Gloucestershire Places of Worship

The Tabernacle, Wotton under Edge (1) (35k) The Tabernacle, Wotton under Edge (2) (44k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Alf Beard
The Tabernacle, Wotton under Edge
The Tabernacle   [no longer registered]
Tabernacle Road / Tabernacle Pitch,
Wotton under Edge, Gloucestershire.


This Church had 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 1771, but we understand it was closed in 1970, and the premises are now in secular use.

The following information about the Church has been provided to accompany the photographs on the right. A list of people who have supplied the information is included in the Acknowledgements, below.

[Image 1] This chapel, also known as the “Rowland Hill Tabernacle”, was founded between 1771 and 1783, with a break-away group of members of the Old Town Meeting House forming its first congegation. This followed the arrival in Wotton of the charismatic churchman Rowland Hill (1745-1833). “On the evening of 16th June, 1771, he rode into Wotton for the first time and preached to huge crowds under the Market Hall...”.[1] Within a few months, he had returned to Wotton, to build the chapel, and a house for himself to live in.

Revd. Hill himself was a follower of George Whitefield, who along with the Wesleys, inspired the movement that became known as the Methodists. He was a deacon in the established church, and retained his links with the Anglican Church all his life, but (it is said) he was unable to be ordained because of his Calvinist beliefs.

The original building was rather plainer than the one we see now, which owes its 19th century “gothic” appearance to a rebuilding in 1850-1 by two local benefactors.

The Tabernacle was closed for worship in 1970, and the building, with the former Sunday Schoolroom belonging to the Tabernacle, on the opposite side of the road, were bought by a firm of auctioneers in 1973. Since then, they have been in use jointly at auctions.

The Tabernacle's congregation, which eventually became Congregational,[2] joined that of Wotton Methodist Church (now Wotton United Church) in 1970, but the graveyard (and graves) have been preserved, and their inscriptions indexed. These may now be searched, along with those from other churchyards in the town, at the Wotton under Edge Heritage Centre in ‘The Chipping’. The Heritage Centre has a research room, with a wealth of information, including all the accumulated records of the Town Historical Society, and it is open to the public for a modest fee.

Inside the building, on a tablet in the vestibule is the inscription ‘Erected A.D. 1852 on the Site of The Tablernacle built by Revd. Rowland HILL A.D. 1771. Henry MASTERS Architect’, and Monuments to (1) Rev. Rowland HILL A.M. 1833, founder and minister, with bust in low relief, and (2) Rev. Theophilus Jones, 1833.

[1] Katharine Lady Berkeley's School Interactive Exercises & eResources - Interactive History Exercises.
[2] Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses, Gloucestershire (1986)[1]

[Image 2] This building, called the Schoolroom locally, was built as the Sunday schoolroom for the Tabernacle Chapel, across the road. Both are now owned by a firm of auctioneers, and in use jointly at auctions.[2]


Now or formerly Calvinist.

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


This Church was located at OS grid reference ST7563993523. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Wotton under Edge, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.


A special thanks to the following people who have contributed information for this web page:

1. Information provided by Glenys Sykes/Rosemary Lockie.

2. Information provided by Glenys Sykes.

Information last updated on 19 Dec 2010 at 19:39.

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This Report was created 24 Aug 2021 - 05:10:34 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 27 Mar 2021 at 10:54.

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