Kingston, Isle of Purbeck

The former Wesleyan chapel, Kingston, Summer 2022
The former Wesleyan chapel Kingston, Summer 2022

Not the only ‘Kingston’ in Dorset, this was the seventh of the eight  chapels in our tour of the Isle of Purbeck in 2022. The chapel was built in 1861 at Lynch at the foot of Kingston Hill.  The Dorset Online Parish Clerk includes a copy of a notice of sale in 1938. It is now a private residence.

Bob Dorey, a former carpenter on the Encombe estate, tells in his memories published in 1987 how his family was involved in both the Wesleyan chapel and the Earl of Eldon’s private chapel.

‘People wonder why there are two churches in Kingston village. Well, Sir John Scott … decided to build a church in keeping with his Estate .. in the 1830s … This church had a gallery in which a small band of musicians played; both my great-grandfather and grandfather were among them. When  the Second Earl and Countess came into the Estate the Countess had an organ installed (so out went grandfather’s cello!). When the Third Earl took over he decided to build a new and bigger church … with a ring of eight bells … When the bells … in 1879 … were being hung in the new bell chamber, the Earl had approached my father whilst he was at work in Encombe gardens and said “Stephen, I would like you to be one of my ringers on Sundays.” “I’m sorry, m’Lord” replied father, “but I’m a Wesleyan.” “That needn’t matter” said His Lordship. “You can go on down to the chapel after the peal when the single bell tolls for five minutes up to the time for the service to start.” So father did that for forty years; arriving in chapel when the third hymn was about to start he went round with the collection box during the singing, then gave mum a smile as he settled beside her to listen to the sermon …’

(In 1921 the church was conveyed to the Church Commissioners as the parish church of Kingston. The older church is now a private dwelling.)

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