New Road Independent Chapel Basingstoke
At the time of the 1851 Religious Census, there were two Independent Chapels in Basingstoke. One in London Street, had a long and illustrious history dating back to 1662, while the other in New Road had only opened in 1846. It would seem that New Road’s minister, Luke Longman Redgrove, was instrumental in securing its construction. The chapel is clearly shown on an Ordnance Survey map of 1871/3. The census recorded 82 worshippers (including 32 children) at the morning service and 52 at the evening.
Few traces of New Road Chapel have been found. 1851 census returns show Luke Redgrove as aged 56 and, not surprisingly, his occupation as that of ‘Independent Minister New Road Chapel’. At the time, he was living with his wife in Church Lane. He has not been found in either the 1861 or 1871 census returns. In those of 1881 his occupation is recorded as that of ‘Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages (retired)’, by then he was living in Wote Street and his wife had died. Luke’s death occurred on 27 February 1884. According to a brief biography which appeared in the Hampshire Advertiser at the time he served as Basingstoke’s Registrar from 1862 to 1880. He then handed over this role to a friend on the grounds that ill-health meant that he would be unable to cope with the increased responsibilities arising from the 1881 census. Although he is described as ‘one of the oldest and most respected’ of Basingstoke’s inhabitants no mention is made of his time as New Road’s minister. As recorded, ‘he left no family.’
The Chapel is not shown on the 1893/5 Ordnance Survey map so it probably closed in the 1880s. Various questions concerning the Chapel arise. Why was it felt necessary to have a second Independent Chapel in Basingstoke? What was the nature of the relationship (if any) between New Road Independent Chapel and London Street Independent Chapel? Did Redgrove continue as minister after 1862 when he was appointed Registrar? Was anyone other than Redgrove minister at the Chapel? Have any further records of Redgrove or the Chapel survived?
Content derived during research for the new VCH Hampshire volume, Basingstoke and its surroundings.