2013 images The first Zoar Chapel,
Ipswich opened for worship in David Street (now demolished) on the 7th
January 1842 (see our page on the Primitive
Methodist Chapel in Rope Walk to see the original chapel on the
map). The present chapel situated in St. Helen's Street was
opened for worship on Wednesday 18th March 1925. The first minister of
Zoar Chapel was Pastor J. B. Bateman who was called to the pastorate on
June 19th 1842. He was followed by Pastors W. Felton (1855-59), J.
Wilkins (1862-66), S. Willis (1867-70), J. Morling (1872-79), S. Cozens
(1882 - 1887), R.C. Bardens (1891-1907), P. Reynolds (1912-34), J.S.
Smith (1941-58), R.G. Martin (1960-65), E.D. Eldridge (1968- 82), R.J.
Howells (1984-89) and P.F. Hughes (1991-2005).
stylish, raised capitals high up on the lofty gable of the front
This religion is named after the
biblical city of Zoar, now rendered 'Zoara'. In Hebrew 'Zoar' means 'little' or
'insignificant'. It was one of the five (Pentapolis) cities of the
plain of Jordan in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament, which
escaped the "brimstone and fire" which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, as
Zoar had sheltered Lot and his daughters.
Zoar was originally a Strict Baptist
place of worship founded in the hamlet of Lower Dicker in East
Sussex in 1837. The David Street chapel in Ipswich
followed speedily, opening in 1842. Today there appear to be many such
Chapels throughout the country split into factions and variants:
'Zoar', 'Bethel', 'Ebenezer', 'Hope',
'Providence', 'Zion', 'Salem' (see our Salem
The Borough's local list tells us:
"Zoar Baptist Church, St Helens Street. (1925). Church group at the
junction of St Helens Street and Rope Walk. Gable roofed church with
transepts and smaller gabled church hall set back and to one side. Red
brick, blue headers, stone dressings, clay roof tiles. The main (north)
church elevation facing St Helens Street is emphasised by a tall
central bay set between buttresses with heavy stone finials, which
project beyond the slope of the roof. The double leaf entrance door at
its base has a flat canopy; above, a tall round-headed window with thin
glazing bars, set within a brick arched recess which is expressed as
multiple brick orders under the arch. Plain stone imposts. In the
gable, a stone tablet carved with the word ‘Zoar’ in raised lettering,
set within a chequer pattern of plain stone tablets. In the walls to
either side of the central bay, narrow round headed window openings.
The roof slope descends either side of the central bay, wrapping round
the frontage as tile hanging above a shallow tiled canopy. Single
storey flat roofed structure wraps the south end of the church. Gabled
brick entrance porches on the west and east sides, round headed arches
over the door. The hall elevation has flat brick buttresses framing a
central window group; rectangular with thin glazing bars at ground
floor level; at first floor level a similar window with a round headed
window above a projecting lintel. Narrow round headed windows to either
side. Brick pier and metal railing wall surrounds the site, the piers
capped with stone."