Rodborough Tabernacle has a valuable historical tradition dating back to the great non-conformist preacher George Whitefield in the 18th century, whose connection gives rise to churches known as Tabernacles.
There has been a church on the present site below the slopes of Rodborough Common since the middle of the 18th century...
On Sunday, July 1st 1739, George Whitefield preached on a Neolithic long barrow, now known as 'Whitefield's Tump', on Minchinhampton Common. A young man called Thomas Adams was in the crowd and was so moved by Whitefield's preaching that he gave the land to build the Tabernacle as an independent non-conformist place of worship in 1749.
The Tabernacle became an important and successful congregation, and people walked for many miles to attend services here.
The Main Church
The central three bays of the north front of the Tabernacle were built in 1750. This original building was extended in 1836/7 to form the present large two-storey, seven bay chapel. The entrance is on the west end and has Tuscan columns forming a portico between projecting staircase wings. The staircases lead to a gallery which goes round all four sides of the chapel.
The seating was renewed in 1871, but the organ case, pulpit and chancel fittings were designed in 1932 by Peter Falconer, and carved by Peter Waals, the Arts & Crafts craftsman from Sapperton, near Cirencester.
The nearby Little Chapel, converted from the former coach house and stables in 1925 by Sidney Barnsley, has more marvellous woodwork by Peter Waals, stained glass by Henry and Edward Payne of Amberley and pendant lights by Alfred Bucknell.
Its roof has recently been renovated thanks to grants received and fundraising by the congregation. The Little Chapel has been reopened to visitors see the item for the Little Chapel for times.