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The First Financial Crisis

The average wage for a working man was not more than Ten Shillings per week, so the amount they had borrowed would be equivalent to around £40,000 (1979 valuation). As a result, by 1853 the ĎChapel Debtí had grown to £228 15 shillings and 7d. They hadnít even been able to pay the Interest! By this time Robert Lewis was dead and his heirs obviously began to press for their money.

As they were legally bound to do, the Trustees appealed to the ruling body of the Church, the Wesleyan Methodist Conference, which met at Sheffield that year under the Presidency of Rev. John Stott, and agreed the sale of the building. This took place at the Commercial Rooms, Bristol, on December 16th 1853 when the church was bought for £300 by Mr William Henry Budgett, acting as agent for his brother Mr. James Smith Budgett.

The Budgetts were General Merchants in Kingswood, Methodists, very prosperous, and well known for their generosity to many Free Churches. The Mortgage was paid off and the Trustees left with the sum of £71 4 shillings and 5d.

Five years later a new Trust was set up in 1858, this time on a much firmer base, with four of the Budgett family and a number of other Gentlemen and Merchants from Kingswood and Bristol, and they took the premises, it is thought as a gift from the Budgetts. In all these changes and problems the use of the Church for worship was not interrupted.