Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Bethesda Chapel (Demolished), Brandon Hill, Bristol
Bethesda Chapel (Demolished),
Great George Street / Charlotte Street South,
Brandon Hill, Bristol, Gloucestershire.


We believe the Chapel did NOT have 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 1822, but we understand it was closed after 1940.

Bethesda is shown on the Bristol Town Plans of 1884 as a large, rectangular building on the north-east corner of the junction of Great George Street and Charlotte Street.

The Bristol Record Office hold records of the Chapel for the period 1822-1837, but the Chapel came to prominence through the joint ministry of the Rev. George Müller, and Henry Craik, following Müller's arrival in Bristol in 1832. Their partnership is described by John Latimer, in The Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century (1887) - "the two friends laboured together as ministers of Gideon Independent chapel, in Newfoundland Street. Subsequently, Bethesda chapel, near Brandon Hill, was temporarily hired as an experiment, and the results were so satisfactory that it was permanently retained". The chapel was purchased outright in 1857 by Mr. C.W. Finzel, who "presented it to Messrs. Müller and Craik's congregation".

One of Latimer's footnotes explains that Mr. Finzel was a German by birth, and began his career in England as a working sugar refiner. He was exceedingly generous, and for many years is said to have given between £5,000 and £10,000 per annum to Mr. Müller's Orphanages.

The following notice in The London Gazette of 25th March 1853 (p.897) recorded its registration for marriages:

NOTICE is hereby given, that a separate building, named Bethesda Chapel, situated at Great George-street, in the parish of Saint Augustine the Less, in the city and county of Bristol, in the district of Bristol, being a building certified according to law as a place of religious worship, was, on the 3rd day of March, 1853, duly registered for solemnizing marriages therein, pursuant to the Act of 6th and 7th Wm. IV., cap. 85. Dated 15th March 1853.

There are further details of the Chapel, and its successors, on the Zetland Evangelical Church website. It is also mentioned on the Alma Church (Clifton Bethesda) website, Clifton Bethesda being founded in 1872 as a daughter church.

In the present day, Müller's Bethesda has been demolished, and its site has been reabsorbed into the open area known as "Brandon Hill". The Clifton Bethesda website says it was destroyed during WWII, but evidently it was not demolished immediately, as its building is still marked as late as Old maps of 1965-1967.


Now or formerly Christian Brethren.

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 ST5806972894. 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 Brandon Hill, 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 3 May 2014 at 15:43.

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This Report was created 13 Aug 2022 - 11:10:56 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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