Gloucestershire Places of Worship

Default Image We do not have an Image of this Place of Worship as it has been Demolished Place of Worship has been

Image by courtesy of
Portland Chapel (Demolished), Kingsdown, Bristol
Portland Chapel (Demolished),
Portland Street, BS2 8HL,
Kingsdown, Bristol, Gloucestershire.


This Chapel 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 1792, but we understand it was closed in 1970.

"The Wesleyan Chapel, Portland-street, was erected about the year 1796 by Lieut. Thomas Webb, the founder of many early Methodist chapels in England." [Extract from Webster & Co.'s Postal and Commercial Directory of the City of Bristol, and County of Glamorgan, 1865]

There is a comprehensive account of the Chapel ("Portland Chapel") in Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses, Gloucestershire (1986). Their account says it was built between 1791 and 1792 for Methodists living in the new residential districts north of the City, and to relieve the pressure on the "New Room". Webb, they say, was one of the principal supporters of the new cause, and who was "earlier notable for his part in introducing Methodism to America".

It had 5 bays, with round-arched windows filled with decorative glasswork. A plan dated 1899 in the NCC booklet shows a small apse at the east end, a hexagonal organ bay on the north side, and a gallery at the west end. "The original decorative scheme at the east end, now entirely obliterated, is reported to have comprised within the apse 'a scene of tropical vegetation, the entire foreground being occupied by a tomb or sepulchre surmounted by an urn' with 'three winged cherubs' heads' in the clouds above. On the wall around the arched opening... 'were painted crimson curtains draped back'. The curtains were painted out in 1913 but the former ... remained, although possibly retouched, until more recent years. The painting has been ascribed to Edward Bird R.A."

Evidently the above account was prepared whilst it was still standing; however the Chapel was closed around 1970, and has been demolished, and a block of apartments, called Knightstone House, now occupies its site. Its burial ground, to the side and to the rear, is now a small garden and car park.

There were a lot of memorials inside the Chapel, also burial vaults beneath, one of which was 'Captain Webb's Vault, 1796'. The remains of Captain Webb and his wife were reburied at the New Room in 1972, and his monument removed to John Street Chapel, New York, in 1973. The Chapel bell, originally from St Ewen's Church in the City, was removed to Victoria Chapel, Whiteladies Road.

Note: the area was formerly in the parish of Westbury on Trym, as indicated in Bristol Record Office's Handlist of Parish Records, and the following notice in The London Gazette of 25th February 1848 (p.769) indicates the Chapel's registration for marriages:

NOTICE is hereby given, that a separate building, named Portland-street Chapel, situated at Portland-street, in the parish of Westbury-upon-Trym, in the city and county of Bristol, in the district of the Clifton union, being a building certified according to law as a place of religious worship, was, on the 19th day of February 1848, duly registered for solemnizing marriages therein, pursuant to the Act of the 6th and 7th William 4, chap. 85. Dated 23rd February 1848.

An appropriate notice of cancellation, for "PORTLAND CHAPEL, Portland Street, Kingsdown" was published in the Gazette of 11th November 1971 (p.12273).


Now or formerly Wesleyan 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 ST5851073815. 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 Kingsdown, Bristol, 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 16 Jun 2013 at 10:43.

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This Report was created 24 May 2022 - 00:00:09 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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