Frome (1861)

In September 1859, Mr James Holroyd, a deacon of a Baptist church in Frome, and a preacher of the gospel, was in Bristol, on business, and had read in the paper that there was to be a noonday meeting for prayer, in the Corridor Rooms, Bath. He took the train for Bath,and attended that meeting, and there was enabled to pour out his soul to God for the conversion of sinners. On returning home, the Spirit of the Lord said to him, "Go thou and do likewise in Frome.” After a brief delay, during which he had no rest of mind till this voice was obeyed, he took, at his own expense, the Old Mechanics Hall, and advertised, by hand-bills, a noon-day meeting for prayer in this place, which was well attended. None in par­ticular were called upon, but any Christians, who felt they had the spirit of prayer, were invited to engage for the outpouring of the Spirit to be manifested in the conversion of sinners. The result was that He who said "That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven," manifested his power and faithfulness in the conversion of sinners. In the meanwhile, Mr Holroyd purchased some premises in Lock's Lane (a neglected part of Frome), which he converted into a small chapel and school-room, and on Lord's-day, March 4, 1860, preached the gospel for the first time in this place, while the walls were yet unplastered. The place was crowded by the working-classes, and several date their conversion from this first service. Special prayer-meetings continued to be held on weeknights and Sunday afternoons, and many souls were brought to God. Subsequently some of the new converts agreed to form themselves into a church, and chose Mr Holroyd to be their pastor; and on Lord's-day, April 15, 1860, ten persons were baptized in the river at Providence Mills, by Mr Holroyd, when Mr Parsons, Baptist minister of Corsley, was present and took part in the service. The Holy Spirit's power con­tinued to be manifested in conversion; the church increased greatly; the chapel was crowded to overflowing, very many going away, not being able to get admission. Being moved with love to immortal souls, who eagerly flocked to hear the Word of life, and anxious to provide them with suitable accommodation, Mr Holroyd was led to build a larger chapel on an adjoining piece of ground, which was done entirely at his own expense. This chapel will hold about 500 persons, and is well attended by the working-classes, particularly on Sunday evenings, when the gospel is especially preached to the uncon­verted; and here, the church, which now numbers 122 members, regularly meet on Lord's-day mornings for worship, teaching, and the breaking of bread. The anniversary services of the opening of this chapel were held on Jan. 6, 1862, when upwards of 200 took tea together, after which a public meeting was held, during which Mr Holroyd requested that those, and those only, who had been made partakers of the grace of God, through the instrumentality of this cause, from its commencement, would rise and join in singing, " Come let us join our cheerful songs." It is believed not less than eighty rose and united in the song of praise. It was truly a solemn and overwhelming scene to witness so many rise and thus bear testimony to what God had wrought among them. Having become personally acquainted with the members of this church, the Lord having called me to labour among them in conjunction with Mr Holroyd, I can bear testimony that there is most satisfactory evidence of a marvellous work of saving grace, and not of mere religious excitement. While there are about a dozen, who were formerly members of other churches, even some of these were backsliders, who have been restored through this cause to the enjoyment of the privileges of the children of God. The young have been awakened hate spiritual life and gathered into the fold. The moral have been led to see that their morality would not take them to heaven, and by the power of the Spirit have been taught to take their place as sinners at the feet of Jesus, and have found pardon through the blood of his cross. Drunkards have not only become sober men, good husbands and fathers, but Christians in deed and in truth; while lips which were once habitually polluted with the profane oath, are now sanctified to offer solemn prayer and praise to Him whom they once despised. And now in many houses where the fear of God was not, there is a family altar erected, where the sacrifice of thanksgiving is offered for what the Lord has done for their souls. It is only honest to acknowledge that some, about sixteen, who have been called in during this season of Revival, have either separated themselves or have been separated, from the church, since its formation; some of these still hold on their way, while others have fallen away. But there still remain 122, who stand as members of this church, exclusive of many, who have received blessing, who have never been gathered; and I am persuaded their number is very few whom any of our evangelical churches would not re­ceive gladly into their fellowship. While some of our members mourn that they have lost the ardour of their first love, yet their characteristic is that of an affectionate, prayerful people, ever manifesting a deep concern for the salvation of their perish­ing fellow-sinners, which they have derived from the excellent example of their ever-prayerful pastor, who has been made such a blessing to so many; with whom love to immortal souls is a ruling passion; and whose prayers have prevailed mightily in bringing down showers of blessings from heaven.


From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume VI, page 37-8.

Additional Information

The space marked was where Providence Chapel, a non-conformist chapel, stood. Locks Hill turned into Locks Lane very close to this chapel.

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