The United Reformed Church, located in Chapel Street, Thornbury, has an interesting history going back to the early 1700s when the first chapel was built. The chapel that now stands in Chapel Street was built in 1826. For most of its life, it was called the Independent Chapel or Thornbury Congregational Chapel until 1972 when the Congregationalists merged with the Presbyterians to form the United Reformed Church.
We are grateful to the Church Elders and in particular to the ex-Church Secretary, Robin Pencavel and the minister Rev Stephen Lewis for allowing us to access the church’s records and to use them on the website.
The two photographs of the Church interior were copied from its Facebook page. The one on the right was taken at the Pentecost Service in 2015 and the one below on the left was taken at one of the regular Saturday morning coffee mornings. Click on the photos to see a larger image.
We are fortunate that the history of the Church was researched by one of its members, Edgar W . Pitcher, who recorded his findings in a paper called ‘The Thornbury Congregational Church’ in 1926. Click here to read the full account by Edgar Pitcher
We’ve also got our own URC history with snippets of information gleaned from the minutes and elsewhere. It includes a bit about Crossways Chapel.
The links on the left will show you the various registers up to 1904. The information was taken from the registers of births marriages and deaths and from certificates that we found in the church safe. We have also photographed and recorded the memorials and monumental inscriptions. We are aware that that all these sources even when taken together do not represent all the births death and marriages that took place in the chapel. There are unexplained gaps, and the graves in the chapel burial ground and the certificates issued for deaths are not all reflected in the registers.
We have also photographed the framed pictures in the vestry and used them to illustrate the list of ministers of the church, which can also be seen by using the menu on the left. We have added to the list what we know of each of the ministers from the Church’s own minutes books and from Censuses etc.
The Roll of the Congregation taken around 1892 has some interest – if only to see the number of the congregation who are actually dead, or in one case a lunatic.
We have a collection of photographs showing different aspects of the church. Click here to see these images
The Church holds services every Sunday at 10.45am (with Communion every 2nd Sunday) and a coffee morning with a stall for Fair Trade goods and cards is ‘open to all’ on Saturday mornings from 10.00 am to midday. Please see the church’s own website for details of of its present day activities