Gadfield Elm Chapel

Gadfield Elm Chapel

News Story

Gadfield Elm Chapel, in Worcestershire, was of great significance in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, acting as the focal point of Church activity for thousands of Latter-day Saints until the majority emigrated to the USA to fulfil their dream of building a new Zion in the United States of America. In 1840 President Brigham Young preached at Gadfield Elm which, at the time, was the only Latter-day Saint chapel in the world.


The chapel was built in 1836 by a fundamentalist Christian group, the United Brethren, and was deeded to Wilford Woodruff, on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840 by John Benbow and Thomas Kington.

Almost the entire congregation of the United Brethren joined the church by baptism in 1840.  As the new converts heeded the call to gather to Zion the building became redundant and was sold, with the proceeds being used to assist with the emigration of the Saints.

Gadfield Elm chapel, built of native stone and standing in the quiet countryside of Worcestershire, is the last surviving memorial to the United Brethren, a religious group who joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints en-masse upon hearing the 'restored gospel' message. It had a seating capacity of just 100 people.

The chapel served the people who built it and the Latter-day Saints who inherited it. It stands as a reminder of one of the greatest Latter-day Saint missionary experiences of all time.

The events associated with the building in the history of Church missionary work are poignant, powerful and inspiring.

In its beautiful setting it provides us with a charming yet thoughtful reminder of the humble and simple beginnings of this world-wide Church.

After many years of private ownership and dilapidation the property was acquired by a group of private members who established the Gadfield Elm Trust, a charitable foundation in 1994.  With limited resources derived entirely from contributions these visionary souls lovingly restored the ruin stone by stone to its present state, as near as possible to how it may have been in the times of Wilford Woodruff more than 160 years ago.

The historic Gadfield Elm Chapel was received by President Gordon B. Hinckley on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in May 2004.  This marked a new chapter in the story of this historic chapel building.

Today it is the oldest Mormon chapel in the world still standing and the last surviving memorial to the United Brethren.

 

Location & Opening Times

Address:
Gadfield Elm
Nr. Pendock off B4208

Directions:
The shortest distance from the M50 to the chapel, using the most suitable route, is 4.2 miles from exit 2 of the motorway.  Turn south on to A417.  Take the second left (east) towards Pendock.  At the crossroads in Pendock, turn right (south) on B4208 towards Staunton.  After a mile or so the road turns very sharply right, then, before the road bends sharply left, take the side road straight ahead.  The chapel is 100 metres along the lane.
This route avoids the very narrow lanes through Lowbands.

Phone number(s):
See Below. 

Opening Times:
The grounds are open all year round.

The chapel is usually staffed on the following days :
Wednesdays from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. till 5 p.m.
Sundays from 2 p.m. till 5 p.m.
To arrange a visit outside these times please telephone 01452 840576. The chapel does not have a mains water supply and the toilet facilities are very limited.

Cost:
No charge for admission

Car parking and disabled access:
There is free car parking on site and disabled access to the ground floor.

 

Guidelines for Usage

Responsibility for managing Gadfield Elm chapel has been delegated by the Europe West Area Presidency for the Church to the Cheltenham Stake, in whose area the building is located.  Two Church Service missionary couples have been assigned to work there. 

Gadfield Elm Chapel is available to be visited by members and friends of the Church without the need for an appointment.  Access to the building is by way of a combination code entry system, the code for which is available by answering a few simple questions that are displayed in the window by the entrance door, and which every member with a rudimentary knowledge of church history will enjoy answering. 

As you visit the building please, as with all Church buildings, please treat it with appropriate reverence and respect, turn lights off after your visit and assist those volunteers who undertake the ongoing cleaning and maintenance by tidying and cleaning up after your visit.  Donations are neither asked for, nor accepted.

Use of the facility for any purpose other than casual visiting, including occasional overnight camping in the grounds is strictly by prior appointment only.  Reservations for use can be made by calling the Church Service Missionaries on 01452 840576. As the building is owned by the Church as a Historical Site it is not approved for use for regular Church Worship including Sacrament meetings, and requests to use it for such will be refused.  It is also not licensed, nor available, for use as a venue for weddings.

Youth and other groups from many areas have used Gadfield Elm for firesides and special occasions such as seminary graduation, Relief Society commemoration meetings or other appropriate services.  Requests for reservations to use the Chapel for purposes such as this should be referred to the Church Service Missionaries as noted above and every effort will made to accommodate your requirements. 

Visitors to the area on a Sunday are advised that units of the Church meet in Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford.  While it is not appropriate to hold Sacrament services in Gadfield Elm, those units will welcome your attendance at their Sacrament and regular worship services.

 

Additional Resources

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