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Little Chapel

A Grade II Listed Building in Rodborough, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.7348 / 51°44'5"N

Longitude: -2.224 / 2°13'26"W

OS Eastings: 384629

OS Northings: 204030

OS Grid: SO846040

Mapcode National: GBR 1MR.2KJ

Mapcode Global: VH94Y.DNMH

Entry Name: Little Chapel

Listing Date: 22 June 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393338

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506376

Location: Rodborough, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5

County: Gloucestershire

District: Stroud

Civil Parish: Rodborough

Built-Up Area: Stroud

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Rodborough St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

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Listing Text


1862/0/10010 TABERNACLE WALK
22-JUN-09 (Northwest side)
Little Chapel

A chapel with meeting room under, formerly a coach house and stables, built in 1836 and converted to a chapel in 1925 by Sidney Barnsley and with interior fittings by Peter Waals and Norman Bucknall. Extended in 1936 by Peter Waals, with stained glass by Henry Payne, Edward Payne and Whitefriars.

MATERIALS: The building is constructed from squared and coursed limestone with limestone ashlar dressings, under Cotswold stone slate roofs. The interior has light oak panelling and fittings.

PLAN: The plan is simple, with a rectangular chapel with a slightly narrower oriel at the sanctuary end, linked by a short corridor to the roughly square vestibule at the east end.

EXTERIOR: The building consists of a single storey at street level, with another below set into the bank on which the chapel is situated. There are hipped roofs to all the elements. The main chapel range has four bays to the street; the main range has three carriage openings, two converted to segmental-arched, three-light oak windows and the third to a similar entrance doorway, all with diamond-pattern glazing. The westernmost bay is set back slightly, and marked by a lower roofline; it has a single round-arched window to the street frontage. A vestibule is reached via a short corridor to the east, set back from the street; the vestibule has its own entrance from the street, matching that to the main chapel range. Both have oak plank doors with mouldings, elaborate cast-iron strap-hinges and nail studding. The west end has a single, central window of a single, round-arched light, with the lower floor set back below, housing a C20 entrance door flanked by timber casement windows. The rear elevation has matching segmental-arched windows to the first floor, with segmental-arched sashes and a segmental-headed doorway below, lighting the meeting hall.

INTERIOR: The interior has good-quality, lightly-tooled ashlar walling above high, oak panelled wainscot; the other furnishings, in Cotswold Arts and Crafts style, are in matching light oak. Pews, pulpit, communion table, panelling and bespoke altar by Peter Waals are all in situ, together with cast iron fittings, lamps and door handles. The body of the chapel is separated from the later sanctuary by a broad, limestone ashlar arch, marking the narrowing of the building towards the west end. The sanctuary has high, moulded panelling, inscribed YE SHALL FIND THE BABE / LYING IN A MANGER to either side of the altar. Three stained-glass windows around the sanctuary depict The Light of the World (by Edward Payne, 1947), The Nativity (Henry Payne, 1936) and The Good Shepherd (Whitefriars, after 1942). The open roof structure consists of king-post trusses with single purlins, the ceiling between them plastered and limewashed. The iron fittings throughout the building are by Norman Bucknall, and are in a matching Arts and Crafts idiom. The vestibule has oak panelling and iron fittings which match those in the chapel, also by Waals and Bucknall respectively, and a coloured glass window with the insignia of the Tri-Sigma Guild, the junior congregation for which the chapel was created. The lower ground floor has a single, large meeting space, together with lavatories at the west end.

HISTORY: On Sunday 1 July 1739, George Whitefield (1714-1770), contemporary and colleague of John Wesley at Oxford and great Calvinist Methodist leader, preached in the open air at Whitefield¿s Tump on Minchinhampton Common. A young man in the crowd, Thomas Adams, was so moved by Whitefield's sermon that he gave land at nearby Rodborough to build the Tabernacle as an independent, non-conformist place of worship in 1749, following Whitefield's teaching. The original building was completed in 1750. In 1836, with a large and flourishing congregation, the Tabernacle was extended to the north, necessitating the demolition of its existing coach house. As a result, a new carriage house, with stable below, was built across the lane in the same year.

During the incumbency of the Reverend Charles Ernest Watson (1869-1942), the number of young members of the congregation had increased significantly, and there was a successful Sunday School, together with a Scout troop which had been formed in 1909, meeting in the former stable below the coach house, and later, a Guide company. Reverend Watson met weekly with the young people over the age for Sunday School, but too young to be fully received into the main congregation, and formed for them their own group, the Tri-Sigma Guild. He had a vision of converting the coach house to a worship space for the group, as well as for church meetings. His idea was taken up by a local businessman, Reginald Tyrell, who offered a sum between £500 and £700 for the conversion of the building into a chapel. The conversion was designed in 1925 by Sidney Barnsley, the architect and designer who was one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts group based at nearby Sapperton; the work to the chapel also included joinery by Peter Waals and ironwork by Norman Bucknall, who were working as part of the same workshops. In 1936, following the death of his wife Emma, Mr Tyrell gave further funds for the extension of the chapel, to incorporate a projecting bay (known by the congregation as the oriel) at the west end, and a new vestibule to the east. Due to the presence on the site of two beech trees which were the last vestiges of the ancient Rodborough Wood, the oriel was made slightly narrower than the body of the chapel, and the vestibule was detached from rest of the building, and linked by a short corridor which ran behind one of the trees. The work was undertaken under the aegis of Peter Waals, who created all the joinery elements in the new extensions, with further work by Bucknall. The new oriel housed the sanctuary, with three windows, to which stained glass was gradually added: the first in 1936, by Henry Payne, who formed part of the same Arts and Crafts group, depicts the Nativity. In 1947, his son Edward added a window after William Holman Hunt's famous painting, The Light of the World. The third window, a depiction of Jesus as The Good Shepherd, by the Whitefriars company in London, was placed in memory of Reverend C E Watson, and put in after his death in 1942.

The Little Chapel continues to serve as a subsidiary place of worship for the congregation of the Rodborough Tabernacle.

SOURCES: Rodborough Tabernacle Church minute book, Gloucestershire Archives D4248 3/1; Photographs of the Little Chapel after conversion (1925), Gloucestershire Archives D4248 12/3; David Verey & Alan Brooks, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire I: The Cotswolds (1999), 579.

The Little Chapel at Tabernacle Walk is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* The building was constructed in 1836 as a carriage house for the adjacent Rodborough Tabernacle, a non-conformist place of worship opened in 1750 to follow the teaching of George Whitefield, the great Calvinist Methodist leader
* It underwent a high-quality conversion in 1925 to a place of worship for the Tri-Sigma Guild, a group set up to provide a path for younger worshippers from Sunday School to full membership of the congregation of the Tabernacle
* The conversion was designed by the architect and designer Sidney Barnsley and fitted out with good joinery and ironwork by Peter Waals and Norman Bucknall, who were working with the Barnsleys at the renowned Sapperton workshops, focus of the Cotswold Arts and Crafts movement in the early C20
* It has group value with the adjacent Rodborough Tabernacle (listed Grade II) and the attached Manse (listed Grade II) as well as Tabernacle Cottage, with all of which it has a functional as well as a visual relationship

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

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