We are open for visitors to view the building! Every Wednesdsay in July and August, 2-4pm.
The first legal record that the Church holds regarding land is a “Conveyance and Indenture made 30th day of May 1769 between Thomas Evans of Monmouth ?occupation, Edward Evans of Dingestow Yeoman and Bridget his wife and George Dubarly of Dingestow Gentleman and Luke Phillips of Monmouth Brazier witness that in consideration of £180 by Edward Evans and 10 shillings by George Dubarly and Luke Phillips to Thomas Evans ..... that curtilage ..... burgage/Tenement or Dwelling house and garden, also the Barn Stable, Beast house and other outhouses standing and being and thereunto adjoining belonging to Thomas Evans between the House and gardens late of Laban Bennett ? deceased but now of ? Powell Surgeon the house and garden heretofore of His Grace the Duke of Beaufort but now of Mary Tanner widow and also the labout ? in bain ? a house and garden of William Tanner Gentleman and the street or road there leading from the Free School to Dixton Gate on all or most parts and sides thereof with their and every of their dissputenances in as large and ample?”
Conveyance and Indenture dated 2 May 1805 between Thomas Evans of Chepstow and his wife Elizabeth and Joseph Vaughan of Skenfrith farmer and Thomas Jones of Landovery. Joseph Vaughan bought the cottage, tenement or dwelling house? and premises for £500 but had insufficient funds, so borrowed £230 from Thomas Jones.
“Legal Release dated 20 August 1814 between Joseph Vaughan and James Jenkins and Thomas Rawlings ? for £608 a dwelling house, Garden Court and yard belonging formerly part of the curtilage and fold heretofore called Biby’s Fold and also the stable and other outhouses thereon, all of which said ? and premises are situate laying and being between the House Garden and Premises of Henry Barnes Esquire formerly in the possession of Dr Hobbes since of Catherine Williams and now of Dr Bevan the Garden and Premises formerly of Mrs Mary Tanner late of Thomas Callender deceased and now of James George Powell the House Garden and premises formerly of William Tanner Gentleman since of Mrs Elizabeth Humphreys and John Bishop Partridge Esquire deceased and now of Richard ? Esquire and the street leading from the Cross or Free School towards Dixton Gate an all or the most parts and sides thereof, And all Outhouses Brew houses, ? Buildings Lights Casements Cellars Sollars ? Pumps Sinks Drains Wells Water ? Areas Courts Yards Ways ? Advantages ? Rights Members and Appurtances whatsoever “
The first mention we have of Mr John Tyler is in a “Conveyance and Agreement 29 September 1834 from Messrs Gwilliam and Lambert Trustees of the late Mr James Jenkins deceased to John Tyler Esquire and his Trustees for and in consideration of 5 shillings a piece bargained and sold to John Tyler and his executors that messuage ? Tenement or Dwelling house with the Garden Court and Yard thereunto belonging formerly part of the curtilage or Hold called Biby’sFold and also the stage and other outhouses theon standing and being and thereunto belonging formerly in the possession of Edward Evans and ? of Thomas Evans and Benjamin Yates late of the same James Jenkins .......... lying between the House Gardens and premises”
The first involvement of the Methodist Church is in an “Indenture 5 May 1836 between John Tyler Gentleman and Charles Williams Cordwainer John Jones Cordwainer John Gibbs Millwright John Edmunds Plumber Thomas Thomas Miller Reverend Nehemiah Curnock Charles Keddle Grocer Henry Pritchard of Tintern Cordwainer Charles Roberts of Tintern Tailor Edward Jordan of Trelleck Yeoman Francis Davies of Wolves Newton Yeoman John Beard of Redbrook Joiner John Adams of Lydney Plumber paid shillings to John Tyler for the sale of the messuage or dwelling house with the piece or parcel of ground thereunto adjoining upon part of which a chapel is now being built situate in White Cross Street, All of which said premises are bounded on the North by land belonging to Mrs Robinson being a part of the premises called the Judges Lodging/on the South side by the street called White Cross Street/ on the East by land and buildings belonging to the said John Tyler in the occupation of Henry Thompson Esquire and on the West by land and buildings in the occupation of and belonging to Richard Willis and which said premises are more particularly set forth in the map or plan drawn on the back of a certain indentured intending to bear date the day next after these presents Together with all singular outhouses edifices buildings yards and gardens fences hedges ditches sewers drains paths passage ways waters watercourses lights liberties privileges easements profits commodities easements and appurtances.”They also had to pay an annual peppercorn rent.
Mr Tyler signs a “Release dated 6 May 1839 between John Tyler and Messrs Williams and others of a dwelling house with a piece or parcel of ground and Hereditaments situate in Cross Street for the purposes of a Methodist Chapel” which they agreed to buy for £520 (a map is attached to the document)
The Church takes out a “Mortgage 9 March 1872 between Mr Benjamin Stephens and the Trustees Francis David of Wolves Newton Yeoman John Adams of Coleford Plumber Benjamin Stephens Tanner Kennington Hall Draper John Instance Saddler Edwin Lambe Draper William James Farmer John Nicholas Farmer Thomas Williams Llangarron Farmer ?James Adams Coleford Plumber and Glazier John Thomas Adams Agent Caleb Adams Plumber and Glazier Joseph Hall Mining Engineer Rev Robert Lickes Superintendent Preacher in which the Trustees agreed to pay Mr Benjamin Stephens £150 on the 9th day of March and the 9th day of September (but I could not identify the length of the payments or the overall total). Mr Stephens was also a Trustee of the Church.
Conveyance of land 25 March 1899 between Edward Moses Tummey Woodside Rockfield Gentleman Florence Elizabeth Young (the wife of James Young) of Somerset House and the Trustees who purchased the hereditament for the purpose of extending the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel 418 superficial yards (more or less) situate at the rear of a certain messuage or dwelling house facing Whitecross Street afordsaid known as Somerset House and which up to the end present time has formed part of the Garden belonging to the said messuage. Florence Elizabeth Young’s signature is witnessed by Laura Caroline Abud 28 Beach Road Southsea Householder and Madge Lewis 28 Beach Road Southsea, actress.
The Foundation Stone of the Wesleyan Chapel in Monmouth was laid on the 8 May 1835 on land given by Mr John Tyler, Gentleman. It is said that he and his family contributed over £300 to the building of the Church. Two Letters are held in the National Library of Wales regarding a contribution from Joseph Bailey towards building the Wesleyan chapel in Monmouth, 1835 The Church was set back from the road to avoid making too prominent a statement. It is one of the 24 buildings on the Monmouth Heritage Trail and is Grade II* listed. Designed by George Vaughan Maddox who worked on a number of properties in Monmouth including the Market Hall, the Beaufort Arms Hotel, the Masonic Lodge and also the Hendre. Built in 1837 it has Ionic pilasters with round headed Georgian windows on the first floor, with pedimented lower windows. The porch is of a later date.
Inside the Church the vestibule has two enclosed gallery staircases with stairs leading into the Church. The Ionic columns which support the gallery appear to have no bases. This is because the Church floor was raised by about two feet in 1885 and the bases are hidden under the current floor.
There is seating for 340 downstairs in box pews. The originals were straight backed pews but in 1885 the box pews of “modern style and exceedingly comfortable substituted for them”. It is assumed that the balcony pews are original and have some graffiti.
The Clock was a gift from Miss Tyler, Sunday School teacher and is presumed original to the Church. The Organ has a tradition that Mrs Bullock from Hadnock promised that if the Church was filled with worshippers she would donate an organ. When Rev Peter Mackenzie was appointed in 1860 the Church was full and Mrs Bullock provided an organ with 12 stops. Mr JA Matthews deputy organist of Gloucester Cathedral played the organ. In 1885 the organ had dry rot in its wooden pipes and imperfections in its metal ones and had to be completely rebuilt by Messrs Waugh and Son of Monmouth and Chepstow. However, a new organ built by Messrs Nicholson and Lord was Walsall was installed on the 26 January 1911.
WW1 Wall Memorials These memorials were rededicated during a morning service in 2018. Henry Knapman born on the 30 November 1889 in Bournemouth to Henry and Elizabeth. In 1897. He was recorded as living with his Grandmother in Barnstaple Devon, where he attended Barnstaple Blue Coat School. His parents moved at some time to Monmouth where they lived at 6 Priory Place. Henry lived in Aberdare, where he enlisted into the 13th Hussars. His regimental number was 3126. The 13Hussars landed at Basra on 25 July 1916. On 13 December General Maude launched his offensive which would see his Anglo-Indian force eventually enter Baghdad on 11 March 1917. The Regiment were involved in the Fight at Lajj on the 5 March 1917 described in the regimental history as “one of the most memorable in the history of the Thirteenth”. Coming under fire the 13 Hussars charged and took a watercourse but could not make headway against a strongly held Turkish trench system beyond. The Regiment then dismounted and engaged the Turkish forces until the 6 Brigade was able to outflank the Turks and force their retreat. The 13 Hussars suffered heavy casualties at Lajj with 9 officers and 77 other ranks becoming causalities. Sergeant Knapman was one of those killed in action. Henry is buried in the North Gate Ware Cemetery X1.F.15 Baghdad Iraq which was previously known at Mesopotamia. The Imperial War Museum holds a photograph of him. His father Henry died in Monmouth in 1931. Frederick Ballingham born in 1880 to John and Elizabeth of 4 Devonshire Street Cheltenham. His father was a gardener. He was baptised on 9 June 1880. By 1901 Henry had moved to 9 North Quay Weymouth Dorset where he was a single man aged 21. His occupation was as a confectioner and bread maker. In 1905 he married Ethel Mary Fryer in Monmouth. They had two daughters both born in Monmouth, Gertrude Lucy born 1910 and Ethel Elizabeth born 10 September 1911. Both daughters were baptised in this Church and the records are held in the Church Baptismal records. The family lived at 15 St James Street Monmouth and his occupation was given as a confectioner. Frederick enlisted into the 5th Siege Company Royal Monmouth Royal Engineers (Special Reserve) in Monmouth aged 35 in 1915. His service number was 8514 and he was a Sapper. He died on the 20 June 1918 aged 38 in France from disease only four months before the end of the War. He is buried in Ligny-St Flochel British Cemetery, Pas de Calais. His service record does not appear to have survived but his headstone engraving chosen by his family reads “He died that we may live”. His widow Ethel married David Williams in 1920 and they lived at Shrubbery Cottage Old Dixton Road Monmouth. His older daughter Gertrude married Herbert Dye and moved to Avington Winchester. His younger daughter Ethel married Frederick Savage and moved to Leicester. Both daughters have descendents who have been located in Winchester, Leicester and Bedford.
The Communion table was dedicated in memory of fifty years of faithful service by Mr Kennington Hall 1868 – 1918.
The central preaching pulpit is original to the Church. It has two curved staircases. It was originally considerably higher but was lowered in 1885. The two mahogany handrails were installed after an afternoon tea fund raising meeting was held in 1860. Monies raised then also paid for a place of communion to be erected. The communion rail looks very similar to the handrails, so it is assumed that it is this that is being referred to.
Lectern The lectern was made by Patrick Mills out of Forest of Dean Oak. It was given in memory of Mollie Jeremy a former member of the Church, by her daughters. Picture of the Church was commissioned to celebrate the renovation of this Church carried out between October 1992 and May 1993. Font is a small portable chalice (marble?) Wall Painting of Christ on the Shore is by John Sandford Buck (1900 – 1988) He was born in Minehead, attended Monmouth School and later studied art at Bristol. Whilst living in Blakeney in the Forest of Dean, he visited the church during its redecoration in 1950 and offered to paint this mural. He maintained it several times. He was a painter and a mural artist and other of his works can be seen on the internet. Memorial plaque to Priscilla Stephens of The Tan House Monmouth born 14 February 1824, baptised 13 March 1824 at All Saints Newland, died March 24th 1882 aged 43 years and her husband Benjamin Stephens of The Elms Staunton. Priscilla was buried at Clearwell on 28 March 1882.
Benjamin was born on the 14 Feb 1824 and baptised 13 March 1824 at All Saints in Newland, the youngest son of William and Sarah (nee Pearce). 25 July 1854 he married Priscilla Townsend at All Saints Newland. Witnesses were Josiah Stephens and Juliana Townsend. They had 9 children, 4 of whom died in childhood. With his father and brother he operated a tannery in Clearwell where they were tanners and curriers. Sometime before 1871 he acquired the former Probyn Tannery in Monmouth, which was then demolished to build a new Tan House in Monnow Street where he and his family lived. Mr Stephens was a Trustee of the Church. In 1872 he operated a mortgage with the Trustees in which he loaned money which had to be repaid in £150 instalments on the 9th day of March and the 9th day of September. At one time he was a member of Monmouth Corporation and a large property owner. He was also for some years the Chairman of the Monmouth Gas and Water Works Company. He died on 31 August 1901 at No 6 Fort Paragon, Margate. His funeral took place at Clearwell where he was buried.
Photographs – In the frame are various pictures and pieces of text including information on riots in Inch Lane, a death, the Wesley Chapel in Weirhead Street and the laying of the Memorial Stone for the Methodist Church in 1835. Recorded is the hospitality given by Mrs Edward Hearne in her home St James House to Alexander Mather, when John Wesley sent him in the spring of 1771 to Monmouth to open the first Methodist preaching house in Inch Lane, later Bell Lane, After Wesley he was the second President of Conference in 1792.
John Broadbent travelled from the London Conference of 1779 to Monmouth with John Wesley, Charles Wesley and his family. In the Preaching House Broadbent was “maliciously assaulted” by twelve men who broke in when he was preaching.
John Wesley also brought William Horner from Ireland and appointed him to this circuit. He too suffered from the mob at the Preaching House. The Preachers believed the rioters were secretly encouraged “by some persons of property and power”.
In April 1779 Mrs Hearne and her companion Miss Fortune accompanied her son from her home to the Preaching House in Inch Lane through a street full of rioters. These riots against the Methodists were the worst in Wales. Edward was killed during the riot and Charles Wesley wrote the following epitaph:-
“Stranger in Vice, with early grace imbued, The pious youth his Saviour’s Reps purfued: Purfued, a zealous Follower of his Lord, A mother labouring for her full reward: Traced her from earth, by laweless violence driver, And found the martyred Saint, enfhrined in heaven”
Zachariah Yewdall wrote in 1780 from Monmouth to John Wesley that one of the women members had been struck on the head with a stone thrown by the rioters. The next time, on the advice of Wesley, he took four of them to court, only to find some of the rioters on the jury!
Elizabeth Baker and her sister were friends of and corresponded with John Wesley. Elizabeth married Mr Jordan, who at his wife’s request built a Wesley Chapel on their property in Weirhead Street 1797.
In a letter from John Robinson dated May 18th 1835 to the Wesleyan-Methodist magazine, he refers to the laying of the foundation stone of the new chapel. “On the 8th of May, the foundation stone of a Wesleyan chapel was laid at Monmouth. The Rev. Messrs Wood of Bristol and Thomas Martin of Plymouth, delivered addresses on the occasion. The Sunday-school children were brought in to view the interesting scene and were afterwards taken to the old chapel where refreshments were given to them. It will be gratifying to all the friends of Methodism to be informed, that within the last two years the society in Monmouth has been more than doubled in number; in consequence of which our present chapel has become far too small, and many persons that applied for sittings could not be accommodated. Through the interposition of a gentleman in this town, a most eligible situation has been procured; and more than three hundred pounds have been given by him and his family. The society and friends and raised more than one hundred pounds by monthly and weekly subscriptions. We are pleased with peace in this Circuit; and the longer we live, the more we are attached to the doctrines and discipline of Methodism.”