Gloucestershire Places of Worship

Mariners Church, Gloucester (1) (61k) Mariners Church, Gloucester (2) (66k) Mariners Church, Gloucester (3) (74k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of John Williams
Mariners Church, Gloucester
Mariners Church,
The Docks, GL1 2EN,
Gloucester, Gloucestershire.

Cemeteries

We believe the Church does 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 in 1849, and we understand it is still open.

This delightful Church was built in 1849 (the opening ceremony was 11th February that year), initially for the workers at Gloucester Docks, and crews of vessels moored there, though of course it has always been open to Gloucester residents themselves. It is a simple building with just a nave and bell tower.

The notice board provides the following account of its history:

"The area around the Mariners' Chapel was once frequented by seamen from many nations who came on the ships that discharged cargoes in the docks. They were a colourful addition to the local scene, and they brought good business to the many public houses in the streets around the docks.

A local newspaper account of 1860 describes the many nationalities that could be seen and heard at the Docks: 'Here we see a Frenchman from the rich vine districts of Brittany, an Italian from the fertile plantations around Palermo or a swarthy Negro escaped from the Slave States of America. These, with a few Americans and a sprinkling of Norwegians, Danes, Dutchmen and Germans, compose the motley crews of the arrivals in our port'.

The chaplain of the Mariner's Chapel welcomed all seamen, organising services in foreign languages when appropriate and using a portable organ for services on the quayside. There are references to the chaplain giving out religious tracts in many languages, including Welsh, Hindustani and even Chinese. Spanish seamen brought onions to Gloucester and sold them in the streets to local housewives. Seamen often ended up in court for being drunk and disorderly, but as they were usually about to leave the port, action was rarely taken unless the offence was serious."

Today, following the Dock area's redevelopment in recent years, it continues to be available as a place of worship for those living in the Dockland area, and as an attraction from outside; and many of the Dock's visitors now call in specially to visit the chapel. It is still (in 2010) holding regular services.

Interestingly, a "Mariners Mission" was first proposed for Gloucester as early as 1831. A room was registered for worship in an office at the canal basin, and a chapel for workers in the dock area was proposed, but this failed due to a lack of funds. A similar proposal in 1846, instigated by the men connected with the port did however gain the support of the established church, leading to the opening of the present Church in 1849.

This sequence of events is documented in the Victoria County History series: A History of the County of Gloucester, Volume 4: The City of Gloucester (1988), pp.311-317 (Modern Parish Churches). The VCH also records that the mission had been extended to Sharpness docks by 1876, and in 1877 the chaplain opened a coffee house and reading room at the Docks. And from 1885 until about 1970 the mission were also using a hall at the corner of lower Southgate Street and Llanthony Road. [Other Sources: Gloucester Docks and the Sharpness Canal : Past, Present and Future, John Williams, Rosemary Lockie, City of Gloucester Places of Worship, et al.]

Denomination

Now or formerly Church of England.

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 Church is located at OS grid reference SO8273818233. 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 30 Dec 2014 at 09:31.

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This Report was created 18 Aug 2017 - 02:06:49 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 4 Jul 2017 at 10:50.

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