Whilst planning a recent visit to the New Forest I noticed on a series of old Ordnance Survey maps that a Bible Christian chapel was marked in Durns Town, or Sway, between 1867 and 1898, but could find no record of this building in official records.
Further digging has revealed that the Trust was set up in 1864, and that the Rev. R.P. Tabb had written about the opening of the chapel in the Bible Christian Magazine.
“Sway is a village in the parish of Bolder, in the New Forest. A friend visiting the Isle of Wight invited Mr. Bailey over to preach, and to collect together a few persons who had been scattered from another denomination. In August, 1863, Mr. John Knight went there to reside, and was made a blessing to many; and at the Conference of 1864, Sway was united to the Southampton Station. To establish the cause it was necessary to erect a chapel. the Society entering into the matter heartily, notwithstanding some difficulties and discouragements, by the blessing of the Great Head of the Church, it has been built and opened for divine worship. On Sunday, November 27th, 1864, a meeting for prayer was held in teh forenoon, and in the afternoon and evening sermons were delivered by Mr. R.P. Tabb. the prsence of God was realized. On Monday 28th, a public tea was held, followed by a meeting presided over by Mr. Reed, Baptist, from Brockenhurst, and addressed bu Messr. Luke, Tabb, Alford, and Joseph Rickman. It was a very good meeting, and for the circumstances of the people the collections were liberal. Mr. Pudney, though not resident in the place, nor sufficiently near to worship, gave all the timber for the roof and floor, and fit for use, while Mr. G. Gale conveyed it to the spot. Mr. Gates, though not a member, gave the land, and liberally assisted at the opening; and Mrs. Chandler, Baptist, gave the Bible. The chapel is a good substantial building, and will comfortably hold about one and hundred persons, costing about £100. £35 has been borrowed, and about £15 besides will be required to pay outstanding bills in about six months, which we hope to collect by the time it is needed; so that there is a debt of £35 only, which this energetic people, we think, will not long allow to remain.”
Less than six months after the opening it was reported that “A blessed work has been in progress here during the past week (May 22nd). Seventeen souls have professed to find peace with God.”
The cause appears to have closed before the end of the century.
Appendix II to the Thirty-Second report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, 1871 : Calendar of Trust Deeds relating to churches.
Bible Christian Magazine for 1865 p83 and p373