In May 1856 the first Gospel Hall was opened at Corshamside, now known as Neston, by a group of Christians wishing to worship in the brethren tradition.  We must go back 24 years to 1832 when the then Vicar of Corsham, the Rev. John Andrew Methuen, renounced his curacy and sought fellowship among local gatherings of believers, which included Captain John Edridge of Pockeridge House.  John Andrew Methuen was the 4th son of Paul Cobb Methuen and having studied at Oxford became Vicar of Corsham in 1819, and in 1822, married Louisa M. Fuller of Neston Park.

Meetings were first held at Pockeridge House and then transferred to the Old Malthouse at Corshamside until the building of the Gospel Hall which was opened in May 1856. Captain Edridge met the costs of building the hall as ‘a place for preaching and a graveyard for the Society of Brethren’, but sadly died before its completion.  The hall was well attended over the years and a Sunday School commenced in 1873 and in 1903 the hall was enlarged to cope with the growing numbers attending the Sunday School and Bible Classes.  Over the years, several generations of the Light, Davis, Webb, Sawyer, Smith and Poulsom families supported the hall and in May 1926, they purchased the Primitive Methodist Church in Station Road to cope with numbers of worshippers resident in Corsham town.

Henry Smith, late 1800s

Henry Smith, late 1800s

By 2011 it was decided to close the Neston chapel and concentrate all the work at Station Road.  The Neston estate purchased the Gospel Hall at Neston and this has been converted into a home, but the Corsham Chapel retains the graveyard beside the chapel and this will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.

I am grateful to Donald Smith, who with others, wrote an interesting history of the two chapels in 2006.

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