Porchfield Congregational Chapel and Burial Ground

From Wightpedia
Porchfield Congregational Chapel Isle of Wight
Congregational Chapel, Porchfield (1907 map)

A Congregational Chapel was built at Porchfield, Isle of Wight in 1815, this was rebuilt in 1846 with the help of members of the Cowes Congregational Church[1] as the Bethel Chapel, with accommodation for 184.[2]

The chapel thrived throughout the 1800’s and at the beginning of the 20th century an adjoining schoolroom was built. Membership declined during the 1920’s, services were still held there during the 1930’s and the WI made use of the schoolroom for meetings for a time.

During the second world war the schoolroom was again in use, this time as the ARP headquarters. It continued to be used for various purposes, including at one time as a youth club.

It is believed that the last service in the chapel was held sometime during the 1950’s and it was then closed, responsibility for the premises passing to the members of Newport Congregational Church.

A charitable trust was established to take ownership of the chapel and graveyard and became responsible for their care. There were eight trustees on the original board, two of whom, Mr Sam Wendes, who has served for many years as secretary and treasurer, and Mr Henry Angell were still serving in 1991.

As the building had not been used for many years and had become unsafe, it was decided to demolish it in 1991.[1]

The Burial Ground

The gate to the burial ground is on the Main Road, next to the Sportsman's Rest Public-house.

Burials took place from 1848, and it was used for Porchfield residents for many years; it contains memorials to many local families.

There was reliable evidence for believing that the burial ground was originally used from the whole village rather than just the members of the chapel congregation during the 1800’s as a reaction to the incumbent of the [Calbourne] parish church serving the area who is reputed to have been unwilling to allow the poor to he buried in his churchyard.[1]

Modern part of Porchfield Burial Ground, Isle of Wight
Modern section of Porchfield Burial Ground

The Porchfield Burial Ground charity continued to maintain the grounds until 2013 when it became inactive. The burial ground continued to be used in recent years.

2023 the burial ground is the responsibility of the Calbourne, Newtown and Porchfield Parish Council.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Isle of Wight County Press - 13 December 1991 - Parish Pump News - Porchfield
  2. The Religious Census of Hampshire 1851 - 218