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The Fernhurst Society

Bexley Hill chapel


The Bexley Hill chapel, on Highstead Lane, Bexley Common, is included in the 1901 census listing for North Ambersham.

Over the period 1884 into the early 1900s, a Mission Church at nearby Henley catered for the evangelical needs of the Bexley Hill community as well as the local Henley folk, especially those of the children. The lay reader at that time was a Mr Charles Wilcock, in his own opinion an “old-fashioned High Churchman” who, after the death of his wife, had retired from being a school teacher to become a full time minister. He regularly walked the track through the Verdley Woods from Henley to Bexley Hill where he first held his meetings in a room at Overnoons farm and then for a while used a small uninhabited cottage which was classified as a chapel (see the 1901 census). It was more a mission room than a church where, according to his journals, Wilcock produced a play called “The Visit of the Queen of Sheba”. Much that is written by and about WILCOCK and his flock is held by the Fernhurst Archives and transcripts of his journals make fascinating reading, albeit he appears to have had a dark side to his life. Many names and family relationships are recorded. The Bexley Hill chapel is now nothing more than a ruined shell with rotting timbers and undergrowth blocking the pathway that must have been walked so often by Willcock.

David Coward

Recent photographs of the disused Bexley Hill chapel (photos: David Coward).

Bexley Hill disused Chapel door
Bexley Hill disused Chapel NE end
east end
Bexley Hill disused fireplace
Bexley Hill disused SE corner
SE corner

click an image for a larger version





Fernhurst History