The earliest reference to a chapel in Whixall is in 1424 when land was transferred to Richard of Whixall Chapel and there is a reference to Le Chapel Field in 1518 - the field being in the vicinity of the now Social Centre. This was probably the site of the first chapel in Whixall which was subordinate to the vicarage of Prees. Whixall became a separate parish from Prees in the second half of the 19th century.
Whixall now has 3 active churches, St Mary's C of E, Whixall United Reform Church and Welsh End Methodist Chapel.
Here is a brief background to their history.
St Mary's Church
The present church, dedicated to St Mary, was built in 1867 in recognition of the services of John Allen, Vicar of Prees and Archdeacon of Salop. Rev John Evans laid the first brick on 15th May 1866 and the church was completed in 1867 at a cost of £3000. It is described in Kelly's Directory of 1909 as an edifice of brick and stone in plain Gothic style from designs by the late G E Street RA consisting of Chancel, Nave of 4 bays, north aisle, south porch and a turret over the chancel arch containing one bell. By this time the living is a vicarage in the gift of the Vicar of Prees with a net yearly value of £250 including 44 acres of the Glebe. The vicarage next to the church was probably built soon after the church and certainly by 1909 the chapel house was lived in by Mrs Newbrooke. The large picture behind the altar depicting the Risen Christ and two disciples on the road to Emmaeus is thought to be by a pupil of Caravaggio. It was given to St Mary's Church by Mrs Lydia Brown who was for many years headmistress of the Church School in Whixall and a member of the congregation at St Mary's for over 80 years. The Easter candlestick was given Mrs Brown to celebrate 80 years as a member of the church in Whixall. The Lectern was given in 1901 in memory of John Dawson.
For details of services at St Mary's click here
Welsh End Methodist Chapel
It was Mr Thomas Sandlands of the then Pheasant Inn who offered a plot of land to Welsh End Methodists on which to build their chapel. Their first chapel was built in 1829. By 1859 the building was falling down and was too small so it was pulled down and a chapel to hold 120 people was built in its place at a cost of £178. In 1878 a new school was built at a cost of £40, the chapel was at the time in the Prees Green circuit. In 1881 it was necessary to further enlarge the chapel and an extension was added - the part where the pulpit, organ and choir seats are now. A burial ground was also purchased - the previous year legislation allowed Nonconformists to bury their own dead, previously they would have had to go to and Anglican Church for burial. Special Jubilee services were held in 1909 and 1913 and major alterations were again required. At a cost of £600 the original Sunday School was replaced by the present structure. Classrooms and the Minister's vestry were added and the whole of the interior was redesigned and refurnished with new seats and new pulpit and new heating was installed. In 1933-34 £208 was spent on making a parking ground with stabling and extending the burial ground and in June 1957 a pipe organ was installed at a cost of £400. From 1949-51 £1500 was spent on redecorating, rebuilding the organ, providing kitchen, electric lighting plant (mains electricity was still 6 years away) and putting in new sanitary facilities. The church windows were removed and eleven stained glass dedicated windows were put in.
For details of services at Welsh End Chapel click here
The United Reform Church
The first Congregational chapel in Whixall was built at the present site at Stanley Green, paid for by Mr Thomas Weston (brother of Samuel Weston who built the chapel in Prees) and it opened on October 9th 1805. The Reverend R Eversall was the first pastor. He was ordained at Swan Hall, Shrewsbury in 1802 for work at Whixall, Clive and Hadnall and in 1826 the Reverend Samuel Minshall undertook the pastorate of Whixall in addition to that of Prees. Reverend Minshall was pastor for 40 years and during his lifetime the chapel was known as Minshall's Chapel. On June 7th 1870 the corner stone for a new chapel was laid by Thomas Minshall of Oswestry, nephew of Samuel Minshall and it was opened in December 1870. The old chapel became the school room and a manse was also erected. In 1896 the reverend W E Holt was invited to accept a full pastorate and after nearly a century of being a joint pastorate with Prees, Whixall had its own pastor. In 1908 a pipe organ was installed and in 1931, some 35 years before electricity was available throughout Whixall, the chapel was fortunate to be in close proximity to an electric cable belonging to the North Wales Electricity Board which ran from Whitchurch to Wem and electric power came to the chapel
For details of services at the United Reform Church click here