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Ebenezer Church

Melksham

The church originated in 1821, from a few members in Melksham meeting in a private house. This soon proved too small for the numbers that met there, so a place which was formerly a bake house belonging to John Webb and would  accommodate about one hundred persons was rented and John Warburton, who had settled at Trowbridge, was asked to open it. Again this bake house soon proved too small and so a move was made to more spacious accommodation in Watson's Court off the High Street.

 

The present chapel, Ebenezer, was built in 1835, although the original Trust Deed has been lost; and the Sunday School was added in 1853. An open air baptistry was built in the graveyard at the rear of the chapel, and was so constructed that it could be filled up from Clacker's Brook which runs at the bottom of the chapel property. It is unfortunate that no record of the history of the present chapel can be found; indicating that either over the years it has been mislaid or that records of Church Meetings etc were not kept.

 

Although as stated, no records of the early church are available it is interesting to note that the bills for building the chapel and for repairs and alterations have been preserved and it would indicate that although the builder's stone clearly indicates the name 'Ebenezer', the chapel was often referred to as 'Zion' which was the name of the General Baptist Chapel from which the split was made.

 

The first bill is as follows:

 

Melksham New Meeting

To Jeffard Head & Co.

March 24 to April 4 15 cart load Dry Wallstones

March 24 to April 28 136 cart load Best Wallstones

 

 

 

 

Another dated 24th April is for "roofing 'New Zion' Chapel at Melksham with the best Countess Slates" and to "lath and plaster the ceiling and walls. To execute in a work man like manner for the sum of Twenty three pounds and Ten shillings". Following that, there is a bill dated 1835 for "Wall stones and Carriage" to Zion Chapel "to be used for the boundary wall". One bill dated 1851 would indicate that a pulpit was erected during this year. Also it would appear that the Chapel was completely refitted with seats in 1874 to a total cost of £4. 17. 3d. A further bill refers to "work to gallery and fixing a new pulpit" indicating that there was in all probability a gallery at the rear of the chapel although no sign of this exists now.

 

In 1974 a Sunday School was commenced with a total of ten pupils, five of them being from families other than those attending the chapel. 1984 therefore saw the tenth anniversary of the Sunday school and it is worth noting that, during that time sixty young people had passed through the school.

 

In a 1994, a baptistry was installed inside the church building.

 

In 1995, Mr C. J. Buss was called to the pastorate, and during the 10 years he was here the congregation and membership grew to God's glory. During this time, a nearby cottage, 49 Union Street, SN12 7PR, was purchased and converted for church use i.e Sunday School, coffee mornings, Ladies meetings and church outreach.

 

Mr Marc Thomas took the pastoral oversight from September 2007 to February 2009. Since that time the church has engaged good reformed evangelical ministry each Sunday with ministers coming from a wide area.

 

The church has called Mr Alan Gilmore as a leading elder to minister and work with the church from January 2012. Currently, the congregation numbers about 40 people of a wide age range.

                    S.              D.

                    7                6

   5              13              4

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£ 6              0               10

History