Baptist church set to hold its very last service ahead of sale

A church on the Powys/Shropshire border is closing with a final service planned in May.

Coxall Baptist Church at Bucknell near Knighton is closing and there will be a final service on May 8
Coxall Baptist Church at Bucknell near Knighton is closing and there will be a final service on May 8

Coxall Baptist Church is closing and there will be a final service at 2.30pm on Sunday, May 8, to give thanks to God for all that has been achieved there over many years.

Tea will be served afterwards in the chapel. All are invited.

Members and friends, who so wish, will now be cared for by Knighton and Knucklas Baptist Church.

The property will then be passed to the trustees for sale, subject to the condition that the graves may be visited, and that people whose names have been recorded before the sale may be buried there.

For requests, contact Sue Wilson by email to Knightonbaptists@gmail.com or mail to The Norton Street Centre, Norton Street Knighton LD71ET.

The 19th century Baptist movement in the Bucknell area was strong. In the 1860s Mr. and Mrs Rogers of Coxall Farm opened their farmhouse for Sunday services.

Numbers grew, so a granary was converted for the congregation. In 1871 Mr. William Smith of The Oak gave the land where the chapel stands.

The chapel seats about 100, and has a high pulpit and a baptistery. In 1906, during the Welsh Revival, there was a great gathering when 16 were baptised. Water to fill the baptistery had to be carried from The Oak.

The chapel was originally heated by a coke stove which some still remember. If the wind was in the wrong direction the stove smoked. Older residents remember arriving to a smoke-filled chapel, and the doors were left open to clear the air. Lighting was by oil lamps. More recently lighting and heating were by Calor gas.

A choir was formed in 1894, noted in the area for its four-part harmony. As Christmas drew near, the choir would travel by horse-drawn wagon around the area singing carols.

The Sunday School flourished for many years, closing in the 1970s, and some living in Bucknell remember their Sunday School days at Coxall. If they were late, the superintendent would say, “Better late than never, but better never late”.

The Sunday School Anniversary was a great occasion. For girls it meant a new dress, sandals and white socks, and the boys were scrubbed up to look their best. After the anniversary came the Sunday School outing, usually to the seaside. The bus would be packed with children, mothers, fathers, and friends. The return journey was fun too, with singing all the way home. Harvest festival services were well attended, with a full tea served afterwards.

Over recent years numbers have declined, making the decision to close inevitable.

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