Providence Chapel

Chapel aka Napoleonic Barracks gets Lottery Go-ahead

Now, thanks to National Lottery players, it is to be repaired and restored and made suitable for use by the community and especially the nearby school with a £421,200 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).   This follows a development grant from HLF to cover the costs of an architectural survey, seeking planning permission and developing plans for its future use.  

The project, to be carried out by The Providence Chapel Charlwood Trust (PCCT) will see around £250,000 of the HLF grant used for repairs and alterations to facilitate use by the school.  Work to be undertaken during 2017 will include repairing broken roof trusses, installing a new oak beam around the base of the chapel, installing a small modern kitchen, and a disabled toilet. A new floor will be laid and the roof tiles replaced.  Some of the pews (not as historic as other parts of the chapel) will be removed to make space for school activities.  A range of small storage sheds will be erected out of sight at the back of the chapel, and there will be new fence and sign board and CCTV.

The HLF grant will also enable the PCCT to carry out historical research, create an exhibition of the chapel’s history, run a community volunteering programme, and engage the wider community in the project. 

Support for the restoration project has already been given by the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, the Architectural Heritage Fund, Surrey County Council, Gatwick Airport and other donors.

Charlwood School, which is in the process of changing from an Infant School to a Primary School, are planning to use the chapel several times each week for study projects and for school meetings.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Trust, said:  ‘We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this grant.  It will enable us to restore the chapel so that it can stand for another two hundred years, and will enable generations of Charlwood children to enjoy its character and learn an appreciation of our heritage.’

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “This project will address urgent repairs to a fascinating building that was in use as a place of worship for nearly 200 years. As an original ‘pre-fab’ its exterior is completely unchanged since its construction as a barracks in the late eighteenth century. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, the community can help continue Providence Chapel’s story by putting it to good use while helping to preserve it for future generations.”

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery

About the Providence Chapel Charlwood Trust

The Trust is a registered charity (Registered Charity Number 1163909) and a company limited by guarantee.  We have eight trustees, all resident in Charlwood, with a wide range of knowledge and expertise.

For further information please contact:

Brendon Sewill  Trust chairman 01293 862 373

Christine Sargent  Trust Secretary 01293 862 730

The Napoleonic musical review 

The review will be performed by One Knight Only and Friends on Friday and Saturday evenings, 23 and 24 October.  Tickets from The Café 01293 862 431.

For further information, images and interviews, please contact:

Christine Sargent, Trust Secretary


About Providence Chapel            

Providence Chapel Listed Grade II* is vacant and on the Heritage at Risk register.
  It was purchased by the Providence Chapel Charlwood Trust with the aim of renovating and preserving this historic building for use by the community.

It stands on Chapel Lane to the north of the village

It was built in Horsham in c.1797 as a barracks and officers mess for troops assembled to repel an invasion by Napoleon, and has an interesting military history as the first home of the Green Jackets regiment.  In 1815 it was purchased by a local farmer and re-erected in Charlwood as a non-denominational, later Baptist, chapel.

Externally the chapel remains unchanged since first built in 1797 and, as Pevsner commented, could have come straight from the American mid-west.  Internally the chapel remains much as in 1815, a simple non-conformist village chapel.  Much of the original glass remains
having been protected by wooden shutters.

Small grants have been obtained for essential repairs and more recently a Start Up Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has allowed the Trust to carry out research among the local community to identify future uses for the Chapel once restored with new open and flexible space as well as offering interpretation of its dual heritage. The uses range from open days, school activities, local theatre group rehearsals, occasional music events, chapel services at special times such as Christmas and Easter, funeral services, local history and amenity group meetings.

A further bid for funding for renovation will be made to the HLF in June 2015 - watch this space!
For further information please contact Christine Sargent
The 6 trustees of the Providence Chapel