Old Independent Chapel, Ware

Dead Lane / Church Street

S Williams

The chapel on a map of 1851
Herts Archives & Local Studies, D/ELeP1
c1910, William Gerish collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Os map, 1881
Drawings by Gordon Moodey, 1970s
Hertfordshire Archives adn Local Studies D.EGm
1980s, showing the old fire station next door
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Stusies, CV/WAR
1980s
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
February 2013
S Williams

The Old Independent Chapel in Church Street was built in 1778 for a congregation of protestant dissenters and continued as a place of worship until 1918. Since then, the building has had various uses and despite its Grade II listing, the exterior has sadly declined over the last 20 years.

 

The land, in what was then known as Dead Lane, was bought by Thomas Adams, maltfactor; Thomas Green, Curryer, John white of Stanstead Abbotts, Farmer John Tice, Surgeon John Stevens, Cooper William Creasey and others.  The chapel had a three-decker pulpit with 450 seats and its first minister was William Godwin, a radical writer, and father of Mary Shelley.

 

After it ceased as a chapel, it was subsequently used as a church hall, Masonic Hall, United Services Club, auction room and printing works. 

 

Mr Gordon Moodey, who was Vice-President of the East Herts Archaeological Society and campaigned tirelessly to save buildings in the local area, produced some detailed drawings and reports about its construction and merits. His efforts paid off and it was listed in 1974

 

He thought it was a most interesting example of non-conformist architecture, with its “characteristic towering, hipped roof designed to span an immense square room with little support except for the outer walls.”  The arched heads of the rear windows are filled with gothic Georgian tracery.  It is thought that the windows at the front were of the same design before the façade was re-dressed in the 1850s in an emulation of the re-built church built at Leaside, behind the High Street.  The date of 1778 over the door was probably added at the same time.

 

Adjacent to the chapel is a burial ground, though it was cleared of gravestones in 1974.  There was also a large tomb by the entrance which is no longer there.  According to a burial register held at Hertfordshire Archives, 63 people were buried here, the first in 1783 and the last in 1834.  By 1881, it is marked as ‘disused’ on an ordnance survey map.

 

Mary Gray, 22, 13 Sep 1783

Ann Lecand, 3 Mar 1785

___Coachman to David Barclay of Youngsbury, nd

Thomas Adams, 53, 8 Sep 1787

Elizabeth Archer, 22, 23 Dec 1787

Mary Mitchell, 29, 14 Jun 1789

___Hall, 7 Mar 1792

Henry William Vennor, 18, 7 Apr 1793

Martha Irswell, 53, 5 Oct 1793

Henry Irswell, 57, 30 Oct 1793

Matthew Marshall, 54, 11 Dec 1794

Ann Marshall, 63, 2 Nov 1795

Dinah Worsley, 57, 17 Jan 1796

Martha Adams (Gt Amwell) 57, 7 Feb 1798

Mary Price, 5 months, 20 Feb 1798

Millicent Blow, 23, 9 Apr 1798

Thomas Creasy, 75, 20 Apr 1798

William Creasy, 43, 26 Jun 1799

James Mitchell, 42, 11 Nov 1801

John Flack, 5, 6 Nov 1805

William Langford Creasy, 27, 16 Nov 1805

Samuel Stevens, 30, 11 Aug 1806

Mary Drew [?] 47, 31 Dec 1806

Elizabeth Wren, 26, 10 Dec 1809

Martha Webb, 22, 3 Jan 1810

Sophia North, 2, 29 Jan 1810

Elizabeth Medcalf, 40, 25 Oct 1811

Elizabeth Vennor, 75, 5 Dec 1812

John Stevens, 73, 25 Jul 1812

Francis G Stevens, 42, 2 Jan 1814

William Harradence, 24, 23 Feb 1815

Thomas Webb (Thundridge) 61, 9 Mar 1815

Mary Webb, 55, 7 Mar 1816

Joseph Medcalf, 32, 16 Apr 1815

Rev Edward Vennor, 78, 15 Jul 1819

Mary Creasy, 75, 24 Jul 1819

Mrs Harradence Senr, nd

Mr Creasy, 40, 28 Jun 1822

Mrs Leek, nd

Joseph Webb, 3 Dec 1822

James Lee, 7 Oct 1823

H Dunn Senr, 14 Jan 1824

Langford Vennor, 15 Nov 1824

Martin White Ekins, 26, Oct 1825

Mrs Marshall, nd

Thomas Harradence, 23, 16 Oct 1826

Mrs Crabb Senr, 1826

Joseph Crabb (Surgeon) 44, 5 Mar 1827

Mrs Carr, 26, 29 Apr 1827

John Josolyne Senr (Wareside) 64, 22 Feb 1828

Mrs Harradence Jnr, 36, 21 Jul 1828

Eliza Carswell, about 3 yrs, 14 Apr 1829

Mrs Whyman (St Andrew’s, Hertford) 1829

Mary Pavitt, 45, 3 Jul 1830

Edward Vennor, 5 weeks & 5 days, 15 Jul 1830

William Whyman, 17 months, 23 Oct 1830

Mrs Stevens, 23 Oct 1830

Mary Ekins, 7 Dec 1830

Samuel Giffin, 5, 11 Apr 1831

Mrs Mary Josolyne, 67, 22 Oct 1831

William Leake Blow, 3 [or 33] 17 Dec 1831

Miss Eliza Josolyne, 26 Apr 1832

John Yew, 4 Oct 1834

 

This page was added on 04/05/2013.

Comments about this page

  • In Ware Old Cemetery lies the gravestone of:

    “The REV GEORGE PEARCE
    43 years Minister of the Gospel.
    During that period, 14 years Pastor
    of the Church assembling at the Old
    Independant Chapel Ware. Previously
    16 years Pastor of the Independant
    Church Debenham, Suffolk.
    Obit January 12th 1858
    Etat 65 years.”

    By Mark Dell (05/05/2020)
  • Have been investigating the origins of my first given name and was delighted to find more about Edward Vennor’s chapel and a list of all those in the burial ground. Some of the surnames are mentioned in his Will but I wonder if any of the Marshalls are related to the Marshalls in the family of Edward’s brother Thomas Vennor who founded the Queen Street Chapel, Sheffield, in 1785?

    By Vennor Christina Sadleir (14/02/2014)

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