A brief account of the history of Trinity Church, Newport

Beaumaris Lane Independent ChapelThere has been a long tradition in Britain of dissenting Christians worshipping outside the Church of England, and in that respect Newport was no different. A religious census of 1676 revealed 706 Conformists and 50 Non-conformists. A group of these Non-conformists combined together in 1765 under the leadership of Rev Jonathan Scott to build the first recorded Independent Chapel in Newport on Beaumaris Lane on land owned by a Mr John Jones who had been expelled from Oxford for his dissenting views. Mr Scott went on to found other churches and in his absence the original congregation declined, the chapel closing after some twenty years.

In 1792 a Congregational dissenter, Mr Moses Silvester, moved to the town to work for Lloyds Bank, living above the Bank premises. He contacted Mr Scott and arranged to reopen the old chapel which in due course attracted a small congregation with a Sunday School held at Mr Silvester's home. The chapel was subsequently demolished and a new Independent Chapel built further down Beaumaris Lane in 1803 where the first sermon was preached by the Rev George Burder of Bromstead. He and a number of other ministers assisted the chapel until the congregation was able to support its first resident pastor, Rev DH Creighton of Dublin. He and several other pastors served for relatively short periods until Rev John Whittenbury was appointed in 1828.

Wellington Road Independent ChapelUnder Mr Whittenbury's leadership the congregation grew and soon needed a larger building on which work was commenced in 1831. The Newport Independent (Congregational) Chapel, Wellington Road was opened in 1832 and is still in use 180 years later. At the opening service the first sermon was preached by Rev John Burder, of Stroud, son of the George Burder who was the first to preach in the old chapel. Sadly Mr Moses Silvester, who had worked tirelessly for the cause for nearly forty years, died before he could see the building completed. The former chapel was converted into cottages which have more recently been demolished.

Mr Whittenbury left the church in 1832 after which there appears to have been something of a decline so that by 1839 there were only 19 members. At that point the church dissolved itself and reconstituted itself formally as an Independent congregation. Early in 1841 the Rev JF Mandeno of Wem succeeded to the pastorate and this was the start of another period of rapid growth. A large day school was added which ran for 40 years. The Sunday School flourished under Mr William Silvester, son of Moses Silvester, who ran it with his sisters. Under Mr Mandeno's ministry the gallery was packed with young people every Sunday. Outreach to the surrounding countryside began. A sick society was started. Many new members were accepted and by 1846 there were 97 members, an increase of 78 in just seven years. The death or removal of several prominent members of the congregation was followed by the departure of the pastor in 1848 and a period of decline followed so that by 1856 the membership was only 56. In that year the Rev William Paton of Wednesbury was appointed to the pastorate. His ministry was very successful, notably among the young people, and by 1863 the membership had risen once more to 82 despite further losses by deaths.

In 1865 a harmonium was introduced to accompany the singing and the New Congregational Hymn book adopted. At some stage a choir was formed and in 1880 it is recorded as being removed from the gallery to the body of the chapel. In 1865 Mr Paton departed the ministry and it was some years before a settled ministry was re-established. Financial problems also arose as several of the abler supporters of the church died including Mr William Silvester and his sisters.

The decline was arrested in 1872 by the appointment of Rev Henry Young of Levenshulme to the ministry. He brought fresh enthusiasm to the work, thirteen new members were recorded in 1874, a prayer meeting for young men sprang up, the outreach to Outwoods started in 1875 at the house of a Mr Simister, and by 1878 the membership stood at 100. The 1870's also saw the start of united meetings held with the other churches in Newport, rotating from church to church in turn. A major loss in 1878 was suffered by the death of another staunch member, Mr Charles Silvester, a deacon for the previous 13 years and in 1879 the minister departed to another pastorate. In 1880 the place of the Day School was debated and in the light of the educational policy of the government it was considered inadvisable to continue with it.

The chapel jubilee was celebrated in 1881. The Rev Clement Angel became pastor in 1884 and the church embarked on another period of growth and vitality. Correspondingly the finances improved and by 1885 the Manse Fund (which started as the Jubilee Fund in 1881) had reached £400, enough to consider buying a Manse, although the purchase was deferred until 1892. An evening school started in 1885, and in the same year Mr Mark Thompson died. During a lifetime of outstanding service he had been deacon for forty years, serving also as Treasurer and Sunday School superintendent. Tablets to the memory of Mr Mark Thompson and Mr Charles Silvester were erected in the church in 1901.

Quarterly evening communions were instituted in 1886. A major renovation of the church was undertaken in 1886 including new windows and new seats downstairs, followed by renovation of the schoolroom in 1889. The mission in Outwoods was now under the leadership of Mr G Beard in whose house meetings had lately been held. The mission had developed to the extent that work on a Mission Room was started, with work completed in 1886. The Rev Clement Angel relinquished the pastorate in 1891 and was succeeded by Rev R Newby Goldthorp. In 1892 the church was redecorated and a new heating system installed. A very popular Boys' Club was started around this time.

In 1865 Charles Horne moved to Newport from Sussex where he had been pastor of Cuckfield Congregational Church and the family became members of the chapel. Charles himself became editor of the Newport Advertiser, going into partnership with his wife's uncle Charles Silvester in a printing and bookselling business. Shortly before moving to Newport, Charles Horne and his wife had had a son Charles Silvester Horne. He was educated at Adams Grammar School and grew up in the church where he felt a calling to the ministry for which he clearly had a gift. It is recorded that his first ever sermon was preached in Mr Beard's kitchen at Outwoods. He trained for the ministry in Glasgow and Oxford and soon became pastor of the Whitefield mission in London where he achieved eminence as a national leader of the free churches. He wrote a number of hymns some of which are still sung today. He gave an address at the dedication of the memorial to his great uncle Charles Silvester in 1901. His father, Charles Horne, having served the church faithfully for many years died in 1903. Charles Silvester Horne became an MP in 1910 as a way of gaining a national platform for his views. He died suddenly aged 49 in Canada in 1914 whilst returning from a visit to New York and was the subject of widespread tributes nationally. His son Kenneth Horne achieved fame as a broadcaster and humorist.

The church became part of the United Reformed Church in 1972 and merged with the Methodist Chapel in Avenue Road in 2001 to become Trinity Church, a joint Methodist/United Reformed Church. A major renovation was undertaken in 2010.



The Methodist Chapels in Newport

Upper Bar Chapel

Pave Lane Chapel

The first Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1829 on Upper Bar.  It was superseded by the Avenue Road Chapel and subsequently became a shop and theatre.

 A small Primitive Methodist Chapel was built at Pave Lane in 1862. It closed in 1883 but it was not sold off until 1928 and now forms part of an old peoples' home.

The first Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1830 on Stafford Road but was superseded by a new chapel on Wellington Road.  It has  since been demolished.
. Wellington Road Primitive Methodist Chapel

Masonic Symbol on chapel

Edgmond Chapel

Edgmond tablet
  In 1877 a new Primitive Methodist Chapel was built on Wellington Road to replace the Stafford Road Chapel.   It closed in 1920 and is now the Masonic Hall, the original tablet in the gable end having been replaced with the masonic symbol.
The design of the Wellington Road Primitive Methodist Chapel is a slightly larger version of the nearby Edgmond Primitive Methodist Chapel of 1860, which still carries its original tablet 

Avenue Road ChapelCongregational chapel 1800's
The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Avenue Road was built in 1876 in a gothic style to replace the chapel on Upper Bar. The Avenue Road Chapel became Newport Methodist Church following the Methodist Union of 1932. After the congregation merged with the Wellington Road URC Chapel in 2001 the chapel was sold,  subsequently becoming a gym and then a private house.The Congregational Chapel, Wellington Road was built in 1831/32 in a bold classical style. It is now a listed building.
Congregational chapel 1800'sTrinity Chapel
It became a URC chapel in 1972 when the Congregational and Presbyterian churches merged.It became a joint Methodist/URC chapel after merging with the Avenue Road Methodist congregation in 2001. The photo shows the recent extension which links the chapel to the adjacent schoolroom