The Particular Baptist Church, which it is thought was formed in 1721, has occupied the site on Church Street since at least 1764. In 1725 a newly built house in Tetbury was registered for Baptist use. In the 1735 religious census 38 people were meeting regularly. In 1799 between 40-50 members met in a 'neat chapel which lay in a retired court in the centre of the town and was entered by a gateway.' The building was built principally at the expense of the Overbury family, whose progenitor, Mr John Overbury, was for many years pastor of the place. Over 200 were meeting in the religious census of 1851 but by the 1970s the congregation tended to number no more than 12.
The Rev. Jonas James Kiddle was called to the pastorate in 1858 and on Good Friday was in place as the new pastor. The General Baptist Repository and Missionary Observer Vol V 1858 has the following report [abridged]:
‘On Good Friday Mr E.H.Burton visited Tetbury Chapel and Dr Thomas, president of Pontypool College along with about a dozen other ministers present on the occasion of the re opening of the chapel and in recognition and the settlement of the new pastor. The weather was rain and sleet but the chapel was filled to overflowing. The evening in particular was very crowded. More persons were outside than inside and had to go away.’
In the boundary of the Church Street property are two confronting buildings, being the present chapel and an earlier building thought to have been its predecessor. The earliest building was built of rubble with a stone slate roof, with two gables at the front, in each of which there is a small attic window. Below these, larger windows have been inserted, comprising round arched heads of bricks and keystones. The doorway is of a similar date and style, and is positioned between the two windows. The present chapel, built of stone with a hipped stone slate roof is thought to be as late as 1800. The frontage has two doorways and three upper windows, again round-arched but with stone heads and keystones. The interior has an L shaped gallery.
Strict Baptists or Calvanists were established in the town by the 1860s and built a chapel on The Green in 1871/72. When this sect disbanded in the 1940s the chapel was eventually used by the Roman Catholics.
"There are a few more details of the work at Tetbury although it is a matter for profound grief that the beautiful little chapel erected in 1872 should now be a RC church. From 1852 meetings were held in various rooms in the town until in 1857 a chapel was erected near the national schools and was opened by Messrs Mortimer, Tanner and Beard. What happened to this chapel is not clear but in 1865 when Mr Farvis went among the people they seem to have been meeting elsewhere. A second chapel was opened for them in 1872 by a B Taylor of Manchester and Forster of Witham. Mr Farvis was pastor until 1877. By 1942 the chapel had been closed and sold by order of the charity commissioners." [extract from Strict Baptist chapels of England – Wiltshire and the west; Oliver, Robert W 1968]
At a meeting held in May 1810 it was agreed to pay Mr Godwin of Tetbury for his work around the villages surrounding the town Mr Millard was to be allowed financial assistance for similar works too.
Rev Joseph Burchell [died 17 July 1826] - his grandson Thomas was baptised by immersion on 28 November 1816 with eight others. A note in the members book of Horsley Baptist circuit records that he went as a missionary to Jamaica in 1823.
J O Mitchell
Rev J.J. Kiddle
Charles W Vernon
George Morgan, father of Campbell Morgan who was born at Cutwell Villa
Rev Thomas Jones
John B Brasted - a report in the Baptist Magazine for the year remarked on the settlement in February with a service led by Rev.T.Page (Independent church). Mr Cavil, Mr Peglar, senior deacon Mr Mapson and Rev.Brown of Cirencester led the proceedings. Attendance was 'large and gratifying'.
Rev Robert Bray
Rev T Napolean Smith
Rev N Trussler
Gloucestershire Archives hold a microfilm of the Accounts etc of the Horsley Baptist Circuit - check the nonconformist records catalogue [finding aids] for full reference.
Inventory of Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting Houses in Central England: Gloucestershire ISBN 0113000081
VCH: Gloucestershire Vol.11 – available online at www.british-history.ac.uk
Images of England: www.imagesofengland.org.uk
Baptist church history
Strict Baptist Chapels of England: Wiltshire and the West; Oliver, Robert W 1968
Baptist church magazines available through Google Books