Croxley Green Primitive Methodsit Chapel, Hertfordshire

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Croxley Green Primitive Methodsit Chapel, Hertfordshire' page

David Noble

Photo:London Gazette, 1 October 1895

London Gazette, 1 October 1895

Photo:The interior of the chapel today

The interior of the chapel today

Croxley Green Methodist Church website

Photo:Defaced stone inscription on the front of the chapel

Defaced stone inscription on the front of the chapel

David Noble

Photo:1892 Croxley Green Primitive Methodist chapel

1892 Croxley Green Primitive Methodist chapel

Keith Guyler 1992

One of only two PM chapels in Hertfordshire still in use

By David Noble

In 1866, it is said that a Mr Pierce, who, we must assume, was a Primitive Methodist, came to Croxley Green and, because there was no chapel in the village, he used his own house as a meeting place. The society must have grown rapidly because only a year later a site for a chapel was found in New Road and was purchased for £25. The building opened for worship on 16 February 1868.

Over the next twenty-five years not only did the population of the village increase but so must have the membership of the local Primitive Methodist society, because, in 1892, it was decided that a larger chapel was needed. However, it seems that the new chapel could only be built on the same site as the 1868 building, necessitating the latter’s demolition. For this reason, a new Sunday school room was built first. This was completed in November 1892 and was then used for worship whilst the old chapel was demolished and its replacement was built. The new chapel, with 300 sittings, opened on 30 April 1893, at which point the school room became used for its intended purpose.

The total cost of the redevelopment came to £1,087, and on 9 April 1896, three years after the new chapel’s opening, the trustees took out a mortgage with the Primitive Methodist Chapel Aid Association Ltd to secure the sum of £440.

The previous year the new chapel had been “registered for solemnizing marriages”, as proclaimed in the London Gazette for 1 October 1895.

The new chapel at Croxley Green was designed in what could have passed for the Gothic style; even by the late nineteenth century this style was not as popular with Primitive Methodists as it was with Wesleyans. Croxley Green is one of only two Primitive Methodist chapels in Hertfordshire whose designs came closest to the Gothic style, the other being the chapel at Chorleywood (also built in 1893).

The 1893 chapel remained in use after the Union in 1932. In the 1940s, an organ was installed to replace the harmonium and a new church hall largely self-built by the members themselves was opened in January 1968 as part of the original chapel’s centenary celebrations. Today, the building is one of only two former Primitive Methodist chapels in Hertfordshire that are still in use as a Methodist church (the other being at Harpenden). Unfortunately, however, its interior was completely re-modelled as a result of “modernisation” in 2008, which effectively removed any trace of its original designs, fixtures and fittings (the 1940 survey by the Methodist Church showing that the building then had pews). It is also interesting to note (rather surprisingly, given that the building is still in use today by the Methodist Church, unlike the chapel at Chorleywood (q.v.) that was sold for secular purposes), that the word “Primitive” has been rather crudely excised from the stone inscription on the front elevation of the chapel.

References

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, NM7M and NM7M/1

Web site of the Croxley Green Methodist Church - http://www.croxleymethodist.org.uk/

Kelly's Directory of Hertfordshire, 1902

London Gazette, 1 October 1895, p.5413

Methodist Church, Methodist Church Buildings - Statistical Returns including seating accommodation as at July 1st, 1940 (Manchester: Department for Chapel Affairs, 1947), p.19

This page was added by David Noble on 25/09/2012.
Comments about this page

In his autobiography Thomas Russell mentions that soon after he came to St Albans Circuit in July 1865 he started preaching at Watford, Bushey and Croxley Green.

By Neil Rees
On 25/02/2013

Watford Observer 12th October 1867 reports that "A suitable site for a chapel has been purchased, the need of which is great" at Croxley Green, which included donations from Rev. T. Russell, St Albans

Watford Observer, Saturday 16th November 1867 reports that
"Some years since, a lady named Bentley, residing at Croxley Green, seeing the need of a place of worship, opened a room for that purpose, but from some cause unknown to us, it was discontinued.  Since that time there has not been any public building for worship.  The Primtive Methodists have now made a start, and on Thursday last the corner stones were laid with appropriate services..."

By Neil Rees
On 12/01/2016

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