Whitefield's Tabernacle, Kingswood

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Whitefield's Tabernacle, Kingswood

Whitefield's sometimes Whitfield's Tabernacle (grid reference ST648738) is a former Calvinistic Methodist and Congregational (now United Reformed) church in Kingswood, a town on the eastern edge of Bristol where George Whitefield preached in the open air to coal miners. The name refers to two buildings in which the church met.

The congregation originally met in the New Society Room which was built in 1741 for George Whitefield and John Cennick after a separation occurred between them and John Wesley. The former Society Room building was expanded to a large size, and is a grade I listed building,. It is now roofless and derelict after an arson attack.

In 1851 a very large gothic building, designed by Henry Masters, was constructed a little to the west of the original tabernacle. In the late 20th century this building was closed and the United Reformed Church congregation moved back into the original 18th century building for a few years, before leaving both buildings to join together for worship with another congregation associated with the 18th-century revival, the Moravian Church, in the Moravian building on the other side of the High Street.

In 2003 the Tabernacle featured in the BBC's Restoration series

As of 2007, there were plans for the redevelopment of the three listed buildings on the Tabernacle site, namely the two churches and the 18th century Chapel House. Besides various proposed memorial facilities, the plan includes flats in the Chapel House and the 19th century building. At February 2011 the site was still derelict although the large disused churchyard had been cleared of vegetation.


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