Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Hanham Tabernacle (now Hanham United Reformed Church), Hanham
Hanham Tabernacle (now Hanham United Reformed Church),
Tabernacle Road, BS15 8DU,
Hanham, Gloucestershire.


This Church has (or 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 the 18th century, and we understand it is still open.

This building is marked on Old Maps, for example OS 1882 1:2,500 variously as Independent (1882), and Congregational (1916) Chapel; today however it belongs to the United Reformed Church.

It is a rectangular building, with sides of 3 bays of round-arched windows, between which are a pair of (roofed) buttresses. There are 2 longer round-arched windows at the front, on either side of a central doorway, above which is a rose window, containing 8 'petals', and around the outside "Congregational Church 1840" (visible in close-up). According to Phil Draper's Church Crawler website, it was founded in the 18th century by George Whitefield (1714-1770), and the date of 1840 is a rebuilding, followed by a remodelling in 1998. Intriguingly, a comment on the Hanham Local History Society blogspot in 2013 suggested George Pocock, a local schoolmaster, was instrumental in its building. They also mention his other achievement - wind-powered locomotion, by harnessing a kite, or kites to land based transport, which was also recorded by John Latimer for the year 1827, in his Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century (1887), pp.121-123.

Now, in 2018, there remains some doubt in my mind as to Pocock's involvement, and I can no longer find the reference on the above site (an account of "The Charvolant"). It seems probable Phil is correct, as it is close to so many other Chapels founded by Whitefield in the area, which suggests, rather, that George Pocock would have been contemporary with its rebuilding; however the leaflet South Gloucestershire Nonconformist Heritage Trail (PTE050151.pdf) available (in 2010) on South Gloucestershire Council website offers an alternative history. Their account states it was built in 1829 for the "Tent Methodists", a movement George Pocock of Bristol was instrumental in founding, and it was sold to an Independent congregation 10 years later. This would certainly justify its name as "Tabernacle", in Biblical terms, a moveable structure, or tent; however the date of '1840' is, as it were, carved in stone!

Curiously, I have not been able to identify an entry for the Chapel in the Religious Census of 1851 covering Hanham (HO 129/327 - Keynsham), so have been unable to find out what the congregation themselves might have said about it, and it should have been in existence by then; neither is it mentioned by Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses, Gloucestershire (1986), so that is the extent of my knowledge.

The graveyard to the side, and rear of the chapel is quite extensive, with gravestones still in situ.


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.


This Church is located at OS grid reference ST6403772542. 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 Hanham, 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.

Information last updated on 23 Nov 2018 at 09:45.

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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.

Please also remember that whilst the above account may suggest that Hanham Tabernacle (now Hanham United Reformed Church) remains open and accessible, this may not remain so.

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This Report was created 1 Jul 2022 - 05:23:20 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:13.

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