The History of Lynch Chapel

Richard Beadon, bishop of Bath and Wells, was very busy in 1811-1812
granting the right to meet in premises set apart for worship to dissenting
groups throughout his diocese. Winscombe's turn came at the very
beginning of January 1812
The group was evidently well established with a pastor, Rev Robert
Hoopell who appears in the deeds drawn up in 1827
The group met in the house of Peter Pim. Apart from the fact that he
could not even write his name, we know nothing of him or where the
house was. The same is true for 5 of the other signatories, all of whom
could at least write their names. Only Job Marshman appears in later
records - his house was close to the present Methodist Church in
Sandford Road.
The group continued to meet in people's houses, we assume, until a
group of Bristol worthies, from various religious traditions, got together
to buy land and establish a chapel in the Lynch. A map of the Lynch at
that time shows only one other building down what was little more than
a track and of course no railway! The map is a tithe map and on it the
chapel is described as a Baptist Chapel and yard belonging to the Baptist
This is deceptive: from its very inception the Union Chapel was a non
denominational dissenting chapel established for the worship of God. And
following the rites of both the pedobaptists (Independents, later
Congregationalist and later still United Reformed) and antipedobaptists
The trustees were concerned to set their mark on the chapel's worship.
They laid down what any pastor should preach:
The pastor shall hold and preach the doctrines of the deity of our Saviour
Jesus Christ the fall of man his recovery by the free and sovereign grace of
God his redemption by Jesus Christ alone justification by faith in him
sanctification by the Holy Spirit the moral law contained in the sacred
scriptures being the rule of conduct and the inseparable connexion of holiness
of life with the pardon of sin and shall habitually in their ministry exhort
sinners to repentance towards God and faith in our lord Jesus Christ
They also laid down voting procedures – women were allowed to vote for
a new pastor which must have been very forward thinking at the time -
and what would happen if the chapel ever had to be sold. They did like
to be in total control of the future in those days!
By 1906 it was felt that the chapel needed to be enlarged, partly to
accommodate the visitors in summer months and partly because the
Wesleyans were thinking of building a chapel in Winscombe!
A building fund was started, plans were drawn up and accepted but the
meeting rejected the scheme for warming and ventilating the new
building. Then Mr Ford of Cheddar was asked to quote and the whole
scheme was put on hold!
In 1908 it was suggested that instead of enlargement long overdue
remedial work should be carried out. This still had not happened by mid
1910. In September of that year various representatives of the Baptist
Association came down by train for the day and consulted with the
Winscombe congregation. At the end of that meeting the proposed plans
for a spend of £300/£400 was rejected and the meeting had adopted one
costing £800! This was indeed an act of faith for the building fund stood
at £240.
Within half a year the work was in hand and by 30th August 1911 the
new chapel was in use and was free of debt.
The vestry and the end wall of the chapel (the pulpit end) are all that
remain of the original 1827 building
March 17th 1911
While some workmen were engaged in removing the old roof timbers of Union Chapel,
Winscombe, a rotten foot beam suddenly collapsed, precipitating one of them to the
ground and bringing down a good portion of the roof.
The men were extricated as speedily as possible and medically attended.
Two of the men were removed to their homes at Cheddar, while the other, belonging to
Shipham, is reported to have sustained a broken arm.
Reginald H Maliphant was appointed to the pastorate in 1932 – during
the Depression. Despite the hard economic outlook, the chapel moved
forward again in faith, agreeing to their new pastors' vision of a Sunday
School project. The foundation stone for a new schoolroom was laidin
January 1933 and was opened four months later by Mrs Francis Robinson
of the Bristol Children's Help Society.
THE COST? £700 over half of which had been raised since the centenary
celebrations of 1928
Before the building of the schoolroom the Sunday School had met at the
Woodborough Hall – now the Scout Hut. Things came full circle last year
when we hosted the scout groups after their hall suffered flood damage!
Sunday School originally met in the Woodborough Hall. This was
originally a British Day School but by the time the chapel began to use it
it was used as a village/parish hall. By 1906 it was popular as a venue to
play bagatelle and billiards so Sunday School teaching was carried on
amidst the tables which had become a permanent feature by 1933.
In 1928, deemed a suitable date to celebrate the centenary of Union
Chaple, it was decided to launch a New Sunday School Centenary Fund
Funds were soon forthcoming and in January 1933 the first stone of the
new schoolroom was laid. The new building was opened in May 1933
The schoolroom and the chapel stood as separate buildings until 1990
when they were linked together by the kitchen and toilet block. (The
original toilet was apparently the present broom cupboard (the mind
boggles!) Again the congregation was small, the cost considerable and
the debt paid off in less than 10 years.
That left the chapel free to purchase the land behind the chapel which it
had been using as a car park.
Further modernisation took pace in the first decade of the 21st century
with the modernisation of the interior of the church including the
removal of pews.
All these improvements have never been to make ourselves more
comfortable but to make the buildings more fit for purpose in witness
and outreach to our village
1st organ (? - 1924) - a reed organ
1913 first conductor appointed. Cantata sung
2 months later choirmaster resigned even before the appointment was
1920 suggested money be put aside for a pipe organ
1923 concert for organ fund
2nd organ (1924 – 1945) - a pipe organ
1925 Pipe organ purchased by Mr Frank Winslade erected by Percy
Daniels. Bought from a church in Cornwall, its pipes were made of
Cornish tin and had to be straightened out after their journey
1925 in debt to tune of £12 on organ Organ blower engaged
1926 Total cost of organ £61.15
1927 choir to meet in the vestry prior to the service for prayer
1938 New organ fund created
1941 organ blower resigned
1945 Electric organ blower proposed
3rd organ 1945 - 1990 a cinema organ (Cassens Organ)
From Clevedon purchased for £200. Originally a player organ but
adapted to its new purpose, again by Percy Daniels
By 1972 it was in need of a complete rebuild as only about half the
pedals worked. It soldiered on in a sorry state, thanks largely to the
tender loving care of Ken Brown, church secretary and organist. The
panels in the corner by the present organ are all that is left of organ
number 3: they were turned into a housing for the speakers for the
electronic organ in memory of Ken
4th organ 1991 – electronic organ
A gift in memory of Norman Clear a former treasurer of the Lynch, and
father of Anne Holloway, church secretary in the 90's
2004 - Rowland Electronic Keyboard
This was added to the music making capacity as an anonymous gift
For many years we had a choir.
Ruth Uffindell, Bob Keel, Doris Brown (Hooper) Kate Larder and
Beryl Flook were all stalwarts.
Harold Flook was choirmaster and Ken Brown and Margaret Weeks
were organists
When the organ was moved from the north to the south side, the choir
seating was removed
pre 1827 -1859
Rev Robert Hoopell (died in his 81st year)
Association with Cheddar Baptist
1863 – 1875
Rev Thomas Davies (1 Sunday per month)
Rev Thomas Hanger
1887 – 1892
Rev T B Field
1892 -1994
Rev William Glidden
1895 – 1904
Rev J W Padfield
Rev D T Richards – 1914
1914 – 1918
Rev Leonard Tucker
End of Cheddar Association
1918 – 1924 (initially invited for 3 months!)
Rev J Kitto Baker
1st Wrington and Langford Association
1926 – 1928
Rev David Lloyd
Rev Ralph B Scurrah
1932 – 1933
Rev R H Maliphant
1934 – 1936
Rev R C Griffin
1938 – 1941
Rev George Gear
1945 – 1959
Rev S P Record
1960 -1965
Teams of students from Bristol Baptist College
2nd Association with Wrington
1965 – 1969
Rev J Michael Rees from Swansea Memorial College
1969 – 1981
Rev Arthur Simmons
1981 – 1991
Rev Norman Moon
1982 – 1990
Rev Robert Brown
1991 – 2005
Rev Stephen Newell from Mansfield College
1994 - 1999
Mr Trevor Boulter
2000 -2007
Rev Colin Speed
2007 -
Rev Mary Burgess
In September 1916 it was agreed to purchase blinds for the
windows at a cost of £3/7/6 to shade the outside light
In August 1940 it was agreed that to save blacking
out afternoon services would be held
Collections were only taken during the summer months until
The envelope scheme was introduced in 1925
In 1932 the minster – Rev R Maliphant suggested
having a magazine – the suggestion was rejected!
In April 1919 Mrs Carwardine presented
separate communion cups to the chapel
After a great deal of discussion in 60s and 70s
the name of the chapel was changed from


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