Weston Turville Union Chapel

The Early Years:

Weston Turville Union Chapel was erected in the year 1839 on farmland in School Lane, given by Mr John Munger who farmed the nearby Manor Farm. He placed the building in the hands of ‘twelve good men and true’ as trustees. The chairman was his own brother Robert who farmed at Butlers Cross. It was recorded that in 1840, the Deeds were enrolled in Aylesbury’s Court of Chancery. There are no minutes to tell us of the first years of work, and sixteen years were to pass before fourteen members formed themselves into a church on 4th February 1856.

The trust Deed laid down that the Chapel was for the use of Baptists and Independents. This was interpreted to mean that applicants for membership could state whether they wished to join by the way of baptism or by verbal confession of their faith. The Deeds also stated that if any time the work of the Chapel should cease, the proceeds of the sale of the property should be shared between the Baptist Union and the Congregational Union. This stipulation explains the term ‘Union Chapel’. Beyond this legal stipulation, the Congregationalists never seemed to have any official connection to the Chapel.

In 1856 the Chapel was in the Pastoral care of Reverend E Edwards. To accommodate the growing congregation, the Reverend Edwards arranged for the installation of the gallery which was added in 1856 and following requests from the congregation, a Baptistry was added which was opened on 29th April 1864.

In 1865 the first elders of the Chapel were appointed; they were John Bunce and John Clark.

A licence to conduct marriages was granted in 1881.

In the early days of the Chapel, transport and communication was limited. Preachers without a horse were required to walk to Weston Turville and it was not unusual for a Preacher to walk from Quainton to deliver his sermon. By 1905 the Chapel required renovation at a cost of £18. It was decided to undertake the renovation work and to build a schoolroom which incorporated a Ministers Vestry, at the rear. A boundary wall and iron fence was also erected to surround the burial ground. The opening ceremony for the new schoolroom and building works was conducted by Mr John Munger, a descendant of the benefactor who originally gave the land for the Chapel to be built on.

In 1906 the Baptist Union of Great Britain became Trustees by Resolution of the Members.

Through the following 30 years the work of God at the Chapel never faltered and despite many difficulties, it survived through the efforts and commitment of a loyal group of dedicated members, including Mr G Bowker, who was Secretary for 30 years and an honorary Pastor; Miss Kempster who was the Sunday School Superintendent for 60 years and Miss Holt the Sunday School teacher and organist.

By Mrs Heather Mayall, Secretary of Weston Turville Union Chapel.

From an article in the June 2013 edition of Weston Turville Times

The Union Chapel has a website at http://theunionchapel.co.uk/