History Of Sudbourne Chapel
The first reference to Baptists meeting in the village of Sudbourne was on May 30th 1860 where they met in the old village workhouse that itself hadn’t been used since the early part of the 19th century. As the congregation began to grow the workhouse room became to small to meet in, so the owner of the village wheelwrights and blacksmiths shop was approached to ask permission to meet there. This he agreed to, so every Saturday a hardy band of volunteers met to sweep the floors and arrange the chairs for the Sunday service. Despite their best efforts these premises were fairly bleak, dirty, draughty, poorly lit and littered with straw.
So the members decided to try and secure a permanent building, and Mr William Large who was acting as pastor but also had wheelwrights and building businesses tried to find a suitable site. This he did in a field in what is now School Lane and it is thought they converted the original cottage into what is now the present building. On the completion of the building works in 1863 William Large stayed on to serve as the pastor for a further 36 years.
Further amendments have been made over the years with a gallery, baptistry, porch and a school room.
Together as Sudbourne & Tunstall:
In 1942 the village and countryside around Sudbourne was closed and taken over by the army for tank and officer training, so the Sudbourne pastor and members were invited to attend the Tunstall chapel.
When the war ended and the village of Sudbourne was reopened in 1948, the pastor and members decided to attend services at both the chapel buildings. The normal morning and afternoon services at Tunstall were supplemented with an evening service at Sudbourne.
Thus the twin church fellowship began and through close work and unity over the years we operate today as one church membership, making use of the two buildings in their two locations.