Gadfield Elm Chapel
Gadfield Elm Chapel, in Worcestershire, England, was of great significance in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, acting as the focal point of Church activity for thousands of Latter-day Saints until the majority emigrated to the USA to fulfil their dream of building a new Zion in the United States of America. In 1840 President Brigham Young preached at Gadfield Elm Chapel which, at the time, was the only Latter-day Saint chapel in the world.
Gadfield Elm Chapel was built in 1836 by a primitive Christian Methodist group, the United Brethren, and was deeded to Wilford Woodruff, who received it on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840 by John Benbow and Thomas Kington.
Almost the entire congregation of the United Brethren joined the church by baptism in 1840. As the new converts heeded the call to gather to Zion the Gadfield Elm Chapel became redundant and was sold, with the proceeds being used to assist with the emigration of the Saints.
Gadfield Elm Chapel, built of native stone and standing in the quiet countryside of Worcestershire, is the last surviving memorial to the United Brethren, a religious group who joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints en-masse upon hearing the 'restored gospel' message. It had a seating capacity of just 100 people.
Gadfield Elm Chapel served the people who built it and the Latter-day Saints who inherited it. It stands as a reminder of one of the greatest Latter-day Saint missionary experiences of all time.
The events associated with the building in the history of Church missionary work are poignant, powerful and inspiring.
In its beautiful setting it provides us with a charming yet thoughtful reminder of the humble and simple beginnings of this world-wide Church.
After many years of private ownership and dilapidation the property was acquired by a group of private members who established the Gadfield Elm Trust, a charitable foundation in 1994. With limited resources derived entirely from contributions these visionary souls lovingly restored the ruin stone by stone to its present state, as near as possible to how it may have been in the times of Wilford Woodruff more than 160 years ago.
The historic Gadfield Elm Chapel was received by President Gordon B. Hinckley on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in May 2004. This marked a new chapter in the story of this historic chapel building.
Today it is the oldest Mormon chapel in the world still standing and the last surviving memorial to the United Brethren.