SHROPSHIRE'S NONCONFORMIST CHAPELS

[former] Baptist Chapel, Wem
[former] Baptist Chapel, corner of Market Street & Noble Street, Wem
The first Baptist congregation met in Wem in early 1813, and they took out a lease on a premesis at the end of the High Street, which opened in August 1813. As the premises was small, a chapel was erected in Cripple Street (a short alleyway between Noble Street and Market Street), together with an adjoining house, at a cost of 566, and the chapel was opened on 26th & 27th September 1814. It was licensed at the county quarter sessions on 18th October 1814. The chapel was described as "very plain and neat", and able to hold 200 worshippers. The debt upon the chapel and house remained at 230 which the small congregation struggled to repay. On Census Sunday 30 March 1851 there were 22 worshippers at their morning service and 45 at their evening one. The chapel was enlarged and "beautified" in 1866. This chapel was replaced by the chapel in the photograph (designed by the architect David Walker of Liverpool and built by Mr T. Francis and Mr H. Tommy of Wem) which was built in 1870-1 on the corner of Market Street and Noble Street at a cost of just over 1,000. The foundation stone of this chapel was laid on 20th July 1870, and the chapel opened on the 11th April 1871. It had seating for 260 worshippers. The chapel was registered for the solemnization of marriages on 15th April 1872. In June 1872, during a storm, lightening struck the small spire, stripped the slates off the rood and laid the laths bare. The chapel had closed by 1991 (and de-registered as a place of worship on 13th May 1992) as the congregation took over the former Independent Chapel in Chapel Street in 1988. q.v.
Grid ref: SJ 511289

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