Holcombe Wesleyan Methodist chapel

The 1893 Holcombe Wesleyan Methodist chapel
courtesy Chris Kippen
The old Holcombe Wesleyan Methodist chapel
From “Holcombe” Nora K James
Holcombe Wesleyan Methodist chapel

High up in the Mendip Hills, about 6 miles south of Radstock, is the former plague village of Holcombe, ravaged by the Black Death in 1348. The surviving villagers moved to a new location about a mile to the south.

John Wesley first visited the area in 1745.

The first chapel was built in 1774, helped by the generosity of the Lord of the Manor , John Salmon, an acquaintance of John Wesley. He gave the site, the old village green, and generously subscribed to the building fund.

John Wesley became the first trustee and the chapel opened in 1774 thanks to the generosity of local villagers, as well as John Salmon. In 1860 a school room was built on some adjoining land. The school room still exists in residential use.

Due to the continued deterioration of the chapel building and its size, being too small to accommodate the congregation, it was demolished and a new one built to replace it.  This was designed by Mr Bowring, an architect from Wells.  It was opened on 11th December 1893, with the President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference, Revd. J H Pope, giving the address.

In 1974 bi-centennial celebrations were held and the services of Thanksgiving were led by Revd Nigel Gilson, then President of the Methodist Conference and who had grown up in the village.

For many years Holcombe had been in the Shepton Mallet Circuit but re-organisation in 1964 placed it in the new Frome and Shepton Circuit. By 1975 it was transferred to the Radstock Circuit and in 1979 to the newly formed Midsomer Norton Circuit (Radstock Section).

By 2003 the main church building was closed but a worshipping Methodist presence was continued in the schoolroom. This was also used by other village groups. This continued until 2013 when the North East Somerset and Bath Circuit decided that activity should cease.

The  buildings were sold for conversion to residential use.

Acknowledgements and references

 “Holcombe a brief history”    Nora K James    2000


The old Chapel    Nora K James as above

The new Chapel  Chris Kippin ( with thanks)

Additional information. Mike Evans  former Methodist Lay Worker at Holcombe

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