Radstock Primitive Methodist chapel

By Christopher Hill

The Primitive Methodist magazine contains accounts by William Leaker of laying the foundation stone  and the opening of Radstock Primitive Methodist chapel, the first Primitive Methodist chapel in Radstock. Radstock was first missioned around 1825, and "the missionaries met with much persecution until brother George James opened his house for preaching" Later a room was rented. Despite further enlargement, it was not large enough, so land in a "very good situation" was leased from the Countess of Waldegrave on a 99 year lease at a shilling a year.

The November 1851 magazine describes the foundation stone ceremony.  It was held on September 10th 1851 and the stone was laid by Rev T Hobson of Bath.  "The evening was fine, the attendance large, and the collection £3/6/9."

The chapel was planned to be 37' x 27' and 22' high.  It had a slate roof, a board floor and "a good gallery five seats deep." There would also be built a preacher's house, "an ornament to the village".

John Parfillt, the Countess' steward, gave the stones for the building and Charles Ashman, the Countess' agent for the coal works, gave "most of the lime and all the small coal to mix the mortar."  There was much self building: all the stones were quarried by members and friends; farmers carried the materials freely.

The opening, described in the April magazine, took place on January 4th 1852. Rev Hobson preached further sermons and a week later more sermons from Rev R Hartley of Chippenham. The subsequent tea meeting, chaired by Francis Skerry was addressed by Rev J Preston, (Frome), N Pascoe and W Leaker. 

At the time of opening, £300 of the total cost of £500 was owing.  It was borrowed "at 4% on notes of hand".  The article says that the golden system was used to raise further funds - how did that work?.

I'm not clear exactly where it was.  The 1886 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map locates the Primitive Methodist chapel at the gas works just north of the junction of Coomb End with New Bath Road. On the 1903-4 map it is labelled Wesleyan.  Can anyone explain?


Primitive Methodist magazine November 1851 pp. 698-699

Primitive Methodist magazine April 1852 pp. 246-247

This page was added by Christopher Hill on 29/08/2016.
Comments about this page

Think you wil find this is the Radstock Primitive Methodist church at Peasedown St. John.-taken from google maps. It was part of my gt grandfather Rev Isaac Brentnalls circuit I believe when he was at Midsomer Norton. Sorry unable to post picture as not able to copy to here


By Kathy Anstiss
On 27/04/2017

Further to my previous comment google has this as Radstock Primitive Methodist church still part of Isaac's circuit - now sadly up for sale. 


By Kathy Anstiss
On 27/04/2017

Thanks very much for these two links Kathy. Peasedown and Writhlington are both former coal-mining villages and Radstock was the local centre which served them, for example as a focus for the railway network. It's good to see the Primitive Methodist stone labels on both surviving chapels and they both need to be added as separate pages to this site.

But we still don't know where the chapel in Radstock itself was!

By Christopher Hill
On 28/04/2017

I've just come across this article about Radstock Methodist Chapel 

I've looked the location up, its on the west side of the modern Coomb End road, and is shown on the 25" First Edition Ordnance Survey map (1866) as the Primitive Methodist Chapel http://maps.nls.uk//view/122161292

Its strange that the next edition of the map (1904) marks the chapel as Wesleyan - but I wonder if the answer is connected to the fact that further south (on what is now Wells Road) there is a building marked in 1866 as a 'Meth F Chap' (presumably meaning Methodist Free Chapel (?) and on the 1904 map as a Methodist Free Church.


By Hannah Tweedie
On 17/01/2018