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Refuge Church, Tipton

In the late 1840s a group of people left the PM Church, Bell Street, Tipton, Staffs to found what they named the Refuge Chapel (later known as the Methodist Refuge Church), 'so that it may prove itself to be such to all who cared to worship within its walls'. The principal founding members were Richard Mansell, Uriah Robbins, Joseph Elwell, Thomas Jenks, William Allsopp, T. Causier, Mrs. H. Turner and Mrs. Isaac Parkes. They worshipped in a house in Bloomfield before building the 'Refuge Chapel' in Waterloo Street, registered on 20 October 1849 for the 'Gospel Refugees'. In 1851 it was recorded as a society 'lately formed of the Methodist creed and carried on by unpaid ministers'.

On Sundays, besides morning and evening services, there were prayer meetings at 7 a.m. and in the evening, Sunday School sessions and sick visiting. A lending library containing some 800 'volumes of first class work' was opened. Mansell was the first unpaid lay pastor, followed after his death in 1887 by Elwell. In 1857 the congregation declined to join the WMA in favour of being associated with the WRU, though they never became a WR Church. A site for a new chapel was bought c. 1886 at the junction of Waterloo Street East and West, but the former Barkerite church, owned by Sir Horace St. Paul, was bought instead. The Refuge Church continued its ministry until the 1960s, when the premises were sold to the Pentecostal Church. For just over a century it was an important Christian witness in Tipton, being entirely organized and cared for by lay people.

Sources

  • Frederick W. Hackwood, A History of Tipton (1891 and 2001)
  • J. Parkes, Parkes's History of Tipton (Tipton, 1915)
  • Nonconformity in Tipton, Stafforshire (Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry, 1987)

Entry written by: DHR
Category: Place

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