Last year our first donation drive was a complete success,
thanks to some wonderful people who helped us gain a security certificate and meet
some of the increasing web hosting costs. This year, that certificate needs to be
renewed and another round of hosting costs need to be supplimented. As the History
Files is a non-profit site it still needs your help. Please click anywhere inside
this box to make a small donation via PayPal so that we can continue to provide
highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. If every visitor
donated just a penny then we'd cover a year's running costs in a day! Your support
is highly appreciated.
Target for 2019: £0£130
Gallery: Churches of Warwickshire
by Peter Kessler, 28 February 2010
West Warwickshire Part 6: Churches of
Royal Leamington Spa & Whitnash
Tower Street Chapel used to stand on the
street of that name, at the back of Clemens Street. Initially it
appears to have been have been a 'proprietary' chapel, owned by an
individual to offer worship in a newly urbanised area. Weslyans and
Catholics used it at a time which suggests it was build about 1820.
Both of these established their own chapels, and Tower Street was
eventually turned into four cottages, and more recently demolished
for new housing.
The Church of St Margaret is in Whitnash,
now a southern suburb of Leamington Spa, but originally a small
village which was centred around its parish church. The church lies
between Church Lane and Church Close, not far from the Warwick & Napton canal. It was first given, between 1121 and 1129, by
Lesceline widow of Humfrey the Domesday tenant of Whitnash, to
Nostell Priory in Yorkshire. The original church possessed an
aisleless nave and chancel.
The church's two-stage tower with embattled
parapet was added in the latter part of the fifteenth century,
although it is unclear if this replaced an earlier tower. Two bells
by Mathew Bagley were installed in 1680 and a south porch was added in
the eighteenth century. Much of the church was rebuilt at various
times, the chancel in 1855, the aisle in 1867, and the nave in 1880.
Four more bells were added to the tower by J Taylor, three in 1892
and one in 1896.
Union Chapel was midway down the
western side of Clemens Street, back in the lower centre of
Leamington Spa and close to Tower Chapel. It opened in 1816, the
first of the many Dissenting chapels in town. Also known as
Congregational Chapel, it was the first home to several new
groups that eventually set up their own chapels. The first to leave
went to Mill Street Chapel, and the Baptists left for their own
chapel. The Congregationalists alone remained on Clemens Street.
In 1836 the Congregationalists also moved, to a
new bigger chapel in Spencer Street. The old chapel was sold in 1844
and became a short-lived theatre in 1848. In 1866 the building was
re-opened as the Congregational Free Chapel, under the care of
Reverend Sibree. This lasted until 1902 when the chapel again closed,
to re-open as a corn store, and later part of the Lockheed Company
until 1973. It was then divided in two and this is how it survives to this day.
Two photos on this page kindly contributed by Aidan
McRae Thomson, and three kindly released for republication by Bath Place.