Evidence of Baptist witness in the local area goes back some 134 years before this date. Baptist church fellowships existed from 1656 in Chipping Sodbury, and at Hillesley from 1730. In 1747 a certificate to hold religious services in the house of one John Rawlings of Thornbury was granted.
The first Baptist witness happened in Tytherington occured on Jan 2 1790
Permission was granted by the then Bishop of Gloucester Richard Beadon (1737 - 1824) Educated at Blundells school in Tiverton and St Johns College Cambridge, he was awarded a BA in 1758. In 1775 he was appointed as Archdeacon of London and Master of Jesus college Cambridge.
Having gained the favour of George III (1738 - 1820) he became Bishop of Gloucester in 1789 and in 1802 was translated to Bishop of Bath and Wells.
The Lord of the Manor was Thomas M Hardwicke (1756 - 1805) he was the nephew of Peter Hardwicke who bought the manor of Tytherington in 1728. Most of his life was spent in Langport but he moved to The Grange a few years before his father's death.
The patron was one George Hardwicke M.D. a nephew of Peter Hardwicke making him a first cousin once removed of the lord of the manor. He was a bailiff of Chipping Sodbury, and in practice with one Edward Ludlow to whom Edward Jenner of Berkley was apprenticed. Edward Jenner introduced the vaccination for smallpox. George Hardwick was a busy man as not only bailiff and doctor he was the proprietor of the Bell inn and owner of the chemists on the north side of Broad Street. He was also a land owner of fields in Itchington and gave £40 in trust, the interest of which was to be used to purchase bread for the poor.
The parson was James Hardwicke (Vicar from 1785 - 1817.) A cousin of the lord of the manor and nephew of the patron he succeeded his second cousin as vicar. He was also rector of Sopwith in Wiltshire in 1795. His grandfather was a solicitor and his father a doctor of law, who was buried in Tytherington.
In 1810 he was issued a licence to be absent from Tytherington for two years because of insufficiency of the house of residence and an inability to undertake any regular duty due to ill health. This was renewed in 1812, 1814 and 1816, on condition that a licenced curate performed the duties of the parish and resided in the vicarage house.
A certificate granting permission for a meeting of dissenters in the village of Tytherington under the toleration act of 1689 was granted to one, William Pullin. This allowed non conformists to hold services without molestation, provided they were held behind unlocked doors.
Pullin was a man of courage to stand up and be counted against authority and power and accept its consequences. He is reported to have lived at Yew tree farm. At the age of 73 in 1791 he died and was buried in Tytherington. William was of Methodist stock so it was quite in order for him to be buried in the churchyard as the Methodists did not leave the church until 1795.
Three further certificates for meeting were issued by the Bishop of Gloucester.
March 27th 1811 in the house of Thomas Bedgood.
September 15th 1832 in two rooms of the house of Thomas Addis.
October 11th 1839 in the house of Henry Curtis.
The meetings in the house of Thomas Addis were held in two rooms asked for by Rev William Jarman Cross the dissenting minister of Thornbury Baptist church (1832-1844) and later in the home of Henry Curtis asked for again by the Rev Cross.
It was through his devoted efforts that the churches of Morton (1834), Berkley (1835) and Tytherington (1841) were built. This was thanks to aid in the form of generous gifts from his father William Cross Esq.
The first Baptist chapel in Tytherington was built and opened in July of 1842.
The Chapel was used for services and Sunday school for some 42 years before moves were made for a new chapel. According to local folk lore that this was because the singing on a Sunday was too loud and could be heard in St James's church. This is referred to in the poem "One Hundred Years on" below, and is recorded in the Thornbury Baptist church minutes at a special meeting on Wednesday, 11th June 1884.
At the meeting it was resolved that Revd. George Rees, Messrs George Boyt and Matthew Cullimore were empowered to sell the existing chapel and vestry to H.L. Hardwicke Esq or others. Also it states that due to the generosity of Mr Hardwick Esq to give an eligible site for the new chapel that the building was valued at £60 not counting the pulpit, gallery, seats, lobby doors, stove, lamps, and grate. This was then deposited with a further £10 from Mr Hardwick in the bank in Thornbury and applied to the building of the new Chapel.
A further meeting of the Thornbury Baptist church held on Monday June 30th 1884 resolved that Mr Hardwick Esq would pay all law costs incurred in the sale with the understanding that the Baptist church could have use of the building for public worship until the completion of the new chapel.
From that point on things happened quickly with foundation stones being laid on October 27th 1884 the outside walls having reached a height of two feet.
The Sunday school was completed as the chapel was built at an extra cost of £105.
The present chapel was opened in May of 1885.
At the time of its opening among the members considered to constitute the Church at Tytherington , were family names such as Boyt, Cullimore, Skuse, Taylor, Curtis, Perry, Barton, Pullin, Rugman, Lambert, Kingscote, Barber, Davis, Trotman, Woodward and Shipton. Many of these names are still known in the village today.
1930 - 1939
For most of this period the chapel was without a Minister. A period of much unemployment, hardship and poverty. The word of the Lord was still preached however by Lay Preachers from the Bristol area.
In 1931 electricity came to the village and the chapel was wired up to the supply after 42 years of being lit by oil lamps. The work was carried out by 'Messrs Whipp and company of Bristol'. They wired 6 lamps into the Chapel, 2 into the Sunday school, one in what was known as the wash house and one outside light over the main entrance. The cost of the work was £16 5s. 5d.
On June 30th 1935 the fiftieth anniversary of the church building was celebrated with the Rev R. L. Child the minister of Broadmead.
On Sunday 3rd September 1939 with the declaration of war the lights went out in the chapel due to the blackout restrictions. During this period winter services were held at 3pm with prayer meetings held on Friday evenings during the duration of the war and for a short time after.
On a Sunday in June 1940 32 children and 3 teachers were evacuated into the village. They were from Bathside Infants School, Harwich. Due to this influx of children the village school was more than overflowing. This resulted in the Education Department taking over the use of the Sunday school room for an extra classroom.
In September of 1942 100 years of witness in Tytherington, from the opening of the first Chapel, was celebrated. The service took part at 3pm by Mr H Davis of Frampton Cotterall supported by Rev J E Rogers Minister and Rev A J Kitson Vicar of Tytherington. The lesson was read by Mr Arthur Boyt.
on November 9th 1947 the church acquired a piano and it was 'opened' by Miss F Curtis.
1950 - 1969
The Rev Oscar W Smart (1951-1953) came to the pastorate. He arranged for the Church to have its own Marriage Register and to appoint its own 'Authorised Person' for marriages. This avoided the need for a Registrar to attend as had been the requirement until then.
The first marriage entered into the new register took place on March 26th 1952. It was between Mr Ronald Skuse and Lillian Smith, and was officiated by Rev Smart.
In 1960 new electric heaters were installed replacing the two Tortoise coke stoves that used to heat the chapel.
1961 saw the purchase of a new organ. It was a Farfisa Golden Voice III Electric Reed Organ, costing £155 8s 0d.
On the 21st February 1961 Tytherington Baptist church was formed from members of Thornbury Baptist church who were transferred to covenant together.
The present Chapel's centenary was celebrated on Saturday 18th 1985.
On January 3rd 1988 an Ecumenical Covenant was signed with St James's church and with Christian friends of other persuasions. This was renewed on January 7th 1990 and last in January 2012.
The first Baptismal service that took place in the present chapel took place on Sunday January 3rd 1989. A portable baptistery was used as before this, members were baptised in Thornbury. The person baptised was the daughter of the church treasurer miss Jean Humphries.
The original licence to practice the baptist faith
in Tytherington, dated 1790.
A copy of which is on display in the chapel.
CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER FORMAT.
A brief history of the baptist faith
Click on the map to see in a larger format,
and to compare it to a modern OS map
The first Chapel Tytherington.
Built in 1842 was situated opposite St James Parish church
An extract from from messrs F G Tuckers ledger
showing the costings of the new chapel
ONE HUNDRED YEARS ON
Way back in eighteen eighty-four
The Chapel and Church stood almost next door,
As the vicar read out from Gods Word
The Baptists singing could be heard.
Squire Hardwicke singing in his pew
said "Reallly, this will not do.
It's a situation in which i must take a hand
I'll offer these Dissenters a piece of land
And tell them "T will be a privilage
To worship on the outskirts of the village
There is a plot called "The Close" which will do just fine
It's the other side of the railway line."
The Baptists held a meeting and agreed the move in June
A tender was accepted and very soon
In fact before autumn leaves their downward way had made
Messrs 'Boyt' and 'Isles' Foundation stones had laid.
Through winter months 'Tucker Bros' and their men
Worked with a will, and then
It soon became quite clear
The new Chapel would be up within a year.
The cost being for Church, Sunday School, and fence
Four hundred and forty-three pounds, fifteen Shilling and threepence.
So those who came in Eighteen eighty-five that May
Witnessed the rejoicing of that opening day.
A hundred years have come and gone, and we assembled here
Salute the memory of those who had a vision clear
Who as an act of faith undertook the task
To build this house of God, His guidance only did they ask,
And there are those who down the years have served their Master with a smile
Let us remember them, those we have loved long since and lost a while.
Tis time to reminisce, our memories fill the mind
With people who attended here, who in their turn remind:
Of prayer meetings, Harvest festivals, and those joyous Christmas Parties,
Christian endeavour, Sunday School Anniversaries, and oh those evacuees.
Walls have ears they say, but could these speak such stories they would tell
Of oh so many happy times, and some sad as well.
A century ago Anglicans and Baptists went their separate ways
The God they worshipped was the same, the subject of their praise
A hundred years on and by His grace
We now unite in each others meeting place
With fellowship that must be sweet
We have one common ' Mercy Seat.'
Now let's not forget our preachers who
Sunday by Sunday filled this pulpit, and still do
Bringing their message from God's word
In countless sermons we have heard.
Enough of yesterdays, the future points us forward,
God bless this house as it proclaims to all who enter
" JESUS CHRIST IS LORD "
W. T. Humphries
With thanks to Mr Edward W Oakey and Mr Roger J Pullin.