The Old Baptist Chapel
Turning off Church Street into a narrow medieval alleyway, one does not expect to find the Old Baptist Chapel. This enigmatic building, standing in the shadow of the Abbey, conceals a rich history of domestic and religious use.
To visit, see our opening times.
About the Old Baptist Chapel
Starting life in the fifteenth century as a medieval house, it was a roomy dwelling for an affluent Tewkesbury family. It is thought that by the mid-seventeenth century, the house had become the location for a Nonconformist group, the Baptists, to hold their meetings. If proven, this would make the Chapel the oldest of its type still in existence. During the eighteenth century, the house was transformed into a simply decorated chapel with a pulpit, baptistery and pastor’s room. In 1805, the congregation moved to a larger property and the building was once again returned to domestic use with the two end bays converted into small cottages.
During the 1970s, the dilapidated building was restored to its 1720 appearance by Tewkesbury Borough Council. Today the Chapel is an important and loved heritage building. It is managed by the John Moore Museum, part of the Abbey Lawn Trust. The Trust is a building preservation charity which cares for significant listed buildings and the Abbey Lawns in the historic heart of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. To find out more about the history of the chapel, go to our Chapel History page.
Thanks to grants from the Abbey Lawn Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Tewkesbury Borough Council, the chapel has received a bit of well-needed TLC with essential repairs and renovation undertaken during 2015 and 2016. Whilst maintaining the original character, a kitchenette and DDA compliant toilet, heating, new lighting and gallery hanging systems have been installed, making the building more welcoming and comfortable for visitors. New ways to tell its rich history have also been incorporated, including an audio tour, history panels, replica historic items and a touchscreen interactive. To plan your visit, visit our Chapel Opening Times.
The adjacent Baptist graveyard remains the responsibility of the Tewkesbury Borough Council.