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New Congregationalist Chapel at Halstead, Essex

Source: The Illustrated London News, Sept. 8, 1866, p.244

THE handsome building lately erected for the use of the Congregationalist or Independent community of Dissenters at Halstead, in Essex, occupies a conspicuous site in Parsons-street, and may be seen from a distance south or west of the town. Its architecture is the decorated style of English Gothic. The north front towards the street presents a centre gable, surmounted by a crocketed finial, 60 ft. high, with a five-light traceried window. Below this are two windows under the galleries, separated by a canopied buttress. In each wing is an open stone porch, with boldly-moulded arches and gabled roof, finished with stone coping and carved finial. The porches admit to lobbies, through which access is obtained to the ground floor of the chapel, and, by staircases, to the galleries. On the west side, attached to the transept, is a tower containing one of staircases, surmounted by a stone spire 110 ft. high. A bold pavement extends along the entire front of the building. The approaches from the street are not yet completed, but there will be an open Gothic fence railing next the street.

The interior has a striking appearance. The main roof is divided transversely into three spans, and supported on cast-iron columns with ornamental capitals, picked out with gold on a maroon ground. Longitudinally there are three arches over the columns on each side, and one wider arch over each transept. The timbers are wrought and stained, with carved brackets and moulded ribs. Galleries extend round the sides of the chapel, the gallery fronts being of ornamental iron panels, painted in gold and backed with crimson. There is an organ-gallery in the apse, and the organ-pew is slightly elevated.

The architect was Mr. Frederick Barnes, of Ipswich; and the builders Messrs. Sudbury and Son, of Halstead who took the contract for 3000, with the materials of the old chapel on the same site.

Exterior view of the New Congregationalist Chapel at Halstead