A hundred years after his death the Whitefield Memorial Church (now the United Reformed Church) was established by the Countess of Huntingdon's congregation in Park Road on the site of his last open air sermon in Gloucester. On the centenary of Whitefield’s death, 30th September 1870, the first sod was cut by the Mayor of Gloucester and on the 6th June 1871 a memorial stone was laid by the local MP, S Marling, with a bottle containing coins, a current newspaper and an account of building negotiations buried beneath it. It was intended to seat 450 downstairs with an additional 150 in the gallery and the church originally had a 140 ft spire. The total cost was in the region of 3,700 pounds. The Whitefield Memorial Church was opened on 7th May 1872. The full cost of the building, including an extra 426 pounds for the spire, was met within one year of opening. The clock was a gift from James Buchanan and the building was completed in the late 1880’s when the organ loft and organ were added at a cost of 225 pounds and 408 pounds respectively.
A frieze above the doorway commemorates his charismatic preaching.
United Reformed Church, Park Road, Gloucester GL1 1LS
St Mary de Crypt, Southgate Street, just a short way from the Bell Inn where Whitefield was born, is the medieval church in which he was baptised and later preached his first sermon - the pulpit in which he stood can still be seen. Throughout his life he returned to Gloucester, where his mother and brother continued to live running the family business at The Bell. It was in Gloucester that his baby son died and was buried.
St Mary de Crypt
The Church of St John's Northgate is today the centre of Methodism in Gloucester.
Both Whitefield and the Wesleys preached in the church in the days when it was known as the Church of St John the Baptist. Whitefield's visit in December 1741 is thought to be the last occasion on which the Gloucester evangelist preached inside a Gloucester church. By that time both he and the Wesleys were focusing their ministries on open air preaching.
The building itself is well worth visiting, with a wealth of history as well as an active present-day congregation. The original friary was part of the necklace of churches built around the Abbey. The 14th century building, of which there are still remains, was replaced in the 18th century by a fine Georgian Church. The interior was updated by the Victorians and again in the 20th century to meet current needs.