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Wiltshire Community History

Congregational Chapel, Heytesbury

Non-conformists first applied for a meeting house certificate at Heytesbury in 1699. They met in houses until 1812, when Mr. Everett paid for the building of a chapel. In 1826 James Tant became the pastor and stayed until his death in 1862. By 1864 the chapel had joined with Sutton Veny and Crockerton, suggesting that Heytesbury was then a small congregation unable to support a pastor by itself. The living became vacant in December 1867 and remained so for the next nine years. However, in 1868 the sum of £800 was raised to build a new chapel; Lord Heytesbury was a generous donor. In 1876 the minutes record a service was held to mark the 1st anniversary of the Sunday School. The congregation was so large that not everyone could get inside the chapel. The following year the chapel was closed for repairs and re-opened on May 20th. The minutes declared 'there is not a nicer village chapel to be found in the county'.

The minutes were kept continuously until 1904 and give the impression of a happy and successful chapel. For some reason the minutes then stop, the next entry appearing in 1943. There was a change of pastor at this time, and he gives a very different impression. '[There is] no church roll, no communion services are observed, no Sunday School, no choir, no church meetings and the people do not seem to mind'. The new pastor managed to improve things and by 1950 thoughts were turning to raising money for chapel repairs.

In 1951 the chapel became part of a new group called the Wylye Valley Group of Congregational Churches. The resident minister at Codford took on responsibility for the whole group. In 1955 he unfortunately had to resign due to ill health. The minutes stop abruptly at this point, suggesting the chapel closed soon after.

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