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The Oldest Mormon Chapel
in the World

 
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Spetchley Village, The Garden Park and Church Oldest Mormon Chapel in the World

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and pilgrimages  to Castle Frome, Herefordshire and Gadfield Elm, Worcestershire

It was during the visit of Wilford Woodruff to the area in 1840-1841 that he became acquainted with a group called the United Brethren, this religious group was  led by Thomas  Kington, the United Brethren were a group of former Primitive Methodists who had split themselves up into small congregations. 

Elder Woodruff was invited to the area by William Benbow who had met him in the Potteries, William then introduced him to his brother John and sister in law Jane , John and Jane lived at Hill Farm above the village of Castle Frome. It was following the meetings with the Benbow family that a surge of interest in the Mormon faith occurred in the area, Elder Woodruff within days baptised six persons who included Mr and Mrs Benbow, four of the six were preachers in the order called the United Brethren. Indeed the success of Wilford Woodruffs visit to the area can measured by the fact that in the first thirty days after his arrival in Herefordshire he baptized forty-five preachers and one hundred and sixty members of the united brethren. He brought into the Church during eight months eighteen hundred converts which included all the members of the united brethren with the exception of just one person, it also included two hundred preachers of varying denominations.

During the visit to Castle Frome  he preached to a large gathering which was much to the envy of  the priest at the church who sent for a constable stating that the gathering was causing a disturbance , such was the power and sincerity of Elder Woodruffs oration that the constable converted to the Mormon faith.

Baptisms were carried out at a pool known as Benbow’s pond , this is still used on occasions and is visited by members of the faith.

The united brethren donated along with forty -five houses a chapel at the site of Gadfield Elm and at that time became the only chapel owned by The Church of the Latter-Day Saints.

In order to finance the migration of converts to America, Gadfield Elm was sold and becameGadfield Elm Mormon Chapel a storage for farm implements ,it eventually became derelict, in 1994 the chapel was put up for sale by auction , it was an opportunity not to be missed, so Wayne Gardner the local Bishop raised some £7000 which was suffice to win the bid and to pay for urgent repairs.

In the year 2000 on Sunday 23rd of April the restored chapel was dedicated by Elder Jeffrey Holland a great-great grandson of Ellen Benbow of Hill Farm Castle Frome.

Gadfield Elm is a place of tranquillity which visitors of all faiths can enjoy, it is situated  near Staunton Glos. and can  be reached via the B4208 where it is signposted Interestingly, Elder and Sister Mitchell who are the chapels incumbents carry out re- enactments of  times past in dress of the period.

For those intending to visit please telephone 01452 840576.

There are chapels in Hereford, Gloucester, Worcester, Cheltenham, Forest of Dene and Stroud but the oldest is Gadfield Elm.

Today Gadfield Elm is the oldest Mormon chapel in the world, and is a lasting memorial to the United Brethren. It's now run mainly as a museum and visitor centre, but services are still held there occasionally.

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The Oldest Mormon Chapel
in the World

This page last modified Wednesday, 12-Apr-2017 15:02:03 BST