About North Curry Independent Baptist Church
North Curry Independent Baptist Church was founded in 1825. It was originally known as Ebenezer Baptist Chapel, with a North Curry farmer, Mr. James Flower, as one of its original trustees. It has retained its Baptist distinctions ever since.
It is an Evangelical Baptist Church because we believe, teach and try to tell others, the orthodox Christian Gospel as God's Word for us all today.
We are counted among the Free Churches because we do not have any links, as a church, with the State. Believers, though, are encouraged to meet all their responsibilities to the State as good citizens.
When we say we are a "Church" we mean more than a building. In the Bible a Church is a gathering of people. People who meet to engage in the reverent and sincere worship of God. At the centre of our meetings is the preaching and hearing of His Word, because it's the truth we all need, in order to know what we should believe and how we should live.
The Chapel is well worth a visit. It is a Regency Box Chapel with symmetrical windows. As befits a non-conformist place of worship it is not so much artistic, as displaying the strength and solidity of the dissenters' faith!
Entrance is through a porch with two plain pillars and a stone plaque above proclaiming "Ebenezer chapel 1825". Then, through the original door lacking a lock but boasting a strong iron bar, the visitor will notice two fine regency staircases leading to the gallery. Sadly our Victorian forbears built a dividing screen which spoils the symmetry but has a surprising detail. As the screen prevented coffins being brought through, a "coffin hatch" was built in the screen, allowing coffins to be slid through across the pews!
Upstairs the gallery has the original pews with carved signatures by evidently bored attendees! Also a Victorian harmonium which still plays if you pedal with sufficient oompf!
In the main sanctuary, the three signs of a Victorian chapel are seen, a coke stove, a large clock facing the pulpit and a square box pulpit complete with original oil lamps.
The original wall verse above the pulpit has been replaced with a wooden placard which still proclaims "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever!" that is our message to the world. See if you can see where the baptismal tank is laid in the floor.
When the chapel opened in May 1825 the building had cost £5 and a halfpenny! In the early days folks walked from Stoke St. Gregory and Fivehead to attend services. Later the chapel planted chapels at these villages.
In the back of the chapel is a surprise. The chapel, for want of space, is built into the hill side and grazing cows can stare down into the kitchen. So the vestry and kitchen are walled into the hill and the abutting field is level with the gallery.
Now, to show the chapel isn’t a museum, we have a stair lift up to the gallery and upstairs hall. The hall has views to the Mendips, and on a clear day the Brecon Beacons. The windows are Regency with curved tops making the hall rather like a small orangery!
Around the chapel are pleasant views as far as Alfred's tower near Stourhead, 36 miles away.
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