Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Hope Chapel (Hope Community Church), Hotwells, Bristol
Hope Chapel (Hope Community Church),
Hope Chapel Hill, BS8 4ND,
Hotwells, Bristol, 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 1788, and we understand it is still open.

Hope Chapel was erected at the joint expense of Lady Henrietta Hope and Lady Glenorchy, though sadly, neither of them lived to see it completed. They had visited the Hotwells in 1785 for medical treatment, and had determined to build a chapel for Calvinistic evangelical worship. Following Lady Hope's death in January 1786, Lady Glenorchy 'procured a plan for a neat place of worship, plain but elegant, and which will be a suitable monument for my dear friend Henrietta, and which I mean to call Hope Chapel'. Lady Glenorchy, however, died in July the same year, and the completion of the building was left to her executrix, Lady Maxwell.

Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses, Gloucestershire (1986) records that "until 1820, it was a proprietary chapel with, for most of that period, liturgical services; in that year an Independent Church was formed". The establishment, in 1866 of a new congregation in Oakfield Road (Pembroke Chapel, closed 1929) caused a serious decline in the support for Hope Chapel [and] "by 1971 [should this read 1871?], services were being held in a back room".

The following notice in The London Gazette of 12th May 1843 (p.1556) recorded its registration for marriages:

NOTICE is hereby given, that a separate building, named Hope Chapel, situated at Dowry-hill, in the parish of Clifton, late in the county of Gloucester, but now in the city and county of Bristol, in the district of the Clifton, union, in the county of Gloucester and city and county of Bristol, being a building certified according to law as a place of religious worship, was, on the 9th day of May 1843, duly registered for solemnizing marriages therein, pursuant to the Act of the 6th and 7th William 4, chap. 85. Dated 10th May 1843.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/330/1/1/12) records a meeting place with a thriving congregation. The building had free sittings for "about 300", and "about 800" other sittings. The average number of worshippers to attend morning service was "from 600 to 700", and from 700 to 800 in the evenings; and there were 213 Sunday Scholars attending morning classes. The return was completed by William Gregory, "Minister of Hope Chapel", of "11 Polygon, Clifton, Bristol", who noted that it was built "before 1800 and rebuilt 1838 on a larger scale". The original building, says the NCC booklet, was 'a plain structure with small doors, small windows and plastered walls', the pulpit 'small and high up', and at its sides 'pews for invalids with curtains which could be drawn if need be'.

There are a large number of monuments inside the chapel, including ones to Rev. W.H Guy (1830), ten years minister; Lady Henrietta Hope (1786), daughter of James, Earl of Hopetown; and Rev. William Gregory (1853), 21 years pastor. There are also two monuments in the vestibule, removed in 1933 from Pembroke Chapel - Rev. Samuel Luke (1868), first pastor; and his wife Jemima (1906), authoress of 'I think when I read that sweet story of old'... Numerous monuments also survive in the burial ground outside the chapel.

The Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses booklet mentions that the establishment of Pembroke Chapel, in 1866, caused a serious decline in the support for Hope Chapel. Ironically, whilst Pembroke Chapel closed in 1929, Hope remained open for longer; however by 1971, services were said to have been held in a back room.

Accordingly, a notice was published in the Gazette of 21st March 1980 (p.4475) indicating it was no longer used as a place of worship. Evidently this was not a permanent state of affairs, as "Hope Chapel (Main Hall and Meeting Room)" is still listed in Places recorded by the Registrar General under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (2010). Its congregation belongs to "The Congregational Federation of England and Wales", and a notice published in the Gazette of 8th April 2004 (p.?) recorded its registration for marriages.


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 Chapel is located at OS grid reference ST5690372663. 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 Hotwells, 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 10 Jul 2013 at 10:19.

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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 Hope Chapel (Hope Community Church) remains open and accessible, this may not remain so.

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This Report was created 10 Aug 2022 - 12:48:15 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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