Congregational Chapel, Castle Combe

The well known non-conformist John Cennick first visited the village in 1740 and preached to a large number of people in the street. He returned in 1743 and at later times, holding services in a cottage at the end of West Street. The owner of the cottage moved to a larger one and a room, known as the 'Prophet's Chamber' here was fitted out for services to be held. The congregation increased and in 1757 a chapel was built on the hill. Despite this a service had to be held outdoors, under a tree, in 1769 when George Whitfield came to preach. In 1773 Rowland Hill took a 6.00 a.m. service on a cold dark morning and the chapel was crowded with many people walking some distance across the fields to attend. After this the chapel was enlarged and continued to attract many notable preachers. In 1806 Isaac West started a Sunday School that lasted for 30 years, and then was re-formed in 1842. A schoolroom was erected in 1846.
The lease on the chapel expired in the early 20th century and the committee bought the old malthouse at Upper Combe in the spring of 1903 for £327. They began to restore it and reconstruct it as a chapel. By 1914 the new chapel was ready, with a schoolroom, a vestry and a manse, and the Congregationalists transferred from Lower Combe, opening their new chapel on 3rd September 1914. It was lit by oil lamps until Gas came to Upper Combe. After the last permanent minister left services were taken by visiting preachers. The old Hillside chapel deteriorated and had become dangerous by the time it was demolished in 1935. The old schoolroom of 1846 was renovated and became the local telephone exchange.