Clutton Hill Wesleyan Methodist chapel.

Clutton Hill Wesleyan Methodist chapel

Perhaps one of the more unusual Societies in the Wesleyan Church was that which formed in the tiny hamlet of about a dozen houses of Clutton Hill, Clutton, near Bristol. This was located just north of the village of Clutton in Somerset (now Bath and North East Somerset) in the North Somerset coal mining area.

If you looked for it today you would have great difficulty in pinpointing the site, as it was not in the form of a traditional Chapel building, but what appeared to be a two storey extension to the side of an adjoining dwelling; it was probably used as a malt house or grain store. The upper floor, where the services were held was accessed by a flight of external steps and sometimes referred to as The Upper Room.

The Society seems to have been formed around 1850 and as was quite usual,  began meeting in local cottages. The leaders of this group were Francis Beacham a local coal mine owner and part of the Beauchamp family which later dominated the Somerset coalfield industry for many years. He was assisted  by Richard Lewis and Jonas Cook and in 1856 the Midsomer Norton Wesleyan Circuit undertook to plan preachers at Clutton Hill. The building was never registered for marriages.

Over the next one hundred years the fortunes of the Society fluctuated, often following the fortunes (or misfortunes) of the local collieries.

By 1960 the membership was reduced to four, with only monthly services taking place, at which time (April 24th) the last service of worship was held. The Society closed and the small financial balance was used for a Portable Communion Set ( to be used by the Minister at Clutton Methodist Church), engraved with the words “A MEMORIAL TO CLUTTON HILL METHODIST CHAPEL”.

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