This church was situated on the east side of Above Bar Street, just to the north of Hanover Buildings. It was set back from the line of buildings on Above Bar and was reached through a passageway, with the rear of the church in Vincent's Walk.

Built in 1819-20, the church replaced an earlier Congregational chapel on the same site. The congregation established at the church was the oldest nonconformist body in the town, having its origin in 1622. The father of Isaac Watts was a founder member of the church and Isaac Watts himself was a member of the congregation. The original meeting room, built or adapted for church use in 1690, was on a site just in front of the later chapel.

A completely new chapel was built on the same site in 1727, the original building having fallen into disrepair. It was improved many times throughout the 18th century and was considerably enlarged in 1802. This building was replaced by the new chapel in 1819 –1820 on a site to the rear of the old building. According to S Stainer, the frontage of the new chapel was a replica of the original. This illustration (image 1) dates from 1819, just after the building was completed.

The church was destroyed during the Blitz. A medallion head of Isaac Watts (image 3) erected above the main entrance to the church survived the bombing and was later erected in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

1. Above Bar Congregational Church

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An engraved view from Above Bar Street of the front elevation of the church, 1819

2. Above Bar Congregational Church

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Front elevation of the church in 1889

3. Above Bar Congregational Church: Medallion Head of Isaac Watts

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The medallion head of Isaac Watts sited over the main doorway was later erected in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church after the Above Bar church was destroyed in the Blitz.

See also:

Further reading:

History of the Above Bar Congregational Church, by S Stainer. (HS/j)
Jubilee of the Reverend T. Adkins. (HS/j)
Memorial to the Reverend T. Adkins. (HS/j)
History of Southampton, by Rev. J. S. Davies, p428-429. (HS/h)
‘A Splendid Prospect’? Congregationalism in Edwardian Southampton 1901-1914 by Roger Ottewill, in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no 15, Summer 2009, p38-64. (HS/h)


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