Chillington History

A Brief History of Chillington from 1850 to the present day

The Chapel, situated in the middle of the village, right on the A379, was built in 1850 and was originally a Bible Christian Methodist Chapel.

In the early part of the 19th century the Bible Christian movement was founded by William O’Bryan. It spread quickly from Cornwall, through Devon and across the rural counties of Southern Britain to the outskirts of London. It is understood its message also spread to the North East of England. In the South Hams the ‘South Devon Mission’, which included Chillington, was formed in 1837.

The Chapel in Chillington dates from 1850 but it is clear there were Bible Christians meeting regularly in the village long before this. Records in the Devon Records Office show two Meeting House Licences in the Parish of Stokenham, one of which was for the dwelling house of James Torring of Chillington. It is not clear when building of the chapel started but it was probably in 1849, the building being completed before the land was purchased in 1850 from Furneaux Helmore (now known as Helmer) on part of a field called Tozer’s Park.

It was customary for Bible Christians to name their chapels and this one was named ‘Ebenezer’ (From 1 Samuel 7: 12) one of 20 known examples with that name in the South West. In 1907 most of the various strands of Methodism joined together and at a conference in 1932 the Methodist Church in Great Britain came into being.

A document with more information was produced for the 150th Anniversary in 2000, a copy of which is held by Chillington History Society.

The entrance vestibule on the west side was added in 1984. The ‘New Room’ on the east side was completed in 1992. The church now offers a welcoming, warm, comfortable and flexible space and can accommodate approximately 80 people. It is used for a variety of local activities as well as for our weekly worship services.