In the reign of King Charles II there is a reference in Domestic State papers for 1672, an entry licensing Jonathon Smith of Tedbery, to use his house as a place of worship. A reference in the Parish Registers between 1822-37 mentions a church formed in 1698. For other licences issued see here.
Jonathon Smith was one of the 2000 clergy to be ejected from their living by the state for not signing up to the Act of Uniformity – his was Hempstead, GLS but the 1802 publication “The Non-Conformist’s Memorial” by Edmund Calamy and Samuel Palmer makes no mention of his time in Tetbury, it just states that he [Jonathon Smith jun.] taught at Ross [on Wye, HEF]. Note the addition of ‘jun’ that appears in the ancient book, which is a reprint of a publication from over a century earlier.
The Presbyterian Building - see also Chipping Steps Burial ground
A memorial plaque on the wall of a church in Llandrindod Wells pays tribute to the Rev Thomas Jones of Tetbury, who founded the church in Llandrindod following a 30 year term of service in Tetbury where he built a church at his own expense. He died in 1745 at the age of 70 and was described as the first pastor of the Independent Chapel at Tetbury.
There is not much information following Rev Jones period of ministry apart from reference to some thorough repairs and a reopening service in 1805.
In January 1857 Thomas Page of Hanham was invited to occupy the pulpit on probation for the month, and on 5 February a letter was sent inviting him to become the new pastor. He conducted his first meeting on 27 March 1857 and preached from Romans 15 v.30. The Monmouthshire Congregational magazine 'The Rivers Rise' reported that Rev. Thomas Page had removed to Fairford, Gloucestershire and had been given a bag of gold sovereigns by his last congregation. The periodical was dated 1st January 1868.
Land in The Chipping was purchased by the church for £160, from Henry Witchell. The foundation stone was laid on 23 May 1861. After the buildings completion the old chapel at the bottom of Chipping Steps became a burial ground for the Congregationalists from 1864-1945. A note in the chapel’s register indicates that the new building opened on 2 September 1862.
On 10 March 1901 a fire in the gallery during morning worship was quickly dealt with by the Tetbury fire brigade. The then minister, Rev. Spry managed to hold the fire at bay by pouring cold water on the flames until the fire brigade arrived. Part of the gallery was removed as it was now unsafe.
In 1992 The Tetbury Congregationalists (or United Reformed Church, as the congregational movement joined with the URC nationally in 1972) and Methodists joined together to make the church known today as Christ Church.
A noteable work, written by Robert Smith, ‘Gathered Together - the history of nonconformity in Tetbury’ is worth getting if you can get hold of a copy. Originally sold to raise funds for the Christchurch Development Appeal.
Chipping Steps Building:
Rev Thomas Jones
Rev John Davis [1769-1861]; studied at Trevecca College.
Rev James Gough 1821-1856 - Polling list of 1830s lists him as ‘minister of independent chapel, entitled to annual rent of 40s, issuing out of freehold house’ tenant was William Lamb.
At the Congregational Church building on The Chipping:
1859 directory lists Rev T. Page, Cotwells.
1863 directory lists Rev T. Page The Chipping
Rev James Grosvenor
Rev T. Wesley Brown
Rev Pearson Cooper
Rev Elijah Spry
Rev W.H. Dash
Rev Richard Ball
Rev T.D. Watkins
Mr J.B.Gotts honorary pastor
Rev James Vaughan
Rev John H. Collins
Rev T.Howard Owen
Rev D.H.Parry Jones