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Conisbrough Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

A Grade II Listed Building in Conisbrough, Doncaster

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Latitude: 53.4808 / 53°28'50"N

Longitude: -1.2289 / 1°13'44"W

OS Eastings: 451268

OS Northings: 398503

OS Grid: SK512985

Mapcode National: GBR MXV5.QZ

Mapcode Global: WHDD7.3R2Y

Plus Code: 9C5WFQJC+8C

Entry Name: Conisbrough Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

Listing Date: 19 March 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424608

Location: Doncaster, DN12

County: Doncaster

Electoral Ward/Division: Conisbrough

Built-Up Area: Conisbrough

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Conisbrough St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield

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Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. 1876 by J Moxen and Son of Barnsley. Orange pressed brick, sandstone dressings, Tiled roof. Italianate.


Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. 1876 by J Moxen and Son of Barnsley. Orange pressed brick, sandstone dressings, Tiled roof. Italianate.

PLAN: rectangular building with curved east end. Three full storeys of double-height chapel with upper gallery and lower ground floor. Partial basement at east end.

EXTERIOR: the symmetrical front elevation faces west onto Chapel Lane. Viewed from the road it is of two storeys and three bays with a broken triangular pediment over the slightly-projecting central bay and stone parapets to the outer bays. The elevation is of orange brick mostly in Flemish bond with a sandstone plinth, moulded sandstone impost bands to the windows, moulded entablature band and projecting eaves cornice flanking a brick frieze band. There is also a stone band between the ground and first floors which is plain to the outer bays and moulded to the central bay over the paired doorways. The round-headed doorways are reached by a shared flight of three steps with iron side railings. They have stone voussoirs with giant keystones framing the semi-circular fanlights. Both doorways have double doors with three vertical panels to each door with glazing to the centre of each panel, moulded timber lintels, and segmental glazing bars to the fanlights. The two outer bays both have a round-headed window on the ground floor with similar stone voussoirs with giant keystones and stone sills. The semi-circular window heads have segmental glazing bars and the windows below have small pane glazing. The central bay has a stone plaque above the moulded band over the doorways which is relief-carved WESLEY CHAPEL. A.D. 1876, the lettering coloured red. On the first floor is a central tripartite, round-headed window with lower, narrower outer lights, and single, round-headed windows to the outer bays. They are similarly detailed with stone voussoirs and giant keystones, and also have stone sill bands. The glazing is similar to that on the ground floor. At the apex of the broken pediment is a small, semi-circular window with a projecting sill band on plain consoles, stone voussoirs and a shaped giant keystone. The roof is not visible, but is hipped with a double-pitch to the rear of the triangular pediment which forms a gable.

The side elevations are both of four pier and panel bays with four round-headed windows on the ground and first floors. These have narrow bands of buff brick at the window impost level, and a buff brick eaves band with shaped stone eaves brackets. The lower ground floor on both sides has square-headed windows with a lintel band of buff bricks. The left-hand bay of the north side elevation has a doorway rather than a window. The round-headed windows have timber cross-frames with plain semi-circular heads, some blind, and the square-headed windows have timber cross-frames with rectangular lights over.

The curved rear wall steps in from the plane of the side walls and has a shallow projecting chimney stack in the centre. The first floor has a single round-headed window on each side of the stack, with two similar windows on each side on the ground floor, and a single round-headed window to each side on the lower ground floor. Beneath are blocked basement windows with flat-headed stone lintels, and on the left-hand, south side is a blocked round-headed doorway.

INTERIOR: the chapel is largely unaltered and there are many doors and architraves throughout the building. The narrow, full-width entrance lobby has two recessed double doorways opening into the chapel. The jambs and soffits have board panelling and the double doors are each of three vertical panels with diagonal and vertical board panelling. On the left-hand, north side is a staircase up to the chapel gallery with a mahogany balustrade on the right-hand side. It has a heavy, turned and moulded newel post and turned and moulded balusters. On the right-hand, south side is a doorway to the staircase down to the lower ground floor, which has a simpler, mahogany balustrade to one side with a turned newel post. Within the chapel the floor slopes gently down towards the rostrum platform at the east end which stands on a shallow semi-circular step. Three curved blocks of enclosed pews face the rostrum platform separated by two narrow, angled aisles leading down from the two doorways. The pews have curved backs of vertical pitch-pine board panelling with mahogany top boards with prayer book shelves and circular mouldings, and are enclosed with individual doors off the aisles. The side panels and doors have inset alternating diagonal board panels which form a zig-zag pattern and are topped with mahogany circular mouldings. The doors are closed by small, circular, brass catches. The large rostrum platform is of mahogany with round-headed panelling to the base, and symmetrical, curved staircases rising on either side to an enclosed seating area with a projecting lectern. The staircases have turned mahogany newel posts and swept handrails with decorative iron balusters. The projecting, semi-circular, moulded lectern has fluted pilasters and relief-carved foliate panels, with rectangular panelling to the enclosed seating area. In front of the rostrum platform is a semi-circular, mahogany communion rail on decorative, iron legs. The walls have vertical boarded dados, and the east wall behind the rostrum platform has two flanking doorways with moulded architraves and four-panelled doors. Above is a lozenge-shaped gallery supported on circular iron columns with Corinthian capitals. It has a panelled, mahogany front with an inset, circular clock opposite the rostrum platform. The gallery has dais seating with a board panelling screen around the head of the stairs. At the east end are two stained glass windows depicting Christ as The Light of the World and as The Lamb of God.

The lower ground floor has three rows of circular cast-iron columns with plain moulded capitals supporting the chapel above. Stone steps in the south-east corner lead down to the partial basement.
Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that the inserted kitchen on the lower ground floor and the lavatories at the east end of the lower ground floor and on the north-east side of the east end on the ground floor are not of special architectural or historic interest. In addition the low, brick wall in front of the chapel forecourt is not intact having lost the original surmounting iron railings and central double gates and so is not included in the List entry.


The first known Methodist chapel in Conisbrough was built in 1810 on the west side of Castle Avenue. By 1874 it was considered that a bigger chapel was needed, and initially plans were drawn up for a new building on this site. However, in 1875 it was agreed to purchase the site of the present chapel from a Mr Cheetham for £300 and new plans were drawn up by the architects J Moxen and Son of Barnsley. The foundation stone was laid in April 1876 and the name plaque on the chapel is dated 1876. The official opening was reported in October 1877, when it was described as built of pressed brick with stone dressings in an Italianate style with a Welsh slate roof. The chapel provided accommodation for 500 people, and as the ground sloped down from the road a large schoolroom and two classrooms were built beneath. The chapel interior had a rostrum platform and gallery of mahogany, with enclosed pitch-pine pews with mahogany-topped doors. The schoolroom had a varnished pitch-pine dado. The building cost £3,800 of which about £3,000 had been raised prior to the opening service.

In 1878 a balcony organ was added, which was rebuilt and enlarged in 1912. It has now been removed.

In January 1903 fire broke out in one of the vestries when sparks from the firegrate ignited the carpet. It was said that practically the whole of the lower part of the premises was destroyed and two firemen were overcome by fumes and had to be carried out of the building by their comrades. The chapel itself was undamaged.

Between 1902 and 1930 a rectangular building identified as a Sunday School was built to the rear of the chapel. This was demolished after 1994. At an unknown date the fireplaces at the east end of the original building were blocked as was the basement doorway.

The chapel stopped being used for services in 2009.

Reasons for Listing

Conisbrough Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, of 1876 by J Moxen and Son of Barnsley, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Interior: a good example of a Methodist chapel, the focus being on preaching with a particularly impressive rostrum platform at the east end with a semi-circular communion rail in front;
* Fixtures and fittings: the chapel demonstrates a clear quality of craftsmanship and materials in the use of polished mahogany for the eye-catching rostrum platform and balcony front to the lozenge-shaped gallery, with the curved blocks of enclosed, box pews an unusual feature for this date. The chapel also contains mahogany balustrades to the staircases and many original doors and architraves throughout the building;
* Architectural interest: as a Wesleyan Methodist chapel with a well-designed classical façade and a strong street presence;
* Plan form: a characteristic Methodist arrangement with the hilly terrain utilised to provide a three-storey building with school accommodation beneath the double-height chapel with upper gallery.

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