Derbyshire Places of Worship

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John Smedley's Wesleyan Chapel, Bonsall
John Smedley's Wesleyan Chapel   [no longer registered]
bottom of Yeoman Street,
Bonsall, Derbyshire.


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 in 1852, but we understand it was closed before 1995, and the premises are now in secular use.

According to White's Directory of 1857, this "handsome chapel for Wesleyan Reformers" was built by John Smedley in 1852, at a cost of £350, with seating for 200 worshippers.

There are two returns to the Religious Census of 1851 for Wesleyan Methodist congregations in Bonsall (HO 129/447/6/11/19 and HO 129/447/6/11/20). The first, meeting in a "Wesleyan Preaching Room", had an average attendance of 14 to evening service, and a return completed by its Minister, Jno: F. England, who gave his address as "Wirksworth, Derbyshire". The excellent book Bonsall, A Village and its History (2006, p.135) suggests a meeting in someone's home, or the Chapel Chamber at Yields Farm, Uppertown.

The second had no name, but had a higher average attendance of 30. Its return was completed by Daniel Massey, its Manager, who provided the information that he was a Framework Knitter, and that he lived in "Bonsall, Derbyshire". His additional comment, that "Public Worship [was] closing here this day - Being removed to a More suitable Place", suggests, perhaps, that it was his meeting which laid the foundation for the Chapel John Smedley was to build.

In common with most Wesleyan Reform congregations, Old Maps of 1879-80 show it becoming a "Methodist (United Free)" chapel, and by 1922, a "U.M. Church". By that time, however, the Wesleyan Reformers had built "Ebenezer Chapel", elsewhere in the village, which was later to become Bonsall's only Methodist Church.

The Primitive Methodists had built a chapel the same year as Smedley's, at a cost of £200, plus £65 for land, with seating for 150. Their building was not, however to remain in use as a place of worship, as Old Maps of 1899 label the building as a Temperance Hall. By 1944, however, it had become the home of an Assemblies of God Congregation, as it remains today; whilst John Smedley's building is believed to have become a private house. The latter was probably closed some time prior to 1995, as it is not marked with a '+' on my Derbyshire Street Atlas of that year, though Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses, Derbyshire said it was, at the time of their study (primarily pre-1974) still open to the public as the Baptist Sunday school.

The building as described ("three-bay front with lancet windows and central porch, small bell-cote on N. gable") looks much too small to have been able to accomodate the 200 worshippers claimed in White's Directory.


Now or formerly Wesleyan Reform/United Methodist.

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 Chapel was located at OS grid reference SK2791858025. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Information last updated on 8 Mar 2015 at 15:05.

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Further Information

This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no affiliation with the churches or congregations themselves, nor is it intended to provide a means to find places of worship in the present day.

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This Report was created 29 Nov 2023 - 01:24:21 GMT from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:33.

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