Stop 3: Church on the Green-Information

Records say that the Gospel was originally preached in a cottage on Bowes Hill, then called Bulls Hill and that services were preached by lay preachers from Havant. This cottage would have been near to the hamlet of Wellsworth, which at the time was larger than Rowlands Castle. However, Rowlands Castle grew quickly, and in 1798 the Providence Chapel was built. It was located in the building where there is now a hairdresser (see stop 4).

 As the population continued to grow, especially after the coming of the railway, this chapel became too small, and thought was given to building a larger Church. This Church, the Church on the Green, is a United Reformed Church. It was first developed in 1881 and was partly funded by the Canning Family of Finchdean Ironworks along with many other donations and cost about £1,000. The Canning family, especially George and his son, John, took a great interest in the spiritual welfare of the villagers. 

The land on which the Church was built was given by Sir Jervoise Clarke-Jervoise of the Idsworth Estate, in exchange for the old Providence Chapel building. The Church was built in Gothic style of red brick and native flint with Bath stone dressings and a tiled roof surmounted by an artistic open work spire. Inside, the pine timbered ceiling was supported by pine roof trusses. It was built in an”L” shape, and there was a plan to create a schoolroom, which could be cordoned off from the rest of the chapel.

The main part of the current structure is much more recent.

The foundation stone was laid on 24th May 1881 by James Griffin J.P. of Portsmouth, grandson of the founder of Providence Chapel. On the 1st December 1881 a Service was conducted by the Reverend C. A. Davies of Ventnor, followed by tea at the Fountain catered for by Mr. Rook.  The Rooks were then a notable Rowlands Castle family.

If you look at the Church from Redhill Rd, you can see that the part of the building nearest the Green is asymmetrical with an extended area on the right-hand side of the church. This was originally where the aisle was sited.  However, there were complaints from the congregation that this arrangement meant it took too long to get out of the church, so they moved the aisle to the centre.  You can see where the original aisle was located if you look inside.

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