Although the first Bible Christian Chapel in the village was built in 1830, this was replaced by the building of the current Chapel in 1883. Here is the account of the opening of the new Chapel (from the Bible Christian Magazine: February 1884):
WINKLEIGH -On Monday, the 27th, the new chapel and Sunday-school were opened. The chapel and schoolroom join one another and are of the same elevation. The structure has a pleasing appearance, and is a great improvement to the town.
The Rev. J. Dymond, Exeter, preached the dedicatory sermon to a large congregation.
Mr. W. J. Harris, of Halwill Manor, attended the service and afterwards presided at the luncheon. He read a letter from Lord Lymington expressing his regret that he was unable to be present.
On proposing " Success to the Bible Christians of Winkleigh and the neighbourhood," Mr. Harris remarked on the amount of useful work which had been done throughout Devon and Cornwall during the last thirty or forty years by this comparatively small community. Although himself a Churchman, and one who was fully satisfied with the Liturgy and the communion of the Church, yet he could not help feeling how much Nonconformists had done in the past, and he acknowledged that in many cases religious thought could hardly have been kept alive in some parts of the country without they had supplied the place of some clergymen in the Church of England who had not understood to the full the sacred and important office with which they had taken upon themselves. He could not help noting as he travelled about Devon and Cornwall how new chapels and schools were being built and enlarged, and seeing that they (the Bible Christians) were certainly not a rich community, he thought it proved that there was a wonderful amount of religious vitality in their midst. He was also glad to note that great efforts had been made by them in the cause of temperance. The Church of England was also doing excellent work in this direction through the Church of England Temperance Society. Only last September this Society had invited all the other Temperance Leagues to join their deliberations in London, and very many of them had done so, and he felt that it was a good thing to see Church and Dissent joining together on such good common ground. Then, again, he felt that efforts were being made by all religious bodies to supplement the Board School Education with proper religious teaching in Sunday-schools, and speaking of the school they had that morning opened he remarked on the great necessity of caring for the religious education of the rising generation. In the towns, both among rich and poor, he found a most painful, and he feared, an increasing tendency to the encouragement of infidel thought. He was always afraid when he saw young men leaving our country schools and migrating to the towns that they were leaving a comparatively pure life, where the clergyman and the minister were in close communion with them, to enter on a life full of temptations. He also trusted that the school which they had that morning opened would be one of the bulwarks of Christianity against infidelity, and he wished it all success.
The Rev. T. C. Jacob in reply said, that day marked a new departure in the history of the Bible Christian cause in Winkleigh and neighbourhood. While grateful for the good work accomplished in the old chapel, they hoped, with the increased facilities afforded by the new buildings, to realise yet greater success. It was a great undertaking for a village congregation to build a chapel involving an outlay of £550, yet, the earth being the Lord's and the fulness thereof, it was hard if out of it there could not be obtained material to build a house in which the Gospel of the Kingdom could be preached. Up to the previous night the receipts were £305. The donations paid in that morning towards the opening services amounted to £85. This, supplemented by the morning collection, made the receipts up to that hour about £400, and it would be a capital thing if such an enthusiasm could be awakened among the company then present as should lead to the removal of the entire debt (applause).-IfIr. T. Ruddle and the Rev. J. Dymond also responded.
A vote of thanks to the chairman, moved by the Rev. A. Trengove, and seconded by Mr. Jacob, was carried with acclamation. A bazaar was opened in the school¬room, with an address by Mr. Trengove. At the evening meeting the chapel was crowded. Mr. T. Ruddle, B.A., presided, and gave an admirable speech. Mr. Jacob presented the financial statement, which showed the receipts up to the close of the day to be £450. Luncheon realized £12 3s. ; tea (given by Mr. Harris), £13.11s. A long list of donations was read. Mrs. J. Down, of Frem¬ington, gave £100; Mrs. Pickford, £40; Lord Portsmouth, £5; W. J. Harris, Esq., £5; Mr. Joseph Down (London), £5; Miss Paddon, £10: Miss Fannie Luxton, £10; Mr. T. Harris gave and collected £10; T. C. Jacob collected £14; Mr. G. Harris, £3 ; Mr. R. Hawkins, £4; and other friends smaller amounts. Mrs. Paddon gave the timepiece.
Mr. Trengove, in an excellent speech, praised Mr. Hall's design and superintendence, and the manner in which the builder, Mr. Henry Pardon, of Winkleigh, had done his work. Mr. Dymond also gave an eloquent address. The Rev. H. Down seconded the vote of thanks to the speakers and the various helpers. Miss F. Luxton presided at the harmonium. Three sermons were preached on the following Sunday by Rev. W. B. Reed, of Bideford. On Monday Dr. Keen gave his lecture on " Martin Luther ;" Mr. Joseph Down (London) ably presided.
The new chapel is 38 feet in length and 27 feet wide, and provides accommodation for 150 people. There are also two schoolrooms attached, 28 feet long, by 14 feet wide; the upper schoolroom is arranged to act as gallery to chapel when required by means of folding doors, and will seat 50 people. The chapel is divided into three rows of seats with two aisles, the seats being constructed of pitch pine and varnished. The floor of the chapel slopes towards the rostrum, which is of pitch pine, with tracery panels and communion rail in front; the ceiling is divided into five bays, with moulding at angles and cornice at base, and is 22 feet in height from floor. The chapel is lighted with eight handsome lancet windows and one rose window in the end, glazed with diamond pattern glass. The walls have been built with local stone in random razed work, with ornamented red brick bands, and white glazed Marland brick, and Treborough stone dressings to windows, buttresses, parapets, &c. There is also a handsome iron railing in front of the building, and iron gilded finials to the gables.
The subscription list is still open, and as we are anxious to meet the entire outlay we shall be grateful to any friends at a distance who may send us a cheer in the shape of a donation. About £80 remains to be raised; £20 of which is promised, provided the whole amount is obtained. We thank all who have kindly helped.
Winkleigh, North Devon. T. C. JACOB.
Bible Christian Magazine: February 1884