The structure was built in 1836 as a religious meetinghouse by the United Brethren, a group of breakaway Primitive Methodists led by Thomas Knighton. In 1840, Latter Day Saint missionary and apostle Wilford Woodruff preached among the United Brethren; ultimately all but one of the 600 members of the United Brethren were converted to Mormonism. After the conversions, the structure was deeded to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Knighton and John Benbow.
As a chapel of the early Latter Day Saint movement, the building was a centre of activity for the church in the Malvern Hills area. Several regional conferences of the church were held in the chapel, and Brigham Young, who at the time was President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke there at least once. The chapel was sold by the church in 1842 to help fund the emigration of British Latter Day Saints to America.
The building was privately owned until it was purchased in 1994 by the Gadfield Elm Trust, a group of LDS Church members interested in preserving the chapel. The Trust renovated and restored the chapel, and it was dedicated by LDS Church apostle Jeffrey R. Holland on 23 April 2000.
In 2004, the Gadfield Elm Trust donated ownership of the chapel to the LDS Church, and it was rededicated by church president Gordon B. Hinckley on 26 May 2004. The chapel is operated as a historical tourist site by the LDS Church and admission to the public is free.
- "Do you know where the oldest Mormon chapel in the world is?: Gadfield Elm chapel is in our two counties", BBC News, 2007-03-23
- “Gadfield Elm: The Oldest LDS Chapel in Europe,” Ensign, Oct. 1986, 76–77
- "Historic chapel given to LDS", Deseret Morning News, 2004-05-27
- "Little chapel's keys returned to the Church: President Hinckley accepts deed to Gadfield Elm Chapel — Church's oldest building", Church News, 2004-06-05
- Ronan James Head, "Creating a Mormon Mecca in England: The Gadfield Elm Chapel," Mormon Historical Studies, 7(1-2): 89-102, Spring/Fall 2006
- Carol Wilkinson, "The Restoration of Gadfield Elm chapel, In C. Doxey, Robert C. Freeman, Richard N. Holzapfel, & Dennis A. Wright (Ed.), Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: The British Isles, Provo: Religious Studies Center, BYU, 41-59
- Gadfield Elm Chapel : official website, includes virtual tour
- Gadfield Elm : Mormon Historic Sites Registry
- Gadfield Elm blog : collection of personal stories and media about Gadfield Elm
- Dedicatory Prayer of Gadfield Elm Chapel : delivered by Gordon B. Hinckley on 2004-05-26
- Gadfield Elm Another popular Blogspot about Gadfield Elm