Brassey Green Baptist Chapel

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1471781
Date first listed:
10-Feb-2021
Statutory Address:
Huxley Lane, Brassey Green, Tiverton, Cheshire West and Chester, CW6 9UG

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
Huxley Lane, Brassey Green, Tiverton, Cheshire West and Chester, CW6 9UG

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District:
Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Tiverton
National Grid Reference:
SJ5272060678

Summary

Baptist chapel pre-dating 1742, with a secondary vestry and late C20 alterations.

Reasons for Designation

Brassey Green Baptist Chapel, of pre-1742 date, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* from 1700 to 1850 most buildings that retain a significant proportion of their original fabric, as here, are considered to be of special interest; * the chapel retains significant original fabric, including all elevations with typically modest decoration, and window openings; * it is a relatively rare survivor of a small mid-C18 rural Baptist chapel; * it possesses a modest architectural style favoured for early non-conformist chapels.

Historic interest:

* the chapel is a tangible expression of a long tradition of Baptist worship in the area, dating back to the mid-C17, whose isolated rural site was governed by the Five Mile Act of 1665.

History

Baptist beliefs have been held in the Brassey Green area since the English Civil Wars. Religious intolerance resulted in The Five Mile Act of 1665, with Baptist Ministers being ejected and small groups of worshipers having to gather in private houses or buildings, at least five miles from any Anglican church. In 1669, Bishop Wilkins, attempted to establish an understanding of dissent in his diocese and found that 'Baptists were in great numbers at Tarporley and Bressie Green'. Following the passing of the Toleration Act of 1689, Edward Allen registered his house 'at Brassie Green in Tiverton' for worship, in accordance with the terms of the act.

It is unclear when the chapel was built, but it is considered to have been after 1715, when an unofficial census of dissenting interest recorded only three Baptist chapels in Cheshire: Hill Cliffe (re-built), Nantwich (demolished), and Warford (listed Grade II*, National Heritage List for England (NHLE): 1329677). The chapel was registered at the Court of Quarter Sessions - 11 January 1742 as the 'New Erected Building' at 'Brescie Green in Tiverton' and in the same year, Thomas Walley of Rhode Street bequeathed a pre-existing ‘Chappel and land at Brassie Green’ purchased off the Reverend Mr Josiah Thompson and Mrs Sarah Travers. It is thought that the Reverend Thompson and Mrs Travers were benefactors from out of the county who funded the building of the chapel, with a view to Thomas Walley purchasing it upon completion. It stands in a sub-rectangular graveyard, with burial stones dating from the 1770s to the 1970s, and occupies an isolated rural site influenced by the Five Mile Act.

It is unclear when the vestry extension was built, but it is present on the 1840 Tithe Map and it may have been built as the minister’s accommodation; an archive photograph shows a chimney in the roof of the extension. It is unknown whether the building had a permanent baptistry; however, it is known that a temporary one was erected in the churchyard at one time. Following 1866, attendances dropped off at Brassey Green, and by the end of the C19 the chapel was only used for funeral services and an annual anniversary service. The dependents of Thomas Walley finally gave up ownership during the C20 and it fell into disrepair; however, a programme of restoration took place between 1983 and 1884, including the insertion of a partition wall, allowing space for a kitchen. The chapel is no longer used for worship (2020), but is still used occasionally by the Scouts and other youth groups.

Details

Baptist chapel pre-dating 1742, with a secondary vestry and late C20 alterations.

MATERIALS: plain red brick, with some minor infill. It has a gabled Welsh slate roof, with a lower secondary gabled slate roof over the vestry that merges with the southern slope of the roof. The gable ends of both roofs have plain timber barge boards.

PLAN: a single-storey L-plan structure, with the rectangular main body of the chapel roughly aligned east to west, and a small single-storey vestry built against the south elevation.

EXTERIOR: the main entrance is situated in the west gable, and has a segmental brick arch lintel, an ashlar stone doorstep and is closed by double timber board doors. A leaded oculus window is set within the apex of the gable, above the doorway. The corners of the chapel are formed by projecting brick pilasters that wrap around two sides, with simple capitals and friezes formed by projecting brickwork courses. A similar projecting pilaster divides the north elevation into two-bays, each bay with a window opening beneath a segmental brick arch lintel, fitted with a late-C20 eight-light timber casement, which has an inward opening bottom-hung top panel, and is protected by a wire-mesh screen. A brick architrave, formed by projecting courses of brickwork, runs beneath the soffit of the roof on either side of the chapel, and plastic rainwater goods are supported on a timber soffit board. A single window of an identical design exists in the south elevation and two similar 6-light windows are set in the east gable. The vestry is built against the eastern end of the south elevation, with a south facing gable wall; it has some patched brickwork, with secondary ladies' and gentlemen's lavatory doors, flanked by small square windows, set beneath concrete lintels. The rear door is situated in the east elevation of the vestry; it has a segmental brick arch lintel and butts up against the south-east corner pilaster of the chapel.

INTERIOR: the rectangular-plan auditorium is entered direct from the doorway in the west gable; it has unadorned painted plaster walls fitted with plain un-painted timber skirting boards, and has a C19 black and red quarry-tile floor. The roof structure is obscured by a plaster ceiling; although the base of a centrally placed, principal rafter truss, with raking struts and a tie beam, rests on projecting side piers. The original auditorium space has been divided by a transverse partition wall, forming a kitchen at the eastern end; it is entered from the auditorium by a doorway on the right-hand side. The kitchen is fitted with C20 kitchen units, with plain white tile splash-backs and a modern tiled floor. The southern end of the room extends into the vestry extension, with the rear door in the east wall and the rear wall of the externally accessed lavatories projecting back into the room, with storage space over within the slope of the roof.

Sources

Books and journals
Thomas, M F (Author), Brassey Green and Tarporley - A Baptist History, (1984), 1-45
Other
Miller, G, Brassey Green Baptist Chapel, Heritage Assessment, 2018
The Will of Thomas Walley of Tarporley, Gentleman (Cheshire Records Office WS 1746)
Tiverton Parish Tithe Map 1840 (Cheshire Records Office EDT 401/2)

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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