Moravian Messenger February 2019
P. 1

New Lease of Life for Malmesbury Church
We often lament about having to sell our old buildings and in most cases they are changed into residential houses. After many years of neglect the Church at Malmesbury has been given a new lease of life other than as a private home. The building was sold in 1997 but has had very little done to it until it was on the market again a few years ago. Local people formed a committee to raise funds to restore it from its neglected state to become the Julia and Hans Rausing Building and part of Malmesbury's Athelstan Museum.
Julia and Hans Rausing, who live in the Chelsea area, funded the purchase and the committee were able to obtain a grant of £30,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the garden, make a disabled access and purchase display equipment. The conversion work was mainly paid for by generous donations they received from many organisations and individuals, in particular, the Vale Action group.
A religious society was formed in Malmesbury in 1742 and a malt house belonging to Thomas Lyne was converted into a chapel. The Malmesbury society
was put under the care of the Moravians when John Cennick handed over his societies to the Brethren in 1745. Members of the Malmesbury society were incorporated into the Wiltshire congregation when it was settled on 9th May 1748. A new chapel was built and opened by Br La Trobe on 4th November 1770. A gallery was erected in the chapel in 1787, and the chapel was enlarged in 1831. Malmesbury settled as a separate congregation in 1826. The chapel was almost entirely rebuilt and enlarged to double the size of the old one and was re-opened on 9th October 1859. The Church was sold in 1997 and the church hall modernised as a place for the congregation to continue with their worship. After a proposal at Synod was passed, the congregation was finally closed on 5th October 2008 and the three remaining members transferred to Tytherton.
During the renovation the pulpit was removed and is held in storage awaiting restoration. Under the pulpit a well was found and if you look at the picture you will see that this has been made a feature of the building. The structure of the well was made safe with a glass dome in the floor which displays this surprising discovery. It's a great talking point as you can still see the water beneath the old chapel.
The renovations have been done to a very high standard, managing to retain the integrity and original features of the building, and the Moravian history is recorded on a plaque inside the building. A local sculptor, Melissa Cole, was commissioned to make a sculpture for the premises, and an advent star has been erected outside in front of the old chapel. Although this looks very modern it does not detract from our traditional
Continues inside on page 16
Love Your Selfie
(page 15)
Three months in Nepal
(page 17)
Congregation News - Gracehill
(pages 18)
Congregation News - Wellhouse
(page 22)
© Melissa Cole

   1   2   3   4   5