Religion has played a major part in Forest life over the past 150 years. Many chapels were established during the Victorian era, when they formed a focal point for the growing communities of the industrialised Forest.
Zion Chapel was founded in 1846 by the Bible Christians, a Methodist denomination started in Cornwall in 1818. The Bible Christians at first organised open-air religious meetings in the Forest. The first one in Soudley was held in 1826.
Right: the chapel c.1910
In 1913 the chapel was enlarged by the addition of a school room. The chapel closed for regular worship in 1988 and, in 1991 it was leased to the Dean Heritage Museum Trust by the Forest of Dean Methodist circuit. The Trust's aim is to preserve the chapel in its Forest setting.
The chapel school room 1 October 1914
Since 1991, the Trust has undertaken some restoration work but further funds are needed to complete interior repairs. The chapel is also occasionally used by the Trust for historical events and re-enactments.
At present, viewing is available by prior arrangement with the Collections Manager. Please ring for details.
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