The Old Baptist Chapel, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
If you like old buildings, particularly those with an interesting history, the chances are you'll appreciate a little lookie at The Old Baptist Chapel in Tewkesbury. It's part of the John Moore Countryside Museum and is just across the road from the main site, in a street lined with similar timber framed medieval buildings and elegant Georgian houses. The chapel is at least 500 years old and is one of the oldest of its kind in the country. It started life as a house; living quarters upstairs, cattle kept down below as was the way then. It's believed it came into use as a Baptist chapel in 1623, though the actual history is sketchy - Baptism was a nonconformist religion and being so close to Tewkesbury Abbey it wouldn't have been easy to hold secret meetings.
In typical Baptist style, the chapel is plain and austere, without decoration, in line with Baptist beliefs; it's been painstakingly restored to look as it did in about 1720 and now earns its keep as an education space and events venue as well as a heritage attraction. You can see the history of the building via audio tours, replica displays and a digitalised Minute Book with notes of the congregation from 1655 to 1808. Fascinating!
The chapel is open to visitors year round - from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm in the Summer, on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Bank Holidays, and in the winter the same hours most Saturdays.
T: 01684 299893 All information correct at the time of writing