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Holt United Reformed Church

Holt, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

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Holt Chapel

The two church buildings seen from The Courts Garden

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The square building with almost pyramidal slate roof had been built as an Independent Church by 1816, probably succeeding a congregation that had been meeting in the assembly room of the White Hart (now Toll Gate) public house. It was extended to the present size in 1846 and had become a Congregational Church by 1859. Later in the 19th century the rather typical Georgian nonconformist chapel was replaced by another building in the shape of a more conventional mainstream church. It was designed by William Jervis Stent (1815-1887) in a Victorian gothic style with an apse and a tower capped with a spire and built of stone from Atworth by John Ponton of Warminster. The architect was from Warminster where he designed several buildings, including the Athenaeum in 1858.  It was opened, in a snow storm, on Thursday 18th November 1880, with a sermon from Rev John Guiness Rogers BA of London (late Chairman, London Congregational Union), a dinner chaired by Handel Cossham from Bristol and a lecture from Rogers on “Nonconformity” with Thomas Harris, the bacon and ham curer from Calne in the chair.

On the merger of the Congregationalists with the Presbyterians in 1972 it took the name United Reformed Church.

Congregational Chapel, Holt

The old church was retained and became the nonconformist school for the village, merging with the Anglican National School when the present joint school was opened at the Gravel, although infants continued to be taught there until the new school was extended in 1973.