Low Ham Chapel was built in 1884 from the local blue lias stone. The building didn’t change much for 100 years. The chapel’s original windows were stained-glass; however a bomb-blast during World War II destroyed those on the car park side. Stained-glass windows are not usual in non-conformist churches as they were considered too fancy. One such as the main window at the front of the church is extremely unusual, typically the design would have been a pattern rather than a scene depicting people.
When the church was lit by oil lamps there was a small fire – evidence of this can still be seen on the large wooden pulpit.
In the 1960s the church almost closed because the membership was very low. A local christian family decided that they didn’t want this to happen so they, and others, went to support the members at Low Ham. A successful Sunday School was launched, and membership grew.
During the early 1980s some of the skilled church members rolled up their sleeves and built a room to one side of the church providing a toilet and kitchenette/meeting area. Later on an accessible toilet was added. The kitchen was upgraded when one of the members had the job of fitting a new kitchen for a customer – the kitchen they were getting rid of was too good to dispose of, so the units were altered to fit our building and we have put it to good use ever since.
At about the same time it became apparent that huge sections of the old horse-hair plaster was parting company with the walls. For the sake of safety the plaster was removed from both gable ends. This turned out to be more hazardous than expected. As one person whacked the thick plaster with a shovel it came away from the wall in a massive sheet. There was someone standing below on the porch chipping away at the plaster around the large window – they just had time to step onto the window cill before the plaster came crashing past where they had been standing.
The church was difficult to heat because of the high ceiling. Again the church members got physical, putting a second storey into the building. This slashed the heating bill and provided a large airy room upstairs doubling the usable space. Later some of the roof beams had to be altered because it was easy to walk into them and get a bruised head!
Car parking became a problem, with vehicles parking on verges near the chapel. This wasn’t ideal as the chapel is situated on a junction and in winter the verges become soft. The farmer who owned a piece of land next to the church building kindly agreed to let us buy some, this became the car park.
The field behind the church can be used when there are no animals grazing – this is great for a game of rounders after a church picnic.