Gilbert Memorial Methodist Chapel, Zion Hill, Antigua

Gilbert Memorial Methodist Chapel, Zion Hill, Antigua

Gilbert Memorial Methodist Chapel, Zion Hill, Antigua

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

Gilbert Memorial Methodist Chapel, Zion Hill, Antigua

The Historic Gilbert Memorial Methodist Chapel, which is located at Zion Hill, was named in honour of Nathaniel Gilbert who, in 1760, introduced Methodism in Antigua, the first place to receive Methodism outside of England. Gilbert preached to his slaves on his estate, a location not too far from the present site of the Gilbert Memorial Chapel.

Historical records bear out that Zion Hill was always a very thriving community. Given its proximity to the Gilbert’s Estate, and the fact that there was never a chapel on the Gilbert’s Estate, it is likely that Zion Hill was the place where the slaves from Gilbert’s Estate erected their first chapel. Historical records indicate that the work in this area started in the early 1800’s. It is also generally believed that there were more than one chapel built on this site.

The chapel is Trinitarian in its architecture. There are three stained glass windows at the front and three at the back; windows and doors are in configuration of three; there is a threefold progression of the vestibule and three sections to each buttress. Located in this chapel are three stones attesting to its historical significance and antiquity. One stone located in the base of the pulpit bears the date 1760, and was taken from the steps from which Nathaniel Gilbert preached to his slaves.

Gilbert Memorial Methodist Chapel, Zion Hill, Antigua

Gilbert Memorial Methodist Chapel, Zion Hill, Antigua

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

The Gilbert Memorial Chapel is one of the monuments of Caribbean Methodism. Kindling of the Flame: How the Methodist Church Expanded in the Caribbean by Wm. B. Eerdmans so perfectly describes this chapel when it says: “ The Methodist Chapel at Zion Hill – known as Gilbert Memorial Church – a strong stone building is undoubtedly the Methodist Shrine of the West Indies and should be preserved as such.”  The building has a special charm, breeds a tranquil air and remains the choice location for weddings.

The last major renovation to the chapel was in 1957. In 2009 under the guidance of the Rev Dr Novelle Josiah, the chapel and vestry, the latter that was in a state of disrepair, underwent substantial renovation. This involved the replacement of both roofs; repointing (new mortar) of the stone work, replacement of windows and doors; rewiring and replacement of light fixtures; upgrading of the vestry facilities and installation of stained glass settings at the head of the windows and doors of the chapel.  These two images were taken as this renovation was nearing completion.


  1. Excellent images and writeup Mark. Nicely processed.

  2. Beautiful natural processing Mark and another great history lesson!

  3. Very nice composition in the first image Mark. Nice framing with the trees on both sides.

  4. Love that first image, Mark. Great detail, color and it looks wonderful enlarged.

    Fascinating history, which is always so nice to read about. Nice job on this post, man. The images are so nicely processed and I just really enjoy these looks back in time.

  5. Fantastic images Mark. I love the detail especially in the first image. The brick seems to jump out at me…in a good way 🙂

  6. I love the interior shot, nice place!

    • Thanks, Mike. My timing was very fortuitous. Most of the churches on the island, especially those out in the countryside are locked excepting during services. I was able to get inside Gilbert’s because of the renovation. In fact when I took this interior shot I had to be especially quiet as the workmen were taking a siesta on the pews!

  7. Pete Halewood

    Wonderful image Mark! Sorry I haven’t been catching up much recently, been extraordinarily busy with work, but expect to keeping up with all other blogs, when I return from Egypt. Great scene here though, I really like this one.

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