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Sion Chapel site Friarn Street Bridgwater

Documentary Research in progress
updated 29 August 2007

Record Office

Site book, interim report, press cuttings and photographs for excavations at Friarn Street and West Quay, Bridgwater. 1983-1984
Part 2
Cellars inside Friarn Lawn on Stone Foundations. In Cutting B SW wall to The Friars located. Arches collapsing into the cellars. Limit of machine dig was 2.7 m. Finds: few but SF1 was a "chamfered column stone".

T/PH/bw.1 "Tithe Map" ca. 1884 (actually Town Plan in Reports of Property Committee)

Plots 424 and 425 (latter to S of Durleigh Brook) or 423 not part of the property of the Borough of Bridgwater in 1835.


Bridgwater Borough plans. Friarn Fields Housing Scheme; site plan and compulsory order for Friarn Lawn. 1934 [not yet examined}

Westfield United Reform Church archives

Deeds relating to the Friarn Street Chapel.
Indenture the (i) Rev. Thomas Tatton of Bridgwater and Robert Codrington of Bridgwater, gent to (ii) the Rev. John Hey of Bristol, the Rev. Richard Herdsman of South Petherton, James Ingram of Bristol, sugar baker, James Clark of Redcliffe Street, Bristol, grocer, Peter Hicks of Bristol, shoemaker, Thomas Pope of Marlborough Street, Bristol, carpenter, James Tod of Castle Street, Bristol, breaches maker, William Green of Bath, minister, Thomas Earl of Wells, millwright, George Nikels of Wells, gent and John Dampier of Kingsdon, gent, of a house, now a Chapel on Friarn Street, 8 Dec 1792; deed of trust with same parties as in lease, 9 Dec 1792.

messuage or tenement situated on the south [inserted over North, crossed out] side of Fryern Street wheron a malt house lately stood a meeting [sic] for diving worship .... the same shall always continue for that purpose. The said messuage or tenement yard garden & premises .... [conveying] All that messuage or tenement now divided into two tenements malthouse now converted .... worship of Protestant Dissenters aforesaid yard and gardens being one burgage siruate standing and being on the south side of Fryern Street heretofore in the possession of Richard Boothby [with all rights including courts].

Also Lease from Robert Codrington for one year to Thomas Tatton two tenements and malthouse now converted .. one burgage on the south side of Fryern Street.

Documents stamped 1871


Bargain and sale of a Chapel. 1819

All that Chapel or meeting house situated in Bridgwater in which the Reverend Joseph Corp now officiates also those cottages or dwelling house
thereto adjoining.

Document stamped 1871


Church History and Roll 1822 - 1877
Contains Abstract of Title to Sion Chapel and Premises (recites /1 mentions Chapel and Cottages or Dwellinghouse)
In Origin "About 30 years since a Malt House on the spot of land on which the present Chapel now stands"

Note: suggests continued occupation of the site since 1792, and not an earlier chapel in Roper's Lane given in secondary sources.

The follows a long list of names on the Church Roll.


Ledger Sion Chapel 1823 onwards
George B Sully builder. Various individual accounts. Sums paid out for Opening Graves (many) 1843 Burials Stocks 1844.


Sabbath School 1843
Pencil annotation Built 1822. Names, and 1846 onwards, residences of boys. West Street, Friern Street, North Street, Honeysuckle Lane and others.


Two Insurance Policies (Protestant Dissenters)
1838, Buildings of Chapel in Friarn Street (£150) and Dwelling House, Vestry & School Rooms (£50).
1856, the description becomes Building, brick built and tiled occupied as School Room and Class rooms, situate adjoining and communicating with Sion Chapel £80 the fittings therof in said building. There is a furnace securely erected in said building. £270. [Evidently the Chapel was separately insured].

In 1860, reports of severe dilapidations. Deacons Report on possible course of action: The shape of the piece of ground on which the present building stands unfortunately prevents any addition to the width.

Minutes 1838 to 1870

1860 floor of chapel in a very bad state.

Record Sub-Committee set up June 2 1848 to watch the interests of Sion Chapel with respect to the projected public (general) cemetary Reported on March 30 1849 piece of ground offered "rejected (unanimously)".

Bound volume of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials November 1818 to September 1865
Burials given from ff250 onwards for 18ff at about 19 entries per page, so say at least 350 recorded burials.
Range of ages - infants to elderly. Entries in 1838 and after give full details of addresses. Register certificate on 5 August 1837 re central register in London.
Many current local names, Sealy, Dyer, Preece, Board etc. Locations generally not given, and plan not found. But spotted that in 1828 G Bryant buried In front of the Chapel; Capt Bryant 1830.

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