Zion Chapel, Newick
The chapel from the southeast
|Location||Western Road, Newick, East Sussex BN8 4LF|
|Founded||14 October 1833|
|Functional status||Residential conversion|
|Heritage designation||Grade II|
|Designated||27 September 1979|
||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (December 2011)|
Zion Chapel is a former Strict Baptist place of worship in the village of Newick in Lewes District, one of six local government districts in the English county of East Sussex. The tiny building was opened for worship in 1834 in a part of Sussex which was a hotbed of Protestant Nonconformism, and remained as one of three places of worship in the small Wealden village until 2001, when it was sold for conversion to flats. English Heritage has listed the building at Grade II by English Heritage for its architectural and historical importance.
Newick lies north of Lewes next to the River Ouse in the Sussex Weald. Although it is not named in the Domesday survey of 1086, it may have been considered part of a nearby settlement called Allington. It was closely associated with the nearby villages of Barcombe and Hamsey in medieval times. A church existed by 1147, when William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey granted it to Lewes Priory.
From the 17th century, Protestant Nonconformity became prevalent throughout Sussex, especially in central and eastern parts of the county. Small chapels were regularly built for followers of denominations such as General Baptists, Strict Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Methodists, often in small villages. One such chapel was founded in 1834 on the main road from Haywards Heath to Uckfield, west of the centre of Newick village. Neither its founder nor its architect are recorded. The founding date is considered to be 14 October 1833, when a rood of land (0.25 acres (0.1 ha)) was granted to "certain dissenters from the Church of England called Calvinistic Baptists" to build a chapel for their use. They had to pay the Lord of the Manor £0.2s.6d for this right. The date of construction was recorded on the entrance porch. The population at that time was 724; by 1851 this had fallen to 483, and a population of 1,000 was only reached by 1931—by which time an Evangelical mission hall, opened in 1892, had become Newick's third place of worship.
Zion Chapel served the Strict Baptist congregation throughout the 20th century, in common with similar chapels in nearby Wivelsfield, Lewes, Handcross, Burgess Hill, Uckfield, East Grinstead, Bolney and many other towns and villages in Sussex. Over time, its congregation dwindled, and in 2001 the decision was taken to sell the building. Its listed status offered some protection against demolition or significant alteration. Approval was granted by Lewes District Council for an extension of the structure and conversion into three flats under the name Chapel Grove.
Zion Chapel was listed at Grade II by English Heritage on 27 September 1979; this defines it as a "nationally important" building of "special interest". As of February 2001, it was one of 1,162 Grade II listed buildings, and 1,250 listed buildings of all grades, in the district of Lewes. Since 1992, the chapel has been within the Lewes District Council's "Newick (The Green)" conservation area.
The chapel is a small and simple but "striking red and grey brick building". The street-facing façade has two round-arched windows and a gabled entrance porch inscribed with the year 1834. Above this is a pediment, flush with the façade, whose tympanum has an oculus-style recess. A distinctive feature of the pediment is its use of alternate grey and red bricks laid in Flemish bond formation; the stretcher bricks (those with the long face showing) are red and the header bricks (whose short side is showing) are red, producing a regular pattern. The other walls are solely of red brick.
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- Lindsey 1983, p. 5.
- Stell 2002, p. 329.
- "Newick (The Green) Conservation Area Appraisal" (PDF). Lewes District Council. May 2007. p. 6. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Lindsey 1983, p. 36.
- Stell 2002, p. 352.
- Lindsey 1983, p. 31.
- "Newick (The Green) Conservation Area Appraisal" (PDF). Lewes District Council. May 2007. p. 8. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Application Details (LW/01/0590)". Lewes District Council planning application. Lewes District Council/CAPS Solutions Ltd. 2005. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Zion Chapel, Western Road, Newick, Lewes, East Sussex". The National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "Listed Buildings". English Heritage. 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
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- "Newick (The Green) Conservation Area Appraisal" (PDF). Lewes District Council. May 2007. p. 4. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Elleray 2004, p. 42.
- "Newick (The Green) Conservation Area Appraisal" (PDF). Lewes District Council. May 2007. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Newick (The Green) Conservation Area Appraisal" (PDF). Lewes District Council. May 2007. p. 17. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Elleray, D. Robert (2004). Sussex Places of Worship. Worthing: Optimus Books. ISBN 0-9533132-7-1.
- Lindsey, Joyce (1983). Newick: The Story of a Sussex Village c. 900–1950. Newick: Newick Parish Council.
- Stell, Christopher (2002). Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting-houses in Eastern England. Swindon: English Heritage. ISBN 1-873592-50-7.