A former chapel

At the Easterton end of High Street in Market Lavington there stands a rather odd looking building – this one.

This building near the Easterton end of Markiet Lavington was built as a Meeting House for Quakers in the early 18th century

This building, near the Easterton end of Market Lavington, was built as a Meeting House for Quakers in the early 18th century.

It is right alongside the pavement, yet has only the one window on that side. The building is oriented at right angles to the road.

The building was, originally a Quaker meeting house. The Wiltshire Community History website at http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/ has this to say about the Quakers in Market Lavington and the chapel building.

There was a strong Quaker influence in the village by the 1650s and this continued for several generations with three or four families as the mainstay of the Friends. These included the Selfe, Gye and Axford families. A meeting had been established by 1656 and the Friends were persecuted by the authorities from around 1660. Members of the Selfe family were imprisoned along with Edward Gye and John Smith. This continued into the 1670s. They continued meeting through the latter 17th century and the 24 dissenters recorded in 1676 were probably all Quakers. It was a fairly small group of families which, in c.1680, formed the Lavington Monthly Meeting, which continued until 1775. A meeting house, on the north side of the High Street and at a right angle to the road, measuring 33 feet by 22 feet, was built in 1716, but by the mid-18th century Quakerism was in decline throughout Wiltshire and Market Lavington felt the effect of this. By 1790 there were only three Quakers in the parish and by 1799 this was reduced to one. The meeting house, with its small graveyard was sold and in 1809 was taken over by the Congregationalists, who enlarged it, using it first as a chapel and later, after 1892, as a schoolroom.

In fact the Congregationalists used the building until about 1960 when they built the Powner Hall alongside their church, across the road. The old chapel was sold into private hands.

Back in 2009 a chance came to see the inside which was in use as a store for an artist. But it still retained features of a chapel.

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Here we look at the entrance and above, the balcony which provided extra seating in church days is still there.

The building, along with its graveyard, is owned privately and is not normally available to the public.

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