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Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 19 June 2020

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 24: Churches of Wellington

Mantle Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Wellington, Somerset

Mantle Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel sits on the north side of Fore Street, about ten metres west of the opposite junction with Bulford Lane. Records with South West Heritage Trust suggest that the chapel opened around 1838, seating 350, and survived until closure in 1985. However, the Taunton Methodist Circuit was created in 1771 and that included Wellington, suggesting a congregation existed before that date, possibly meeting in Scott's Lane Chapel (below).

Fore Street Presbyterian Chapel / Wellington United Reformed Church, Wellington, Somerset

Fore Street Presbyterian Chapel stands on the east side of the street, just south of the access lane to North Street car park. It opened in 1730, replacing the former The Three Cups Inn Meeting House (used since 1689). The new chapel evolved into one of Independents and then Congregationalists. It was enlarged in 1748, rebuilt in the Gothic style in 1861, and extended in the late 1800s to seat 700. In 1972 it became Wellington United Reformed Church.

Chapel of St Michael & St George / Wellington School War Memorial Chapel, Wellington, Somerset

The Chapel of St Michael & St George, Wellington School, is set back from the western side of South Street, about seventy metres south of the Bulford Lane junction. Shown here in 1929, during construction, it is also known as the Wellington School War Memorial Chapel. Construction was completed in 1931, with the chapel commemorating those 'Old Boys' who gave their lives in the First World War, at the instigation of the then headmaster, George Corner.

Chapel of St Michael & St George / Wellington School War Memorial Chapel, Wellington, Somerset

The chapel was designed by Plymouth architect, Charles Biddulph-Pincher. It is built in red brick with stone dressings and pinnacles, which were to surround a cupola, but this never materialised due to a shortage of money. The clear glass perpendicular windows were considered to be 'the finest of this generation'. The interior is richly decorated with finely traceried carved oak wood wall panels with elaborately decorated canopies made of plaster fibre, all painted and gilded.

South Street Particular Baptist Church, Wellington, Somerset

South Street Particular Baptist Church occupies the western side of South Street, with the chapel building about twenty metres north of the Scott's Lane entrance. It was built in 1833 to replace an earlier chapel that was built in 1731-1732. A former burial ground adjoins it. A large schoolroom was added in 1865 and the new chapel was enlarged in 1877, increasing its capacity from 450 to 600. The schoolroom was extended in 1907. Pews were removed in 2008.

Scott's Lane Wesleyan Methodist Chapel / Bethel Chapel (Bible Christians) Gladstone Terrace Salvation Army Barracks / King's Church, Wellington, Somerset

This chapel stands at the south end of Gladstone Terrace, which opposes Brooks Place and is crossed by Scott's Lane. It was built as Scott's Lane Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, but the Methodists moved to Mantle Street (see above). It was taken over in 1849 as Scott's Lane Bethel Chapel (Bible Christians), and they were here until 1899. Then until at least 1938, it was Gladstone Terrace Salvation Army Barracks. More recently it was King's Church.

Five photos on this page by P L Kessler, and one from the History Files collection. Former Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by South West Heritage Trust. Additional information from Kelly's Somersetshire Directory 1889, and from Somerset extensive urban survey: Wellington, Archaeological assessment, and Kelly's Somersetshire Directory 1889.

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