Add titleSion Chapel, Friarn Street
Documentary sources and abstracts
Updated 29 August 2007
Site book, interim report, press cuttings and photographs for excavations at Friarn Street and West Quay, Bridgwater. 1983-1984
Cellars inside Friarn Lawn on Stone Foundations. In Cutting B SW wall to The Friars located. Arches collapsing into the cellars. Limit of machine dig was 2.7 m. Finds: few but SF1 was a “chamfered column stone”.
T/PH/bw.1 “Tithe Map” ca. 1884 (actually Town Plan in Reports of Property Committee)
Plots 424 and 425 (latter to S of Durleigh Brook) or 423 not part of the property of the Borough of Bridgwater in 1835.
Bridgwater Borough plans. Friarn Fields Housing Scheme; site plan and compulsory order for Friarn Lawn. 1934 [not yet examined}
Westfield United Reform Church archives
Deeds relating to the Friarn Street Chapel.
Indenture the (i) Rev. Thomas Tatton of Bridgwater and Robert Codrington of Bridgwater, gent to (ii) the Rev. John Hey of Bristol, the Rev. Richard Herdsman of South Petherton, James Ingram of Bristol, sugar baker, James Clark of Redcliffe Street, Bristol, grocer, Peter Hicks of Bristol, shoemaker, Thomas Pope of Marlborough Street, Bristol, carpenter, James Tod of Castle Street, Bristol, breaches maker, William Green of Bath, minister, Thomas Earl of Wells, millwright, George Nikels of Wells, gent and John Dampier of Kingsdon, gent, of a house, now a Chapel on Friarn Street, 8 Dec 1792; deed of trust with same parties as in lease, 9 Dec 1792.
messuage or tenement situated on the south [inserted over North, crossed out] side of Fryern Street wheron a malt house lately stood a meeting [sic] for diving worship …. the same shall always continue for that purpose. The said messuage or tenement yard garden & premises …. [conveying] All that messuage or tenement now divided into two tenements malthouse now converted …. worship of Protestant Dissenters aforesaid yard and gardens being one burgage siruate standing and being on the south side of Fryern Street heretofore in the possession of Richard Boothby [with all rights including courts].
Also Lease from Robert Codrington for one year to Thomas Tatton two tenements and malthouse now converted .. one burgage on the south side of Fryern Street.
Documents stamped 1871
Bargain and sale of a Chapel. 1819
All that Chapel or meeting house situated in Bridgwater in which the Reverend Joseph Corp now officiates also those cottages or dwelling house
Document stamped 1871
Church History and Roll 1822 – 1877
Contains Abstract of Title to Sion Chapel and Premises (recites /1 mentions Chapel and Cottages or Dwellinghouse)
In Origin “About 30 years since a Malt House on the spot of land on which the present Chapel now stands“
Note: suggests continued occupation of the site since 1792, and not an earlier chapel in Roper’s Lane given in secondary sources.
The follows a long list of names on the Church Roll.
Ledger Sion Chapel 1823 onwards
George B Sully builder. Various individual accounts. Sums paid out for Opening Graves (many) 1843 Burials Stocks 1844.
Sabbath School 1843
Pencil annotation Built 1822. Names, and 1846 onwards, residences of boys. West Street, Friern Street, North Street, Honeysuckle Lane and others.
Two Insurance Policies (Protestant Dissenters)
1838, Buildings of Chapel in Friarn Street (£150) and Dwelling House, Vestry & School Rooms (£50).
1856, the description becomes Building, brick built and tiled occupied as School Room and Class rooms, situate adjoining and communicating with Sion Chapel £80 the fittings therof in said building. There is a furnace securely erected in said building. £270. [Evidently the Chapel was separately insured].
In 1860, reports of severe dilapidations. Deacons Report on possible course of action: The shape of the piece of ground on which the present building stands unfortunately prevents any addition to the width.
Minutes 1838 to 1870
1860 floor of chapel in a very bad state.
Record Sub-Committee set up June 2 1848 to watch the interests of Sion Chapel with respect to the projected public (general) cemetary Reported on March 30 1849 piece of ground offered “rejected (unanimously)”.
Bound volume of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials November 1818 to September 1865
Burials given from ff250 onwards for 18ff at about 19 entries per page, so say at least 350 recorded burials.
Range of ages – infants to elderly. Entries in 1838 and after give full details of addresses. Register certificate on 5 August 1837 re central register in London.
Many current local names, Sealy, Dyer, Preece, Board etc. Locations generally not given, and plan not found. But spotted that in 1828 G Bryant buried In front of the Chapel; Capt Bryant 1830.
Updated 29 August 2007
Unitarians listed in Dampiet Street exclusively throughout.
Hunts Directory Independents Fryern Street Rev R Panks 1848
Slaters 1852-3 Independents Fryern Street Rev R Panks
Kelly 1861 Independents Friarn Street Rev Edward Henry Jones also
Brethren (Ministers various)
Post Office 1875 No independents in Friarn Street
Brethren & Friends only in Friarn Street.
Town Missionary Mr Champion in Friarn Street
Salvation Army Friarn Street Capts Bullard & foote. Others as before.
Will Locke “Bridgwater as seen in the 1920s and 1930s nd.
The Salvation Army then in its Friarn Street Hall, its original place was called Zion Chapel.”
Jarman S G A History of Bridgwater London: Stock 1889
p 223 The Congregational Chapel. In 1793 a small Independent congregation gathered in Roper’s Lane, now Albert Street. The new congregation met in a malt house. Scarce one is living who can remember the gloomy little room that served thus as a place of divine worship. the indenture of lease and release reads:- “Part of the said premises whereon a Malt-house lately stood…”. Rev Thomas Tatton was first called. There were some cottages attached to the property, the rent of which formed a small endowment for the minister’s support.
In 1818, Mr Joseph Corp commenced an “aggressive evangelistic work”… and he also held meetings in a room on Salmon Parade. three years’ earnest work in the town and
p 224 neighbourhood resulted in such increased prosperity that the need for a larger Chapel was generally felt. As the old building could not be enlarged it was resolved to put up a new one., and a system of collecting weekly subscriptions for this purpose was inaugurated in 1822. Mr Thomas Hellier [below Corporation docs] appeared on the scene; he supported Mr Corp very materially and chiefly through his efforts Zion Chapel, in Friarn Street, was built. The foundation stone was laid March 6th, 1822 and the Chapel was opened on August 20th in the same year.
The next ministers in succession were: Rev. Evan James, Rev. John Bishop, Mr Robert Panks, Mr Philip Chapman Barker, Rev. Edward H. Jones, Rev. Edward S. Prout, and the Rev. Edwin J Dukes. Mr. Jones’s ministry in the town was marked with great success. The Chapel in Friarn Street was filled to overflowings, as well as the school-rooms built for the Sunday school, adjoining.
A new Chapel in Fore Street was opened September 22nd 1864. There was a tea … at Zion Chapel, attended by 1,100 persons.
p 227 The Salvation Army This organisation commenced operations in Bridgwater about the latter end of 1880, by Captain Tom Crocker, of Bristol. At Easter, 1881, the services commenced in the present “Barracks”, formerly the skating rink, and earlier still the Zion Chapel used by the Independents before moving to their handsome Chapel in Fore-Street.
Powell Bridgwater in the Later Days Bridgwater: Page & Son 1908
p 249 The attempt to reach the very humble and poor, as well as the degraded and outcast, has for some years been taken in hand by a branch of the Salvation Army, whose head-quarters are located in the Old Zion Chapel in Friarn Street, which was built through the exertions of Mr Corp, for the Congregationalists, some eighty-five years ago.
A meeting house for Independents, in St. Mary Street near the south gate, was licensed in 1787, and another, possibly for the same congregation, in 1792. A different Independent congregation met in a disused malthouse in Friarn Street, which was also licensed in 1792. (fn. 59) Yet another group of Independents met in a malthouse in Salmon Lane, on the east bank of the Parrett, but in 1817 their leader took over the Friarn Street meeting house and the two congregations probably united. A Sunday school was added in 1818 and the chapel, known as Zion, was rebuilt in 1822. (fn. 60) It was closed in 1865 and was used as a skating rink before being taken over by the Salvation Army in 1881. (fn. 61)
OS Sheet L II 21 1887 50″
Armoury site to north west – probably contained excavated Unitarian burial ground (vide infra)
To SW other side of Broadway Friends’ Burial Ground Wesleyan Burial Ground
A note on the Unitarians in Friarn Street
Lawrence, B Coleridge and Wordsworth in Somerset Newton Abbot: David & Charles 1970
p 39 John Howel (Unitarian Minister 1793, buried in Dampiet Street Unitarian School Room).
Mr Howel enjoyed the free use of a house known as the Parsonage House, and in spite of the demolition that has taken place in its vicinity it has proved possible, though difficult, to establish its identity, although the Meeting House records show only that it was situated in Friarn Street on ground known as Sealy’s, that in 1835 part of its garden became the Unitarian burial ground, that the house ceased to be the Parsonage House in about 1850. A study of the Corporation Schedule of Property (1836) reveals that it was a double-fronted house standing on the north side of Friarn Street, in line with the Green Dragon Inn. Calculations based on this evidence point to the fact that the Parsonage House was the property now called the Old Armoury Garage, which, in line with the Green Dragon and several pairs of old cottages, stands back a little distance from the carriage-way. The bright blue paint on the doors and window-frames of its double-fronted house makes it conspicuous. A senior member of the Unitarian congregation recalls that the site of the petrol pumps was formerly a burial ground and that years ago she saw two old tombstones leaning against a wall of the house.
Report of the Committee Appointed by the Council of the Borough of Bridgwater .. For Improving the Town 10th December 1836 Bridgwater: Whitby
Property Report Reference 26 reference to the Town Plan 362 Dwelling House and Garden North Side of Fryern Street In possession or occupation of Mr Thomas Hellier ref above – proposed to be sold.
Dr Peter Cattermole 3 January 2014
This is a transcription of the Burial Register for the Sion Chapel in Friarn Street. SHC D\N\bw.wur/5/1/1. Thanks are due to WM 2007 E&OE.
|Rec.No.||Surname||Christian Name||Month||Day||Year||Age||Family / comment||Address|
|1||Cording||John||1822||2||son of Wm and Elizabeth Cording||Â|
|2||Redford||William||1822||6||son of George Redford|
|3||Seaker||John||1822||Inf||son of James and Ann Seaker|
|4||Board||Thomas||1822||Inf||son of James and Sarah Board|
|5||Wall||Jane||Feb||1823||Inf||daughter of Wm and Elizabeth Wall|
|6||Cording||Eliza||1823||Inf||daughter of Wm and Elizabeth Cording|
|7||Warr||Jane||1823||Inf||daughter of Wm and Harriet Warr|
|8||Griffiths||1823||Inf||son of John and Elizabeth Griffiths|
|9||Seley||Eliza||1823||9||daughter of John and Jane Seley|
|10||Wall||Jane||November||1823||Inf||daughter of Wm and Elizabeth Wall|
|11||Furze||Jane||Feb||1824||40||wife of Nicholas Furze|
|12||Seaker||Mary||May||1824||37||wife of James Seaker|
|13||Seaker||July||4||1824||Inf||son of James and Mary Seaker|
|14||Hodge||1825||Inf||son of James and Elizabeth Hodge|
|16||Hodge||January||1826||Adult||mother of Sarah Hodge|
|17||Weares||August||1826||2||a child aged 18 months from Mr Weares|
|18||Woodridge||John||August||1826||9||son of – & John Woodridge|
|19||Griffiths||Charles||August||1826||1||son of John and Elizabeth Griffiths|
|20||Hancock||Betty||Sept||1826||Adult||mother of Mr Cording|
|21||Orchard||January||17||1827||39||wife of Joseph Orchard|
|22||Preece||Joseph||January||17||1827||0||son of Tom and Mary Preece|
|23||Hodges||January||23||1827||0||Mr Hodges child aged 6 months|
|24||Hervey||January||31||1827||46||Mrs Hervey aged 46|
|27||Hodge||February||3||1828||13||son of Mr Hodge aged 13|
|28||Bryant||G||February||10||1828||Adult||Mrs G Bryant buried in front of chapel|
|29||Griffiths||March||14||1828||Inf||infant son of Mrs Griffiths|
|30||Wall||John||March||23||1828||3||son of Wm and Elizabeth Wall|
|31||Cording||Jos||May||18||1828||3||son of Wm and E Cording|
|37||Wills||December||5||1829||Adult||Mrs Wills mother of Mrs Wall|
|38||Berry||Silas||January||10||1830||son of George and Hannah Berry||Eastover|
|39||Ware||Mary Ann||April||22||1830||Â||daughter of Wm Ware||Eastover|
|40||Ware||William||May||25||1830||son of Wm Ware||Eastover|
|46||Bryant||January||3||1831||Inf||infant child of Mr Robert Bryant||North Gate|
|50||Sully||Â||January||Â||1832||Inf||infant child of Mr J W Sully|
|52||Fishley||James||April||8||1832||Adult||Capt Rupele place|
|53||Bice||September||1832||Adult||27th and 2nd ? No age||Fryarn Street|
|60||Dyer||Â||March||24||1833||Inf||infant child of Thomas Dyer||?Zway|
|66||Preece||December||25||1833||Inf||child of Thomas Preece||West St|
|73||West||July||29||1834||Inf||infant child of Edward West||North St|
|75||Hile or File||William||October||1||1834||73||West St|
|85||Fisher||William c||January||25||1835||4||Pig Cross|
|88||Quier||William||April||12||1835||Adult||St Mary St|
|93||Symes||William Henry||June||19||1836||1||Barkley St|
|94||Nippless||Francis Gunfield||Sept||2||1836||68||Fryarn Street|
|95||Dobing||Mary Ann||November||16||1836||21||Barkley St|
|103||Wingate||Martha Millard||December||27||1837||0||twice||Corse Hill|
|110||Lear||Ellen||August||12||1838||19||St Mary St|
|115||Pool||Elizabeth||Feb||19||1839||39||Coffee House Lane|
|123||Dobing||William John Leigh||January||10||1840||5||St John St|
|129||Strily [?]||Mary Ann||May||17||1840||1|
|132||Burnell||unknown||Sept||28||1840||Adult||Son of the above|
|134||Jones||William||January||7||1842||Adult||Jones snr – had a son william?|
|136||Webb||Clara May Bacon Webb||October||24||1842||5||Russell Place|
|137||Tamlin||William||December||16||1842||6||Casey Thomas crossed out and William written over||Eastover|
|139||West||Robert William Richards||January||7||1843||14||North st|
|144||Symond||George||July||10||1843||Inf||Coffee House Lane|
|145||Symond||Ann||Sep||13||1843||Adult||Coffee House Lane|
|146||Smith||Sarah||October||22||1843||87||St John St|
|153||Storey||Capt. George||April||21||1844||Adult||John St|
|158||Hill||unknown||January||30||1846||Adult||Â Â||West St|
|161||Bovett||Samuel Wallace||March||32[!]||1846||1||twin of lucy jane|
|162||Bovett||Lucy Jane||March||32[!]||1846||1||twin of samuel wallace|
|163||Reading||Ann||March||26||1845||63||recorded 1846||Bradney Place|
|165||Sully||Eliza Jane||January||3||1845||17||recorded 1846|
|171||Bryant||Ellen Louisa||Sept||25||1846||4||Â||Salmon Lane|
|173||Leaker||Sarah Ann||February||21||1847||1||Â||Fryarn Street|
|182||Bower (Bowen)||Emma||Sept||18||1847||22||Â||St Mary St|
|183||Slade||John||December||25||1847||13||Â||St Mary St|
|187||Bovett||Samuel Wallace||March||24||1848||1||Â||George Lane|
|190||Bowen||Martha||July||8||1848||30||Â||St Mary St|
|193||Millard||Ann||November||11||1848||4||Â||Provident Place, Wembdon|
|194||Hardidge (Jones)||Charles||December||22||1848||25||Â||West St|
|197||Quier||Joanna||May||9||1849||86||Â||St Mary St|
|211||Bovett||Arthur Henry||August||10||1850||1||Â||George Lane|
|216||Rich||Frederic Silas||April||16||1851||1||Â||Bristol Rd|
|217||Thomas||Matilda Rebecca||April||18||1851||1||Â||The Quay|
|218||Gabriel||Emily Catherine||April||26||1851||1||Â||The Dock|
|222||Quier||Samuel Maxey||Sept||17||1851||14||Â||St Mary St|
|223||Jones||Lucy Elizabeth||Sept||20||1851||0||Â||Salmon Lane|
|224||West||Mary Ann||Sept||20||1851||57||Â||North St|
|225||Millard||Benjamin||November||1||1851||2||Â||Provident Place, Wembdon|
|228||Escott||Richard Henry||March||8||1852||0||Â||Valetta Place|
|234||Manchip||Eliza Jane||May||21||1853||9||Â||High Street|
|238||Hensley||Mrs Jane||[ill]||14||1832||26||omitted in proper place – recorded 1853|
|239||Oldman||Mary||Sept||1||1855||Adult||date alt. from 1854||North St|
|255||Bowen||Sarah||June||5||1857||40||Â||St Mary St|
|257||Pitman||William Henry||July||1||1857||Adult||Â||High Street|