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Memories of Troopers Hill
Crews Hole Methodist Chapel of 1853

Crews Hole Methodist Chapel in 2020The Crews Hole Methodist Chapel which stands on Crews Hole Road near the corner of Troopers Hill Road opened in 1853, it was a United Methodist Free Church. Prior to this the congregation had used a meeting house at the White House that stood on Corkers Hill above the site of the chapel. The chapel itself was the larger building to the right, with a smaller sunday school on the left.

William Butler of the Tar Works (which was just across the road) was a devout Methodist and very much involved in the life of the chapel. He was a lay preacher there and arranged for electricity to be installed in the chapel in the late 1890s; it is said that the Tar Works continued to provide free electricity to the chapel until the works closed.

Crews Hole Methodist Chapel closed in 1987; its congregation joined that of two other Methodist Churches in the then newly built Summerhill Methodist Church in Summerhill Road, which then itself closed in 2022. Crews Hole chapel has since been converted for housing.

A second chapel by the river in Crews Hole was constructed in 1860 for the Wesleyan Methodists; this has also now been converted for housing, having been used for many years by Kelston Precision Gears as a workshop.

The photo below was taken in 1953 at the Crews Hole Methodist Chapel Coronation celebrations (it was also 100 years since the chapel opened) - if you can help us fill in the missing names - see below the photo - (or think some of them are wrong) please contact us.

Lower down the page there are two photos of the Women's Bright Hour group taken inside the chapel (date unknown but probably 1940s or 50s) as well as two photos of the men's Crew's Hole Bible Class Mutual Aid Society taken around 1907.

Crews Hole Methodist Chapel Congregation 1953

Crews Hole Methodist Chapel Congregation 1953

The Names

1 Clive Drake;  2 Philip Drake;  3 ???;  4 Richard Dark;  5 John Britton;  6 Jennifer Holloway;  7 Gordon Alvis;  8 Judith Smith;  9 ???;  10 Richard Mealing; 
11 Andrew Comley;  12 Marion Comley;  13 ???;  14 Mr Smith;  15 Mrs Smith;  16 Mrs Jay;  17 ???;  18 Gloria Smith;  19 Mrs Laver;  20 Glyn Britton; 
21 ???;  22 Hazel Laver;  23 Eileen Churchill or Maureen Peacock?;  24 Keith Britton;  25 Lorraine Alvis;  26 Pauline Alvis; 
27 Dianne Gingell;  28 Berly Smith (Gloria's sister);  29 ???;  30 John Mealing;  31 Mrs Baker;  32 Mrs Perrett; 
33 Alice Carter;  34 Mr Roberts;  35 ???;  36 Eric Drake;  37 Mr Iles;  38 Bert Jay;  39 ???;  40 ???; 
41 Joan Mealing;  42 ???;  43 Mabel Hill;  44 Eileen Drake;  45 ???;  46 Mrs Joyce;  47 Florie Hicks;  48 Elsie Britton;  49 Bernard Alvis;  50 Jacqueline Jay; 
51 Joy Laver;  52 George Drake;  53 George Hicks;  54 Les Holloway;  55 Mrs Lawson;  56 Reg Laver;  57 Pam Harris;  58 ???;  59 Maureen Dark;  60 Pat Townsend; 
61 Ethel Britton (née Thomas);  62 Harold Laver;  63 Bob Alvis;  64 Willy Hicks;  65 Gladstone Britton ; 

Crews Hole Women's Bright Hour

Crews Hole Womens Bright Hour

Back row: ??? - ??? - Mrs Tucker - Mary Clarke 'Aunt Polly' (née Dauncey) - Rose Head (née Drake) - ??? - ???
Front row: Mabel Nurse - Joan Mealing (née Dauncey, Polly's brother's daughter) - Rose Bessell, née Amphlett

Women's Bright Hour

David Hales, who gave us the above photo, told us that Polly on the back row was his grandmother's sister and that their brother Ern Dauncey was the Minster at the chapel. We don't have a date for this photo, but it is probably slightly earlier than 1953.

After seeing the photo John Mealing wrote to us to say:
"David Hale is incorrect in his comment that my grandfather, Ern Dauncey was a chapel minister. He was certainly a Methodist lay preacher but not the minister for the chapel. That post was covered, at that time by the minister at Wesley Memorial in Bryants Hill. However, as I recall, my grandfather was Sunday school superintendent at Crews Hole, his wife Maud ran the Band of Hope, and my mother Joan was Sunday School secretary".
"I can't add any names to those missing from the photos, although I can add detail to Polly, she was Mary Clarke, always known as Aunt Polly. The last time I met David Hale was some 50 years ago when he helped me out of the road in Summerhill road after I had fallen off my motorcycle. Thanks Dave".

Jayne wrote in November 2020 to add:
"My mother, Antoinette Holbrook, née Bessell went to the church as a child and has the same photo as you of the Crews Hole Women's Bright Hour as her grandmother is on it. She has identified some others on the picture as follows;
Her grandmother, Rose Bessell, née Amphlett is front row far right, sat down. Left in the front row is Mabel Nurse, 3 in from the right on the back row is definitely Rose Head, née Drake."

If you can add more information or tell us the date it was taken please get in touch.

Jayne also sent us a second photo of the group, "all dressed up for a sketch of some sort! The Groom is Rose Head and the lady on the far left is Mabel Nurse. Date unknown sorry!"

Crews Hole Womens Bright Hour

Crew's Hole Bible Class Mutual Aid Society

Both the photos below were also sent to us by Jayne. Click on the images to enlarge. The first photo is from 1907 and the second must be a similar date.

Crew's Hole Bible Class Mutual Aid Society Crew's Hole Bible Class Mutual Aid Society

William Bessell is third row up from the front, fourth in from the right, his brother Fred is in the row behind, sixth from the right. George Shellard is in the second row from the front, fifth from the right.

The Bessell family, who feature in some of these photos, lived at the White House which was on the hillside above the chapel. As mentioned above, part of the White House was used as the Methodist Meeting House before the chapel opened in 1853.

See more of photos of the Bessell family and the White House >>

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