Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Whitefield's Tabernacle, Kingswood, Bristol
Whitefield's Tabernacle,
Park Road,
Kingswood, Bristol, Gloucestershire.


This Church 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 1741, but we understand it was closed in 1983.

Much has been written about Whitfield's Tabernacle already - for instance in an article George Whitefield at Kingswood, by Edward Green, on the Building Conservation website, in which the importance of this now derelict building is described. By way of a brief summary, both George Whitefield and John Wesley were involved in "evangelising" Kingswood. George Whitefield, who had been banned from preaching from Church of England pulpits, held an open air meeting in February 1739, at Rose Green, and finding a receptive audience, he invited Wesley to join him in evangelising the area. Later that year, Wesley preached at Hanham Mount, and with the support of his followers, a Wesleyan schoolroom and chapel was founded in the village. One of the masters appointed was John Cennick; but his Calvinistic sentiments resulted in him leaving in 1741, with about 50 supporters, to create a separate society. Whitefield, who already had Calvinistic leanings, urged him to build his own chapel, and thus the foundations of Whitefield's Tabernacle were laid.

The present site contains two chapels - the original, and a newer chapel, built in 1851 to designs by Henry Masters, architect of Bristol - called "Masters Church" on the British Listed Buildings website. Their account also records an associated building - "Chapel House", as well as the original Tabernacle, which became a school, after Masters' Chapel was opened. According to their listing (dated 1951), it had a bronze plaque to record that "this building was erected by - George Whitfield BA and John Cennick AD 1741 - it is - Whitfield's first tabernacle, the oldest existing memorial to his great share in the 18th century revival". Sadly, however, the plaque has since been stolen.

It is generally stated that the buildings were abandoned in 1983, the last service, in Masters' Chapel, taking place on 16th October that year. However, the following notice in The London Gazette of 25th March 1987 (p.4009) suggests that the congregation survived:

A building certified for worship named WHITFIELD UNITED REFORMED CHURCH, Park Road, Kingswood in the registration district of Bristol in the non-metropolitan county of Avon was on 12th March 1987 registered for solemnizing marriages therein pursuant to section 41 of the Marriage Act 1949 as amended by section 1(1) of the Marriage Acts Amendment Act 1958, in place of a building of the same name at Kingswood now disused. Dated 19th March 1987.

Seemingly, however this was only a temporary reprieve, as the congregation joined that of the Moravian Church in Regent Street, in 1992, to become Kingswood United Church; and the Park Road buildings are now (as of 2013) definitely closed, and believed to be derelict, but attempts are being made to preserve them, possibly by conversion into apartments.

There is a large burial ground, to the north of the buildings, with monuments from the 19th century, and later.


Now or formerly 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 was located at OS grid reference ST6490873911. 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 Kingswood, 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 31 Jan 2019 at 14:01.

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This Report was created 18 May 2022 - 01:25:42 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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