Map circa 1840 

Joseph Flint was an early 19th-century farmer and shopkeeper in the village of Charlwood on the Surrey/Sussex border.

He lived at what is now called Chapel Farm. He was a Protestant Nonconformist and worshipped in local cottages with a group of like-minded people rather than at St Nicholas' Church, the Anglican parish church.

Meanwhile, during the Napoleonic Wars, a barracks existed in the Sussex market town of Horsham. A wooden guardroom was erected there in about 1797. After the war the barracks was decommissioned, and the timber guardroom was dismantled and transported on wagons to Charlwood. There the "strange [and] quaint" structure was re-erected in a field on a dirt track north of the village, and on 15 November 1816 it opened as an Independent Calvinistic Chapel for Flint and his fellow worshippers.

The opening sermons at Charlwood Union Chapel, as it was originally called, were preached by ministers from chapels at Epsom and Dorking. Epsom had an Independent Calvinistic Chapel of its own—the denomination was "closely associated with Surrey" in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Chapel only had one permanent pastor: C.T. Smith, who served from 1816 until 1834. Since then, it was served mostly by Strict Baptist ministers, and although it was nominally an Independent Calvinistic place of worship it adopted the character of a Strict Baptist Chapel. Smith regularly preached in the village of Horley, 2 miles (3.2 km) away and in 1846 a Strict Baptist Chapel was built there with assistance from the Charlwood cause.

Charlwood Union Chapel was renamed Providence Chapel and services were latterly held on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. At its peak in the mid 1800s the Chapel had a congregation of around 150, rivalling that of the Parish church.

Under the name Charlwood Union Chapel, the Chapel was registered for marriages on 7 December 1844. It was also registered with this name as a place of worship under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855; as it predates the passing of the Act, its identity number on the Worship Register is 1. 

The congregation, however, gradually declined. In 2012 the last remaining member, Jane Eade, became disabled. The Chapel Trustees, successors of those appointed in 1816 by Joseph Flint, put the Chapel up for sale (as required in the deed drawn up by Joseph Flint). With help from English Heritage and Mole Valley Council, a sale was prevented. A new Trust was formed, The Providence Chapel Charlwood Trust and in March 2013 purchased the Chapel for £1. A legal obligation was accepted to allow occassional services and burials and to preserve the graveyard.

The Trust undertook emergency repairs, registered as a charity and as a company limited by guarantee. A distinguished architect, Paul Sharrock of Thomas Ford & Partners, was appointed, and plans were drawn up for the repair and restoration of the Chapel, and for its use by the nearby village school.

1816 indenture by which Joseph Flint transferred the building to trustees

The 1816 deed in which Joseph Flint, who had bought the old barracks, handed it over to Trustees for use as a non-conformist chapel... lClick to see full indenture

Military History

Ben Townsend (www.historicalconsultant.com) - has undertaken research in respect of the Chapel and it's links with Horsham barracks along with the associated military history. The attached file summarises his research. To open the file left click on the logo. To download the file right click & 'Save As'. Please respect Ben's intellectual property rights when using or referring to Ben's work. 

The Trust holds a significant volume of further military research material by Ben. If you wish to access this please contact the Trust administrator - see Contact page. 

Military research & history.pdf Military research & history.pdf
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Religious & Community History

Dr Richard Christophers & Mrs Rosemary Christophers have undertaken research into the religious and community history surrounding the Chapel, includingthose families in Charlwood who were connected with it. The links below provide fascinating reading for those wishing to research this subject and/or those undertaking local family genealogy - 


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Charlwood families.xls Charlwood families.xls
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Recent History

An account of how the chapel was saved 2007-2019.

Saving the chapel .pdf Saving the chapel .pdf
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