Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Frenchay Chapel, Frenchay
Frenchay Chapel,
Beckspool Road, Frenchay Common, BS16 1ND,
Frenchay, Gloucestershire.


This Chapel 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 1704, and we understand it is still open.

Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses, Gloucestershire (1986) traces the origins of this chapel's congregation to 1704, when a house in Frenchay was registered for the use of Presbyterians. A further certificate was issued in January 1724 for a house in Winterbourne, and in June that year, the house of Robert Abbotts in Hambrooke was recorded. The chapel, they believe was built in the early 18th century, the tower probably added at a later date, based the age of the bell, which was given to the church by R. Allbright in 1752. The bell was recast in 1836, but sadly, it was stolen about 1970. The church had been closed by its congregation a few years earlier (about 1964), but it was reopened in 1980 "after protracted repairs".

At the time of the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/330/6/4/15) it was described as "English Presbyterian Meeting House or Chapel", in "Frenchay, part of the parish of Winterbourne", with a congregation of "Unitarian Christians". It was a separate building erected "before 1800", and used exclusively as a place of worship. There were 100 free, and 90 "other" sittings, with an estimated congregation on March 30 of 50 in the morning and 76 in the evening, and 44 Sunday Scholars to morning class. The return was completed by its Minister Saml. Walker, who lived at Cotham New Road, Bristol.

It is an attractive Chapel, of which there are photographs, and a further description (in the Unitarian Churches section) on Phil Draper's ChurchCrawler website. His account mentions a weather vane representing Haley's comet, and - the most famous feature of the chapel - the Burial stone, which would be laid on newly dug graves to stop body snatchers - the so called "resurrection men", typified by the character of Jerry Cruncher, in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities. In this case they would have been attempting to recover bodies for research by Bristol surgeons. Sad, perhaps, but I found Jerry quite a likeable character, in spite of his unsavoury reputation!

Beckspool Road overlooks Frenchay Common. "Frenchay Chapel" is listed in Places recorded by the Registrar General under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (2010) as parish of Winterbourne, with a congregation of "Protestant Dissenters".


Now or formerly Presbyterian/Unitarian.

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 is located at OS grid reference ST6397377591. 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 Frenchay, 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 13 Nov 2018 at 15:15.

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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 Frenchay Chapel remains open and accessible, this may not remain so.

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This Report was created 5 Jul 2022 - 16:01:55 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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