Faith in Chesham

Places of worship in Chesham

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    The oldest established church in Chesham is St Mary’s Parish Church, parts of which date from the 12th century. However, St Mary’s is believed to be built on what was a much older, sacred site.

    The church was restored in the Gothic Revival style by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1868-9. There are two more recent Anglican churches in the town: Christ Church in Waterside, built in 1864, and Emmanuel Church in Broad Street.

    Non-conformity has always been strong in Chesham, hence one of the town’s ‘5Bs’ stands for Baptists. At one time, twenty houses in the town were licensed for non-conformist worship. The earliest licence was granted to a group of Particular Baptists in 1701, who built the Lower Baptist Chapel in Red Lion Street a few years later. This was rebuilt as Hinton Baptist Chapel in 1898 and is now Trinity Baptist Church.

    The General Baptists established the Star Yard Meeting House in 1712. The original building was replaced in 1901-2 and is known today as the Broadway Baptist Church. In 1927 Newtown Baptist Church was built in Berkhampstead Road in 1927.

    In 1682, Chesham’s Quakers obtained land for a burial ground and meeting house in Bellingdon Road, which was known as Quaker Lane at one time. The Quaker Meeting House was completed in 1798 and is often open to the public on Heritage Open Days.

    The Presbyterians, later known as Congregationalists, built their first Meeting House in the Broadway in 1724. The church was rebuilt in 1886 and is now the United Reformed Church.

    John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, preached in Chesham on five occasions between 1769 and 1775 but there was no Methodist Church in the town until much later. A Wesleyan Sunday School was established in 1888 and in 1896 a Methodist Chapel was built in Gladstone Road. Today the Methodist Church is in Bellingdon Road on what was originally the site of the United Free Church, built by a breakaway group from the Broadway Baptist Church in 1907.

    St Joseph’s Catholic Chapel was established in 1909 in Eskdale Avenue with the adjoining house accommodating trainee priests. A few years later the Church applied for planning permission to build a monastery, church and school in the town but permission was refused so in 1913 the Church members left Chesham and moved to Chalfont St Peter. St Columba’s Roman Catholic Church in Berkhampstead Road was built in 1960.

    The Chesham Central Jamia Mosque was established in Waterside in 1960 by Chesham’s Pakistani community. In 1979, the mosque moved to a house in Bellingdon Road but by the late 1990s, the Muslim population in Chesham had grown to around 1,500 so fundraising for a new purpose-built mosque began. The new Chesham Mosque in Bellingdon Road was opened in August 2005.

    The Chesham Spiritualist Church was built in Higham Road in 1932-3 and first registered as a place of worship in 1934. The Salvation Army built a Citadel in Broad Street in 1898, which remained open until 2017. A Gospel Hall was built in Station Road in 1895 by the Christian Brethren and remained active until 2008.