Warwickshire Primitive Methodism

By Anne Langley

Anne Langley has been researching Primitive Methodism in Warwickshire as part of a Family and Community Historical Research Society project on Communities of dissent. Here she gives details of a number of chapels and potential chapels in Warwickshire.  In time each chapel will get its own page! Thanks Anne.

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Ansley: the Primitive Methodist Meeting Place in Birchley Heath was built in 1826 (for some other purpose). The 1851 religious census records 50 sittings, with 35 attenders at the evening service. The manager was James Hankinson (recorded in the 1851 census as a local grocer and baker). They did not have a Sunday School at that time. It seems that a chapel was never built because it does not appear on OS maps or in Warwickshire trade directories. Source: 1851 religious census HO 129.397.1.1.2.

Alvecote/Shuttington (nr Tamworth) A Primitive Methodist Chapel appears on the 2nd edition OS map (1900s) but was not recorded in Warwickshire trade directories. By the 1950s it was a Methodist Church but it closed in 1960. After this the building was used for a time as a field centre at the Alvecote Pools Nature Reserve (there is a black and white photo on their web-site that may be the former chapel). The building has since been demolished. Sources: OS maps; Historic Environment Record MWA 2816.

Avon Dassett Primitive Methodist meetings were first mentioned in the Banbury/Leamington circuit records in 1848 and a Primitive Methodist Meeting Place was recorded in the 1851 religious census as a room in a house that could hold 60. An afternoon service was attended by 47 people but they did not hold a Sunday School at that time. The Steward and leader was Thomas Bayliss, a local farm labourer. It seems unlikely that a chapel was ever built because none appears on OS maps or in Warwickshire trade directories. Sources: WCRO, PM circuit minutes CR 1688/46; religious census HO 129.163.3.4.19.

Barford The Primitive Methodists met in a rented room with space for 50 that is mentioned in the records of the Banbury/Leamington circuit between 1895 and 1930 with an attendance of 30 in 1900. Warwickshire trade directories from 1874 to 1932 state that the Primitive Methodists had a small chapel here but this was a misunderstanding because circuit records show they never built a chapel. Joseph Arch (who founded the Warwickshire and National Agricultural Labourers’ Unions) lived here and recorded ‘Dissenting’ preaching in the village under a barn in the back lane during his childhood that may have been Primitive Methodist (though later on he became a Wesleyan lay preacher). Sources: WCRO: PM minutes CR 1688/46, 53 & 59; Warwickshire trade directories; Joseph Arch: The Story of his Life Hutchinson London, 1898, p. 48.

Bascote Primitive Methodist meetings are mentioned in the Banbury/Leamington circuit records in 1850 but were not recorded in the 1851 religious census. A small chapel for 70 was built in 1872, at a cost of £106; the debt had been paid off by 1895. It was ‘key-hold’ rather than freehold. It appears on OS maps from the 1880s to 1950s and just once in a Warwickshire trade directory. The chapel must have lapsed at one point because it re-opened in 1894. In 1900 there was an average attendance of 40 adults and a Sunday School. Accounts survive showing that they had a harmonium, lamps and a stove. They operated on a shoestring: the balance in hand was usually less than £1 and at most just over £5. Mrs Wincote cleaned the chapel from 1899-1903; the chapel was used until 1917, when the Minister was John Bennett. The building was sold in 1927-8 and has now been demolished: maps suggest it was in front of what is now Rose Cottage. Sources: WCRO: PM Circuit minutes and reports CR 1688/46, 53, 59, 67-8; Accounts CR 252b/3 1899-1921; F. White & Co., History, Gazetteer and Directory of Warwickshire, Sheffield, 1874, p. 958; OS maps.

Bedworth 1 A Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in King St. near the railway bridge in 1830 and details are recorded in the 1851 religious census. The chapel had 370 seats but sadly the attendance was not recorded, nor whether there was a Sunday School. The form was filled in by John Orton, surgeon and registrar of births and deaths from Little Heath. This chapel appears on the 1st and 2nd edition OS maps (1880s and1900s) and in Warwickshire trade directories from 1888 to 1932. It was part of the Foleshill circuit. The building was sold and demolished in the 20th century and a cinema built on the site. Sources: religious census HO 129.399.1.1.6; Warwickshire trade directories; OS maps.

Bulkington The Lower Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in Bedworth Road (now Bedworth Close) in 1849 and appears in the 1851 religious census: there were sittings for 112 and an attendance of 100 at the evening service; they ran a Sunday School with 38 children attending. The minister was Joseph Harris (who also served Collycroft nearby). In 1852-3 they were holding afternoon and evening services on Sundays plus an evening one on Wednesdays. Preacher T. Masters lived in Bulkington; they were to hold two salvation meetings in October and a missionary meeting in November. There was a complaint about an unlicensed burial at the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Bulkington in 1855. The chapel appears on the 1st and 2nd edition OS maps (1880s-1900s) and in Warwickshire trade directories from 1874 to 1932. It was part of the Coventry circuit and did not join the Wesleyan Methodists until 1945. The chapel had become the local Methodist Church by the 1950s but was later sold and houses have been built on the site. Sources: religious census HO 129.398.1.7.23; Michael Harris: Preachers’ Plan Coventry PM Circuit 1852-3; TNA: Complaint, MH13/137/200, 1855; Warwickshire trade directories; OS maps; site visit 2017.

Leamington Spa 3; Warwick Street Primitive Methodist Chapel Warwick St. nos 118/120 (on the corner of Kenilworth St). This was built in 1834 as a Particular Baptist Chapel but became the United Methodist Free Church in 1864. It was made of brick, with an imitation stone stucco front described as ‘plain Grecian’ and claimed to be able to seat 500. The Primitive Methodists used it from 1921 onwards but is not recorded as used by them in Warwickshire trade directories until 1932. The Sunday school was active from 1921 until 1930. This is one of the two Primitive Methodist Chapels in Warwickshire listed in the 1886 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments survey: it had a long narrow interior with late 19th C gallery. It was said to be derelict in 1970, sold in 1972 and then demolished. Sources: Warwickshire trade directories; OS maps; RCHM, SP 320661; https://www.ourwarwickshire.org.uk/content/article/christopher-george-squirrell-warwick-street-methodist-chapel (which includes a photo).

Long Itchington A chapel with 90 sittings was built for £399 in Green End in 1860 next to the Buck and Bell pub. It was made of patterned brick with a slate roof and round-headed windows. It was part of the Leamington Circuit. There was a Sunday School and a Christian Endeavour group up until 1931. The trustees owned four adjacent cottages. An account book shows they had income from Anniversary and Tea Meetings, the ‘Golden system’, also seat and cottage rents (though there were a few sad letters to the Rev Parsons from tenants struggling to pay their rent of £5 10s a month in 1904). In 1863 the trustees paid £1 for furniture for the Preachers House and in 1896 £12 10s for an organ. Substantial repairs were required to the roof in 1902. It appears in Warwickshire trade directories from 1874-1932 and on 1st & 2nd edition OS maps (1880s–1900s) and as a chapel in the 1950s. Cottages and chapel have now been demolished and houses built on the site. Sources: WCRO: circuit reports & accounts CR 1688/53 & 82; Warwickshire trade directories; OS maps; site visit 2017. Marton History Group have a rather poor photograph of the chapel that suggests half of it was converted into a cottage during the 20th century.

Stretton on Fosse. The trustees bought a piece of land in 1868 costing £15 for building a chapel; they are listed as nine local labourers and a carrier plus George Jones the superintendent minister from Stratford upon Avon. The chapel is recorded in Warwickshire trade directories from 1874-1932 and on the 1st edition OS map (1880s); it was still recorded as a Methodist chapel on an OS map of the 1950s but seems to have disappeared since then (it was next door to a house now called Badgers). Sources: Shakespeare Centre Library & Archive: Conveyance 1868 DR 153/535; Warwickshire trade directories; OS maps.

This page was added by Christopher Hill on 01/09/2018.