primitive and United Methodist chapels. (fn. 203)
The Wesleyans began a Sunday school in the Northgate chapel in 1814, (fn. 204) and in 1835 they improved the seating and built a schoolroom at the back. In 1840 the chapel was enlarged and more accommodation provided for the poor. (fn. 205) At that time local Methodist leaders opposed the involvement of evangelicals, led by William Higgs, in an interdenominational society for young men and in the mechanics' institution, and the replacement of Higgs as a local preacher apparently occasioned a sharp drop in Wesleyan membership. (fn. 206) The Wesleyan society divided again during the reform controversy within the Wesleyan Methodist Church in the late 1840s, and the reformers left the chapel in 1850. (fn. 207) In 1851 morning and evening congregations of 450 and 650 were claimed for the chapel (fn. 208) and the schism proved only a temporary setback. In 1877 the chapel and the buildings in front were pulled down and a new chapel and schoolroom were built. The new chapel, designed in a baroque style, with eclectic detail, by Charles Bell, had twin north spires flanking a semicircular portico, above which was a rose window crowned by an open pediment. It was completed in 1878 (fn. 209) and the congregation numbered over 400 in 1881. (fn. 210) Slum clearance before the Second World War reduced congregations. (fn. 211) In 1972 the chapel was closed and the congregation moved to the church of St. John the Baptist, which under a sharing agreement with Anglicans was renamed St. John Northgate. (fn. 212) The Northgate Methodist church had a membership of 162 in 1980 and the church had Sunday morning and evening congregations of 111 and 73 respectively. (fn. 213) Following its closure the Northgate chapel was demolished (fn. 214) and a supermarket built on the site.
In 1816 a Wesleyan minister registered two houses in Gloucester, (fn. 215) and perhaps five or those registered in 1821 and 1822 were for Wesleyans. Two, including one on the quay, were in St. Nicholas's parish (fn. 216) where there was a Wesleyan meeting in 1825. (fn. 217)
The Wesleyans were particularly active in the Barton Street and Tredworth areas. At Barton End they had opened a Sunday school by 1827. It had closed by 1829 and they began another there in 1834; (fn. 218) a minister registered a house in Barton Terrace (later the north part of Tredworth High Street) in 1837. (fn. 219) In 1847 the Wesleyans built a schoolroom in Victoria Street to serve an increasingly populous area nearer the city and to relieve pressure on the Sunday school at the Northgate chapel. (fn. 220) They used it for services, (fn. 221) and in 1851, after part of the congregation had presumably moved to the Wesleyan Reformers' chapel at Ryecroft, (fn. 222) it had morning and evening attendances of 50 and 100. (fn. 223) By 1851 the Wesleyan Methodists were also holding services in nearby Newtown, (fn. 224) and by 1858 they had built a chapel in Tredworth High Street. (fn. 225) In 1863 they purchased the Ryecroft chapel and closed those in Victoria and High Streets. The Victoria Street chapel, sold in 1864, was converted as two dwellings, (fn. 226) and the High Street chapel was acquired by Anglicans in 1866 (fn. 227) and used by nonconformist groups from the mid 20th century.
The Wesleyans made the Ryecroft chapel the centre of their work in Barton Street and Tredworth. It was soon too small for the congregation and in 1870 a large brick chapel was built next to it at the corner of Falkner Street. The new chapel, designed by A. W. Maberly with twin towers above the entrance and a gallery on three sides, opened in 1871. (fn. 228) In 1876 a house in Falkner Street was bought for its minister. (fn. 229) In 1881 the chapel had morning and evening congregations of 356 and 312. (fn. 230) The older building, which the Wesleyans turned into a school, was enlarged in 1898. (fn. 231) In 1955 the Ryecroft chapel was closed and its members transferred to the former United Methodist church in Stroud Road, which was renamed St. Luke's Methodist church. (fn. 232) The Ryecroft school building was sold and the front part demolished in 1957. The chapel, which was then leased to the city education committee for use by the technical college, (fn. 233) was used by the Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology in 1981.
By 1875 the Wesleyan Methodists had moved back into Newtown (fn. 234) where they opened a mission room in Tredworth Road. (fn. 235) The room, which was attended by 50 people in 1881, (fn. 236) went off the circuit plan in 1883. (fn. 237)
A Wesleyan meeting place in Westgate Street was recorded in 1875, (fn. 238) and a mission room in or near Alvin Street was registered by a minister in 1887 and had closed by 1896. (fn. 239) In the 1890s the Wesleyans ran a mission in Goddard's assembly rooms in lower Northgate Street. (fn. 240)
The Wesleyans commenced open-air services in Bristol Road in 1891, (fn. 241) and later that year they built a temporary wooden mission room at the corner of Clegram Street. In 1892 it was replaced by a brick school-chapel, next to which an iron church was erected in 1897; (fn. 242) the iron building had housed an Anglican mission elsewhere in Bristol Road. (fn. 243) In 1909 the Wesleyan mission to the Bristol Road area, which had outgrown its accommodation, moved to new buildings, a large brick hall and Sunday school designed by J. Fletcher Trew, at the corner of Seymour and Frampton Roads. The Seymour Road front of the hall was flanked by octagonal towers, that on the south side being carried up to a turret, and had a large semicircular window above the entrance. (fn. 244) The hall, known later as Wesley Hall, had 67 members in 1965 (fn. 245) when it was closed and they were transferred to St. Luke's Methodist church. The school was sold in 1965 and the hall to the city education committee for a youth centre in 1966. (fn. 246)
The Methodist church in Lonsdale Road had its origins in a free church which opened in the expanding Wotton suburb in 1909. Its principal benefactor was J. R. Pope, a Wesleyan, and he acquired for it the Bristol Road mission's iron building, which was re-erected in Lonsdale Road as a chapel. (fn. 247) The chapel was on the Gloucester Wesleyan Methodist circuit plan from 1913 (fn. 248) and joined the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1925. (fn. 249) In 1928 a Sunday school, erected at Pope's expense as a memorial to his wife and designed by H. A. Dancey, opened elsewhere in Lonsdale Road. (fn. 250) The school, built of brick with stone dressings, was also used for services and the iron chapel was sold to the Rechabites in 1930 and moved to Cromwell Street. (fn. 251) With the growth of the Lonsdale Road church in the mid 1950s a manse and a hall were built next to the Sunday school, which was modified to look more like a church. (fn. 252) Membership of the church fell in the later 1970s and was 132 in 1980 when the Sunday morning and evening congregations were 90 and 30 respectively. (fn. 253)
In 1934 the Methodists built a small church in Coney Hill, where Primitive Methodists had been holding services in a hall in Newton Avenue. The new church, in Coney Hill Road, was erected at the expense of Elizabeth and Violet Wheeler as a memorial to Daniel Sterry, and in 1939 a schoolroom was added. The hall was sold in 1953 and demolished. The church closed in 1955 and was then used by the Salvation Army, which bought it in 1961. (fn. 254)
Wesleyan Methodism was established in the villages and hamlets around Gloucester in the early 19th century. (fn. 255) Longford, where William Barber, a Wesleyan minister, ran an academy until 1822, (fn. 256) had a Wesleyan Sunday school in 1823. (fn. 257) In 1827 a minister registered a house in Twigworth, (fn. 258) where cottage services ceased some years later because of opposition from landowners. (fn. 259) The meeting at 'Cheltenham Gate' ascribed to the Wesleyan Methodists in the late 1860s (fn. 260) was presumably that at Longlevens of New Connexion Methodists and from 1868 of Primitive Methodists. (fn. 261)
In 1824 Primitive Methodists, described as Revivalists, held a camp meeting in a field at Longford to pay for the fittings in their chapel in the Dockham area. The chapel, which occupied part of a warehouse in Archdeacon Lane, (fn. 262) had closed by 1825. Another short-lived chapel was opened in Clare Street in 1837 when many Primitive Methodists from the Forest of Dean attended a gathering on Town Ham. (fn. 263) The meeting in Park Street described in the early 1850s as Primitive Methodist (fn. 264) was presumably the nonsectarian group which had morning and evening congregations of 55 and 140 in 1851. (fn. 265)
In 1855 a Primitive Methodist mission to Gloucester was established with the help of preachers from Stroud. It covered a large area, including until 1874 Cheltenham, and from 1875 looked after chapels at Broom's Green in Dymock and at Lowbands in Redmarley D'Abitot (Worcs., later Glos.). The mission, which held open-air and cottage services in many parts of the city and its suburbs, including Barton Street, Kingsholm, and Bristol Road, was based on two rooms in Ryecroft Street registered in 1856. (fn. 266) The proximity of Wesleyan and New Connexion Methodist chapels limited the mission's scope and so in 1858 the Primitives built a chapel in lower Barton Street. (fn. 267) Maintenance of the chapel laid a heavy financial burden on the small societies around Gloucester and in the 1860s the mission ceased much of its work. An attempt to hold regular services in Longford in 1862 came to nothing. Bristol Road and Tredworth were dropped from the mission's plan in 1864 and 1865 respectively, both apparently because of a failure to obtain rooms for services, and Union Street in Kingsholm, where the work had been neglected, in 1868. Cheltenham Road also went off the plan in 1868 but later that year the mission took over a chapel at Longlevens formerly used by New Connexion Methodists. It was abandoned for lack of success in 1873. (fn. 268)
In 1869 seating in the Barton Street chapel, which had a gallery, was increased. The average attendance at the principal services was 130. From 1875 the chapel, to which a schoolroom had been added, faced competition from an Anglican church and a Congregational chapel (fn. 269) and in 1881 it had morning and evening congregations of only 26 and 70. (fn. 270) In 1882 the Primitives sold it and moved to a new and much larger chapel on the other side of the road. (fn. 271) The new chapel, erected as a memorial to Robert Raikes in brick to a design by Kerridge & Sons of Wisbech (Cambs.), had a street front with tall, recessed round-headed windows and galleries on three sides. The building also contained a schoolroom and several classrooms. (fn. 272) In 1883 Gloucester was made a circuit with one, later two, ministers. (fn. 273) It included the chapels at Broom's Green and Lowbands and one in Churchdown, and in 1915 the Cheltenham mission was amalgamated with it. (fn. 274) After the formation of the Methodist Church the Primitives' chapels in the city were included in the new Gloucester circuit. From the 1960s membership of the Barton Street Methodist church, never large, declined and was 44 in 1980 when the chapel had Sunday morning and evening congregations of 20 and 26 respectively. (fn. 275)
The Primitive Methodist mission resumed evangelical work to the south-east part of the city in the mid 1870s. Cottage services were held in Painswick Road from 1874 but a mission house there went off the plan in 1886 following the opening of a mission by New Connexion Methodists. (fn. 276) The Primitives began regular services in Tredworth in 1875 and built a temporary chapel there in 1876. It was in Melbourne Street, where a permanent chapel was built in 1879. The chapel presumably served Barton End, where the Primitives had discontinued Sunday services in 1877, (fn. 277) and it had morning and evening congregations of 92 and 88 in 1881. (fn. 278) In 1895 an iron schoolroom behind the chapel was replaced by a brick building. (fn. 279) The Melbourne Street church had 20 members in 1955 and the chapel was used for Methodist services until 1962. (fn. 280) It had been sold to the Church of God of Prophecy by 1966. (fn. 281) The Tredworth Gospel Hall, which in 1881 had morning and evening congregations of 58 and 95, (fn. 282) was possibly the mission room at Barton End ascribed to the Primitives in 1885 and recorded until 1919. (fn. 283)
The Primitives started regular services in the Bristol Road area in 1880. Meetings were held in the open air or in hired rooms, (fn. 284) and in 1881 the attendance at an evening service in a room in Philip Street was 37. (fn. 285) In 1886 a school-chapel, Gothic in style, was built in Bristol Road, but the Primitives attracted little support there. (fn. 286) The growth of the wagon works made the meeting place undesirable and in 1901 it was replaced by a brick and stucco chapel in Stroud Road. (fn. 287) The new chapel, designed by H. A. Dancey with a gallery, (fn. 288) stood opposite the junction with Seymour Road, in which the Primitives had held services in a reading room of the co-operative society in the mid 1890s. (fn. 289) The Stroud Road chapel was sold in 1947, (fn. 290) and in 1981 the New Testament Church of God occupied it.
UNITED METHODISTS AND THEIR PREDECESSORS.
The expulsion of three reforming ministers from the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in 1849 excited feelings in Gloucester where many members of the Wesleyan society favoured changes in Methodist organization. They held meetings in support of reform and in November two of the expelled ministers addressed a large public gathering in the Baptist chapel in Parker's Row. The reformers were opposed by John Smedley, the superintendent minister, and during 1850 the division within the society widened. Several local preachers were suspended or expelled and at the end of the year 80 Wesleyan Reformers founded a society, which held services in the circular room in Worcester Street and appointed seven local preachers as ministers. In 1851 the society built Ebenezer, a school-chapel at Ryecroft in the later Conduit Street. (fn. 293) Later that year, when the society was described as Christian Brethren, morning and evening congregations of 250 and 450 were claimed for the circular room, and Ebenezer had afternoon and evening congregations of 33 and 50. (fn. 294) The Ryecroft chapel was replaced by a larger building in 1852. (fn. 295) The society, which also had members in Churchdown, Hucclecote, Hartpury, and Minsterworth, did not sustain impetus and members joined the New Connexion Methodists, who registered a meeting place in the city in 1856. Services at the circular room ceased in 1857. (fn. 296)
The New Connexion Methodists held services in an inn in Hare Lane (fn. 297) until they had built a chapel to the east in Worcester Street. (fn. 298) The chapel, which was of brick with stone dressings and was designed by Jones & Son, opened in 1857. (fn. 299) In 1859 the schoolroom at the back was enlarged and in the early 1860s the chapel was made the head of a circuit which included Dursley and Saul and had two preachers. Despite initial success the New Connexion was never strong in Gloucestershire and in 1868, when the circuit only had chapels in Worcester Street and Churchdown, Gloucester was made a mission station. (fn. 300) The New Connexion had sold the Ryecroft chapel, which it had taken over, (fn. 301) to the Wesleyans in 1863, (fn. 302) and a small chapel at Longlevens, which it had registered in 1855, (fn. 303) was used by the Primitives from 1868. A mission room in Painswick Road, opened by the New Connexion by 1886, (fn. 304) was evidently superseded by the mission hall built in Saintbridge by the Tyndale Congregational church in 1887. (fn. 305) The Worcester Street chapel, which in 1881 had morning and evening congregations of 65 and 85, (fn. 306) closed in the mid 1890s. (fn. 307) In 1930 the building was used as a theatre studio (fn. 308) and a few years later the street front was rebuilt. In 1981 it housed a tyre depot.
A group of Bible Christian Methodists, apparently formed in 1901, held services in the Wellington Hall in Longsmith Street until it had built a brick chapel in Stroud Road. The chapel with gallery and schoolroom opened in 1904 and was designed in a 14th-century style by the Revd. V. H. Culliford, a Bible Christian minister. (fn. 309) At first it was called Tuffley Bible Christian chapel but after the Bible Christians joined with other groups to form the United Methodist Church in 1907 it was renamed Stroud Road United Methodist church. (fn. 310) After the formation of the Methodist Church it was included in the Gloucester circuit. (fn. 311) In 1955 the members of the Ryecroft society were transferred to the church, which was dedicated to St. Luke. (fn. 312) With the addition of the members of the Wesley Hall society in 1965 St. Luke's church became the centre of Methodism in the south part of the city and in 1967 a new wing of ancillary buildings was opened. (fn. 313) Membership of St. Luke's Methodist church was 144 in 1980 when the chapel had Sunday morning and evening congregations of 94 and 41 respectively. (fn. 314)
The Barton Street chapel, which was described as Presbyterian in 1716, later became Unitarian. (fn. 315) The re-establishment of a Presbyterian church in Gloucester was aided by the secession from the Southgate Independent chapel in 1862. (fn. 316) The minister James Kernahan and his followers formed a free church which met at the Theatre Royal until 1863 and then at the corn exchange. (fn. 317) It leaned first towards Anglicanism (fn. 318) but by 1865 Kernahan, who wished to find a home for his congregation, was encouraging the Presbyterian Church in England to open a church in the city. (fn. 319)
The Presbyterians set up a preaching station in 1865. Services were held in hired rooms but the congregation dwindled. The cause was revived in 1868 by P. R. Crole, (fn. 320) who conducted services in a hall in the co-operative society's Brunswick Road stores, (fn. 321) and was further strengthened in 1869 when the congregation of the Countess of Huntingdon's chapel joined the Presbyterians. The latter took over the plan to build a memorial church to George Whitefield in Park Road, and in 1870 the preaching station was raised in status to a fully sanctioned charge. (fn. 322) The Whitefield Memorial church, begun in 1870 and opened in 1872, was built of yellow and red brick and was designed in a 14th-century style by Medland and Son on two storeys with vestries, classrooms, and caretaker's accommodation in the lower, and with a tower with ashlar spire. (fn. 323) In 1881 it had morning and evening congregations of 253 and 229. (fn. 324) An organ loft was added to the church in the late 1880s (fn. 325) and the spire was removed in the later 1970s. (fn. 326) In 1973 the Presbyterians united with the Congregationalists of the Southgate church to form the James Forbes United Reformed church and from 1974 worship centred on the Park Road church, (fn. 327) to which the members of the Tyndale Congregational church were transferred in 1975. (fn. 328) There had been a union with the congregation of the Churches of Christ, in Derby Road, by 1981 when the combined membership was 180. (fn. 329)
In 1884 the Presbyterians erected a wooden hall at the corner of Newton and Arreton Avenues in Coney Hill (fn. 330) and registered it as an undenominational mission. (fn. 331) The hall was used by several groups, including Primitive Methodists, and in the mid 20th century the site was confirmed to the Methodists. (fn. 332)
The Salvation Army 'opened fire' in Gloucester in 1879 under the leadership of Pamela Shepherd who held meetings in the Wellington Hall. Some of its early open-air meetings and marches were disrupted, (fn. 333) but on the day of the 1881 census of places of worship 246 and 1,200 people attended special morning and evening services in the skating rink at the former Boothall. (fn. 334) In 1888 the army built a barracks or citadel in King's Barton Street and in 1890 it registered another in lower Westgate Street, which became the headquarters of a second corps. It moved from the latter in 1914 to the mission room in Suffolk Street in Kingsholm which it occupied until 1919; (fn. 335) the army had used that room in 1906 and 1907. (fn. 336) The army evangelized outlying areas, including Longford where a company was established in the 1930s, (fn. 337) and in 1955 it took over the Methodist church in Coney Hill, (fn. 338) The citadel in King's Barton Street was replaced in 1960 by a new building at the corner of Barton Street and Park Road; (fn. 339) the old building became a theatre in 1963. (fn. 340)
SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
From the mid 1650s Quakers held meetings in Henry Riddall's house in Gloucester where they were occasionally mocked and assaulted. (fn. 341) A meeting attended by George Fox in March 1660 was peaceable, (fn. 342) but in the early 1660s several meetings in private houses, including one in Maisemore, were broken up and men imprisoned for unlawful assembly and refusal to take the oath of allegiance. (fn. 343) A Quaker preacher was fined in 1668. In 1670 the authorities, having failed despite the use of force to stop Quakers from meeting at Henry Engley's house, locked it, imprisoned a few members, and confiscated personal property. (fn. 344) Two cottages in Back Hare Lane (later Park Street), said to have been acquired in 1678, had been converted as a meeting house (fn. 345) by 1682 when during renewed harassment it was ransacked, the fittings were burned in the adjoining burial ground, and 25 members were imprisoned. (fn. 346) The Quakers, who were drawn from the poorer trades, remained a small and uninfluential group. (fn. 347) In 1735 only 20 were enumerated in Gloucester. (fn. 348)
From 1670 Gloucester was the place of the monthly meeting for the surrounding area, including Churchdown, Taynton, and Westburyon-Severn, and for Alvington and Aylburton. In 1755 the Gloucester and Stoke Orchard monthly meetings were united because of their smallness. (fn. 349) The circular yearly meeting was held in the Boothall in 1739, 1773, 1779, and 1786. (fn. 350) By the end of the century the number of Quakers in Gloucester had dwindled and the meeting house, which was repaired in 1800, was seldom used. A regular preparative meeting was resumed in 1812, (fn. 351) and in 1834 the Quakers moved to a new meeting house in Greyfriars and sold the Park Street meeting house, which was of one storey with dormer windows above a plain brick front. (fn. 352) It was later used for meetings and for worship by other groups, (fn. 353) and became a mission room. (fn. 354) The Gloucester Quakers, though few in number, included several prominent businessmen. One was Samuel Bowly (d. 1884), a supporter of causes such as negro emancipation, temperance, and universal peace, who attended the meeting from 1829. (fn. 355) Another was Jesse Sessions (d. 1894), whose family was involved in many philanthropic ventures. (fn. 356) The Greyfriars meeting house, which was used for meetings to promote benevolent causes, had a congregation of 36 in 1851 (fn. 357) and morning and evening attendances of 87 and 79 respectively in 1881. (fn. 358) In 1879 a lobby, with a schoolroom over, was added to the front of the meeting house, (fn. 359) which with its lodge remained in use in 1981.
In 1716 the Barton Street chapel, formerly Independent, from which some members had withdrawn, (fn. 360) had a congregation of 400 and was described as Presbyterian. Joseph Denham, minister until 1722, (fn. 361) acquired the house next to the chapel in 1715 and conveyed it to Thomas Browne, the leading member of the meeting and a former alderman, in 1721; it later became the manse. (fn. 362) The chapel, which in 1735 had a membership of 100, (fn. 363) became Unitarian under Joshua Dickinson, minister from 1751. (fn. 364) Dickinson, who in 1772 sought to be released from the legal obligation to subscribe to the Thirty Nine Articles, (fn. 365) had become infirm by 1784, when an assistant was appointed, but remained minister until his death in 1796. The meeting continued to be supported by prominent city families, (fn. 366) and in the late 18th century and the early 19th it received a few legacies to maintain the minister. (fn. 367) In 1819 the minister claimed that the Sunday school at the chapel had been started in the 1780s and had been supported by Robert Raikes. (fn. 368) For two years in the mid 1820s there was no minister and the chapel was closed for extensive repairs. (fn. 369) The street front, of ashlar and with a pediment, probably dated from the 18th century but its windows were altered in 1844 when the chapel, which had a gallery on three sides, was extensively restored; the wall in front was taken down and the vestry, which projected south of the line of the front, was replaced by rooms on two floors for the school and library. (fn. 370) At a restoration in 1867 the chapel was repewed. (fn. 371)
In 1851 morning and evening congregations of 60 and 80 were claimed for the chapel. (fn. 372) In the later 19th century, despite a reorganization of the meeting on free church principles in 1876, the membership dwindled and most ministers stayed only a few years. (fn. 373) The morning and evening congregations in 1881 were 63 and 115 respectively. (fn. 374) The manse, which had been occupied by tenants from 1875, was pulled down in 1893 and two shops were built in its place to provide more income. (fn. 375) Later that year the interior of the chapel was altered to make it more attractive for worship; the gallery was removed from two sides, an extension made on the north side to take the organ and choir, and new fittings and decorations were provided. (fn. 376) In the early 20th century the chapel depended on the support of the Price family of Tibberton Court and in 1905 Margaret Price gave it 1,000. The chapel, which from 1956 shared a minister with the Cheltenham Unitarian church, (fn. 377) had fallen into serious disrepair and commercial development of the site had been approved by 1963. (fn. 378) The remains of James Forbes were removed to the cathedral cloisters in 1966, (fn. 379) and the chapel was closed in 1968 and demolished. In 1981 a small meeting, part of the Cotswold group of Unitarian churches, was held twice a month in the Friends' meeting house. (fn. 380) The site of the Barton Street chapel was occupied by the offices of a building society.
Colin Campbell, who in 1831 registered a room in an office at the canal basin for worship, proposed building a chapel for seamen and boatmen frequenting Gloucester's docks and quay. His scheme failed for lack of funds, but a similar idea promoted in 1846 by men connected with the port was supported by the established church and led to the opening of a chapel in the docks in 1849. (fn. 381) The chapel is dealt with above. (fn. 382) The mission, which occasionally included services in foreign languages, had been extended to Sharpness docks by 1876. The chaplain opened a coffee house and reading room in Gloucester docks in 1877, and from 1885 until c. 1970 the mission used a hall at the corner of lower Southgate Street and Llanthony Road. (fn. 383)
In 1866 a mission organized in connexion with a sailors' home in Ladybellegate Street was opened at the city quay in an upper room registered by Bible Christians and known as the Gospel Hall. (fn. 384) In 1874 the Southgate church withdrew its support from the mission to concentrate its missionary work in the Island, (fn. 385) and the room, which may have been that used by the Anglican mariners' chaplain for a mission to boatmen in 1876 and 1877, (fn. 386) was disused in 1895. (fn. 387)
The Norwegian Seamen's Missionary Society established in 1865 planned occasional services in Gloucester and from the late 1860s they were conducted by a preacher from Bristol whenever there were enough Norwegian seamen in port. With the increase in trade with Norway in the mid 1870s services were held every other Sunday, and in 1878 a small wooden church was built by subscription next to the canal at the wagon works. (fn. 388) It apparently closed in the late 1880s. (fn. 389)
In 1839 David Nasmith (fn. 390) founded the Gloucester City Mission to evangelize the large number of poor which did not attend religious services. It was supported by the main dissenting churches and some members of the established church and was financed by donations. It employed a missionary in the slums in the north and west parts of the city to hold meetings, circulate religious tracts, and visit dwellings. A female missionary had been appointed by 1842. Although its secretary Isaac Cooke registered a house in Longford in 1840, the mission did not have a fixed centre. It also lacked funds and has not been traced after 1842. (fn. 391)
Part of its work was continued by the Gloucester Female Mission, which from 1842 held a weekly meeting in the Quakers' former meeting house in Park Street. The work of the mission was expanded to include Sunday services at the Park Street room, (fn. 392) which was registered in 1867 (fn. 393) and had morning and evening attendances of 55 and 83 in 1881. (fn. 394) In 1890 Edith Sessions bought the room to ensure that the work of the Park Street mission continued. The room, which was strengthened in 1894, was replaced by a larger brick building in 1903. Two classrooms and a caretaker's cottage were added in 1911. (fn. 395) The mission was open in 1981.
In 1840 Charles Jones, a member of a temperance society, registered a room in Bull Lane for worship. (fn. 396) The room was probably in the building used by the mechanics' institution, which was then being revived under evangelical leadership. (fn. 397) Other buildings used for missionary work included a working men's hall in Parliament Street, registered between 1865 and 1876 for use by Bible Christians, and the working men's institute in lower Southgate Street, registered in 1881 and with morning and evening attendances of 106 and 570 later that year. The last-mentioned mission ceased some time before 1925. (fn. 398)
There was a short-lived interdenominational mission to the Dockham area where a Sunday school was opened in 1846. It received much support from Quakers, and the schoolroom was also used in winter for an evening school supervised by the master of the British school, but it has not been traced after 1847. (fn. 399)
St. Aldate's Hall in St. Aldate Square, used by the Gloucester Sunday School Mission from 1879 or 1880, had morning and evening congregations of 60 and 350 in 1881. (fn. 400) The hall had been registered for the Gloucester Bible Christians earlier that year and services had ceased there by 1896. (fn. 401)
In 1880 Quakers opened a mission in a hall in Sherborne Street in Kingsholm (fn. 402) and in 1881 the morning and evening congregations were 60 and 150. The mission prospered and in 1901 the building was enlarged for the third time. (fn. 403) The hall was sold to Christadelphians in 1959. (fn. 404)
A railway mission was established in Gloucester in 1884. Meetings were held in the co-operative society's hall and later in the British school, and in 1887 a hall was built in Millbrook Street near the railway. A classroom was added in 1888. In 1891, following a dispute over the use of the building, (fn. 405) E. H. Spring, the superintendent, and his supporters withdrew to join a congregation of the Churches of Christ and the hall was closed. (fn. 406) It was reopened after a while and in the early 1930s was taken over by a pentecostal church. (fn. 407)
At Tuffley Alfred Brown, a Quaker, erected an iron building next to a house on the Stroud road in 1896 for a mission to employees of the Robins Wood Hill brickworks. The mission, which provided a coffee house and reading room, had closed by 1921. The building, which was put to other uses, was pulled down in 1980. (fn. 408) In the early 20th century there was also a mission room further south on the Stroud road, just within the former boundary of Tuffley, (fn. 409) and in 1906 Quakers held meetings in the Tuffley school. (fn. 410)
In 1839 the schoolroom of James Ricketts in Oxford Street was registered for public worship. (fn. 411) Ricketts had moved his school by 1853 to Greyfriars, where it was called Abbot's Hall and was similarly registered until 1876. (fn. 412)
Christadelphians were holding services in Goddard's assembly rooms in 1881 when the congregation numbered 80. (fn. 413) By 1885 they were meeting in a hall in St. Aldate Square and by 1889 in a hall in King Street. (fn. 414) In the early 1940s they worshipped in a room in Northgate Mansions, in lower Northgate Street, (fn. 415) and from 1959 they used the Sherborne Street mission hall. (fn. 416)
In 1890 an evangelist of the Disciples or Churches of Christ began preaching in Goddard's assembly rooms. In 1891 the congregation was joined by E.H. Spring and his followers from the railway mission and Spring became its pastor. At the end of the year the Churches of Christ built a chapel, the East End tabernacle, in Derby Road and in 1896 added a schoolroom to it. (fn. 417) In 1981 the congregation held joint services with the James Forbes United Reformed church. (fn. 418)
The Labour Church, which held a meeting in a hall in Barton Street in 1904, failed to establish itself in Gloucester. (fn. 419)
By 1920 a group belonging to the Pentecostal Churches, later known as the Assemblies of God, was meeting at a house in Blenheim Road. The congregation moved several times: to a house in lower Barton Street, registered for a full gospel mission in 1925; to a room in India Road, registered in 1936; to the chapel in Tredworth High Street, registered in 1957 and formerly used by Anglicans; and in 1978 to the gymnasium of the former army barracks on Robins Wood Hill. (fn. 420)
A gospel mission recorded in Commercial Road in 1931 (fn. 421) may have been the pentecostal church which in 1933 registered Victory Hall, the former railway mission hall, in Millbrook Street. The church joined the Elim Four Square Gospel Alliance in 1934 and the hall, which was destroyed by a bomb in 1941, was replaced by a larger temporary building in 1950. In 1957 the Elim Pentecostal church took over a cinema in Parkend Road to accommodate larger congregations. (fn. 422)
Spiritualists in Gloucester were reported in 1876 to be about to form an association (fn. 423) but no record of any place of worship has been found before 1939 when the Gloucester Spiritualist church met in Russell Street. (fn. 424) By 1959 it had moved to a small meeting place in Montpellier (fn. 425) and in 1981 was known as the Gloucester First Spiritualist church. In 1962 another group, the Gloucester National Spiritualist church, registered the room in Brunswick Square formerly used by Christian Brethren. (fn. 426)
Zion Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses recorded in London Road in 1939 was presumably Kingdom Hall, (fn. 427) which had closed there by 1952. In 1955 the Jehovah's Witnesses registered Kingdom Hall in Seymour Road. (fn. 428)
Christian Science services were held in the early 1940s in Cromwell Street in the iron chapel, moved from Wotton where Wesleyan Methodists had once used it. (fn. 429) In 1960 the congregation moved to the new First Church of Christ Scientist, Gloucester, in Cheltenham Road at Longlevens. (fn. 430)
A branch of the Seventh Day Adventist Church was using a room in the Good Templars' hall in Park Road by 1959. (fn. 431) By 1962 it had taken over the iron chapel in Cromwell Street vacated by the Christian Scientists. (fn. 432) The chapel was later replaced by a brick church. (fn. 433) In 1980 another group of Seventh Day Adventists opened a new church in Tredworth at the corner of Hatherley and Tarrington Roads. (fn. 434)
The Apostolic Church registered two rooms in Stroud Road in 1960. In 1968 the congregation moved to the room behind Cromwell Street, which had earlier been used by Brethren. The New Testament Church of God, which had registered that room in 1965, moved in 1967 to a hall, originally a Primitive Methodist chapel, in Stroud Road. (fn. 435) In Tredworth the Church of God of Prophecy purchased the Methodist chapel in Melbourne Street in 1965 or 1966, (fn. 436) and in 1981 the Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ (Apostolic) occupied the chapel in High Street, formerly used by the Assemblies of God and built by Wesleyan Methodists.
Two rooms of a Christian youth centre in Denmark Road were registered in 1948. Services had been discontinued by 1964. An unspecified Christian group, which registered a room at Spa Villas, Montpellier, in 1963, had disbanded by 1967. (fn. 437)