Chapel of the vow

In 1773 John Hare, a lad from Crowcombe, by Taunton in Somerset, came to Bristol to make his fortune. He quite probably walked here; for a poor person at that time there was no other way. He came along Bedminster Causeway (now Bedminster Parade) and arrived in the parish of Redcliffe just inside the city boundary.

Possibly to save money, he decided to sleep the night in the open. Waking the following morning he made a vow that if he should prosper in Bristol he would build a church on the very spot that he had slept. John Hare went on to invent and manufacture an improved floor cloth, what we now call linoleum. He had factories all over Temple & Redcliffe and made his fortune. He became prominent in local politics and helped to found Bristol General Hospital in 1831. His business continued until after WWII.

True to his vow he later purchased the ground on which he had slept and in 1830 with £4,000 of his own money erected a chapel. You will know it as the former Zion Chapel on Coronation Road by Bedminster Bridge. Within the last twenty years, as with many other chapels it closed and is now Bristol City Council Housing Services Department.

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