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Caldwell

St Hilda's

St Hilda's, Caldwell closed for worship permanently on 31 July 2016. There was a final service at 10.45 that morning with Bishop James Bell presiding. 

This chapel of ease, dedicated to St Hilda of Whitby, one of England's greatest and most influential women of all time, served the village of Caldwell. It is a plain and functional building but its simple, square design made the congregation feel very much part of the service. 
A board on the wall explaining the origins of the chapel read: 

This chapel was erected at the expense of Charlotte Catherine Ann Countess of Bridgewater A.D.1844 And endowed with the sum of L1526.14s 4d in the 3% consolidated Bank Annuities. The Service to be performed as set forth by the Church of England And by her directions all the sittings are hereby declared free and unappropriated to the Inhabitants of the Township of Caldwell. 
Bernard Gilpin, Officiating Minister 
Frank Dent, Churchwarden 

See a photo of it in our Gallery.

For those unfamiliar with the sum involved, 'L' is an old way of writing £. '£' was originally an L and short for libra, a Roman measure of weight from which lb (weight) derives. £1 was originally the value of 1lb of silver but inflation has long taken care of that; 
14s = 14 shillings now 70p 
4d = 4 pence (old money) - 'd'as an abbreviation of 'pence' is from another Roman coin, the denarius In 1971 when decimal coinage was introduced into the UK 2.4d became 1p so 4d is somewhat less than 2p 

The reference to all sittings being 'free and unappropriated' is because it was once common for the better off members of a parish to reserve their own particular seats in the church and to pay for the privilege. This meant that those coming only occasionally, or visitors, were restricted as to where they could sit. The Countess decreed that there was to be no such discrimination as to who sat where in Caldwell chapel.

St Hilda's was for many years simply known as 'Caldwell Chapel' and was only given the dedication to St Hilda late in the twentieth century. 

 

The church is marked on this map. It is in the churchyard which is now the official burial ground for Forcett parish. Walk on past the church and have a look at this ancient dovecote or pigeon house. In the Middle Ages pigeons were a valuable source of meat.