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Primitive Methodist Chapel at Witcha House

A Grade II Listed Building in Ramsbury, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4611 / 51°27'40"N

Longitude: -1.5687 / 1°34'7"W

OS Eastings: 430062

OS Northings: 173663

OS Grid: SU300736

Mapcode National: GBR 5Y7.67D

Mapcode Global: VHC1K.RJKR

Entry Name: Primitive Methodist Chapel at Witcha House

Listing Date: 15 June 2007

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392029

English Heritage Legacy ID: 503159

Location: Ramsbury, Wiltshire, SN8

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Ramsbury

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

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Listing Text


362/0/10007 Primitive Methodist Chapel at Witcha H
15-JUN-07 ouse

A Primitive Methodist Chapel, dating from 1859. Constructed from flint rubble and brick on a brick plinth, under a Welsh slate roof, the single storey building is a simple rectangle on plan, and is orientated north east-south west.

EXTERIOR: The main elevation, which is built wholly of brick laid in Flemish bond, has a central entrance door with fanlight above, flanked by two round-headed sash windows, all with slightly projecting brick surrounds, and the windows having dressed stone cills. There is a plaque above the doorway and a fixed, diamond-shaped gable light with a plain timber frame. The gables have raised verges, with brick copings above moulded stone kneelers. The side elevations each have a pair of four-over-twelve-pane timber sashes in segmental headed openings, with brick quoins, lacing courses and dressings set in the flint wall. The windows have dressed stone cills, with chamfered central sections, identical to those used for the main elevation. The rear wall is similar but blind.

INTERIOR: The interior fittings have largely been removed, though the chapel has high wainscot of tongue-and-groove panelling running around the whole room under the windows. The windows have moulded architraves. The roof has two trusses formed from common rafters with a collar and arched braces, with a slender iron bar reaching vertically from the centre of the collar to the ridge piece; these, together with single purlins and common rafters, form the entire structure. There is no ceiling, and the underside of the roof is clad in hardwood.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: The chapel is reached by a short flight of stone steps from the south-west, set in to the rising ground.

HISTORY: The Primitive Methodist chapel was constructed in 1859 in the small hamlet of Witcha, a few miles outside Ramsbury. Ramsbury had a long history of dissenting religion, with clandestine Presbyterian meetings having been held in the years leading up to toleration in 1689, by the local curate, Henry Dent. The Presbyterians had a chapel in the village in the C18. Later, a Wesleyan group based itself at Ramsbury Park Farm, where Wesley himself preached; whilst the Anglican community in the village vehemently opposed the rise of the Wesleyans, they quickly became an established and influential force. The Primitive Methodists were therefore able to establish themselves in the area after their foundation at the beginning of the C19. The chapel is in the garden of Witcha House, a C19 house, now much altered. The chapel became redundant in the mid-C20, and its interior fittings were largely removed. The chapel was latterly used as a summerhouse and home office by the inhabitants of the house, and has been maintained by the trust which owned it until recently.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Primitive Methodism derived from a secession in 1811 from the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Staffordshire. The earliest Primitive Methodist chapel opened in 1815. The chapels constructed by the sect were small and very simple buildings, which provided for small local congregations led by lay preachers. Primitive Methodism was most popular among poorer, rural populations, and this is reflected in the modesty of the chapels they constructed. The Primitive Methodist Chapel at Witcha, which dates from 1859, is of good quality and has clear architectural merit, entirely reflecting the tradition of Non-Conformist building in the C19. The simplicity of this small scale building is enhanced by the quality of its craftsmanship and materials, and the few carefully-chosen details which provide some subtle adornment. Although its interior fittings have been removed, the building is otherwise completely intact and unaltered, and the chapel's form and function remain immediately comprehensible.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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