The Wesleyan Ebenezer Chapel in Church Street was built in 1807.
- Ebenezer Chapel in 1991 showing remaining chamber tombs.
Non-conformism in Hungerford:
There is a long and proud history of non-conformism in Hungerford.
John and Charles Wesley were Church of England priests in the 18th century. They felt called to bring the word of God to non-churchgoers and to address some of the pressing social issues of the day, matters not high on the agenda of the Established Church at that time. In due course this became a separate denomination known as the Methodist Church. John and Charles Wesley were Church of England priests in the 18th century. They felt called to bring the word of God to non-churchgoers and to address some of the pressing social issues of the day, matters not high on the agenda of the Established Church at that time. In due course this became a separate denomination known as the Methodist Church.
John Wesley died in 1791. It was in 1807 that the Wesleyan Ebenezer Chapel in Church Street was built.
The enthusiasm of the 18th Century Wesleyan Methodist reformers had waned somewhat after the death of John Wesley and by 1811 a new Church known as Primitive Methodists was formed. The split had come about over the conduct of Worship - the Wesleyans were more formal, but the Primitives often preached in the open air, often all day, and they were sometimes called "Ranters" because of their exuberance!
The Wesleyan Ebenezer Chapel, Church Street:
The Wesleyan Ebenezer Chapel in Church Street was built in 1807. It is intriguing that in the deeds it is recorded that the Chapel was built on a previous Wesleyan site - "that strip of orchard land in Church Street adjoining the Old Wesleyan Chapel". There is no record of this earlier Chapel though it might well have been a private house where the owner allowed meetings to take place. It is possible that John Wesley himself might have known this Chapel. Certainly he visited Hungerford and the adjoining area.
The 1851 "Census of Religious Worship" records: Free sittings 160; Other sittings 156; Standing room for 50.
Congregation on 30th March 1851: Morning 173; Sunday School 79; Evening 153. Minister C W Williams.
In 1869 the Wesleyan Methodists moved from Church Street to Charnham Street where a fine new Gothic Wesleyan Church had been built.
As was customary in Methodist churches, there was a day school attached to both Church Street and Bath Road.
The Ebenezer Stone:
In 1994 the extensive restoration and refurbishment to the Methodist Church and church hall in Bridge Street was paid for by selling The Manse to Mr Gregory and Rachel Furr. Whilst landscaping area behind church hall, the gardener found a stone lying flat (under a washing line) inscribed "Ebenezer. Samuel Chap 7 verse 12 - 1807". This was the foundation stone from the original Ebenezer Chapel in Church Street. The foundation stone was moved to the Wesleyan Chapel in Charnham Street in 1869, and came to Bridge Street in 1972 when the Wesleyan Chapel was demolished.
"Ebenezer" means "stone of thanksgiving".