Gloucestershire Places of Worship

Jerusalem Chapel ("The Old Mission Room"), Cheltenham (81k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
Jerusalem Chapel ("The Old Mission Room"), Cheltenham
Jerusalem Chapel ("The Old Mission Room"),
Upper Bath Street,
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Cemeteries

We believe the Chapel did NOT have a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded about 1822, though it is now closed, but we don't yet know when.

An Historical Gazetteer of Cheltenham provides information that Jerusalem Chapel stood on the south side of Upper Bath Street (formerly Union Street), at the back of The Exmouth Arms. According to the Gazetteer, its position is indicated on an 1834 Map, when Upper Bath Street was called Union Street.

There are two returns for a place of worship referred to as "Upper Bath Street Chapel" on the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/344/2/1/21 and a return following HO 129/344/2/1/27). Although the information on the second differs slightly, it was labelled (presumably by the returning officer) as a duplicate. Both were completed by Caleb Parker, of Suffolk Road, who on the first entry signs himself as "Lay Minister".

The first entry refers to a building erected "abought 1827" as a separate building, used exclusively as a place of worship, for a congregation of "Gospel Town & Village Misionary Brethren". Underneath this is written, in another hand, "Independent". The building had seating for 200. The estimated number of worshippers on March 30 was 50 to morning service, 45 in the afternoon and 60 in the evening; and there was an average of 27 Sunday Scholars. "This place of Worship was reopened after being closed for some time on Sunday, March 2nd by a few Working men ... the Pulpit services are conducted by Unpaid Preachers".

The second entry refers to a building erected "about 1822", with again, seating for 200, all free, for a congregation of "Congregationalist". The usual number to attend on the Sabbath was 42 in the morning, 27 in the afternoon and 56 in the evening, with 30 Sunday Scholars to morning and afternoon classes.

From the above, I have concluded that in 1851 the Chapel was being used by more than one congregation, both of which might have been considered "Independent". Thereafter, however, it appears to have had a limited life as a public place of worship, as it is not marked on the earliest Old Map available to me (OS 1885 1:500). Nevertheless it has retained something of its religious heritage, as over 150 years later, in 2012, it is still known as the "Old Mission Room". It has every appearance from the front of being an ordinary terraced house, but as can be seen from our photograph, it has a large cross on its rear wall - visible from the Bath Road.

Denomination

Now or formerly Independent/Congregational.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.

Maps

This Chapel was located at OS grid reference SO9462521221. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Reference

  • Places recorded by the Registrar General under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (2010) is available as a "Freedom of Information" document from the website What Do They Know.
Last updated on 28 Apr 2013 at 11:26.

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This Report was created 13 Nov 2017 - 21:06:09 GMT from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 30 Aug 2017 at 16:10.

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