Webpage created: February 08, 2018
Webpage updated: February 08, 2018
WYCLIFFE INDEPENDENT CHAPEL
The Wycliffe Independent Chapel was located in Albert Road, Devonport, at the junction with Exmouth Road.
In the autumn of 1849 arrangements were made for the Reverend John Pyer to preach in the chapel in Mount Street, Devonport, which the congregation rented at £50 per annum. This he did until the autumn of 1850 when the congregation decided to worship elsewhere. At first they rented the newly built Temperance Hall but they were on the look-out for a place to build their own place of worship.
The manor authorities said they had no spare land and suggested they buy a couple of old houses and pull them down to make way for a new chapel. As they could not afford to do that, they instead rented an old chapel in Morice Town from April 1852. Their plan to purchase this building failed and they continued to search for ground on which to erect their own building.
Eventually the friends and sympathisers of the Reverend Pyer found a plot in Navy Row (now known as Albert Road). The foundation stone was laid by Mr Alfred Rooker shortly after Midday on May 7th1855.
Built in the Early Pointed style, it consisted of a nave and aisles, with a vestry near the pulpit at the southern end. It could accommodate about 640 people, the poor and the children of the schools sitting in the gallery over the entrance vestibule. The nave was separated from the aisles by an arcade of five bays, with arches springing from circular stone shafts and which supported a plain clerestory. The building measured 65 feet by 45 feet.
At the north end of the nave was a five-light geometrical window of plain glass, stained glass having been used in only the smaller windows. The communion, surrounded by framed and pierced woodwork, was raised two feet off the ground and was well furnished and carpeted. The roof was open and high-pitched and the timbers, along with the pews and doors, were all stained and were to be varnished later. It is worth noting that the pews were cushioned throughout.
There was a basement containing school-rooms for 400 children and apartments for the Chapel caretaker. Adjoining the Chapel on the eastern side was a ten-roomed parsonage.
Construction was carried out by a Mr Torring to the designs of Mr James Hine of George Street, Plymouth, and local limestone was used throughout, although the dressings were of Bath stone. The total cost, exclusive of the boundary wall, which had not been completed by the time of the opening, was around £2,000.
The Wycliffe Chapel was opened for worship on Thursday June 26th 1856.
It was gutted by fire during the Second World War, 1941.