The Baptist Chapel

It's difficult to establish exactly when Baptist Christians first visited Gorsley but it is documented that a Pastor from the Baptist Chapel at Ryeford often visited and preached around 1790. It could have been much earlier as it's known that there was a Baptist Chapel in Ryeford well before 1700.

The services in the early days were held at a house called 'The Stillworks' but as the congregation grew they moved to a larger room at 'Blindman's Gate'. In 1819 the Chapel at Ryeford approached the trustees of The Goff's Charity for help in providing a Chapel/School for Gorsley.

The Gorsley Goff's school was built in 1821 and served as a Chapel and a School for over 30 years. The early Pastors also served as Head Teachers. As the congregation grew it soon became clear that the School building could no longer accommodate those wishing to worship and in 1851 building work began on Gorsley Baptist Chapel. The new Chapel was opened in 1852 and Rev. John Hall continued as Pastor/Schoolmaster until he resigned as Schoolmaster in 1864. He continued as Pastor until 1881 when failing health forced him to retire.

The Chapel remained largely unchanged structurally for over 100 years until a new hall, kitchen and toilets were built alongside the existing building in 1959. A major building programme began in 1979 and since then there have been huge changes. Several projects including extensions to the hall, rebuilding the Chapel interior, the building of chapel bungalows and the new Haven family centre amongst others.

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