No. 1021 - Westbury - Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (1840-1866)

Westbury is a historic town situated approximately 30 kilometres west of Launceston. It was surveyed in 1828 and was developed as an administrative centre for the district. For most of its history Westbury has been served by only three religious denominations. The town’s Catholic, Anglican and Uniting (Methodist) churches all date back to the first half of the 19th century.

The Uniting Church located on William Street is the second Methodist church built in the town. It replaced the original Wesleyan chapel which was built and opened in 1840. The origins of Methodist activity in Westbury is outlined in Reverend Max Stansell’s book, Tasmanian Methodism:

“On 11 July 1937 Rev. J.A. Manton of Launceston was requested to visit Westbury with the idea of establishing a preaching place. Within a few months of his visit a Methodist Class was formed. One acre of ground was granted by the Surveyor-General under a Location Order to Revs. J. Orton, J.A. Manton and W. Simpson at Westbury on 15 November 1837. On this land in the year 1840 a chapel was built costing Two Hundred and Fifty Pounds. Although in 1851 the building proved to be too small for the congregation, steps to enlarge the structure was not taken until 1857”.

Before the chapel was built services took place in the local courthouse and later in a building at the rear of Mr Thomas White’s store. The chapel appears to have been situated close to the Westbury barracks on Franklin Street while land for the new church was purchased on William Street in 1865. In his book ‘Then and now in old Westbury’, Karl von Stieglitz writes:

“This was a brick building, all the materials used were given and all the work was done by voluntary labour. During the ministry of Rev. William Lowe, two wings were added”.

The only image of the chapel is a sketch from 1853 which shows the original building before the extensions were built. The chapel was used until 1866 when the new church on William Street opened.

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Westbury (1853) Courtesy of the Mitchell Library, New South Wales.


Sources:

Stansall, M. E. J. and Methodist Church of Australasia.  Tasmanian Methodism, 1820-1975 / [by M.E.J. Stansall ... et al]  Methodist Church of Australasia Launceston, Tas  1975

Von Stieglitz, K. R.  Then and now in old Westbury : with notes on Exton, Hagley and Carrick / compiled by K.R. von Stieglitz  K. von Stieglitz [Evandale, 1946]



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

No. 990 - Hobart - St Mary's Cathedral (Part 1) - "The Wild Vines of Tasmania"

No. 988 - North Hobart - The "King Street" Church and School

No. 606 - Upper Castra - Uniting (Methodist) Church (1908-1989)